Beloved

This story has a special place in my heart - it is based upon a vision of an enlightened soul who I dearly loved.

This story has a special place in my heart - it is based upon a vision of an enlightened soul who I dearly loved.

Now all I do is sit at the window and look toward the road for the message from my beloved...

Any day now the King would be sending for me. I would become his queen. Now that I am ready, the time seems to stretch more and more. Each moment without my Lord is an eternity to me now. Although I do all the chores, my eyes, my ears, my whole being is always at the window looking for the messenger from the Lord, my soon-to-be husband.

I look around the room I am living in. I will miss this place. I have a profound fondness for this place. This place prepared me for my marriage to the Lord. I remember the time when I was living an orphan's life in the village....

It was early morning and I had come out with all the girls to get water from the well. I enjoyed this activity the most. We would laugh and play all along the way. Even though I had no family, the villagers made me part of their lives. Along with the other girls, I too was given the responsibility of getting water to the village in the mornings.

The villagers tried their best to make me feel like one of the family. They would hug and kiss me along with their children but the warmth with which they hugged their own children would cause me to cry silently. But despite those moments of loneliness, I was happy. In fact, everyone lived happily and with peace. Perhaps the main cause of this happiness was our King.

Our King was benevolent and kind. He was generous and just. There was none like him and I was told there never had been or will be one like him. But his quality that shone the most was his love - his love for the people, his love for justice, his love for the world and all its creatures.

I had never seen him, of course. Only his queens could see him. It was a great mystery how these queens were chosen. No one seemed to know how the King would select an ordinary girl and make her a queen. All girls fantasized about being his queen.... Except me.

Looking back, I realize that the thought of me being a queen was beyond my imagination. There were so many beautiful, elegant and cultured girls that the King could choose from. I, on the other hand, was ugly and knew only simple words. To confess, I had several times fantasized about being one of his queens' servant. I imagined myself preparing food for her. Washing her clothes. Washing her feet with my hands. Fanning her on hot days. Living in her will. Looking after all her needs.

We were just a few feet from the well when we heard the sound of horses coming from the side of sunrise. We all looked at the approaching horses and the rider. The rider rode one horse and held the reins of another unmounted horse. The rider wore royal blue clothes and had two swords. We knew this was the King's rider.

My friend nudged me. Her whisper was urgent: "Don't look at the rider! Kneel down!"
I was ignorant of such things. Feeling rather foolish, I knelt down.
The rider came by and stood a few feet away from us, then approached our group.
I felt a tap on on my shoulder. I felt weak - surely I must have done something terribly wrong.
The rider said: "I bow to you. Be joyous, for you will be his queen."
My heart beat so fast that it was a wonder I did not faint.
Me! one of his queens.
Perhaps there had been a mistake. I shyly looked towards the rider and pointing to myself mumbled, "Me?"
The rider smiled, "Yes, you. Say your farewells, we leave soon for the Guru's abode."
Yes, it was true.
Me, an ignorant and dirty village girl, a queen! I felt drunk with joy.

The kind rider helped me on a horse. After a whole day of travel we reached a castle. A woman came out and took me down from my horse. I immediately took to liking her. She hugged me strongly. It was rather strange but this total stranger gave me the kind of hug I had been craving - even more strange was that I felt I had known her for a lifetime.

I thanked the rider and went inside. There were several women there. They were all extra-ordinarily beautiful. Some wore jewelry. The jewels did not resemble any jewels I had seen before. They seemed to be made of light and shone brilliantly. For a few moments I thought I was in the King's palace and these women were his queens.

I knelt down and bowing down I quickly said, "Forgive me, my queens, I know not manners."

There was silence for a moment. Then they all came and hugged me. With fondness, one of them said, "Dear Chhotee, not queens yet."

To date I do not know why she called me Chhotee, but the name felt familiar and I became to be known by that name.

The whole place felt rather warm and homely. It seemed to be permeated with love and life. I felt completely at ease here. Ma (the woman who had taken me off the horse - I didn't know her name, but somehow I started calling her Ma) told me to bathe. And with much fussiness and pampering she dressed me in a white robe. It was evening by then; after feeding me, she tucked me in a fine feather bed.

I was woken up by Ma . It was much before sunrise. Surprised I asked, "Am I going somewhere?" She just smiled and told me to bathe. Reluctantly I obeyed. Then she led me to a room where all the women were sitting and told me to do the same.

