I have no hesitation in admitting that Allahabad (ancient name Prayag) redefined my beingness.It made me down-to earth, allowing me to view life in its true shades. Although I tried my best to capture all the shades of Allahabad, I am sure I would have missed some beautiful locations. I hope future writers would explore these untouched places in a colourful way. However, in the last part of the photo feature, I have shifted my attention from modern landscape of Allahabad to areas which still remind of the ancient times. Infrastructural bottlenecks prevented me from using state-of-the-art technology in capturing the images and that made me bit depressed. However, now in the aftermath of the publication of photo features, I feel pretty satisfied that I still came to do some good work. These photo features are a tribute to great city Allahabad- my birthplace. A city that taught me how to emerge successful in rising above contradictions to have glimpse of the Absolute!
P.S. :- The copyright of these images rests with the author of this post. Anybody making use of them without prior permission of the author, or without giving due credit to the author, could be penalized as per legal norms.
Carvind, belonged to the world of naughtiest kids. This image of innocence, a pure-hearted spirit, was always found involved in some sort of mess by his parents, who were quite a character in themselves. Naturally, Carvind was natural ally for all disturbing elements. One day, the Lord appeared in his dreams at an unusual hour and said:” My son, I want to visit earth to see how it fares in Kali Age.” “Lord I have heard that you give darshana (appear) at auspicious hours and so I am really surprised to find you at such an odd hour,” said Carvind.
Carvind had slept late in the night. “Vatsa (my dear son), what can I do! You people have given way to strange habits, which defy my system. I waited for you to sleep at proper time but you never did so,” answered the Lord. Carvind felt really embarrassed. “My son, I would come tomorrow and be visible only to you. Though you have often entered in nuisance of all sorts and defied my mode of life as mentioned in the scriptures, it’s quite pleasing to see the temple of innocence prevailing in your heart. I am glad that you find time to remember me.”
Carvind was now fully awake after being in that trance like state. He started recollecting the episodes. How beautiful Lord appeared! The one infinite blue-bodied Narayana was clothed in his “yellow garb”. In his four hands, he carried the conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus. A soft but impressive golden light environed the Lord. He soon became sad as he failed to greet Lord with folded hands and also did not bother to touch his feet.
Carvind decided to rectify his mistake. This morning he extended the duration of his pooja, performing it with greater concentration. He planned to greet Him methodically on His arrival. Carvind got involved in preparations to receive Him and the day soon gave way to evening. He went to bed soon but since he never slept that early, the sleep remained elusive. Anyway, his mind was full of excitement-something that kept sleep at safe distance from the eyes.
He woke up at 3 am. It was dark outside and others were still in deep slumber. Carvind had his bath, which created noise sufficient enough to awaken his mother from deep sleep. She saw Carvind shivering and lost her cool. “So it was not cat but you who were producing such strange sounds in the middle of the night!” “You have become the agent of problems for us” she said before marching towards her bedroom.
Carvind ignored her wrath and sat down for meditation. Today, he attained the divine state very soon. The various zones of his brain got filled with divine consciousness.” Now I have attained a perfect state of mind to receive Him” spoke Carvind to himself as he waited for the Lord’s arrival. He was becoming quite impatient. “Has the Lord forgotten his promise? By now He should have arrived.” Then under the impact of past tendencies, his mind got focused on beautiful girl, whom he had seen at magazine shop near his home.
“Dear son! Please regain your sense. It’s time to break your sahaj yoga (spontaneous attunement), “a familiar voice hit the ear drums of Carvind. The Lord was standing in front of Carvind and His smile said all! Carvind, for a while said nothing, just the way a child gets caught by the mother stealing food from the kitchen. He bent down and touched His Lotus feet, offered some flowers which he had stolen from the garden of his neighbor guarded by a dangerous Doberman, and then washed his feet with holy water, which her mother had warned not to use at all; after all, she had brought it from quite a distance.
The fragrance of His body left him spell bound, rejuvenating his dull senses. “Will Lord, tell me the name of the perfume He uses? If I get hold of this brand of perfume, it would make him instant hit amid his boring girlfriends, always complaining about his choice of clothes and perfume.”
“ Won’t we move out, little angel?” asked the Lord in pleasing voice. “Oh! Definitely Lord” said Carvind, once again found caught on the wrong foot by the Lord. They were now on the road to Sangam(Confluence of three rivers at Allahabad: the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati). The tempo in which they were sitting was nearly chock-a-block with passengers. The record player was on and devotional songs, based on latest chart-busters echoed inside the tempo. “If I am not wrong, these songs in some way seem to be connected with me,” remarked the Lord with displeasure. “Lord, very few people in the world remember you in the ways prescribed by you in ancient times. Human beings of modern times have attained new means of attaining intimacy with you. They are no longer interested in going by your likes and dislikes.”
