Love is beyond all dualities. Love is infinite, limitless-so, it is just not interested in little penny pleasures of life.
Anand Krishna
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Home - arrow Who is Anand Krishna ? arrow Past Reincarnation
Past Reincarnation Print E-mail
 Lord Siddharta with Ananda
As Ananda - Twenty Five centuries earlier I found myself crying by the bedside of The Awakened One. My Master, My Guide, My Friend, My Cousin was dying. I could not bear the idea of separation. Neither could I bear to see him in such painful condition, "Bhagavaan, The Blessed One, please, please heal your body. We all still need it."

          The Master laughed. He laughed at them and at the bodily pain that he was bearing quietly, "You are forgetting something, my Dear One - that this Samsaara, this life is painful. But there is a way to go beyond it. Look at me, am I in pain? Then what is there to heal ? "

          "But you are leaving us; This body will not be with us again," I argued.

          "What remains, my Dear One, what remains ?"

          My Master was poisoned by his own cousin, my cousin too - our cousin. He had always been jealous of Master's growing popularity. Indeed, he was afraid of it. He saw the Master as a threat to royalty, "The beggar can raise people to act against us, against royalty." Raising people for what ? My Master had left his father's kingdom for something more valuable.

          Many times in the past he tried to kill the master and always failed. Then one day he came to see Bhagavaan to ask for his forgiveness. As usual, my Master simply said : "Come, come closer." There was nothing to forgive, it was forgotten already.

          I was not comfortable with the situation. His intentions were not clear. When I mentioned that to the Master, he gave me one of his heavenly smiles : "Who are we to judge people's intentions ?" I was quiet - what was there left to say ?

          "My Dear One, keep this to yourself. Blame not the person who has poisoned this body. Poison is only an excuse , just like sickness, old age, accident or anything. The body will perish anyway."

          Very softly he tapped one of my shoulders, and I realized that he was about to leave.....

          "Master, Master...." I was hysterical.

          "My Dear One, when an Awakened One dies he leaves behind not only his body, but also his mind. Such an event certainly calls for celebration. It is no ordinary event."

          I knew that. I knew that when a Buddha leaves behind his mind along with the body, it is one gigantic "human accomplishment". Known or unknown to the rest of the world, such an accomplishment changes the course of human history. Humanity is drawn closer to Existence. Those who are receptive and have already done their "homework" can easily feel it. Their consciousness experiences a "quantum leap". They begin to vibrate on a different scale. "Death" of a Buddha is blessing to humanity. The Awakened Ones not only bless our world with their appearance called "birth" by us,  but also by their disappearance, thought of as "death" by us.

          All the knowledge I had, yet the prospect of not seeing His Body, of not being able to talk to him or to listen to him , to look at his face was terrifying. I was trembling, "Master, Master - I still need your guidance. What happens to me, to us, when you leave us ? Say something, Master, speak, tell me what should I do ? What should we do?"

          And the Master uttered his last words : "My dear One, Be a Lamp unto yourself."

          Was it possible ? Could I do that ? I could, I would, for the last words of The Awakened One had to prevail over my unawareness and ignorance.


 Jesus Christ, The Savior
As One of the Three Wise Men - I flowed on with The River, with life.... Then I saw myself celebrating the birth of a Rabbi, a Man of God - The Savior. Together with two other friends from China and Egypt, I traveled to the Middle East, the land of deserts. That was about 500 years after I had left the banks of the River Ganga in India, where The Awakened One had left his footprints on the sand.

          My friends went back to their homelands. I stayed behind.  I had to; I was blessed with a role to play, a double role in fact. To the world, I was a successful trader, head of trading caravan. To a group of friends who were born  there to facilitate and help in The Savior's Mission I was one of them.

          I remembered the day the Savior's Mother, The Blessed Woman, came to me, handing me her son's hand - handling me a hand that was destined to stretch out for each and every hand....

          The Savior was "only" twelve, but to the tribe in which he was born, he was "already" twelve. Boys of that age got engaged to girls chosen by their parents. And The Savior's father too had chosen a girl for his son. Let us call her Maya. She was eleven then. The Engagement  Ceremony was fixed for the next day. And The Savior had to make it clear to his mother that the engagement and ceremony were not part of his destiny. He had to travel, to go further east, to learn, to study....

