The book “Somewhere Among the Stars: Recollections of a Mystic” by Adi Varuni chronicles a woman’s journey for love and truth.
As the story unfolds, it takes the reader on the journey of self-exploration, discovery and self development.
This is a woman’s inner quest for love and truth across lifetimes and dimensions of being, and an adventure of consciousness through rare terrains of Vedanta and Yoga. If there ever was a beautiful, simple story to introduce Vedanta and explain our existence, then this is the one.
Read an excerpt from the book below.
Anandi stood up and bowed to Krishna. Krishna nodded. “I’m Anandi, Sir, and I study logic and science. My question is: where does Vedanta come into all this smarana and dhyana?”
“How do you understand Vedanta?” Krishna asked.
“Veda is knowledge or knowing and ‘anta’ is completion or perfection. So, perfection or completion of knowledge, I would suppose?”
“Well, literally, yes,” Krishna said. “But Vedanta is not so much about knowledge as about the knower. The so-called completion of knowledge and the seeking for knowledge is when one comes to the knower, when the seeker realizes that she, herself, is the object of all seeking, that there is no other to be sought, there is no other knowing, no other truth.”
“The end of all quest?” Ahana stood up and asked.
“Yes, when one finds the self in the Self,” Krishna replied.
“Is that the realization of the Self?” Ahana asked again.
“And smarana is the most effective means?” Aruni asked.
“But smarana is not for everyone,” Krishna said. “The need for it arises only in those who know that they’ve forgotten something of immense value.”
“Yes,” agreed Gargi, “and till that happens, is there nothing one can do?”
“Yoga?” Aruni asked. “Swadhyaya? Dhyana?”
“Just sit quietly and try to remember who you are!” Krishna replied immediately.
“Sit down quietly?” Aruni repeated, quizzically, “Meditate, you mean?”
“No, just sit down quietly. Let it all come back. By and by, it will.” Krishna smiled.
Krishna walked away with the Pradhanacharya after the talk. The other students and acharyas started exchanging notes and chatting animatedly, as often happens after such talks. In a few minutes, everyone in the courtyard dispersed. Only Ahana remained seated on her cushion, neither able nor wanting to move, her whole being still absorbed in Krishna. The discussion on smarana was still going on in her head. She was already feeling a profound unrest within — as if she had forgotten something crucial and didn’t know what that was. But one thing she could feel in her guts: this had nothing to do with the spiritual self, it was all about Krishna. She was so lost in her thought that she couldn’t make out when Radha came up and stood by her side, observing her amusedly.
“Someone seems quite transfixed by the Vedantin!” Radha said teasingly.
Ahana started. “When did you come?”
“I’ve been here a while!” Radha chuckled.
“There is something extraordinary about him, isn’t there?” Ahana asked with a smile.
“That there is, Ahana. I have no doubt,” Radha replied with a meaningful smile.
“Believe me, it is as if I know him. Like I know him of old.”
“Hmm, maybe you do. One never knows. Remember what Acharya always says — that all our destinies are intertwined.”
“Destiny?” Ahana said pensively. “There are times I feel it so strongly. I think I felt something today when I saw Krishna.” Her eyes had a faraway look. “I recognized him but I couldn’t remember who he was — you know, like when you recognize a face but cannot remember anything else about it. And the sensation came and went so quickly that I couldn’t even focus!”
“And he was talking about smarana today,” Radha smiled.
“Coincidence?” Ahana looked at Radha for a few seconds, her eyes narrowed; something just struck her. “Acharya was telling us a story from the Mahabharata the other day, and he said that there are no coincidences or accidents, the universe is too perfectly designed for that! A thing happens here because it has already happened in some other plane.”
“Yes, I remember, though I didn’t understand much of it.” “I think I’m beginning to understand it now…”
“Why don’t you tell Krishna about this?” Radha suggested. “He’s a yogi and all that, he should be able to figure it out.”
“Tell him what? That I recognize him and that I feel we have met before? It’ll sound ridiculous,” Ahana said.
