Wandering Monk: Straight Ahead

With his new-found lightness, he walked on. Now very far away from where he started, the otherwise familiar road looked foreign to him. The landscape had changed, and the same trees and birds and grass that he once knew were close, felt distant. The path that was rough and the once friendly signposts refused to reveal the direction to his destination.


The mountains were all covered in an impenetrable haze and the horizon had become a flat colour of nothingness. He walked, nonetheless, in what felt like — straight ahead. With each step into this alien cloud, the presence in the haziness of his journey seemed to clear in his mind. He looked at the path, it was one that was chosen a long time ago. With small changes along the way, it was well possible that he could be walking away from the destination. Or perhaps the destination itself had changed during his long walk.

However, it was also possible that the direction he was walking was fine-tuned and sharply aimed at his destination.

He had no way of knowing.

He maintained his pace, trusting his destination to guide him.

Wandering Monk: A Lightness of Being

He was tired. It had been a long walk. The sun was shining overhead – in all its glory. He dragged himself slowly, his shoulders bent forward, as if there was a load that was harnessed, a heavy load, perhaps accumulated from his past.

Box Grunge, Bhimbetka Caves, MP, India

He stopped, looked down at the parched earth where beads of sweat made splatter shapes. He dropped to his knees, his head hung deep, his chin to his chest, his eyes slowly closing to the brightness that reddened the darkness, through his eyelids.

He was tired.

He almost wanted to stretch his shoulders and arms outwards, as if to release him of the harness. But was it physical in nature, this weight that he dragged along? Where was the harness bound? To his shoulders? To his mind? Wasn’t it the sweet burden of belonging that he had willingly chosen.

He went back to the days when he had taken on this burden. It was purposeful then. It was a sweet moment of a bright new day. The excitement of newness had engulfed him. He thought of all the days to this day – as he hauled this apparent sense of purpose.

Along the way, he had added to it.

He had allowed others to add to it.

From those that were afraid, from those that were lazy, from those that were cunning. From those that had been hurt or had been weak. From those that had gone astray. He had dragged their sense of purpose for them. He had done it for a while now.

His worst fear was to be called a traitor. He felt the need to belong to those that betrayed. Perhaps that is why he never questioned the weight that erased his footsteps behind him. He never questioned his speed. His mountains lay far away and he had much ground to cover.

He stood up suddenly, his head held high, he stretched and shrugged his shoulders. It was a new resolve and a lightness of being.

He strode forward, his pace now quickened and even.

Wandering Monk: A Known Challenge

He stood still.

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Some challenges are just like an alarm clock. A wake-up call, or reminders. They don’t necessarily defy you, they just ask you to look within yourself; what you always wanted to do. Those aren’t challenges.

Those are just friends, being friends.

Wandering Monk: Speaking with the Self

He stood grounded at that one place and turned round and round and round in circles till a sense of dizzy happiness overtook him. At once he saw his mountain friends, at once he saw the tall trees smiling at him, at once he saw the plain vast lands in their own silent frenzy.

The birds were curious of his turning around — some flew in the direction that he turned — never losing sight of his eyes, some flew in the opposite direction, catching him once every while when their sight collided in opposite direction.

It was all becoming a sudden one-ness while he spun relentlessly. He seemed to faintly recognise the common blur. The world seemed to be a different place with every revolution. Yet he was at the same place.

This is how a party looks, late at night, London, UK.

He was so easily able to answer all the questions that world posed for him. Yet, not a single question that he asked the world, was ever answered. But weren’t his questions the same as those that the world asked him? Did he then, not believe that the answers were the same?

He stopped spinning. Dizzy. The horizon was like a boat on gentle waves. The graphic representation of an abstract trigonometric equation. The mighty mountains seemed to be losing their balance even. Yet he stood on terra firma, though the land itself seemed to liquify.

Perhaps there weren’t any questions. Therefore, there weren’t supposed to be any answers. Or this world was full of answers, but we questioned them. Why then, did the questions come to life, and crowd the corridors of his mind? All that he knew — his thoughts, his answers almost, were blocked by the crowd of questions. He had all the answers, only they never reached him — they were jostling for space in the crowd of questions.

He had to make way.

Wandering Monk: The Journey of Love – III

And a long walk it was.