          Ah, how humble, how very human.... Later many people would be drawn to him because of the miracles he performed. But his real miracle was his "Humanity". So human and humble indeed that he called me Rabbi, Teacher - Man of God. I kept reminding him that I was just playing a role, a role given by Existence. And the role of teacher did not make me a teacher. He would laugh, "And, Sir - a role of savior makes me a Savior? We all are playing our roles." In learning from me, he was actually teaching me.

          So we traveled further east. He would insist on doing menial jobs like dishwashing, washing clothes. That was not a pleasing sight at all. I told him again and again that I could not see him doing all that. But he would remind me that "Work is never menial, Sir. I am traveling with the Caravan without payment. And I am given food and drink and even a place in the tent to sleep - allow me to pay part of it this way. Allow me not to owe anything to anyone."

          Such words would melt me, I would be in tears : "No, no, Savior, you do not owe anything to anyone. You have come to give, not to take."

          "It is good Sir, that you remind me of my destiny. Allow me then to give. So far it is just paying back."

          In the East, in India, The Savior took a special interest in the teachings of Krishna, The Avataar who preceded him by 3000 years. He became the first foreign student to receive the title Krishto in recognition of his mastery of Krishna's teachings and insights.

          From the Indian mainland, The Savior traveled to The Land of Eternal Snows Himaavat as it was called then and is now known as Tibet. There he had his initiation into the secret doctrines of Tantra. I saw myself accompanying him off and on during those 17 - 18 years.

          Many of the followers later wanted to project him as a "born" Savior and therefore rejected what they called "theories about lost years". A born Savior indeed he was. The Son of Man was born to save our world from destruction. I was shown all that could have happened had there been no divine intervention through the Being of the Savior. But that is another story, along story, stretching over 5000 years of human history beginning with the destruction of all knowledge and science due to the war on the battlefield of Kurukshetra in India. The Savior had come to change the course of human history. What I can never understand is the idea that his divinity would lessen if it were proved that he traveled to India to learn, to study. Not every middle-eastern learning in India turns to be a Savior anyway.

          Back to those days when I walked some distance with The Savior. He was almost 30 when we finally got back to his homeland. One of the students, his colleague and cousin, greeted him in the traditional Himalayan way by sprinkling some water upon his head. The cousin had never been to the Himalayas. He had picked up the tradition from one of the visiting priests from there. Ever since the birth of the Savior, our small commune was frequently visited by the Pious Ones, the Great Souls, the Mahaatmaas from the Himalayas.

          Our savior's earthly father did not survive to celebrate his son's homecoming. His mother and siblings rejoiced , even though they knew that he was no longer theirs alone; that he belonged to the whole world, the entire universe.

          Then one day, by chance, he met his childhood fiance. And he was pained to see her trading her body for some silver. Her parents had died leaving her with younger brother and sister to take care of. The "man" within him cried. He held himself responsible for theirs misfortune. Naturally therefore, the became the first recipients of his grace. They became his first followers. They were the first souls to be saved.

          The Savior did not mind coming down to their level to lift them up. He did not mind getting dirty for them. Criticism did not matter, "These are the very people I have come for. The sick, the poor and the down-trodden - the need me more than anybody else."

          I understood him, but deep inside could not appreciate what he did. It was very risky and dangerous. Moreover the criticism wasn't doing any good. The Savior's reputation was at stake. I for one could not have done what he did. I was no Savior, I thought. And I had no reason to stoop down to any level. It was then in my vanity and folly that I refused a woman's love.

          It took me two thousand years to have the big picture before me. Now it was a mirror clear. I refused her love not because I did not love her, but because I was afraid of my reputation. As if it was something holly. What an act of infidelity! I  regarded worldly reputation as holy - holier than Love, than God.

          I was worried, worried as to what could happen to the Savior. He was, I thought then, destined to save the world. Why was he, then so engrossed in saving one little soul - an ex-fiance ? Moreover, in saving that one soul, he could be rejected by the masses. But the Savior went on with his work, undisturbed by whatever people said about him.

          One of the Savior's own blood brothers, one of his siblings, thought the same way as I did. Indeed, most of us in his inner and innermost circle thought that way.

          In the meantime, those in power, heads of religious institutions and puppet rulers working under instructions from foreign masters had their own fears too. They were afraid of the Savior's popularity. They were afraid that he would one day unite the people to revolt against the establishment. Of course the Savior had no such intention, "Let the worldly take care of the world. I come to take care of your soul."

