Blessed are those indeed, who are ignorant. And so I thought once, when,with all my so -called intelligence, I did consider how ignorance bestowed on me a sort of celestial bliss.
I had anticipated so much in terms of gain when I had the opportunity to visit, for the first time, the holy shrine of the Sabarimala Hills, the seat of Lord Ayyappa. I was full of expectations of experiencing an ecstatic feeling, particularly since a friend of mine, a regular visitor to the shrine for years, explained to me his own experiences of the trips when he had also experienced that kind of ecstasy,
It appeared to me while climbing the hill the distance to be covered was much less actually, the weight of the coconuts (Irumudi) on the head so light and everything was made smoother for me by the Lord. The eagerly awaited moment then arrived. My anxiety grew into excitement, more excitement, as we were approaching the shrine. And, lo, in a few moments, I was before the all powerful, almighty – I prayed with full heart. Seconds ticked by, the guards were trying to push me aside, I stood firm hoping for the best, I had a full glimpse of the ‘moorthi’ and was satisfied with the ‘darshan’.
But where was the ecstasy which my friend talked about? Was it only meant for him? Was I not as devoted as he was? Why was I being denied that kind of pleasure? Was there any mistake on my part? These thoughts came to my mind surging, like the crowd on the hilly path.
I began to console myself. Well, I did have the ‘darshan’. Was it not something great in itself? Should I not feel content? Why should I expect more from God, as if I am greedy? Should pure devotion be in expectation of something? It should not be. I felt content. After all, I could say to others that I have also been to Sabarimala. I almost forgot about the ecstasy so highly talked about by my friend.
Then, our group started driving down the hills after some time. On our return journey, when it was beginning to get dark, our vehicle broke down. It was twilight. People from our group spent time chatting and walking here and there. I was feeling very tired, and soon went into a sort of slumber – but with my sense in full working condition.
And, lo, the much awaited ‘ecstasy’ enveloped me completely. Here was someone so close, so friendly, so caring and so concerned about me ,who was producing that magical effect on me. I could feel someone’s presence close by, not visible, defying all explanations. It was as if He had come to tell me personally, that I have taken all care of you. What do I call this ? Ecstasy, bliss celestial, heavenly joy? I was lost for words. My friend was right – you can only experience, you cannot explain or describe. And yet I was totally ignorant about the whereabouts of that magical ‘figure’ whose presence I was experiencing. No one could give me that kind of thrill, nay, no mortal being could ever produce that magical effect on me – why, even the world’s number-one magician cannot produce that kind of effect on anyone. The fleeting moments of ecstasy were soon to vanish,of course, as if His assignment was over, (that of affording me the darshan and taking me safely down hills); the ‘figure’ was slowly vanishing and this parting was so painful. Tears swelled in my eyes – tears of joy, of bliss – what should I say. I was yet ignorant of what really happened in those fleeting moments. The fact that I was ignorant dud not matter at all. I may call this ‘blissful ignorance’! God has his own ways, his own designs and his own timing, and we can only remember in this context the lines of Goldsmith: ‘ like reptiles in a corner of a stupendous palace, we peep in, look about us, wonder at all we see, but are ignorant of the great architect’s design’.