Pradeep Apte

Pradeep Apte

The Beginning
What I am trying to recapture took place fifty years back, many aspects are quite vague and hazy but some of them are very distinct and clear. The first thing that I can recollect is that a complete blank prevailed; I did not know anything at all. I cannot describe that state except for saying that it was total oblivion, no sound, no light, no colors, nothing!
From conception to that stage it was almost three years and till then everything went along on its own, there was no question of any volition on my part. I was told that during this period I had some illnesses, mishaps and injuries, they must have been troublesome and painful as they are now, but at that time, I did know at all.
Then quite suddenly, quite spontaneously, without any effort on my part, one day I instantaneously came to know ‘I am’, I had a sense of ‘being’, I felt that ‘I am’. All that I knew that ‘I am’. When? Where? How? All this I did not know. Quite simultaneously along with this feeling there was space as well, it was indoors, probably a room. There was a side platform, some sort of settee, above which was a large rectangular space, a window from which light was coming in. Probably the time was somewhere around eight or nine in the morning. All this I can describe now, at that moment I did not know anything apart from seeing only light, space and objects. That was my first ‘knowing’ and soon I was back into ‘not-knowing’. These two states, that of knowing, or ‘I am’ and not-knowing or ‘I am not’ was all there was. There weren’t the waking, deep sleep or dreaming states which I acquired much later.
The descriptions that follow are now of this state only, which is ‘I am’ and ‘I am not’ and I do not know exactly how long this period lasted, probably a year or so. Please
remember, I can make these descriptions now with my sense of language well developed and of course, my memory which I feel is reasonably good.
To begin with I remember this girl and that small boy who was always dressed up like a girl. I played a lot with the girl, we ran and ran and laughed a lot. We were probably of the same age and we were living in a valley, there were lots of hills around. We ran along the streams and then there was this bridge over a stream, we used to go below the bridge and play. One day we were running around completely naked, splashing water in the stream which was rather shallow. All this never made any sense then but still it was a carefree life with great fun and there were no demands or desires whatsoever.
Once while running around the lanes on the small hillocks that were closer to us we encountered a not very old man strolling around in a pyjama-kurta and a jacket. He gazed at us intensely and then gave a broad smile, just patted our heads and went on.
Then there was this large banyan tree where lots and lots people used to come and make a lot of noise. When we went there these people would catch us, cuddle us, kiss us and there was a lot of laughter

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