As a philosopher, I seek truth; almost like an obsession.
What intrigues me is a realization that the force that stops me from reaching the ultimate truth is myself. At one moment, I feel I am almost there, I feel proud having reached but then is a realization that truth is much beyond.
This reminds me of a story that I heard, during my childhood days, about Adi Shankara; it goes like this:
Adi Shankara was on the way to Kasi Viswanatha temple. Chandala, a person of a “lowest caste“, was coming on the way and that person was asked to move to make way for Adi Shankara. Then, chandala asks Adi Shankara, in return, who should move; the Self within me or my body? Further on, Adi Shankara is said to have prostrated himself before Chandala, composing five shlokas known as Manisha Panchakam
This story is often explained on mythological lines and, therefore, what is highlighted is that, this Chandala was none other than Lord Shiva of Kashi Viswanatha temple. What I find interesting in this story is the message that how much does our pride, and other petty emotions, come in the way of realizing truth which is so near, if only we could break beyond confines that we have created for ourselves.
It is not a message for devotees alone. It is not message for a Sanyasi in far away lost in the heights of Himalayas but something for everyone of us to reflect upon. What we long for is so near, if only we care enough to look around, with an open mind