nishkam prem (Selfless Love)


Ahalya, in the form of a rock, was engrossed in the meditation of Shree Ram. Infinite summer suns had scorched in extreme red scars on the eternal canvas of time. Many arid winter moons came by and left deep, black marks. Drought after drought came and went, leaving behind shades of brown. There was not a single shade of hope. It had been an eternity since colors left Ahalya, but strangely, the anticipation of being immersed in pink color grew in her every day. She did not understand why. The creatures around her only saw a rock lying in a thicket of self-grown thorny shrubs, but underneath those thorns and inside the hard rock, lay the soft soul of Ahalya.

Creatures around her, although full of life, could not sense what she could, that day. They went about their activities as they did every day, immersed in the mundaneness of their daily routine. Blessings often come in disguise. What had befallen on her was a curse; however, she did not think of it that way, especially not that day. It truly felt like a blessing to remain still and absorb what was coming her way, in its entirety!

As she lay in anticipation, the stillness of the air around her was softly disturbed by a cloud of pink that approached her. Her entire being seemed to soak slowly in its warmth, the warmth that she had longed for, during those long winters! She was bewildered at how it cooled her so gently, at the same time. The memories of the harsh summers and arid winters seemed to flee. Ages of reclusiveness left her, and fiery longing for its touch jolted her. “How could this be? Even before experiencing the touch, how could I feel such bliss permeate my hard shell? Are these really the divine feet I had been waiting for?” she thought. As the feet moved closer, fervent concern arose in her. “Thorns!” her soul gasped. Although, all she aspired for that instant was to have her human body back, to experience the soothing touch, she could not bear the thought of His feet landing on the thorns.

As Narad Devarshi enunciated in his Bhakti Darshan, “Tat sukha sukhitvam – True love is for the happiness of the Supreme Lord,” Ahalya would rather remain a rock for a million more years than let the thorns touch her Lord’s feet. She wanted to scream aloud, “Please don’t come any closer, my Lord.” She knew she had to do something and it had to be done quickly. Her eagerness to protect His feet grew more rapidly than her desire for His touch.

Meanwhile, the dust from His feet fell on her, and her hard shell had no option, but to tear open. Out of the rock, emerged Ahalya! Thorny shrubs around her turned into soft pink flowers, and right in front of her were the divine feet of Shree Ram. The pinkness of all the flowers put together could not match the pinkness of the Lord’s feet!