“And maybe even flirtatious!” Radha chuckled. “But I’d still take the chance.” Radha continued, in a more serious tone, “A yogi doesn’t go by mere words, he feels the intention behind the words. At least that is what I’ve heard!”
“I hope it is so,” Ahana remarked as both of them started walking towards the main ashram building where a special feast was being prepared for Krishna by the students of the ashram.
I was restless that evening. I could neither concentrate on my ashram work nor my studies. I needed to be alone to clear my head of Krishna. That smile and look of his was filling all my consciousness, stirring feelings in me that I had never felt before. I was surer than ever before that we had met — but where and when I did not know, or remember. Pradhanacharya often speaks of multiple lifetimes and reincarnations. And as he often says — we have all been here, together, through many lives; nothing is ever lost.
Ahana was wandering distractedly in the garden, lost in her contemplation of reincarnation, when she almost bumped into Krishna who had sauntered into the garden a while ago. She started and drew back, and gasped when she saw Krishna standing right before her.
“I’m so sorry,” Krishna apologized. “I didn’t know you’d be here too.”
“Krishnaji!” she exclaimed, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t expecting anyone else here!”
“Am I intruding?” Krishna asked with a clear concern.
“Not at all,” Ahana said hurriedly, “you’re most welcome!”
“I was exploring and the garden looked particularly interesting.” His voice was softer now, and his presence somewhat overpowering.
“Yes, this is my favorite place when I want to be alone.”
“Then I am intruding!” Krishna said with a smile.
“No, please. I’ll be delighted to spend some time with you!”She should have said privileged, not delighted — there are protocols to engage with a Vedantin. But Krishna just smiled. He seemed, as always, a bit amused.
“Then, perhaps, you can show me around?”
She smiled. “Of course.” She could feel her quickened heartbeats. “We’ll take this turn,” she said, waving to the right.
And so it came to pass that Ahana walked Krishna through the garden that she had nurtured so lovingly through the seasons and the years. And Krishna kept pace with her, walking quietly, at a leisurely step, as if he had all the time in the world.
After several minutes of walking in quietude, Krishna broke the silence between them.
“I can sense that you wish to talk,” he said quietly, looking sideways at her.
Ahana was taken aback: that was exactly what she was thinking of asking him. She had so many questions. “Oh, thank you, Krishnaji! It’s just that I don’t want to disturb you with my questions. You must be answering all kinds of questions all the time?”
“Actually,” he said, smiling, “I don’t have to answer questions all the time. And please don’t call me Krishnaji. Krishna is good enough. Even little children call me by my first name.”
“I will,” said Ahana. “I like the name, anyway,” she added with a shy smile. He chuckled. “You know,” continued Ahana, “I’ve always wanted to meet a real Vedantin!”
“A real Vedantin?” Krishna asked in an amused tone. “And what kind of a creature would that be?”
She laughed. “Well, a knower of Truth, someone who has realized Brahman?”
“Oh, then I’m afraid I’m not your real Vedantin,” Krishna said, laughing, “I am still a long way from realizing Brahman.”
“But you speak so beautifully, every word seems to come from a depth of understanding…”
“Yes, but what I understand and express may not always come from my own present experience.”
“It comes from the shastras?”
“Some of it does, but not all.”
“Where else does it come from?”
“Smriti,” Krishna said, simply.
“What you have known and experienced in other lives?” Ahana asked, keenly curious.
“Yes, nothing is ever lost!”
“Fascinating — we can draw knowledge from our past selves?”
“Well, not just past selves,” Krishna continued, “There is also the eternal self one can draw from: the self beyond all time and becoming.”
“Atman?” Ahana asked. “Is that the eternal self?”
“Yes; and this atman is what you are. The moment you realize that, all kinds of things become possible.”
Excerpted with permission from Somewhere Among the Stars: Recollections of a Mystic, Adi Varuni, Kali imprint of BluOne Ink. Read more about the book here and buy it here.