          The heads of religious institutions blamed the Savior for destroying all that they considered holy. Their creed, for instance, allowed them to avenge eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. A Savior, on the other hand, talked about love, about non-violence and non-injury. This was clearly against what they believe in. They believe in the holiness of timeworn creeds. The Savior believed in holiness itself. They considered doctrines and dogmas as divine and placed them above man. Our Savior placed Divinity above all else. But in the same breath, the Savior also added that man was also divine. The earth and the sky, the mountains and the valleys, the sun, moon and stars, trees and animals all were divine.

          In their fear, finally they decided to kill the Savior, Their creed allowed such killing in the name of religion. The rest of the story is known to all of us. Without any fair trial, he was put behind bars and finally hanged on the cross.

          Who was there beside the Savior on that day ? I saw only three faces - three ladies. One was his mother, the Blessed Woman who bore him. The other was the woman deeply in love with him, his ex-fiance. And the third was his fiance's sister - this was the woman whose love I had refused.

          I was looking behind the scenes. I was busy bribing the soldiers on guard. It was easy, for I had strong connections. That indeed was the reason why I stayed behind after greeting the holy infant years back. That was why I disguised myself as a merchant, a businessman, and played the role for three decades. That afternoon we could get the Savior's body, which was thought to be dead by the others. Actually he wasn't dead. He was in deep coma. In our commune we had physicians, we had experts in herbal medicines. We had people who knew what "coma" meant. We also had qualified surgeons. Indeed, we had many knowledgeable and certainly aware people in our group. It took Him three days to come out of the coma. He was very weak but insisted on seeing the rest of the group. Now, that was very dangerous - risky. If the news about His survival spread, He would definitely be caught again. So we arranged a meeting among the innermost circle members only. The three women attending on Him were members of this group.

          His mission in that land of the desert was completed. The message of love, peace and harmony that he came to convey, was conveyed already. He was to enter another phase of His life. A life of seclusion in the Himalayas, the mountains he loved and longed to go back to. He knew all that but kept insisting on seeing the other members. So we had to make drama, a real-life drama, or rather a drama within life's drama -- he was to "appear" before them. One of those three blessed women was entrusted with the role of spreading word that the Savior had been resurrected. Indeed the Savior had been resurrected, not just in spirit, but also in body. She did not lie by spreading that word. Again the rest of the story is known to all of us. Except for the fact that those three women, my self and a handful of other innermost circle members the accompanied him to the Himalayas, where He spent rest of his life on earth. Doing what ? Ah, that's another story , along story. Some other time, perhaps....


As Bodhidharma - Some other time.... that reminded me of my life in the silky land of China five hundred years later....

          Once again I was born in India and into a royal family. Now, that was no achievement - nothing to boast about. I thought it was a test, a test for my soul. I thought I had to choose between the worldly kingdom and the kinship with the world. And to me then, kinship  with the world meant a life of the wandering monk. I made my choice , and that was life of wandering monk free all worldly attachments. I did not realize then that a monk could still have attachment and a king could also be detached.

   "Exactly, you got it now. ,"My Angel said.

 Maha Maya, The World Mother
   "Good Lord and I have to spend so many lifetimes to come to this single realization." I was surprised for I had no regrets. It was kind of funny, just that.

   "Now, that is another realization." I could hear her laughing.

   "What is that?"

   "The fact that you have no regrets, that is another realization. Allow life to take its natural course. There is no need to alter it. Do not push, just move on," thus spoke Maya.

   "What is this all about then? What is life? What am I searching for?" The questions were there, but there was no anxiety for answers. And that was surprising.

          "Exactly that," as always she read my thought," getting rid of all anxieties - it is about that. For life is manifestation of what you call God. Living is therefore 'God'-ing, if such a word is found in your dictionary. Life proves God, though God had no need to prove itself. Your search, if you still want to use the word, is therefore for your 'self'. Rather to be aware of it. Call it Soul Quest."

          Soul Quest, yes it was about Soul Quest. But then even this realization was not new. Didn't I realize it when I left my father's palace to become a wandering monk?

          "Did you ?" she asked.

          "I think I did," I replied.

          "You did or you did not....'Thinking' you did is not enough." And she left me with a fresh bunch of doubts. it was as if she could not bear to see me at peace with my "self".

