Monday, January 02, 2012

A moment of satori

As the only child of separated parents, throughout my life I held a grouse against my father, who had failed to participate in my life altogether.

He was indifferent to everything except his music. My mother and I suffered immensely due to his absence from our lives. Though we covered it up with stoic strength, yet in my heart I bore pain and anger towards him.

According to my grandmother, my father, her second son, showed early signs of detachment. His temperament was withdrawn – staying away often from the family, with only his flute for company. She feared he would join the monastery. She therefore arranged to have him married.

Her endeavour, however, met with failure. My father emerged from his shell for a while, just enough to beget me, after which he withdrew into his own.

I was born in my maternal grandparents’ house. The only difference was, that my mother stayed back and did not return.

But quite by chance something happened a couple of days ago.

A voracious reader, I came across a blog post which spoke about a place called Comilla in Bangladesh.

I knew that my forefathers came from Comilla.

The blogger, Reema Islam, wrote, “Known as Samatata between 6th-13th century AD, Bangladesh fell under the region called Vanga which was in close proximity to Magadha. Magadha was a powerful state since the time of Asoka (304-232 BC). Buddhist traveler Huien Tsang, (7th-8th century AD) wrote in his journal that he found an institution called Kanakastupa Vihara in Samatata. The newly excavated Salban Vihara in Comilla is, in all likelihood, the same institution he mentioned.”

At once, like a sudden flash of light, a shift in perspective happened. I understood for the first time where my father came from. Who is to say that he had not inherited the reclusiveness of the monks? That he himself was not a monk reincarnate, from his past lives in that land? Maybe, he just came to fulfil a past karmic connection with my mother and as soon as that was over, they separated. Maybe there was nothing of any karmic baggage that we, as father and daughter, carried around each other. Maybe, we were always free of each other and hence, we had nothing to do with each other. No great exchange, nothing to carry forward.

It was a moment of satori. A paradigm shift happened in my understanding of the relationship with my father. The anger and hurt dissolved as my heart opened up closing the door to the past.

I was free.

Julia Dutta, New Delhi

First published in Life Positive January 2012 Edition

Published again in The Mustard Seed, a journal of creative faith August 2012 issue


Jashodhara said...

He could be a monk, but some debt remained with your mother,so for few days he was with her.We realized it little late.
Jashodhara Purkayastha

Julia Dutta said...

Thank you Baudi, he most probably was :)) And I too am drawn to Buddhism.


Amrita said...

very interesting Julia. Happy New Year to yuou

Julia Dutta said...

Thanks Amrita.

A happy New Year to you too, Amrita. I know it has started with a challenge for you.


dipali said...

What an amazing perspective! Loved this post.