Monday, September 16, 2013


Who is a saint?
Is he the saffron clad mendicant sitting alone in the precincts of a temple telling his beads?
Is he the well versed orator waxing eloquently on the interpretation of a not so obvious part of a religious text?
Is he the chief of a monastic order with a huge following in the country and abroad and with whom appointments are hard to come by in the next six months?
Is he that person in designer robes who speaks with faultless logic and urges his disciples to follow the contradictory theorems of immersing themselves in pleasure while remaining detached?
Is he the white robed geriatric who holds court speaking to the devotees more in songs and dances than explaining how to overcome their deep seated anxieties?
Is he the ochre draped personality who explains the nuances of every mantra but is distracted by his own senses?
Is he the lonely ascetic performing penance and body twisting yoga mudras thus enabling himself to control his heartbeats and breathing?
Is he a part of the gang of sadhus ringing door bells and demanding alms to go to Benares while refusing the food which you offer him cordially?
Or is he that nondescript person whom you meet in the shopping mall who strains to get at the jam bottle which has slipped from your cart and is rolling away from you far beneath a shelf?
Is he that young boy who runs after you through a busy street calling out, “Madam , aap  ne apna purse gira diya hai”?( “Madam, you have dropped your purse”)
Is she the young woman running to avoid being late to the office yet holding the hand of a blind woman and guiding her across a densely packed horn honking office time traffic lane?
Is she the housewife who manages to control her temper and desists from screaming at the maid whose loose grip on the Baccarat crystal fruit bowl caused it to smash into countless shards of meaningless glass?
Is he the miserably feverish and chillingly wet soldier who carries an 80 year old great grandmother across wildly swirling flood waters raging with floating debris at frightening speed, eager to smash anyone who dares step in its wake of destruction?
Is he the co passenger in the night train offering his whole dinner tiffin to a father and his little daughter, who unaccustomed to travelling, forgot to pack  for themselves?
Who is a saint?
 The first group of preachers, the holy men, the gurus, or the more easily available second group, that of common people whom you meet in droves everyday on the street?
There lurks in each of us moments of an inner urge, to reach out and assist another human in whichever way we can. These moments are saintly.
A saint would be a person devoid of earthly impurities of greed, the will to possess, anger, expectations, the violence of thought, word or deed, covetousness and a slave to the pleasure of his senses.
He exudes an inner calm in the face of danger to his life or limbs, forgiving the trespasses of others and exhibits a will to be of help to others who can be of no help to him. When he discerns that the needy requires relief beyond his competence, he prays for his reprieve from the One Source Who has been running the show since the beginning of time.
He gives of himself and his time without distinguishing between the status of the person or his rank in life. He doesn’t expect anyone to pay back his acts of kindness and charity but prefers to forget them once the deed is done.
He does not flaunt either his knowledge or his philanthropic work but deems himself fortunate that he could, in some way, alleviate the misery of his fellow humans.
He remains unaffected by the venom spewed by his detractors, nor is swayed by words of praise of his followers. He knows this world to be a passage at best, and any act here which is committed bearing seeds of expectations will sprout with poisoned flowers of external beauty but inner rancidity.
He knows that his station in life has come from his own deeds and the appreciation of the present moment alone can dissolve the cloak of unhappiness which wraps everyone born here. He recognizes that joys do not lie in future promises, nor in past glories but in the present well spent.
He is privy to the knowledge that whatever has been created here shall age, wither away and die and that nothing is of colossal importance in the personal timeline or that of a nation.
The saint neither loathes nor is in love with his position in life however elevated or stressful his situation may seem to an onlooker. He revels in the knowledge that whatever has started has to end and that every life is being played out on the wheel of time, every life ever transitory, being a sum of combination of its own actions and inactions.
Can we too become a saint? Reach that pinnacle of human excellence of thought and action?
While no one can claim not to have indulged in violence in thought, word or deed, or not been swept away by the torrential downpour of sensory delights, we can in our own way exert our way towards being a better someone. If only we stop judging the lives of others and turn the spotlight on our own web of thoughts and deeds, and then gradually start fixing our glitches, we would have made progress.

The world will never be perfect for us. But if we mould our lives correctly, we would leave it a better place on our exit than we found it when we cried our way out of mom’s womb.
(Disclaimer: The picture at the  beginning of the text in no way depicts any characteristic of any person, dead or alive, delineated in the article. It is put up just to beautify the blog article)


Mallika Biswas said...

tho i agree with the thought in general, wd have liked if it was more gender sensitive

Jahnvi Jethanandani said...

"He recognizes that joys do not lie in future promises, nor in past glories but in the present well spent."- a million dollar of your best writings

ROBIN said...

Thank you.

ROBIN said...

A saint doesnt have a gender. He doesnt have a caste or race. He is Just a personification of the qualities quoted in the essay. When we write s/he it takes away the flow of prose and becomes a document.

Manashi Basu said...

I think we all are saints in our own individual is completely white or black in nature...we all have shades of grey ingrained in us....depending on the type of sanskar the soul is the demand of the situation, which brings forth the sanskar of the soul....also is a matter of perception at times...
Very nice subject....& very very aptly written must write for the speaking tree. Go to the website & log in will be enthralled by the kind of responses you get.

raghav tangri said...

i believe a simplicity of expression will have a better outreach.
Keeping in mind that truth always loses its perfection in expression and we can always just try to express it in different art forms, you have done a commendable job.
Also the prose is completely closed. Today, if you ask me such form of information is increasing, what you say is not rendering need to search for the SELF, it is adding onto the information the reader has.
I can feel what u are trying to say, expression is great but the thing being said is very simple, yet it is complicated.
Momentarily the saint like behavior comes up in everyone but when you have prolonged spans where you are your true self, i suppose, then u are close to this stage. So whether the girl helping a blind woman cross the road is considerate on similar occasions,more often than not, is a dimension that is also important.
But if you really ask me I don't care becoming anything just being alive is what I care about. Everything else complicates things for me.

Smita Bhattacharya said...

I agree with you and few of the comments above. We have a saint in all of us, at its purest when a child. As we grow up it gets more and more corrupted. But a great topic to discuss and ruminate over.