          I remembered receiving invitation from the Emperor of China. He wanted me to instruct both the laymen and monks in what he called "the inner teaching of Buddha". Was there any outer teaching then ? Was there any teaching in the first place ? I did not know what to make of the invitation. I kept it pending for several months, and the Emperor  sent me another invitation, a reminder. I took that as a sign that my river was changing its course from India to China. I packed my "self", I carried my "soul" and flowed on with the river of my "life".

          China was a great country, a country of silk and silkworms. There are warlords who never got tired of war. There were traders and merchants who had no time for anything else beside their trading and their merchandise . And there were monks who lived on charity from both the warlords and the traders, the merchants. They claimed to have a direct link with the King of Heaven, Thian as they called The Supreme Being in their language. They played the role of intermediary between man and God. Requests were made and answers received through them. They also said  prayers on behalf of anyone who could pay for such services.

          I was speechless... How could they do that in the name of Buddha? In the name of one who came to free humankind from those very superstitions?

          In China, Buddha-Awareness was reduced to a mere "religion", just another "ism". True, Siddhartha Gautama, The Awakened One, The Buddha was born in India. But Buddha-"ism" was born in China.

          During his lifetime, The Awakened One founded no religion. He did not talk of God. He gave no importance to rituals and dogmas and doctrines. He talked about awareness and about ways of becoming aware. Awareness was his definition of God. To him, living consciously meant living in God-Consciousness.

          The Emperor, on whose invitation I was in China, boasted about the number of monasteries in his kingdom. He also mentioned the number of monks and places of worship. It was numbers and numbers and numbers. He gave so much importance to numbers, to quantity. He looked me for approval. Approval of what? What could I say? I made it clear to him that all those outer forms of worship would lead him and his people nowhere.

          "Then, what is worship? What is religion? How to attain Buddhahood?" The Emperor had dozens of questions.

          "Worship of what, for what? What is Buddha's religion? Does he have one ? And what Buddhahood are you talking about, Emperor ? Is there anything like Buddhahood? Is it attainable ?"

          "But, Reverend Monk, you are here to preach the Dharma of Buddha... The Eternal Law of Peace and Harmony taught by The Awakened One." I  could feel that the Emperor doubted my sanity. "What Dharma, what law? What is there to preach anyway?"

          "Then what is 'there'?" The Emperor was a sweet person, I loved him. and Nothingness is not something to be attained. You don't  have to work for it. Anything you work for would cease to be nothing any longer."

          "What must I do then?"

          "Do nothing."

          He was beginning to see my point. Nothingness was not to be attained. It was to be realized. The number of temples and pagodas built by him or the number of monks and learned people in his kingdom could not possibly help him in realizing nothingness. Indeed, all those buildings should have been born of such realization.

          "If everything is reduced to nothing, then what is wrong in building the temples of worship?" asked the Emperor.

          "And what is wrong in not building them? That is not the point, Your Majesty. The point is whether those buildings are products of nothingness or not ?" I asked in return.

          "How do I know that, Revered Monk?"

          "By observing yourself; by paying attention to your mind, and by realizing  nothingness of such observation and attention. Emperor, you introduced China as a land of temples, pagodas and monks... can you also introduce it as a land of awareness? Are those temples and pagodas built by you witness to your awareness of nothingness? Think and go beyond thinking, realize, Emperor!"

          I could see a doubt rising in his mind. And it was no ordinary doubt; it was "the great doubt" that must arise prior to awareness. I left him with that, for such doubt could only do well. such doubt worked like a hammer upon the mind. And the Emperor's mind certainly got hammered. One day he came to me, to the place where I was staying, and he said "Master, my mind wavers. It would not say long with nothingness."

          "That is easy Emperor.... Give me your mind, and I shall hammer it. Let us break it. No mind, no wavering what remains is pure nothingness.

          That was enough. His mind was destroyed there and then. He realized that mind could not be produced. Mind was a myth. It had no substance. And that it was "awareness" of mind that made it substantial, gave color, quality, weight and form to it.

          I realized that many of terms used by Buddha had no Chinese equivalent. Anatta, Anaatmaa or no mind, no self, "no-state of nothingness" was often translated as mindfulness". And the monks in China were therefore busy sharpening their minds. Funny, for nothingness that Buddha spoke about transcended mind. It was not another state of mind. And therefore, I spent several years to master the Chinese language. I wanted to speak to the masses in their language. I could not rely on interpreters.

