In Panjab, if a person loses focus and is distracted from the original thought, he is said to be speaking like Ilwalla. My Teacher told me the story behind this word.

Ilwalla (Sanskrit for a restless mind) and Vaatapi (Sanskrit for that which can waste your life, or death) were two demons. Ilwalla could bring the dead to life, and Vaatapi could change form at will. They would entice travellers to their house, promising a delicious meal. Vaatapi would change form to become a goat, and Ilwalla would cut the goat, prepare the meat dish, and feed the unsuspecting guests.

Then Ilwalla would call Vaatapi back from the dead, who would resume original form, tearing the very bellies of the poor travellers, as the pieces of meat reformed into Vaatapi.

One day, they met the great sage Agasthya, and tried the same trick on him. But after he had eaten, Agasthya meditated on His name, and prayed for the food to be broken down and digested, and so it was. This time, when Ilwalla called out to Vaatapi, he did not return. Sage Agasthya smiled and said, “Vaatapi is digested now, he will never come back!” Ilwalla became Agasthya’s disciple, never to waver again.

My teacher said that our restless minds are Ilwalla, and our ego, full of pride, and attached to this mortal world, is Vaatapi. We try to sublimate our own Vaatapi, but our Ilwalla will call it to life again and again, and this continuous cycle prevents us from self-actualisation:

We come to meditate on the One Lord. 

But after birth, we are enticed by a mortal, virtual world. 

We may think we have vanquished our ego, but one call from our restless mind, and it will be reborn. Under the guidance of a sage, we mediate on Him, and our ego will be sublimated. And the restless mind will be forever at peace.

 

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