Tiring, as he had experienced all this while. As he looked for a place of rest – he saw none. The entire world was a place for him to rest – he could choose any, as he wanted. But he couldn’t find a place to rest where he would feel comfortable.

There were no densely-happy trees, no silent-mountains even, that would offer him some shade from the scorching sun. A barren land lay all around him. Not even a bird in the sky to assure him of a source of sustenance nearby. If he was in a desert, he would have reconciled, but this wasn’t a desert even.

He sat down where he was – it was as good a place as any other.

He looked ahead at the path before him. Where he would walk, would be his path. None had walked here before. In his mind a mild anger created a nest. He knew that the tinsel had to be removed before the house became home. He didn’t sense the trees, birds, and the grass anymore. He felt that he didn’t sense them because they had ceased to sense him.

Yet another twig in the nest.

Someday, if he ever met them again, he would hear from the trees, birds, and the grass that had left him – his doing for the distance that had occurred – for the bridges that he didn’t build. He smiled. When he walked from his home – he was aware, yet not conscious of what that meant.


Another heat wave tickled his thinning frame, making him look far in the distance where shade would be. It was the feeling that a man on the mast must have – when he sighted land – of almost reaching the destination. Perhaps there was a different love waiting in these barren lands – or beyond them. An expression of love is only as meaningful as the experience. Else they were empty words – like the land he was in. Bereft of any joy – a blank canvas on which no colours would stay.

Such weak, this love
Asking of a visual presence
Assurances every moment
Of your existence

Of your commitment
Of the need of action
That dignifies, and even
Defines the emotion.

He covered his eyes with his right hand, and slept, sleep eluding him, yet peaceful in countenance.

Wandering Monk: The Journey of Love – II

He walked on, in what seemed to be a straight line.

The sun and the leaves continued to play their ballet of light. Hiding here and showing there, escaping here, peeking from under, and then getting caught in between. He never missed the play as he walked along; even if he did not look.

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One thought arrested his mind, as he released his feet onward. He had often imagined that his journey was in search of love. A long time ago, he believed that love was something that you left behind; allowed to be. And in certain ways – love happened to be all around as we left love behind and walked on. So, we never actually left love behind. This thought that bound his attention challenged him about the purpose of his journey. If he already knew so much about love, why did he walk on – why did the search seem incomplete?

He pursed; nearly pinched his lips as he walked on.

It wasn’t about love perhaps, it was about him. Or perhaps, they were the same thing.

This was going to be a long walk.

Wandering Monk: The Invisible Circle

He yearned for the known.

For so long now, he had walked unfamiliar roads. He thought of home. He felt like going home.

The sun was shining bright that glorious afternoon. He felt cool, however, under the mountain shade. Far, he could see the sun, light up the grass, and the small trees enjoying each ray of light that attempted to make way through their dense leaves. The leaves played with the light like little children in a park, and bounced it off each other, eventually allowing the light to pass through them.


He leaned his weary back against a rock.

He wondered why he had left home, to begin with – what made him take this long journey? Is purpose guided by an absence or by a presence? He smiled at the irony of what he felt. There was always a lot of love at home, always a hot meal and a warm bed. Was he travelling away from something he always had – in search of the same thing?

Was his journey to be just a huge circle?

Wandering Monk: The Dark Road

This was an unfamiliar path that he walked on now.

On his long journey he had seen many roads. All were different in some way – some were paved and some were not. Some had bushes or trees lining the sides. On some you could see the great plains where the sky met the earth at the horizon. Some of them were crowded with people going this way or the other, some were empty and there wasn’t a soul in sight – sometimes he seemed to walk on roads that no one had ever walked on. He even remembered those few roads where someone had walked with him. And he remembered that some roads have a fork. Some of his traveling companions had chosen the other road.

In some way, however, every road that he walked was the same – it took him closer to his destination and each road was an experience that enriched his journey. There was never a road that stopped him – each one of them had urged him to walk on. He always felt something new about every road. And he always felt he could relate to a road he walked on – new or old.

