Having recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love” followed by many articles and blogs on theme “Antevasin” gave me food for thought and a good reason for writing down my own vision and experience of it.
For those who has never heard anything about it here is the term: “One who lives at the border”. It’s a Sanskrit word which indicates a person who had left the center of the worldly life to go live at the edge of the forest where the spiritual masters dwelled. He was not one of the villagers anymore nor a householder with the conventional life. The antevasin was an in-betweener. He lived at the sight of both worlds.
In the modern age the image of unexplored forest would have to be figurative and the border would have to be figurative too. So, the meaning of antevasin, I interpret like a state of mind, a point of view where you live and think on that shimmering line between your old thinking and your new understanding. In the middle, always in the state of learning.
As a child I knew and understood that everything in the world is based on feelings and relations between one another. For that reason, I had difficulties during my school time. I loved studying, but it took nearly all my free time. I went straight home and thought: “Impossible to make good friends at the same time with studies”.
Being very vulnerable and emotional, I wanted so much to drop my studies and run to make friends (which I did from time to time). I frequently asked myself: «What did I want more, friends or books? » My perfectionism in everything prevailed often confused my understanding and point of view. Whatever the reason and matter of my thoughts, I chose and learned to stay in the middle and the most important to combine things.
I suppose many of us had the same circumstances and feelings, but the point of being antevasin and staying in-between becomes apparent in much more deep values and fundamental understanding.
As a child, much of what we are told, and opinions about this or that are pronounced either in an affirmative form, or, worse, are imposed on us.
For example: In my culture I have been raised to respect each single elderly person we met, believe and take all the words they said, no matter what they said, for the truth, on principle: aged = wise.
Today, when my pink-colored glasses are taken away, living in an informational century, I truly realize that all the information must be double checked on the reliable sources, let alone said by an elderly person. Especially, it is important when it comes to medicine.
I think everyone would agree that the way our grannies raised children 20 years ago is dramatically different the way we do it today, isn’t it? For that reason, using one and the same methods can not only be ineffective, but also harmful to your body..
Hence, I choose to stay in the middle. Neither I am against home remedy when it is about common cold, nor I value it when things go serious.
However, there are matters in life where you alter and don’t know whose side to be on. These are the matters of religion which have caused and provoked arguments between all nations of the world across the generations.
I was born to be Christian, but only now, when I am thirty odd years, I understood that my belief doesn’t have borders. It is bigger that it is written in one religious book.
Just imagine for a minute what if there were no borders and divisions in religion? There was imaginary one big God (whatever you name it) and one big religion for the whole mankind. Wouldn’t that be easy? Either you had a belief, or you had not.
The good thing is that there is no law forbidding belief matters. You are free.
The same idea has expressed Dalai Lama:’ You do not need to become a Tibetan Buddhist to be my pupil. You are welcomed to take whatever ideas you like out of Tibetan Buddhism and integrate those ideas into your own religious practices”.
With all the respect to Christianity, my belief is more than that. I have realised I have right to take whatever works from wherever I can find it and be happy. Isn’t that God’s big idea for each of us? Why to eat only one piece of the pie when I can try the rest of it and know what is best? After all, if you think, belief in God is something bigger than limited re- written doctrines have always taught us. Much stronger and bigger.
It is just my understanding and belief. Belief in something bigger than I am. My point of view of staying in the middle where I can always learn and grow.
What about you? Were there situations in life when you felt you have been in the middle, antevasin?