(Read in TAMIL)

The Mystery Gift

Conversation With Aiya (13)

I was clutching the neatly packed parcel from Amazon on my hand, while opening the door for Aiya.

‘Welcome Aiya’, I said.

Upon noticing the curious look of Aiya, I told him.

‘This? A birthday gift for Keerti, Aiya. Her birthday is in couple of days and so I have ordered a mystery gift. I was struggling to decide what to buy, so gone for something mysterious this time. I don’t even know what it contains’.

Aiya laughed, as he was seating himself on the Sofa.

‘Yes, Aiya It was easy to decide on birthday-gifts when the girls were quite young. Nowadays, it is becoming a tedious task!’

‘Very well, have a great celebration’, said Aiya.

‘Surely Aiya. Always happy to celebrate children’s birthdays!’

I didn’t know why I continued to say.

‘But, these days, I don’t like to celebrate my birthdays’


‘What is there to celebrate Aiya! Nothing greatly accomplished; I just don’t feel a reason for any celebration’.

Aiya looked at me intensely.

‘Birthday is not your accomplishment, which I agree. Nor anyone’s! Be assured, your effort is not the reason that you go from one birthday to

Before I could respond, Aiya continued.

‘Birthday is a blessing. It is anugraha, a divine offer that is bestowed upon you’.

I sat down, knowing well, there is going to be something special from this conversation.

Aiya continued.

‘Why just birthday, the very birth is anugraham. This very day is anugraham. Is it your effort that you wake up from the sleep? Is it your effort that you get to sleep? Is it your effort that you breathe? All these are blessings. Indeed miracles, only if you stop looking for wonders in the world and focus on who you really are!’

‘Yes Aiya, we seldom appreciate what we are made of and how wonderful we are as human being’

‘Yes! It is worth every bit to celebrate human birth and rejoice every moment of this embodied life. Then why not, demonstrably show your joy on
this one day, the birthday!’

‘True Aiya, but the very fact that your body is ageing is sending you warning bells, even nulling the thought of any celebration!’

‘Perhaps. But such worry is only because of your attachment to the body. Do you really think that you are ageing?’

‘Aiya…. I mean, I still feel the same in my mind, never ageing. But the body is fast decaying; Should I not be concerned?’

‘Anything that has a form will decay. Grosser the form, more rapid and trivial its changes. So why is there a concern? Like a worn-out shirt, no matter how much you adored the shirt, you will toss it away one day, if it is no good and a get a new one’.

‘Shirt cannot be an example for the body!’, I said.

‘Is it so! God forbid, if someone is told that without amputating his leg, his survival is at risk, what will he do! Won’t he keenly get rid of his own body part to live longer! Really, it is not the body that matters to you.’

‘Then what?’

‘What matters to you isyou! Your continued existence’!

‘But that is also not guaranteed. Upon death, we don’t exist anymore’.

‘No, your existence is forever. But your manifestations do change’.

‘Not clear Aiya’.

‘Can you see light in the room?’

‘Well, not directly. But the mere fact that I can see you, I can see the parcel etc. means, there is light’.

‘Precisely, only through the manifestations of objects that are perceptible, the existence of light is known. Same way, in the embodiments, your manifestations shown.’

‘So birth is a manifestation of me’.

‘Yes, that is why it calls for a celebration. Perhaps more of a thanks-giving’.

‘In the same logic, is death a manifestation?’

‘You could consider death as a brief interlude before a new manifestation, like preparing to change to a new dress!’

‘Is it good or bad?’

‘Up to you! Is wearing a different shirt good or bad for you?’

‘Well, it depends on what sort of shirt I am made to wear!’

‘In the same way, what sort of bodies that you take!’

‘Aiya, I can decide on my shirt!’

‘You can also decide or influence on your new embodiment’, Aiya said this with a smile.

‘Your mind, the carrier of your deep desires defines what the new embodiment should be; there are ways that you can influence so that your
embodiments are also fine in the future’.

‘That means, it is my effort that makes my birthday?’, I thought there is a contradiction to what Aiya said at the beginning.

‘Yes, when you understand about your mind, it is your effort or Karma that causes birth and therefore the birthdays and death-days. Anugraham is still the underlying grace’.

‘Aiya that means death is also a celebration!’

‘It ought to be for the person who is dead! It may not be for the dear and near ones who would miss the person. But the one who is disembodied, it is the unrobing for a new garment’.

‘If I don’t want to wear a new garment?’

‘Well, that is Nirvana! It is possible only when all your desires are completely burnt, except for the total freedom.’

‘Then there is no more birth?’

‘Yes, no more death too! But don’t worry about this. First learn to celebrate the birthday, nay, everyday as a blessing. Thank the heavens for the embodiment and depending on your interest, prepare your mind either to go on getting fabulous embodiments in life after life or to remain absolutely bare.’

‘Aiya, I thought mind is the culprit and it should be controlled, destroyed etc. What do I have to do?’

‘You cannot control or destroy but can only convert to a means for freedom. Without mind, there is no cognition. But there is supreme consciousness
that illumines the mind also. I don’t want to bore you with these details now. Just focus on three key milestones’

‘Which are… ?’

‘Get rid of the likes-dislikes in the mind. I mean, those passionate attachments and hatred. This is possible only by selfless-actions and sacrifices, leading to a pure mind.’


I was curious as if I can easily cross the very first step itself.

‘A clear mind is not good enough, as by nature, it will continue to vacillate. So you need to steady it such as through meditation’

‘What is the use of meditation Aiya, I remember you have discussed this in detail before’

‘Yes, by this, your mind becomes flexible. It is able to relax, focus and expand.’

‘What is the third step?’

‘Well, achieve the first two steps, which you can surely do by persistence, then you are ready to cut asunder the veil of ignorance’

‘What is this veil of ignorance?’

‘It is that which projects you as “the personality”. By removing the veil, you will realize that you are the very nature of existence, forever the pristine effulgence, and the bliss absolute; you will then have no birthdays or death days’.

I have nothing to say, except to feel bad that I have squandered away many days of life without thinking about these.

‘Aiya, there is large heap of desires and vain thoughts in my mind. Won’t it take a long time to clear all these off? Am I too late?’

Aiya, in his usual style, laughed with his shoulders shaking.

‘Not at all. The heap will burn away by a mere spark of your realization, at the very instance when you realize what I have said. So cheer-up. Go and celebrate life.’

Aiya took the newspaper to read.

I was still clutching on my hand, the mystery gift from Amazon. Also within my heart, there was an amazing mystery gift; although not fully revealed, there is great joy to hold.

Now I have to decide which precious mystery gift that I should share with Keerti.

Mee. Rajagopalan




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