The Ride We Seldom Take

The human life is full of journeys. The entire life itself is a big journey that has many small and long journeys interspersed within it. We have many destinations, one leads to the other. Some destinations become the starting
points to newer destinations. We take many journeys, we miss some, and forget to take some others. Not all journeys are physical, most are mental journeys. Not all journeys involve travel or space or time. Some journeys are apparently tedious, others apparently easier. Thus, if there is something that the human being cannot escape in life, it is journeying. We shift from centre to centre, from periphery to periphery; we revolve around the axis of life, on the base of the substratum that is the Divine.

The grossest form of a human journey is that of travelling from one place to another. This journey is done by human beings on foot, by animal-driven transport, bicycle, motored transport, train, boat, ship, or an aeroplane. Science fiction shows us the possibility of teleportation, travel between two locations without actually travelling the distance. One would just disappear
in one location and then reappear at the destination. While teleportation could become a reality some decades from now, as of now, that is not a possible option for travelling.

Technology has eased the human life as much as it has complicated it. Travel is no exception. Now, we have been excused from waiting in line for public transport or from crying hoarse on the road to hail a taxi only to be given a cold shoulder by these ubiquitous public carriers. One does not need to look for such cabs any more, not at least in the major cities of the world. We are now gifted with numerous mobile application or app-driven taxi services like Uber, Lyft, Ola, Gett, and Easy Taxi.

These apps are quite easy to operate. One has to open the app and automatically the app finds one’s location. From there, one can input the place one wants to go to. Then the app shows the various options of rides available, like carpooling or car sharing, small cars, bigger cars, luxury vehicles, and so on. One has to select the vehicle of one’s preference and then one is shown the exact locations of different vehicles that are moving near one’s location. So, one can see the many cars that are moving around one’s place and the exact locations of these cars. You can see the direction towards which a particular car is moving. Then, the request for a vehicle is communicated by a central server to the nearby vehicles, and when a driver selects that ride, one is informed about the driver’s name, the licence plate of the vehicle, the driver’s rating, and the expected arrival of the vehicle to one’s location.

This ride tops all rides because it takes one to a blissful state.

At this stage, one can call the driver and confirm the route to one’s location, or ask for some other details. Usually, the driver calls the user or the prospective passenger. One can see the vehicle moving and coming towards one’s location. If one sees that the vehicle is going in a wrong direction, one can call the driver and give directions so that the driver comes to one’s
location. Then, one gets in the vehicle, confirms that one is the passenger by telling one’s name or by sharing a code, and then leaves for the destination.

While on board the car, one might add some stops on the way to the destination. One can stop at these interim stops, do whatever one has to do there, and resume one’s journey to the final destination. One might also order food or other stuff to be delivered to the car and eat or have the other stuff while travelling to the destination.

These cab apps mirror the journeys of our lives. However, here we will see how they resemble the human journey of unravelling one’s true nature, the spiritual journey. The taxi apps resemble the numerous religious and scriptural texts that are available in various faith traditions that help one to identify one’s location in the spiritual journey, the exact level of spiritual
understanding that one is already in. They also give us numerous alternatives to choose from as our destinations. Different spiritual aspirants might want different spiritual accomplishments and while some might opt for the highest spiritual enlightenment, the kind of enlightenment perceived as the highest might vary.

Once a spiritual aspirant has decided after contemplation and analysis, one’s location or level of spiritual understanding, and has selected the type of spiritual accomplishment one wants, then there remains the choice of the path to be made. One could opt for an easier path that requires comparatively less effort or one could opt for a more difficult path, or select a path that can be tread only by the rarest of rare. Once the spiritual aspirant has done contemplation and has decided the destination and the path to be taken in one’s spiritual life, God, much like the central server of the taxi app, directs different spiritual teachers and when one of those teachers opts to teach the spiritual aspirant, the teacher is connected to the spiritual aspirant.

Upon meeting with the guru, the spiritual aspirant has to identify oneself as being eligible for the path by fulfilling the prerequisites or eligibility criteria for the spiritual practices. Once the spiritual aspirant starts one’s journey of spiritual practices, one might opt for studies or service or fall for some indulgences of the body and the senses. They come as detours from the path to destination. Sometimes the spiritual aspirant might need some additional knowledge regarding the spiritual discipline much like an order for food placed on the taxi app. That knowledge, it could even be some occult power, is delivered to the spiritual aspirant, who is on one’s journey to the desired spiritual accomplishment. This ride finally ends with the spiritual aspirant being guided by the guru to the destination.

This is the journey of all human journeys. It lends meaning to all the other meaningless and inconsequential journeys that we undertake. This is the ride we seldom take. Life gets its purpose from this journey. When a person takes this ride, then that person is on one’s way towards freedom from suffering and bondage. This ride tops all rides because it takes one to a blissful state. All the scriptures of the religious world talk about this journey from the mundane to profound, from the apparent to the real, from the bound to the free, from the conditioned to the unconditioned, from the divisible to the indivisible, from the inert to the conscious, from the individual to the immanent, from the mortal to the immortal, from the sorrowful to the blissful, and from the unknown to the known. This is the only journey worth taking. Will you take it?

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