Man’s longing to silence his mental chatter and create a space to live the ‘moment’ has seen him embarking on many journeys for centuries, if not millennia.
Millions have ventured on while hundreds of thousands have succeeded in their spiritual quest.
All these journeys and pilgrimages have been triggered by one human condition – man’s miserable failure to sustain happiness. He is either worrying about the past or the future, thus hardly living in the present.
Many have chronicled their journeys – successes and failures while others went on to write about those whom they thought have attained inner peace. Irrespective of one’s religion and culture, these books more often than not, provide interesting reading to anyone who is spiritually inclined. The lesser mortals find them either a little too scholarly or over the roof. On the other hand regular efforts by ‘not so enlightened’ to project themselves as enlightened and use media to promote themselves, had created a sense of apathy among cynics – that all these are fake.
When Patali Champika Ranawaka ventured on a ten-day intensive meditation programme on the 2600th Buddha Jayanthi, he had many odds stacked against him.
Here is a politician, a firebrand one at that with the badge ‘angry young man’ permanently fixed on his sleeve. A cabinet minister who is known to bulldoze his opponents, show them their place just as the way he would put his ministries in order. For those who had not known his past experiences at meditation centres, the very thought of the Power and Energy Minister peacefully meditating in lotus pose seemed an improbability.
The announcement exposed him to the worst critics outside and also within. Cynics would call him a publicity monger while family and close friends thought the minister was going through a typical man’s misfortune - midlife crisis. Anything was possible, others thought. The fact that the meditation programme came hot on the heels of a much publicized fast by a fellow minister, in front on the UN compound, did not help make matters any better. On the other hand a very few who knew his spiritual inclinations thought that the battle weary minister was venturing on a journey which would ultimately see him taking to robes. Obviously it was a cause for concern, if not a major worry.
His “Ehi Passiko” proves why all those were wrong. The publication, arguably the best designed book this year comes in the form of a self-deprecating, humble account of a layman – with absolutely no trappings or the frills of a Cabinet minister. Instead of the euphoria of exploring the truth, what the book showcases is the fears and flaws of an ordinary man who mourns the death of his grandmother and aunt, and worries about his own death. Interestingly in the same breath he also explains the metaphysics and the morphogenic relations of nature with much aplomb with a typical engineer’s eye.
Compartmentalized into four sections – the departure, logistics and initial training, self-reflection and finally, the philosophy, Ehi Passiko is undoubtedly an honest account of an Antevasika – the border dweller who is neither too attached to worldly luxuries nor too overwhelmed by the philosophy to leave everything and go – at least not yet.
Ehi Passiko, which was launched at Kanduboda Vipassana Meditation Centre where Minister Ranawaka
received his meditation training, is not available for sale. Copies are available for free distribution.
Contact Roshan Gunatilleke 0777225828
I will try to get a copy and read. However, on a more mundane and worldly level of thinking Minister Ranawaka should try to sort out problems of his ministry without further increasing electricity bill. If there are corrupt officials he should not protect them. Poor people are straining under ever increasing electricity bills.
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