So there was this hermit on a hilltop. He had been sitting still for so long that anthills grew around him, on him and in him. Trees had dropped their branches and with every wisp of air, the leaves tickled his nostrils. Vines crept mirthfully around him, entangling his thumb with his forefinger. The rain fell as on a pillar, the sun beat down its uv’s, the winds blasted his hair off their sockets and the cold froze his shoulders. Seasons passed, ants crawled, bees buzzed, spiders spun, and he sat on, seemingly oblivious. No water entered those lips, no food touched that belly.
He has attained Nirvana, everyone said, staring at him in awe. They filed past him in reverence that he never saw. They brought him food that he never ate. They adorned his seat with flowers that he never smelled. They chanted his praise that he never heard. They sought his blessings that he never gave. Years passed. He sat still.
He has attained Nirvana, everyone said. He is beyond hunger, thirst and greed, they said. No sorrow, no joy, no emotion could move him, they claimed. His is in the ultimate state, they said. That for which one needs to do penance for years, endure hunger and thirst for eons before they fade away. Forget family, forget love, shun hate and ignore greed until one feels that inner peace.
It takes a great deal of introspection, everyone said. Scouring hundreds of religions, thousands of gods, dealing with the mirth of agnostics and philosophical thoughts. It takes grit, they said. And a burning desire to find the truth.
He has attained Nirvana, everyone said, it takes devotion and deep thinking. He is one that has gone beyond the need for food, for water, for love, for plain laughter. He has attained the sate of nirvana, they said, he is now so still, so unmoved, so without desires and needs, much like the pebble at his foot, everyone said.
The pebble at his foot.
The pebble at his foot had been lying there for years, no one said. They did not file past it in reverence. They never brought it food. They never adorned it with flowers. They never chanted it’s praise. They never sought it’s blessings. Years passed. Vines grew on it, ants danced on it. Spiders crawled, spiders spun. The pebble lay still.
It is beyond hunger, thirst and greed, no one said. No sorrow, no joy, no emotion could move it, no one claimed. It is in the ultimate state, no one said. It has no wants, no hunger, no thirst, no desire, no one said. The pebble did penance for years to reach this state, no one said. It is in the ultimate state, that for which one needs to be a seeker for years, endure hunger and thirst for eons before they fade away, no one said.
It took evolution millions of years, everyone had said, to make the first lifeform out of rocks and pebbles, reptiles out of amphibians, humans out of monkeys, and even more to refine a hermit out of a human. So had everyone said.
And then the hermit became a pebble, while the pebble stayed a pebble. Evolution made a human out of a pebble while nirvana made a pebble out of a hermit.
The pebble too is in a state of Nirvana, no one said.