Happy New Year. One more year to get out of the cycle of life and death – to attain nibbana. In my college days, following the spiritual path had an attraction for me. I had even considered monasteries which I could join to follow this attraction.

I considered the Buddhist monastery in Bhutan. I dropped the idea because it would be too cold. Then I considered one of the Divine Life Society in the foothills of the Himalayas at Rishikesh. I dropped that idea too thinking there would be too many wild animals and I had no intention of going close to even a domestic animal let alone wild ones. I considered the Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore but dropped that too fearing the constant pestering of relatives, begging for me to return to the materialistic world and because I did not want to see my parents in tears whilst I meditated and sought the answers to the various complexities of life. I finally settled for the Chinmaya Mission’s Sandeepany Sadhanalay in Powai, Mumbai.

I went there on a very hot day, bunking college. I met a man in orange robes at the gates of the Mission. Looking at me, he asked what I wanted. I said I wanted to become a monk. He looked me up and down and asked me to return on Dusshera day to be initiated as a monk.

I had a clear three months before the day. I prepared for engineering exams that would begin in the next week or two and finishing last minute submissions. As I was filing a journal for submission, it struck me that I would enjoy the worldly life more than one of the renunciate. I could ponder the questions of life even whilst I had my materialistic joy in between, when these questions would bore me. At that moment, I laughed and have never since considered becoming a monk myself. I do not think it is for me. It would bore me. I’d probably be done in a couple of years and I would still be left with a life to live. And that would annoy me.

Mumbai. January 1, 2016

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