The Mystique of ‘M’
When M was twenty, when others of his age were—and are—after pelf and prosperity, he decided to go to the Himalayas, a place considered de rigueur in the itinerary of any seeker. (The slight tongue-in-cheek levity is intentional to underscore the fact that places alone, however spiritually salubrious they are, would not be sufficient, without that deep longing for attaining the Ultimate.) En route to Hardwar, he spent some time in the Theosophical
Society in Chennai, like one who hesitates on the brinks of a pond on a winter morning before plunging into it. By the time he reached Hardwar, his wallet was empty, but he was unfazed by the predicament. He decided to rough it out. He could have written home for money. He did not; it wasn’t pride that held him back from that act—he didn’t want them to know his whereabouts, the consequence of which would be being taken back home, willy nilly. Besides, by this time, he had developed a strange, unshakeable faith in the beneficent powers of the cosmos to provide him the bare essentials of life if he was destined to live. (As it turned out, his faith or confidence wan’t misplaced.)
The life of the mendicant began. By no stretch of imagination could that life be called one of ease. He went through trying times, save for short spells of comparative luxury in the form of a wooden cot in a choultry and a few adequate meals. But nothing could douse the fire of his determination—he would see his journey to its end.