The scenes of the gulags in Kolyma and Kandongu continued to haunt Satya’s husband as he sat for his second day’s meditation beside the Sadhu and the Swami.
Both the Sadhu and the Swami were fully aware of Satya’s husband torment as they were part of yesterday’s triangulated meditation and thus privy to all of which Satya’s husband witnessed within his mind’s eye.
They were acutely aware of his meditative travels to the horrors of Kolyma and Kandongu as they were of his encounters with the Satyagraha movements of Mandela and Walensa. They were aware of the trials and the tribulations, the tragedy and the torment, that Satya’s husband soul struggled with.
It was the Swami that spoke first to Satya’s husband:
“You have witnessed the worst and the best of humanity. You have witnessed the horror and the hell of the gulags and you have witnessed the fruits of the Satyagraha movements of men of vision and hope who have been inspired by our beloved Gandhji’s example of sacrifice and selflessness. It all is swimming around within your soul now, like a monsoon, which both nourishes and devastates, comforts and destroys the vastness of the villages of Mother India. All is upon you all at once, your heart is crying out for answers. Allow your heart to cry out and embrace the torment and now think how this torrent of energy can be harnessed constructively. There is an answer for everyone and for you there is an answer that will be the right answer for your particular journey through Eternity.”
In his present condition, Satya’s husband found it difficult to grasp the potential of finding an answer. His soul was struggling.
Then the Sadhu spoke to Satya’s husband:
“We do not have an answer for you, because our answer will be our answer and not yours. We are not your gurus. We are your friends, and your co-travelers upon this journey. Upon this journey of Life we too must find our own answers and we too have souls that often struggle. The work of your salvation, must be accomplished by you, and the soothing solution to your torment must be discovered only by you, through your meditation, and the inspiration that it will bring you. No person can discover these solutions for you. Only you can discover them. The answer to all your torment lies within you and therein also lies the hope of the ages, for your hope and the hope of your fellow human beings is inextricably intertwined.”
Satya’s husband thought deeply on all that was being discussed.
The Swami waited and watched as Satya’s husband contemplated all that had been said and then the Swami spoke once more:
“Before we begin our meditation this morning, I wish to give you a question that you can ponder. It is a question from Gandhiji’s Russian friend and correspondent, Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy also underwent much torment and despair and he asked: What then must we do? Let this be your meditation question for this morning. Ask yourself: What then must we do? The answer will be unique for each of us.”
With this, the three elders embarked upon their morning meditation.
Satya’s husband began to feel a calm come over him as he sank deep into a relaxed meditation. He knew that this was much to do with the warm and supportive friendship he shared within this triangulated meditation with the Sadhu and the Swami.
He recalled that when, in his previous day’s meditation, he had arrived with the other passengers on the train to various destinations, it had upset him that he could not read the street signs or the signs of the towns and villages at the station. He could not read the letter from Tolstoy to Gandhiji and he could not read the letter from Gandhiji to Tolstoy. He could not read any of it.
He could not even read the books used by his great granddughters’s school.
He could not read.
He could not write.
He was an uneducated and an illiterate man.
None of this had concerned him for his long life but it concerned him now, as he approached the very end of his life.
If this was indeed the very end of his life and he was arriving at a wall.
It was the idea of the wall once more.
Was the wall porous and permeable or was the wall impenetrable?
Was there life after the wall called death, or was there only a wall?
The Swami interrupted Satya’s husband’s meditation:
“You know that throughout history, walls come down. The young Polish man whom we all met on the meditation train journey yesterday, Lech Walensa, was one of many in line who, through their thoughts and actions of truth, of Satyagraha, brought down the Berlin Wall. Walls can come tumbling down and become powerless. Consider this, as you proceed in your meditation.”
Satya’s husband did indeed consider this.
He considered what it might be like if there was no wall when he passed on and if there was only Eternity and if his present life did not cease at a wall but continued onward to new experiences. If that were indeed true, then what precise possibility would he care to experience?
He thought deeply about this and the answer became clear:
He would like to learn to read and write in his next life.
He would like to be a man who was literate and not a man who was illiterate.
He would like to go to school.
He reflected upon this further and he explored the idea of literacy in a deeper way. He realized that there was so much to understand in the world and that understanding and knowledge was a form of empowerment. He realized that one of the reasons he felt so helpless and disempowered at the sight of the horrors committed in places like Kolyma and Kandongu is because he was an uneducated man and would not know what to do or whom to ask for help to improve such conditions.
He began to reflect upon the need, as well as the power of education.
As soon as he pondered this idea it took hold of him and filled him with hope and inspiration.
He felt emboldened and he broke the meditation and opened his eyes and he saw that the kind eyes of the Swami and the Sadhu were already open and waiting in anticipation to hear him speak.
Satya’s husband finally spoke. He spoke one word but that one word held entire worlds within it and he spoke it with a sense of reverence:
The Swami and the Sadhu both nodded in acknowledgement.
They knew that Satya’s husband had discovered his answer and his calling and that in the next life his soul would strive along the path of Education. They knew that he would strive to become a literate man and an educated man and that he would see education as a solution to many of the horrors he had witnessed in the previous day’s meditation. After the length of their morning meditation, they broke for the regular feast prepared by the daughters of Satya’s husband, which included the delicious honeyed parathas, as well as fresh figs and cashew nuts and almonds and fresh mango juice.
They discussed many things pertaining to the power of Education and Satya’s husband said that it had occurred to him that if the brutal and oppressive men who were in charge of the gulags in Kolyma and Kandongu had been educated in an enlightened way, educated about humanity, and encouraged to explore their creativity and their inspirations, then it would be doubtful if they could then express such barbaric and ruthless cruelty. The Swami offered an observation about the previous day’s meditation:
“It was not a random coincidence that you were defending a thesis on meditation and The Upanishads to the Chairman and his panelists at MIT. You may be a student there in the next plane of existence.”
Satya’s husband found this hard to believe, considering that in his current life he was not only uneducated, he was completely illiterate.
The Sadhu, sensing Satya’s husband’s skeptical demeanor added:
“The Universe has endless and mysterious wonders which are often hard for us to fathom or to accept since nothing is impossible to the Universe.”
In the afternoon’s meditation, both the Sadhu and the Swami suggested to Satya’s husband that he focus his mental energies upon embracing and accepting his calling to be an Educator and to not fight or resist this notion, which had gracefully come to his mind through inspiration. They were encouraging in their conviction that an illiterate man can become an educated man and that Satya’s husband should not limit the possibilities of his destiny based upon any human limitations. Rather, the Sadhu and the Swami suggested, Satya’s husband should place his gaze toward the infinite possibilities of the Universe.
Satya’s husband settled quietly into the Sadhu and the Swami suggestion that he place his gaze toward the vast possibilities of the Universe. That evening, when he returned home to his children, and grandchildren and great grandchildren, he felt at peace. As he dined with them, he again felt his heart fill with gratitude and he slept that night with a heart content and full of love.