          It was very difficult even to translate the word "meditation". In Sanskrit it was "Dhyana", in Pali dialect it was "Jhana", but there was no equivalent of it in Chinese. So, I let Dhyana be written in Chinese characters and pronounced it "Chan". Any translation would only create misunderstanding., I thought.

          Before leaving for China, I had spent more time studying the religions and customs of the Chinese people. But that was not enough. I had to be with Chinese to know China. And China then was no different from China now. To an average Chinese, "matter" means more than anything else. Both in life and death, matter, money to be more specific, played a major role. The dead were cremated together with paper money, houses, vehicles, even slaves and concubines.

          Prayers were said for "something". Meditation was done to achieve "something". Motivation and motivators were important. Knowingly or unknowingly, an average Chinese lives the message of Kung Fu Tzu, or Confucius, as he is generally known in the West. The Sage had given much importance to success. His followers justified the means to achieve it.

          But China had also given birth to Lao Tzu, the Chinese Buddha and contemporary of Kung Fu Tzu. Alas, the Chinese did not recognize him. And Tao, or "The Way", as expounded by him got corrupted too. His own followers, who did not want to be left behind in the race of collecting masses, misinterpreted it. Tao was reduced to Taoism, just another "ism" among others.

          The Chinese, I thought, must first appreciate their own Buddha, Lao Tzu, before they could appreciate a Buddha from India. Their worship and prayers to the Indian Buddha were not in appreciation of his teachings, but to obtain material favors. Tired of worshipping the Chinese deities, they were moving towards the Indian Buddha, "for a change". Sanskrit texts were brought from India and translated into Chinese, but they were hardly studied. They were chanted.

          China was tough. I had to "come down" several steps to talk to the Chinese. I had to take up the role of a Guru, a teacher, an instructor. I had to use many tools, including "anger" to ensure that I was being understood. That's why the Chinese often referred to me as "The Angry Master". Actually that was because of my eyes. My Indian eyes were bigger than their Chinese ones. Even when I was not angry, my eyes looked fierce to them. So they spread all kinds of stories and rumors about me. One of them was that I had cut off my eyelashes to keep my eyes wide open all the time. I was, in their opinion, meditating all day and all night. They thought I never slept. Of course that was not true. I slept very little, yes. But I did sleep.

          And then, there was this "Tea-Story" connected with my eyelashes. I had, they said, thrown them on fertile soil and they grew to be first Tea-Plant. I laughed at such stories, but never commented on them. The people around me translated my laughter as affirmation. To them I was a man of miracles. And those miracles of their own making drew more and more people to me. In a way that was good, for such stories made them receptive to "something beyond". My miracles and I were not important, their receptivity was. And I made that clear to them.

          Actually I had offered the tea plant from India. The Chinese were very fond of wine. And an excessive quantity of wine was not doing them any good. It was not helping in their meditation. It did not make them more aware, rather made them dull. I had to change their "drinking habit", and I thought of tea as a great substitute for wine. Based on their traditions and customs and with the help of some Chinese friends in our inner circle, we even invented the now famous "Tea Ceremony". The ceremony later traveled to Japan and was introduced there as integral part of Zen - Meditation. Dhyan, Chan, Zen - Meditation.

          In China, I was not only expounding the teachings of Shakyamuni, Siddharta Gautama, The Indian Buddha, but also the teachings of Lao Tzu, their own Buddha. "Chan" - Teaching as developed in China, was therefore unique. Later I had to incorporate some Yogic Principles too. The Kriya or breath-cleansing part of yoga became very important; as it helped them in getting rid of memory-trash in their subconscious. In modern psychology this is known as catharsis. That's how "Kung Fu" was born. It was not something to be learnt separately, as it is done nowadays. It was a tool for meditation - a very powerful and effective tool for the warlords of those times. They had to get rid of their "desire to fight", and Kung Fu was a great help. The place where we had all these exercises was named "Shivalaya" -  The Place, The House of Shiva - for traditionally Shiva is considered the first teacher of Yogic Science. Written in Chinese characters it was pronounced as "Shao Lin".

          That was a long time ago, but I did not feel it that way back in 1986. I was losing my sense of time. What happened more than a thousand years ago seemed to have happened only yesterday

          I had not done anything to remember my past. I did not go for any session, nor did I do any exercise. All those memories simply "came" to me. At one time I even felt that they did not do me any good. Those "past" memories were so powerful that I got distracted from my "present". Knowing about the past was one thing, but I certainly did not want to live in the past.
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