This one road was very alien to him. This was the only road that made him stop rather than urging him forward. This was the only road that made him look back at all the roads he had walked on. He closed his eyes as he stood in the middle of that road. The mountains beckoned him, yet he knew that it would be some more time before he walked any further. When he opened his eyes, it was dark. The skies were laden with dark clouds but for some reason, didn’t seem ominous. With his eyes open he could not see this road anymore. It was all dark. And suddenly he felt that this road, or perhaps another one ahead, beckoned him, now urging him on to continue his journey. He wondered at the irony of it. Most roads urged him to walk when there was light and suggested rest as it grew dark.

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This time, it seemed that the road wasn’t going to reveal itself. He would have to see for himself, and walk ahead knowing where he wanted to go, and so he took a step ahead in the dark.

Just after the first step, he stopped and asked himself whether he really knew where he wanted to go.

Wandering Monk: The Journey of Love – I

He was now tired and sitting beneath the banyan tree. As he made himself comfortable, he smiled to himself. The banyan tree — the Enlightened One had once sat under such a tree where he saw the light; the truth.

He often thought about the light  the light that he seemed to recognise, yet failed to perceive. It was an elusive light, he sensed it all the time, yet could never see it. He closed his eyes to the dark, breathed slowly to help his tired muscles find their own position of rest. He had walked long – it may have been a short journey if you used time as the measure, but a better measure of a journey was the experience, the events. Nothing and no one had followed him in the journey – nothing and no one had walked along with him in the journey. He met many — the trees – tall and short, the birds – colourful and bland, the grass – green and golden. Each made his journey pleasurable in their unique ways, yet no one walked with him.

He knew now that love was something that you didn’t carry with you – it was something you left behind. His tired heart made a desperate attempt to let go of the love and leave it behind. Every time he felt the absence of those whom he met when he travelled, he felt anguish and wished for them to be there: the trees, birds, and the grass.

When he opened his eyes, he saw that there was nothing – not the trees, not the birds, not the grass. He was alone now, looking ahead at the barren land. He had an urge to look back at his friends – but he cautioned himself. He had to move to the mountains. He had heard that only they were permanent. By such a brute force of nature they had formed – that nothing could ever break the apart. That was the ultimate meeting of souls. That was the only love that remained in the place – no wonder then, every monk, hermit, and saint had found refuge in these mountains. The mountains were all-forgiving and all-knowing; full of love of the ages for all that chose an abode in them. As difficult as they were to get to, they were the only place he felt welcome.

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He was destined to walk his path alone – to find his path for himself. He bid farewell to those he loved – hoping that they always felt the love that he left behind; hoping that they felt the same permanence that he felt inside of him.

On the empty land he walked, then, towards the mountains far away.

Wandering Monk: Afraid, No More

He was silent; had been for a long time. Searching for answers. The answer didn’t seem to be lying in wait for him at some place. He remembered what he had read in the scriptures – travel could easily be a way to lose answers than find answers. He had to search for the answer within himself, because he now knew that the ‘real’ demon he was fighting was also within him. He reflected on his struggles.

He had encountered the demon Nablaska a few months ago. Everybody feared Nablaska. The Wandering Monk also feared him. He did not know why – he concluded that he feared Nablaska because everybody else feared him. He didn’t like himself being afraid of the demon; there began his search to find the genesis of this fear.

How much ever hard he searched for answers, they eluded him. The answers, perhaps, eluded him because he didn’t look at the right place. What he thought were his answers, were only a way of protecting himself, and in a way — his fear. Every ‘answer’ was a way to overpower Nablaska. He believed that if he vanquished Nablaska, his fear would go away. This, however, made his fear grow only stronger. For with every answer, came further doubt and with every doubt he found new ‘answers’. He had protected and shielded his fear so much – it was so deep inside him, it had almost become a part of his being.

Contemplation: Panhala Fort, Kolhapur, MH, India

He opened his eyes after a long time. It was difficult to get through the walls and gates that protected his fear. But it wasn’t impossible, as he had just realised. His belief of how he could get hurt and what that pain really meant to him; was the real demon he had to vanquish. He chose not be afraid, not of Nablaska, not of anything.

Nablaska was just an image of his fear outside of his self – a reflection of the real demon. Waving a sword at Nablaska didn’t amount to anything. There was no need to deal with Nablaska anymore. The projected image was immaterial, literally. Nablaska only ruled on the basis of fear. If fear was the food that fed Nablaska, he didn’t need to do anything. Nablaska could no longer torment the Wandering Monk.