As soon as I sat down, I felt like I had never felt before - I felt as if I had grown to the size of the room. I felt I was somehow above my body. I could hear a soft chant of a Word which I had never heard before. This Word was no ordinary word. This Word was wondrous and magical.

Little did I know that this Word would become a dear companion who would never desert me. A Word that would cloth my nakedness forever. That would quench my thirst forever. That would fill my hunger forever. That would never leave my heart. That would play with me like a childhood friend. That would make the whole world my friend. That would make me sing with bliss. That would make me cry with joy. That would make me rich beyond all dreams. That would show me my dazzling, wonder-filled self.

That Word was "WaheGuru"!

The time passed wonderfully and before I knew it, it was dawn. Then one of the women started reciting a verse. It was rather strange, because I did not know this language yet I completely understood what they were saying. It was praises of the King, his love, his greatness, his aliveness and his youthfulness.

Afterwards, we all ate. Ma took me aside and explained to me a few things, "You are indeed blessed, because you will be his queen one day. You are here for you must prepare yourself for him."

That was all. Quite surprised, for I had a million questions, I silently nodded. She understood my baffled look. All she said was, "Everything with due time."

As I was soon to discover, the women didn't talk much. Only the most necessary words were spoken. The Word "WaheGuru" was freely and openly spoken though. I too couldn't help but say the Word over and over again. The most amazing thing was that I didn't know what this Word meant, yet after a few days, I could not help but say it with my tongue, my mind and my heart. Even during sleep, I dreamt about it. It would start spontaneously in my heart the moment I woke up and no matter what I did, it continued all day. I simply could not understand it! I tried several times to ask the women, but all I got was smiles, hugs and an occasional, "Be patient now, Chhotee."

One day, Ma and I went out to get water. This was the first time we were alone since I had come here and I was determined to ask her about the Word.

As soon we were out of earshot, I immediately began: "Ma, pray, tell me one thing."
"WaheGuru?"
I nodded. Silently Ma took me to the edge of the well. She pointed to the water.
"What is that?" she asked.
I replied, "Water."
She said, "How do we get to the water?"
I thought awhile and said, "With the rope, of course... please ... Ma tell me about..."
She interrupted me, "My dear Chhotee, there is nectar inside your heart. Only when you are cleansed with it can you become a queen."
She continued after a pause, "Just like we need a rope to get to the water, similarly we need the Word to get to the nectar in our heart."
After that, she firmly motioned me not to talk anymore. Although, I didn't really understand her--I was after all a simpleton from the village--her words calmed me down and I resigned to patience.

Life here was simple and beautiful. I would wake up shortly after midnight. I would sit with the women and listen to the Word ring within me. At dawn, verses, which I too had memorized, were recited. Sometimes we would all sing. I looked forward most to the singing. During singing even I felt like one of the women. During singing we all--beautiful, ugly, jeweled and simple--became one throat, one mouth, one body, one being.

At the far side of the castle there was a special room. That was the Guru's room. Only few of the women would go there. These usually were the most beautiful ones. I never had any hopes to go there for I was not beautiful.

But despite my ugliness, I desired and longed to go there. I saw the happiness in the faces of the ones who were chosen to serve the Guru. Upon return, their eyes would be drunk with love and their faces would glow with bliss. They would walk without touching the floor.

But I knew I had no chance of ever seeing the Guru. Just being in the company of beautiful beings did not make one beautiful. Or so I thought....

One day, I especially longed to see the Guru. I had heard so much about the Guru's love and glow that I thought surely I would die without seeing the Guru. For the first time since I came here I felt unhappy, for I saw no hope for me ever serving the Guru. I was the ugliest one here. I was sitting feeling rather dejected in my room when Ma came in.

She laughed and said, "What's the matter, Chhotee?"
I could not conceal my desperation. Tears welled up in my eyes. "I want to see the Guru...," I blurted between tears, "but I am ugly and ...." Tears wouldn't let me finish my sentence.
She softly wiped my tears and motioned me to be quiet. She went and came back with a mirror (a rare commodity in the castle).
"Here, look at yourself in the mirror."
Still crying, I put the mirror in front of my face. To my utter astonishment I saw a most beautiful person in the mirror.
"I...?"
Ma smiled, "That is you!"

I looked and looked. Gone were the deformities. I was transfixed with my own beauty. I could not believe it was me. My eyes were as bright as the morning sun. My face shone like the moon.

To my even greater surprise, I wore jewels. Before I could ask, Ma said, "The jewels were always within you. The jewels show in the one who travels on the path of the Guru."

