"Heres your chocolate. Thanks for not tagging along today at our sutta break." I heard Vineet say as he approached my desk with a Daily milk Chocolate.
"Thank you but you can keep it. Its my fast today." I said
"Fast What Fast? I thought only married women fasted for the well being of their husbands and family. And In any case I saw you nibbling an apple today morning."
"I fast on Mondays for my isht God Shiva. I have only fruits and juices on Mondays."
"And what wrong have wheat, cocoa and other cereals have done that you forsake them for a day. In any case Whats an isht ?"
"Your isht is your favorite God. You see it’s an interesting concept in Hinduism. You can choose your God. I am mesmerized by Shiva. Shiva, who is the family man as well as the ascetic. The Savior as well as the destroyer."
He looked at me for a moment and spoke nothing and then said "I think it was enough gyan for today. We should get back to work."
"Ofcourse you would say that. You had your break but I did not. I can talk now, for I have been covering up for you guys earlier."
"Go on Madame." He said
"You won’t understand. You are not religious."
"Who me ? I am very religious . I simply happen to follow a very different religion which is not about fasting. It called the religion of Flying Spaghetti Monster. "
"A Spaghetti What ?" I said.
"You ignorant fool ! Don’t insult my religious sensibilities like that. If you don’t know anything about my revered religion then maintain quiet."
"You are kidding."
"No Iti, I am not. Let me show you" and he opened the wikipedia entry for FSM (Flying Spaghetti Monster). It was a complete parody of religions and It to be claimed to a religion of its own. The central belief is that an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. There was even "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster". I could not help laughing.
He close the information page and said earnestly "Madam please dont mock my religion. You won’t like it if I mock yours. My religion is better in your religion because in your religion there is either guilt or sacrifice. You don’t fast you feel guilty , you fast you are hungry."
"Its not so actually." I said and the added: "A Fast or a Upvas mean you are above vasana, or the baser instincts. Vasana is something which lets you down. I will tell you a story. "
"Okay shoot." He said.
"You got time ?" I said
"Enough time to sleep after you finish your sopophoric story."
"Anyways, So Once Radha and Krishna had been given the responsibility of taking over food for Dursava rishi who was meditating across Yamuna. Radha prepared the food but could not find a boat to cross Yamuna. Now, Durvasa rishi was famous for his short temper and granting curses. Radha was worried about what would happen if she does not take the food in time.
Krishna asks her to be calm and stated that he would put an eternal truth of test. Krishna asked Radha to go to river Yamuna and say "If Krishna is an ascetic, please give me a way to cross ". Radha wondered to herself that Yamuna would laugh hearing that. The charming Krishna who goes around with Hundreds of gopi, is an ascetic?
Nevertheless she says to Yamuna "Yadi krishna yogi ho , to aap mujhe jane ka rashte de."( If Krishna is a yogi , give me way to crossover). Within seconds Yamuna split itself into two and gave a magical way to Radha. Radha crossed the River and reached Durvasa Rishi. "
And then. I looked over my shoulder I had an audience , a few people were leering over Vineet's cube over whose plank I was comfortably ensconced .I also noticed the Account's Group Manager in that group.
"What next ?" said Vineet impatiently ignoring my audience.
I was happy deep inside that he was taking interest in my story.
"So, " I proceeded, giving little attention to my new audience. " Dursava Rishi ate the food and asked why Radha seemed bothered. Radha said that she needed to cross Yamuna to get back home but there was no boat. Dursava Rishi laughed and said it’s simple. Go to river Yamuna and put an eternal truth to test. A truth, that the river would not be able to negate.
" But what should I say? " asked Radha.
"Say that: Yadi Durvasa upvasi ho, to mujhe jane jane ka rashta de ! (If Durvasa is fasting, then give me a way to crossover).
Radha was confounded; she had just fed Durvasa rishi therefore how could he be upvasi (one who fasts). But Yamuna indeed split into two and gave Radha the way when she repeated these words."
I finished the story.
"Why do you think it was so?" I asked Vineet and the group hovering around Vineet's desk.
When nobody replied , I said "It is because although Durvasa ate the food, he did not think about food. It is the greed, the want, the "vasana" that an upvasi rejects. It not rejection of a food or any such items."
“Hmm…cool. Have you read George Barnard Shaw's Plays?" Vineet asked me when I finished speaking.
"Oh yes. All the time. I mean they are on Project Gutenberg. My favorites are "Irrational Knot" and "Love among the Artists". A few of his initial works."
"Have you read the Man and the Arms ?"
" Yes. It is a Classic."
“Hmm. Tell you what.You are like Raina from the Play ‘Man and the arms’ ,…you actually need to have your ideals killed.”
“And would You kill them ? “ I asked
“No. But someone would.” said Vineet.