The sinking feeling stopped; he felt lighter.

The Milestone Marker

It was almost like his journey had come to an end. Deep inside, he did not feel it. He knew he had a very long way to go.

Where he stood, he could not see a path, though. He hesitated to take the next step. In that dense fog, he couldn’t see a step ahead, even. What lay ahead, he did not know. Yet, he knew that this was one of the milestones; he was expecting it. But as he stood there, fear paralysed his feet. He stood there, without moving.

What was it that bothered him? He did not know. In recent days, his walk had become drudgery. He had not heard the birds singing, nor had he seen the colour of life that was painted with master-strokes along his weary path. In his deference to move forward towards that milestone that would determine the quality of his journey, he had turned a blind eye to everything. He let out the slightest hint of a smile. Now, when he was ready with open eyes, this fog was almost a wall blocking his next step.


That seemed the only way he could take that crucial step. The mind and the heart are always at war, though. The rational and the unknown vie for a place in our selves in a way that we cannot manage. Each comes with its own value – but they can never agree. Sometimes though – one has to win over the other. And in this victory, one has to support the other – because they belong to the same entity. They can never be undone from the entity – for that would mean the cessation of their existence.

There was no knowledge at the edge. What he sought, was inside and beyond that white blanket that enveloped him.

He took a step with his right foot; stepped in that dense white of a cloud.

He Sat Down

And he sat down. Refused to walk any further. He had to know the destination of the journey. If not that, at least the path that would, possibly, get him there. For the first time, he saw what surrounded him. As he walked, all these days, there was never a frame of reference; it kept changing. Each step that he took, the frame of reference kept changing.

Now, here, without the determination to go onward, he saw many things. Butterflies. Leaves. Mud. Cracks. Sun. Sky. Clouds. Flowers.

He pondered his purposeful journey; wondered what all he had missed along the way.

The Joy of the Journey

The surroundings were ever changing. The leaves changed their shades of green. The birds were different from those that he had seen when he started. Even the ground that he walked on changed texture with every mile that covered in his journey.

He used to notice all of these small changes as he moved forward. The changes used to bring a small smile to his face as he walked past, acknowledging the change.

For a few miles now, however, it all seemed the same. There was a continuous feeling of sameness that enveloped him. Was it his eyes, he wondered. Am I unable to see the changes? Or have the changes stopped? He even questioned the path he was walking on, but that would not help. The path he had chosen did not assure him of any changes or of sameness. Thinking about the path would not help him know if things had stopped changing or if he had stopped noticing.

Is change necessary?

That, perhaps was the better question. The quality of your question determines the quality of your answer.

My journey is one of happiness, he said to himself. And whether there is change or not, the purpose of the journey is to experience joy. So, whether change was necessary or not, it depended heavily on whether he experienced the joy he was seeking.

He nearly laughed out loud. The question that this answer posed, was something he could not think about. It was time for his heart to break its long silence.

Was he enjoying this journey?

The Wandering Monk

Through the cities and towns and villages he wandered. He looked at faces – content and distraught. He looked at homes; strong and in ruins. He searched high and low; left and right. He looked for a sign. A message that somehow made itself available – in a manner that he would understand.

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Through the cities and towns and villages he wandered and walked in search of the most elusive goal of all. Little did he know that setting a goal is more elusive than seeking it. He did not, when he started the journey. He had his mind fixated on one thing.

A final destination.


Note to readers: The Wandering Monk, once had blog of his own. Not many people knew about him. He preferred it that way. For reasons that are not yet apparent to the Monk, and with his permission, his chronicles will now be posted here. Yet he remains reclusive. So, feel free to comment, but do not be offended if he doesn’t reply. Strange are the ways of monks. Perhaps the author of his chronicles may reply to your comments. Even if he does, he cannot answer for the monk.

You should also know that a while ago a great man wandered India and other parts of the world. He was often referred to as the Wandering Monk, and was better known as Swami Vivekananda. Readers should be clear that these chronicles belong to a much less evolved human being and have no connection to Swami Vivekananda. Apart from the wandering, there is nothing in common between this monk and Swami Vivekananda. Except that this monk has great respect for the son of India, that was Swami Vivekananda.