Mallikarjun B. Mulimani

Rivers

Preface 

‘Rivers’ is a saga of two rivers: one of attempted suicide and another of gradual enlightenment. It is an original and compact philosophy. The story is set in the pristine Himalayas and Mumbai. It begins with an idealistic young boy turning into a dissatisfied actor and director, of art movies, filled with fears and desires. He is obsessed with himself – trying to be a light unto himself without proper initial teachings – and suffocated by a world filled with pain and pleasure, tries to end it all by drowning himself in the first river. He doesn’t die, but instead becomes a Shoonya, a zero which is nothing and everything; a man, who, desiring nothing has everything. He also becomes non-attached to everything except non-attachment; however, he only realizes the true meaning of Shoonya and non-attachment, combining both the concepts to become enlightened, at the end. After becoming Shoonya and non-attached, he travels to the second river in the Himalayas, where he has heard lives a wise skipper of a boat, to understand himself, Shoonya, God, and soul; for becoming something and understanding it are entirely different things. There, while journeying on the river, into the mountains, immersed in intellectual conversation with each other, the man and the woman meet a woman painter, seeking peace, and a boy, seeking freedom. Various facets of life are then explored by the four as they journey together. Unfortunately, their expedition towards the destination of understanding is cut short. He is forced to go back to his city, and is convinced by the skipper to take home with him the painter and the boy. He agrees, and on the way back in a taxi, decides to accept the boy’s request to make him a movie star. He meets his old flame, a producer, old buddies, a writer and a musician, and the producer’s husband who is the mafia’s stooge. He makes a movie trilogy on the life of a prince, Gopala, who becomes Shoonya, and also enlightened, and who, after becoming the king, abdicates his throne, making his childhood sweetheart, the princess of a neighboring kingdom, the queen. The abdicator is given the name of Shoonya by the new queen, and is asked to show her the path to enlightenment. In the last movie of the trilogy, Shoonya tells the queen how enlightenment is nothing but love, and how he realized it. He then leaves the kingdom to go to a river. The director and actor has been writing his own script for his own enlightenment while making the movie trilogy, and once it is completed, after almost a decade, he goes back to the second river which had been calling him all along. There, he rejoins forces with the skipper, and one fine day, his process of enlightenment becomes an event. The concepts of Shoonya and non-attachment are combined. Unity of the universe is realized. 

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