“My son, I find iron rods on every roof top, connected to strange Chakra (discus) like round object. What purpose do they serve? Are they some sort of safety device, which prevent you people from dangers?” “No Lord! They do not save human beings from dangers; instead, they drown them deeper into ocean of heinous crimes and problems. This is known as dish antenna, which is connected with a device called Television, watched by human beings the way Yogis fix attention on your form during meditation!”
They were now on the banks of the Ganges. The unhygienic condition that prevailed there left Lord in bitter mood. Dead bodies, bones and waste material were floating on the water. “Whom are you trying to locate?” asked Carvind. “Vatsa, in my previous incarnations I always found people meditating and performing tapas at the banks of Ganges. I am really surprised that nobody is engaged in such pious activity. Where have these people disappeared?” “Lord, they are all sleeping. They are all lost in deep sleep after having watched late night movies, and people like my father and mother, who usually work till late hours of the night, and then go to sleep, just cannot leave bed too early.”
The Lord was pleased to find a Shiva temple. They entered inside the temple and found dogs roaming there. One of them was busy in searching leftovers there; another one was comfortably sleeping over the Shivalinga. I looked at the face of Lord to notice His reaction but He seemed to be lost in some different world.
“Lord, it is not the fault of these dogs. These hungry dogs arrived here in search of food, and entered inside the temple” The compassionate Lord produced food and offered them to the hungry dogs. Carvind’s attitude towards animals had please the Lord. After performing pooja there, they moved out of the temple. In the way, they met some cows. The Lord rushed towards them. He was visibly very happy on seeing them. “Do you love cows?” asked the Lord. “Yes, since they remind me of my mother. She has cow like eyes and when she is angry I also notice same pointed thorns on her head as I come to notice in these cows.” These cows had very little fat on their bodies and most of them looked quite weak.
“Don’t you people take care of creatures? Have I not provided you enough resources and, in some cases, more than enough? In fact, the case is that you people have become greedy and do not believe in charity at all.” The cows standing there suddenly vanished. The Lord sent them to unknown destination, having grass and safe water in abundance. The Lord had suggested Carvind to take him to the needy people. They moved towards slums located close to the rail tracks. The Lord was eager to cross these tracks to reach to the other side but Carvind prevented him from doing so.
“But why?“ asked the Lord. “The signal lights are bright green and so let’s wait. Let the train pass.” He thanked Carvind for providing such valuable life-giving information. The train passed and they moved to the other side. Carvind was amazed at the simplicity of the Lord. The Lord was moved to see the bare bodies of the starving children. The labourers living there were getting ready to leave in search of work. It was a noisy scene. The pungent smell of garbage, scattered around us, entered inside our nostrils, which forced us to leave the spot.
The Lord seemed to be lost in some thoughts after witnessing such a scene. “Lord, that‘s the condition which prevails in the whole nation. The wealth has been distributed in an unequal manner. The rich people have got everything; the poor people have been left at the mercy of fate. The poor person always finds himself in all sorts of troubles. Lord, you sound right that greed is cause of sufferings. “Is nobody working for the cause of poor people?” inquired Lord. “Lord, nobody is working sincerely for their cause. Some organizations, which in the beginning worked in whole-hearted manner, became political in their approach, and thus, deviated away from the cause of the poor people.
They had now arrived near a school. God wished to see the activities inside the school. Unfortunately, it was a government-run school. The teachers were nowhere in sight. The blackboard was barren like a dead river. Some senior students were busy in discussion revolving around good and bad points of latest movies running in the theaters of city. The junior ones were seriously trying to make their paper aircraft attain the maximum height, and also attain the perfect aerial route! Some girls have already opened their Tiffin boxes and were in great hurry to finish the lunch! We found one section of boys getting ready for cricket match and so heated discussion regarding the format of the match was in full flow.
They had moved out of the school and now walking on the road in leisurely way. They came to anticipate a large gathering of people and they turned towards it. It was a meeting organized by the rationalists to create awareness in society and motivate people to develop scientific spirit. The chief speaker asked loudly, “Has anyone of us seen God? No. Then why do we believe in His existence? My friend, you people should not waste time in adoring abstractions by strengthening faith in Lord. I request you all to be more realistic by giving way to scientific explanations.”
For a while they listened to him with great attention but they soon gave way to peals of derisive laughter. They said enough is enough and made sure, as they moved away from that spot, that his words fail to hit their ear drums. Carvind was now feeling hungry as he had not eaten anything since morning. The sun was now shining above their heads. Carvind brought two cups of tea and some pieces of bread from nearby tea stall.
“Vatsa, I find its taste unique. I wasn’t offered this flavor during my previous arrivals on earth. I need nothing, and, therefore, I come to taste this drink, sheer out of grace, as an offering on part of little Bhakta (devotee) like you” said the Lord in a hilarious tone.
“Lord, please forgive me! I am ruled by my desires. That‘s why I dared to offer you tea. However, Lord, if tea vanished from our lives, millions of people across the globe would never get out of their beds! We have become slaves of very things we have discovered!”
