Love without a price tag, conditions attached or the fine print of debt
Before you start reading, let me confess that I was inspired by this post http://popchassid.com/didnt-love-wife/ to write this:
I was five years old when I decided that I would never opt for an arranged marriage. I told my Father about this. As always, he smiled - that calm, wise smile and said, "If that's what you truly want."
A part of me was disappointed. From all the Malayalam movies I had seen till then, this would have been the moment I was thrown out of the family for bringing dishonor. But my father didn't seem to care.
Then the thought struck me....I must be an adopted child. That's why my father isn't angry or livid or upset or wanting to throw me out of the house.
So, when an occasion came up, I ask my dad " Tell me the truth please. Ami an adopted child?" I realize now that adopted children are loved as much as natural children in Indian families now but back then, I relied on movies to convey social truths.
I braced for the earth to shake, the heavens to fall...nothing of the sort happened.
My father looked at me with amusement and says, "Which movie have you been watching recently?"
Then I felt really cross. This is a matter of my life and my identity. My dad isn't angry or serious about my destiny. Shouldn't he be threatening not to send me to school ever again? That's what loving dads are supposed to do in the movies!
As time passed, my priorities changed drastically mainly because of what I read and later experienced. When I turned 14, I had decided to practice spirituality very seriously.
I told my parents that I want to work towards Sanyasa. They were not surprised or taken aback. It was as though they were expecting it.
This is what my father said, "I won't say you are too young to take a decision like this. There is no greater truth than God or pursuing the path towards God. Your parents will never stand in your way. But wait till you have completed your education and then lets have this conversation again."
At sixteen, I went to the Kodaikanal ashram of my Guru. It was the month of April. The flowers seemed to bloom everywhere. The sun seemed more golden and I basked in the knowledge of my destiny. Or so, I thought as I prayed the same prayer that I should be accepted into the fold.
For the first time, a shadow of disapproval came across from my Guru and Master. His reply to my prayer was: "Do you know what it takes to be My disciple? Do you have any idea? You are not even remotely eligible to undertake Sanyasa."
I was crushed. I began to cry then and there. You can ask anyone in my family. It is very rarely they would have seen me cry unless its a tear jerker Padmarajan film like 'Njaan Gandharvan' or 'MunaamPakam.'
Then, with a lot of love, He said, "The words were harsh but had to be conveyed. You are my Daughter, nothing changes my love for you. You are always in my protection. I will always protect you as the eyelids protect the eyes. I am always with you. Isn't that enough? Go out into the world, experience what life has to offer, find your path when you are ready. All this talk of Sanyasa is not for you. In this lifetime, your chance to serve will come but not for many many years. When that chance comes, I will call you. Even then, it will not be Sanyasa for you."
I asked, "Are you punishing me with this rejection?"
His reply was "No, I am giving you an opportunity to fly away into a world that will fascinate your curiosity and you will learn to discover the path of spirituality on your own terms. If I accept you today, you will regret this moment years later. I know what is best for you. Forget Sanyasa, it is not for you."
Swami was right. Because at eighteen, I fell deeply in love. It took my life in a completely different direction. The years that followed were of passion and turbulence. Not exactly a recipe for 'Sanyasa' material. But I wouldn't have known that when I first considered myself to be the right material for Sanyasa.
Looking back to that exact moment of rejection, I realize one inexplicable Truth: My Guru knows me and loves me more than I knew. That one choice He made for me was out of absolute pure love and gave me the absolute freedom to live my life on my own terms, just as He wanted.
As a mother, I know the value of this love He has shown me. When you love your child deeply and truly, you put your child's happiness and destiny above everything else.
In the end, that's all that matters: Love without a price tag, conditions attached or the fine print of debt.