The Story of Vidur – the Wise and Skilled

Have you ever walked for 5000 kilometers? I always wondered how the Gurus could walk so far. What was the motivation to walk one third the length of the land. I wonder if we take pilgrimages into the right perspective. But there is something shockingly beautiful about all of these MonstRs showing up and dipping themselves into the river. In the dark night – with the torches – it is like a parade and a festival. It seems almost magic. 5000 kilometers at least some of these people have traveled to come to this river.

The reason this is so interesting to me is that I never understood why, as a young MonstR, I would want to do such a thing – until it became a necessity. And then – hundreds of kilometers at least did not seem like such a bad idea. This is the story of Vidur and the reason that I am referred to so. I was named something different once – I remember reading the stories of Sinbad the Sailing MonstR and wishing that my name was Sinbad and that I had such adventures; but now – I am happy to be called Vidur and I’m more than willing to forgo some adventures after experiencing some of my own – they are not always romantic or heroic. Sometimes they are dangerous and challenging and life threatening. We don’t live in the fantasy world that I dreamed of when I was young.

So, let me tell you a story…

When I was young and excitable and adventure craving and many more adjectives that describe foolish or heroic depending on the end result – I was with my friends Abhayananda, Jagad, and Sachi. We were playing at hide-and-seek as you would call it. We were young, it was the monsoon season and we were careless as we thought ourselves immortal. We played in the jungle because it was more challenging than in the village. Where really can you hide in the village when there is so little to hide behind. Also – it did not hurt that the 4 of us had been sent to bring back water from the well and you could make that take long if you came up with enough excuses. It is like a game with our parent MonstRs to see how much we can get away with and for them to see how much they could control us. My friends and I were constantly trying to find ways to tax our parents.

So, into the jungle we went – our parents were busy anyway – and really – with so many children in our village – it wasn’t that easy to keep track of us anyway. I digress though – Jagad was the one who was trying to find us. The other three, we had run off quickly and the rains made our feet and bodies silent no matter how we crashed about among the leaves on the ground and the foliage around us. We could hear Jagad counting down to begin his hunt for each one of us at least for the first 10 or 15 steps. Quickly though – the sound of water falling everywhere overwhelmed all sound of his voice. I saw Sachi move off to my left. Abhayananda race off ahead. I found myself next to what seemed like a giant mangrove tree and began to try to scamper up it’s twisted trunk. It was a little hard with water everywhere like this but I was known to climb like a monkey so I could manage.

Let me tell you though – there are drawbacks to playing hide-and-seek in the jungle…

As I waited for Jagad to try to find us – I had plenty of time up in this tree. I was just high enough to see all of the rain washing around my tree on the ground. It was not a river, but it was pretty clear that there was a strong current running across the jungle floor. My mind idled on what this meant for our village “downstream” from our jungle play.

Time passed…the brightness in the sky had dimmed notably since I had taken up my perch. I couldn’t hear Jagad and truth be told, I had completely lost any ability to see where I thought Abhayananda and Sachi had gone. The water below me had become stronger and I became aware that things might not go as we expected today. In fact, I was seriously beginning to wonder where the other “we” were in the first place. Looking up, I tried to see just how far up into the limbs I could climb. My tree was not too big though. Looking around my position, I began to spot other large trees that were not too difficult to get to. I could see a path and the water was not a torrent or anything too difficult.

Hopping down from branch to branch I found myself on the ground. The water was to my ankles and moving firmly against my feet. I ran as quickly as I could while still careful to not step into a hole or twist my ankle on a root. I could vaguely see an animal path that helped me to find my way to one of the higher trees. Climbing quickly to the highest point, I again surveyed what was around me… It was then that my heart nearly leapt out of my chest. I realized then that I was near to being stranded. I could not clearly see my village in the distance, but I could tell from the rushing waters that were surrounding me on all sides that my village was in trouble. I still could not find my friends though. They were no where to be seen.

Practically falling down the tree as I raced to the ground so that I could run quickly to the village – I found myself in noticeably stronger water on the ground. I was struggling to run and stay upright as I raced back to the village. But…

When I got to the place of my village what I saw before me was terrifying…

A great torrent was running through the place where we had lived. White water came roaring through the center of the village and there wasn’t any sign of anyone including my friends. This began for me a journey of many kilometers – a different kind of pilgrimage. I was at a loss as to how this could have happened. There were signs that the water had come inland as well which made even less sense. I saw a boat thrown on to the banks up from the raging waters now before me. I saw broken wood tossed about from what could only have been one of our small houses. It made absolutely no sense. But – there was no one to explain what had happened to me. It was only much later that I knew the answers to these mysteries.

So, I tried to find what little I could that might be useful to me. A small basket tossed into the bushes. A slender woven rope. A pair of sandals made for a MonstR somewhat bigger than I. Perhaps Jagad’s? How was I to know. I took some linens that had been hanging oddly up one of the smaller trees. I couldn’t imagine why they were there.

With all else that I could find dangling somehow or other from my newly knotted rope belt around my waist, I set off. Back into the jungle toward the tree that I had looked down upon my village from before finding this great torrent running through it. This time, I looked as far as I could in every direction – try to understand all of my opportunities and what threat might lay before me. And it was in this way that my journey to MonstRpreneurship began. The journey I took from that place was not just once of distance, but also one of time and one of perspective.

Many times the days to follow and in the kilometers ahead, I would climb again some tall tree, examine my options and seek direction. The jungle was deep and dense, but always it became clear that I had options to choose from. I tried several of the villages that I knew of near by, but each one was like my own – erased almost from existence. I may have omitted that the ocean lay near and that later I would learn that the ocean was in large part responsible for the path of destruction laid out for nearly 10 kilometers inland. After seeing nothing and no one for some time trekking from village to village up the coast – I made a turn inland. I had much distance to travel to come to where any of my extended relations lived. It would be hundreds of kilometers and many days before I found my way to someone who was closely enough related to me to be willing to help me.

You would understand would you not? I looked like a beggar after my experiences and I lived on a subcontinent with nearly 1 billion other MonstRs. How could anyone be bothered to help one more beggar really. And after a while, it would become a part of my strategy in surviving the human jungle after already having survived the natural jungle – to give each and every person a reason to see me as more than just one more beggar. I learned a great deal about how to lead the thoughts of others and to build support for my cause through my words and my actions during this journey out of devastation in the jungles of my home.

Still though, even after finding my way to my relations, my daily survival relied upon being more valuable because of my strategies, my words and my actions. I found myself many times throughout my daily existence again and again climbing up the trees – to look out from above the jungle whether physical or mental. I learned many things about myself from these challenging times and many things about how to lead to get to the result that I desired. It would all serve me well later in my life as a MonstRpreneur. And it was this ability to survive that earned me the name Vidur – which means skillful or wise.

I like for this reason very much the jungle. Out of the jungle I found my path. Harsh and cruel as those moments were – continually climbing up to those high points I could see that there was still a future. There was still a next place to go another valley to cross or another rise to ascend. MonstRpreneurship is exactly like this – there is a path – there is a future – and though there is much to learn – there is something to aspire to.

Thank you for listening to my story – I hope that it will be valuable to you as it has been valuable to me so many times. Welcome to the world of MonstRs!