For the first time, I clearly understood the importance of that place. It had transformed a foolish, ill-mannered village girl into an enchanting angel.

Now I suddenly found myself changing from the inside too. Although I had noticed a change inside me a long time ago - I was much calmer and more patient than before. Now rather big changes started to take place. Whereas before I looked forward to being with the women to go out for walks and laughs, now I looked forward to being alone and looking at the wonders inside me. The colors inside me were so intense that I could look at them for eternity without my fill.

Then the blessed day came when Ma told me that I would be the one to serve the Guru with food the next day. Heart flooded with emotions, I could not sleep that night. There was fear too, since despite the wonderful things I had learnt here, I was still a simpleton at heart and knew no sweet words. I spent the whole night wondering how it would be to see the Guru.

But I could never have imagined how wonderful the next day would be...

When the blessed time came, Ma handed me the food plate. My hands shook, rattling the plate; and my heart pounded, making me shiver. Ma held my hand and calmed me with her looks.

I looked at Ma with uncertainty. "Now go," she said firmly.

For what seemed an eternity, I walked to the other side of the castle. The door of the Guru's room was open. As I approached the door I heard the most melodious music. It was like no music I had ever heard. It wasn't coming from any particular direction. To my surprise it was coming from within me. For a long time I stood there quite dumbfounded with utter astonishment. Only with a great amount of will did I break from the spell.

"How foolish I am, the food is getting cold!" I scolded myself.

I walked into the Guru's room.

I thought I had seen a lot of beautiful things outside me and within me. But I wasn't prepared for the Guru. Such beauty. Such grace. Such elegance. Such kindness. Such light. Such life. Such royalty. Such compassion. Such wonder. Such intensity. Such love. Such love. Such love...

It would not be right to say that I saw the Guru, rather I basked in the Guru's being. I danced in the Guru's being. I swam in the Guru's being. I overflowed with the Guru's being.

With much difficulty I put the food plate in front of the Guru. Despite my self, I collapsed at the Guru's feet and openly sobbed.
No! the Guru could not possibly love me so much.
No! I was not worth this grace.
No! I was dirty, I did not belong here.
No! the Guru could not love me so much.
No! so much love could not exist.

My heart could not contain the love that was pouring out of the Guru's feet. My body shook violently with sobs. I could not stand the feeling and I pleaded with the Guru, "Please, no ... not so much. I cannot bear it, please, I am not worthy," I cried out.

The Guru's kind hands touched my head. With the touch of the Guru's hand, I expanded beyond the room. The love from the hands filled me and kept on filling me. I kept expanding until I occupied many earths and many moons and many suns. Still the love kept filling me. I could get no bigger and I begged the Guru to stop the pouring of love.

My plea was heard. I stopped sobbing. I felt complete.

It could have been a moment or it could have been an eternity - I lay on the Guru's feet feeling fulfilled, warm, loved and at peace. It was as if I was home. It was as if I had found something I had been looking for many days, many months, many years, many eons, many lives. It was as if I finally found my center, my being, my beginning, my end, my life, my light, my love, my existence.

The Guru lifted my head. I quickly averted my eyes. I knew I had not enough strength to look at the Guru's face. Thousands of years of preparations could not have prepared me to look into the Guru's eyes. The Guru whispered, "WaheGuru."

The nectar Ma had told me about suddenly overflowed out of my heart. It filled my throat, it filled my eyes, it filled my head, it filled my whole being - my body, my mind, my soul. I shut my eyes and I saw the Guru inside my heart. I saw the Guru everywhere within me. I saw the Guru filling the whole room, the whole of the Earth, the whole of the universe. I was wonder-struck.

Then the gracious, kind, elegant, beautiful, fatherly, motherly Guru guided me to the source of all love. It was none other than the King. He was mine now. He was my Lord. He was my beloved.

Strangely I felt such love for him that in my heart of hearts I was already his and he was mine.

I rejoiced. He was mine and I his.
I sang. He was mine and I his.
I laughed. He was mine and I his.
I danced. He was mine and I his.
I loved. He was mine and I his.
I flew. He was mine and I his.

Finally! I belonged to someone. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his. I was his...

My training at the Guru's abode was complete. All that was left was to wait for my lord's messenger of love.

Now all I do is sit at the window and look toward the road for the message from my beloved...

PS: the vision of the enlightened soul I mentioned at the beginning of the story continued to an actual union with the Lord. But some things cannot be captured in words so I stop here...


Add a Comment