Home > satirical posts (about serious issues) > A tale of two cities

A tale of two cities

February 9, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

We republish here a most insightful post by Debashish Banerji (with a comment by Angiras) as it appeared on iyfundamentalism.info nearly four years ago. It is well worth re-reading and reflecting upon it.

There was someone who once came across a book on great people. When he had finished about half the book, he came upon a chapter. After reading a few pages of that chapter, he was surprised to experience something he never thought was possible. He realized from within that

• there is a source of knowledge in man other than the mind
• that this source of knowledge has greater certitude than mind
• that the nature of this knowledge is not inferential but of a self-evident nature
• that this source was bearing witness to the existence of Truth, not relative truths
• that such Truth was what was staring him in the face from the pages of this chapter
• that the person who was being spoken about in the chapter was the carrier and embodiment of Truth.

When he came out of this exalted condition, he very soon realized that no one around him was in a position to understand what he had experienced. It was incomprehensible to them and they would think him crazy and hurt him in some way if he went about talking about this. However, for his own security, he was left with two options — either not speak about this possibility at all or if he saw the slightest opening, speak to that opening. Here, if he could at all speak about it, he realized that what mattered was to get across the possibility that they also had this source of knowledge within themselves and if they were interested in exploring this possibility, they could read the Person whom he had read. What he realized very quickly not to tell anyone was that the Person was the carrier or embodiment of Truth, because, if they did not arrive at the source of knowledge within themselves, this would be for them, nothing but an irrational assertion, and they would take him for mad or see it as a good beginning for a new religious dogma.

This is what happened to him in city A, a modern metropolis. Then, one day he heard that there was another city, city B, where the people all agreed that the Person was an avatar. He moved to this city. Here everyone took it for granted that the Person was the Master and the Avatar. He came to take this as a factual reality and not even question the ground of experience. He was not in a position to know what place experience had in this assertion by the others. He felt safe and comforted and nurtured in his knowledge and pretty well forgot the existence of city A to which he had belonged. But then City A began to haunt his dreams. He would find himself transported there and participating in the doubt, argumentation and lying which were common there. One day, sitting in city B, he felt an inner urge to address city A. He remembered his earlier existence there and he returned to his first concern that the people of city A saw the possibility of another kind of knowledge and did not mistake it with blind ideological and cultic conditionings or fundamentalist assertions and practices which were tearing city A apart. In doing this, he even identified with those aspects of the culture of city A which rejected the external trappings of such blind following. But through this, he succeeded in getting the central message across — there is a Person at least as sane and balanced as them — and perhaps much more so — who realized a kind of consciousness and knowledge which could bring certitude to an ignorant world and harmony to a strife-torn world. That consciousness and knowledge could belong to all human beings, since the Person had tested its steps thoroughly as a scientist of consciousness and held out a way if one was willing to try it.

But what he did not expect is that his message to city A would reach the hands of some in city B. And that, in city B, what he had not been able to gauge had become the reality — the repetition of religious practices and thoughts had brought about a reification of experience which had reversed the priorities in the collective, so that what mattered first was the assertion repeated into similitude of fact that the Master was the avatar and then it became secondary or irrelevant whether anyone thought it important that there was a faculty of knowledge higher than the mind which alone could make such an assertion. Before he could understand what was happening, the thought leaders of the community became enraged that he had not acknowledged the divinity of their Master and had criticized their fond practices in his writing. They quickly mobilized the entire community using well tested methods of thought propaganda to incite the erasure of this message and its messenger from their midst, since it presented such a threat to their sense of collective comfort, their sheltered mind-reality.

A deafening war cry rose up into the sky and a tremendous dust cloud made everyone blind. He was dragged out of his home and humiliated. He was threatened with expulsion and ex-communication and made to recant for the wrongs that he had done. Then he was beaten up and, only due to the diplomacy of a veteran wise one among them, exiled alive from the community for good.

The walls were drawn up. Some new constructions were quietly carried out to build a moat and mine the territory around city B. Things went back to normal. City A remained what it was — a world torn by increasing strife and pitched warfare and city B returned to its state of heavenly peace. Then one day in city A, matters escalated to a point beyond repair and someone blew up the whole world, the one which included both these cities, that is, the one and only world there is. It is interesting that even the day before this happened, some people in the streets of city B had a premonitory conversation. One said, things are so bad outside. The whole world may be destroyed. The other said, even if the whole world is destroyed, we will remain immune. The Grace is with us, after all.

Comment by Angiras:

It is often forgotten that the Person wrote most of his luminous works before city B began to grow up around him, when city A was his only audience. He knew very well how to communicate to those people. In doing so, he never told them he was an Avatar or embodiment of Truth. The hero of this tale of two cities later adopted the same approach in writing about the Person, with tragic consequences.

During the lifetime of the Person, few were ready to find the source of knowledge within themselves. In the course of time the Person was almost forgotten by city A. But as the world underwent an evolutionary crisis in which was concealed a choice of its destiny, the hero felt an urge to make people in city A aware of the Person’s discoveries.

Whatever the imperfections of his attempt to inform city A about the Person and his message, it was because of the undermining of his effort by city B that the message failed to have an effect. It is interesting to note that the Person himself foresaw the danger of what eventually happened to city B. He called it the “snag in the worship of Guru or Avatar,” namely, “a sectarian bias which insists on the Representative or the Manifestation but loses sight of the Manifested.” With regard to his own Avatarhood, he clarified: “I am seeking to manifest something of the Divine that I am conscious of and feel — I care a damn whether that constitutes me an Avatar or something else. That is not a question which concerns me. By manifestation of course I mean the bringing out and spreading of that Consciousness so that others also may feel and enter into it and live in it.” Similarly, our unfortunate hero “realized that what mattered was to get across the possibility that they also had this source of knowledge within themselves.” He saw that this was more important than imposing on them the belief that the Person was the embodiment of Truth.

In the early history of city B, there is a story about a sadhak beating up another sadhak who did not accept the Person as an Avatar. When the first sadhak boasted of his exploit, the Person replied with his inimitable humor: “Did he accept me after the beating?”

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