Oct 21, 2011

Day2: Kaladi - footprints (of Lord Krishna)

"Mother, I have prepared this herbal soup for you. It will make you feel much better", Sankara said, handing over the cup of soup to his mother Aryambal.

Aryambal looked at her son, smiled warmly and took the cup of soup. Sankara touched her forehead to note that her temperature had dropped and she would be out of fever in a couple of days.

"Would you like to go for a walk Mother?" Sankara asked her politely, recollecting his younger days when she would take him for a walk along the banks of river Periyar, and would tell him spiritual stories one after another till they reached a small temple shrine of Lord Shiva. As he grew up, her old age caught up with her and confined her indoors.

Sankara helped his mother to her feet, supported her arm around his shoulder and took her for a short walk outside their hut. Slowly they reached the banks of river Periyar which flowed close by. Sankara assisted his mother to sit on the banks of the river on an elevated platform, and sat next to her on the muddy ground.

A view of Periyar river flowing through Kalady

"My son, I have grown older and have become a burden on you" Aryambal said to her son in a regretful voice. "Mother, please! Do not say anything like that. Is it not my duty to serve you?", he asked.

"With each passing day, my end is getting near, my son. I am afraid of my death. I am worried about the fact that I still have not found the purpose of my life", she said. Sankara observed that his mother was struggling to talk continuously, and she panted after every few words.

The conversation with his mother put Sankara  in  a meditative mood, contemplating on the purpose of life. His eyes fixed gazing at the flow of Periyar river.

"Mother, look at this river!", Sankara pointed towards the flow of water, to distract her from disturbing thoughts about her end.

"We do not know where the water originates from, nor do we know where it ends up. But have a look at the water mother! Doesn't it look so happy to be a  part of the big thing called the 'journey of a river'?", he asked.

Reciting a sloka from Bhagavad Gita, Sankara continued, "my mother, Sri Krishna says the true purpose of one's life is to enjoy the journey called 'life' without worrying much about our destination. My mother, is it not true that, to attain salvation one should follow the footprints of Sri Krishna?".
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Legend is that Aryambal was growing old, and found it difficult to go to the banks of the river for her daily chores. Seeing his mother's difficulty, Sankara prayed to Sri Krishna. Krishna appeared before Sankara and promised him a solution.

Krishna asked Sankara to lead him to his place. As both of them started walking, the river took a new course. Following their footprints, it flowed through Sankara's garden, and went on to join the mainstream ahead after a distance.