Today I was listening to a recording of my teacher, Paul Muller-Ortega. He was telling a story about his time at Gurumayi Chidvilasananda`s Siddha Peeth ashram. At the ashram the children would sometimes put on plays based on stories from the Puranas, a vast encyclopedic series of texts from India that cover a wide range of topics, with a strong leaning toward myths and legends of the gods and goddesses.
At one such performance, when the child playing Krishna presented himself, Gurumayi said to him, “Well, if you`re the avatar you have to have a message. Every avatar has a message. What`s your message?” The child was caught off guard and did not know what to say, but Paul points out that Gurumayi`s question was for everyone present: What is the message you wish to bring?
This has been sticking with me all day.
It is interesting to me that she did not use the word “teach.”
I often talk in terms of what I wish to teach to others, how I would like to guide someone. In other words taking on a role of actively leading someone in some way. Like reaching a hand out for another to take hold of so I may assist their ascent. A very active stance, and one I feel is appropriate when seeking to disseminate intellectual and experiential knowledge in a systematic way that another person could follow to reach a certain result or end goal.
But when I think of conveying a message, I feel a more open-ended no-activity. It feels like an offering that is given without any intention beyond that of conveying the message and the intent held within the message itself.
The word “message” comes from the Old French, mittere, meaning “send.”
So immediately “Message In a Bottle” from the Police comes to mind. A message carried to another being hundreds or even thousands of miles away. A message sent with no known destination. Yet it still carries intention.
The message is given with conscious intention attached to it. In that act of giving there is not the physical taking of the hand to help another up. Rather, there is the letting go of the hand. The message is handed off, with the subsequent action being hands off.
“It is in action alone that you have a claim, never at any time to the fruits of such action.”
~ Krishna, from the Bhagavad Gita, 2.47
What is my message?
What would I like to hand off to another without expectation or longing for some kind of predetermined outcome to take place or destination to be reached? Yet still convey an intention that may support whatever is set in motion by the receiver of the message.
What do I wish to convey?
Not teach, but convey.
To communicate in a way that impels someone to act without clinging to the action yet still remembering the intention.