They did not drink the tea even as the Lord was eager to empty the cup totally. They arrived at a juice corner and sat there on a bench in a relaxed manner. The staff at the juice corner was asked to serve the juice. The person, who was told to serve the juice, was surprised that I needed one extra glass even as I was all alone! At a close distance was a busy bus stand. Some college going girls had been waiting for the arrival of buses. Like previous days, arrived some youths and started making obscene gestures at them. There were many people present at the bus stand but they preferred to remain mute spectator. But toady something unusual happened. Some men in uniform appeared from nowhere and beat these youths black and blue. They were arrested and taken to police station. The girls and others were quite taken aback as they never found men in uniform intervening in such a timely manner. They like, filmy cops, were used to arrive only after the criminals have left the crime scene.
Carvind stared at the face of Lord and a big smile appeared on his cute face. He realized why the cops had appeared all of a sudden. “Lord, these grown up modern youths do not believe in living life based on values and principles. At next corner, you would find girls and boys consuming cigarette and beer. The cut throat competition has murdered their sensitivity.”
“ My son, every age has got its own peculiar tendencies. The cycle of good and bad actions never stops and as it rotates, it unleashes various effects. You are an enlightened soul, Carvind! You must be aware that Gunas(attributes) constitute character of a human being. When Sattva increases, it brings peace and knowledge. The increase in Rajas creates desires, leading to hectic activities and rise of Tamas creates ignorance, bringing pain and misery. One should always try to increase ones sattva portion in the personality. That also ensures peace and stability in the external world. The change is inevitable and so one should not worry too much about particular condition or happening.”
“Vatsa, now I wish to return back to my abode but before I disappear I would love to meet a real devotee. Carvind took him to home of man in late 40s. He had a wife and three daughters. Though he wanted to have a male child, he had only daughters. He had no source of income and yet he and his family were always found smiling. The girls went to government run school and were talented in many ways. Since the person had gone outside, Carvind and Lord were welcomed by his wife and daughters. His wife was always delighted to find Carvind at his door step and sudden visit has surprised them all. Lord had a close look the home. It lacked many articles required for sophisticated living yet the home looked complete. It had traces of bliss in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, his wife told Carvind that his husband is retarded in terms of worldly understanding. He has no idea what it means to live life in practical terms. The people around him treat him to be a fool but it appears he doesn’t feel bad about it. Meanwhile his youngest daughter, Gauri, interrupting the monologue of her mother, sang for us a beautiful devotional song. Her amazing voice left all of us spellbound. What Carvind really liked about her was that she never said no to singing, even in front of strangers. However, she disliked film music unless it had classical base or really sweet melody. His father has now arrived and seeing Carvind became really happy.
Carvind told him that Gauri had just now sung a beautiful bhajan for us. His father seemed to be pleased but said that she was least interested in refining her voice through regular practice sessions. He stated that Lord has given him enough and though he cannot manage all, he is always in a relaxed state of mind. He never felt he is the actual doer. Lord is driving this body and he noticed that instead of me, Lord has taken better care of his family. Lord’s effort brings greater results than his own individual effort. And so whenever he has to leave home all of a sudden for a long distance journey, he leaves leaving everything on Lord’s shoulder and when he returns he finds home in lesser mess. At that point, his wife informed him that, like always, person acting as in-charge of their fields has cheated them by giving less share of the produce! He received the news with smile. At that point, Carvind and Lord left his room after seeking permission from his family. However, before leaving, this man didn’t forget to compliment Carvind about his eyes and smile and told him that today he found him unusually attractive! “My mother called me this morning son of monkey,” said Carvind. Hearing that not even Lord could prevent himself from giving way to loud laughter! Others were naturally in grip of incredulous laughter.
“Before leaving do teach fitting lesson to my mother. No time for me and not even for herself. She all the time works and just works. And my father! He is like you in a sense that he is always lost in some thoughts. When he is not thinking that way, he is always writing something. They are always pretty conscious about my monkey business. Is it a crime to steal guavas from someone’s trees? If I do not steal them, they soon fall on ground and become unfit for eating. I am preventing the fruits from getting wasted and they all perceive it as a monkey business and give me a bad name.”
Lord heard the tale of Carvind with great attention. He noticed that Carvind has become extremely sad on hearing that he was about to leave. “Do not lose heart. I promise to reside in your heart forever. I would always remain one with you. I know everything, and, therefore, such visits do not mean anything to Me. I come on earth to meet extremely cute children like you-monkeys with sensibility found in cows! So promise me that you would not act as monkey with a razor not only for this world but also for your parents!”
“ I had to say something to you. You would never drop me from your memory and your heart as you come to live a life based on virtues. In nutshell, move in this world freely with an unbroken remembrance of mine” said Lord as He embraced Carvind in His divine arms.
Carvind bent down to touch his Lotus feet and soon forgot everything. Carvind regained normalcy after few hours. Carvind desperately looked for Him but in vain. Lord had returned to His abode. As he closed his eyes, Carvind, felt deep peace within his mind and heart. It was sign of His eternal presence. He had vanished to become one with Carvind!
Pic Two (Internet)