“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Raindrops on Roses

In the seas, in the rivers, in the streams, in a cup – water, that precious liquid reflects our faces…. In this exciting, mad rush for material well-being, humans forget the basic elements of life… These lines are just a few reflections on water – to reflect on man and nature…

The Songs of water

In the arrayed earthen bowls of Jaltharang, water awaited the man’s hands. It was impatient, but still. The bowls held the water tenderly, waiting for the cue. The man twirled the sticks, paused for a moment and then struck. In that moment, the man, the container and the contained, all become one. Music flowed, gentle and beautiful.

It might be just wishful thinking, but couldn’t there have been some past when man, earth and her resources had struck the perfect equilibrium?

Long ago, a Red Indian Chief said –

“The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father. The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.”

All great human civilizations had their great rivers. In the songs of men, the elements of nature were deified. Water flowed through man, cleansing, purifying, soothing and nourishing him. We sang her praises.

The early man’s reverence and deification of nature could be ascribed to two different reasons; one, fear of the unknown and unpredictable power of the natural forces; the other, respect and love that came from the understanding that life depended on nature. It could have been a mixture of both. Life was a benefaction of nature. What else should a God be?

Water, whither doest thou come from?

Wherefrom do all these worlds come? They come from space. All beings arise from space, and into space they return; space is indeed their beginning, and space is their final end.

Chandogya Upanishad

In the beginning there was nothing. Then the fireball that broke away from the sun came into being. And it burned and burned. There was no earth. There was no water. There was no atmosphere. Billions of years later, the fireball began to cool. Vapours of all kinds were thrown off. As the lithosphere and atmosphere formed, the waters of the earth were suspended in the air above the land. Then they fell upon the cooling fireball. The burning rocks threw it back. A battle raged between the oceans of the sky and the rocks of the earth. Finally, the victory went to water. It enveloped the whole earth. Below the sky there was nothing but water. The first sea was a strange sea indeed, whose waters, boiling hot and thickened with mud and slime of all sorts, formed a kind of mineral pea-soup shrouded in a chaos of steaming vapours. The fire still burned in the womb of the earth and occasionally it burst open over the water; and land was formed.

Where does all the water go? The rains fall upon the earth. Some fall on the seas, some on the land. Of that falling on the land, some gets carried away by the rivers again to the sea. But then, if all the water remained only on the surface of earth, nothing would have remained for long for the rivers to carry away. So, the water is absorbed like a sponge. And like the excess run off that flow out of a pot, the earth lets out its excess too, while nourishing its children. Over eons, raindrops have poured over the land, carving and cleaving mountains, valleys and gorges and whorls on the rocks. In the lifetime of the elements, that of humanity is less than the blink of an eye.

Living Water

Consider a drop of water. Unseen to our eyes, there is life in it. This fluid that we hold in our cupped hands is not still. It flows, it is in motion even when it seems to be inert. Like the mind of the Yogi or the Zen master, it is still, yet vibrant…….

A seemingly stagnant pool of water is alive. The microbes, the little insects in the water, the dancing fish, the stalking heron, the pied kingfisher that hovers above, the small blue kingfisher waiting in the banks, the kite soaring over in the sky, the ducks swimming contentedly, the man who rows his boat home and the net he flings to catch his prey. There is a little world in the ways of the water.

Moving Water

In the early morning of a winter day, mist swirls around and tiny droplets condense on the leaves. As we peer down on a leaf, the moisture gathers, the leaf bends down and a droplet of water falls down. The leaf heaves a sigh. In the eternal cycle of water, the leaf has done its part again. Partaking of the fluid, the leaf has let it move again. The leaf has justified its existence, its place in the web of life.

Every living thing other than man contributes to the maintenance of the hydrological cycle. Not only water, but everything that comes from Nature is ploughed back again. Nature provides energy and sustenance to all life. And life in turn, releases its waste in such a way that nature produce energy from it again. All life, except man. He renders everything non-renewable. He pollutes, befouls and defiles all the life giving resources in such a way that air, water and soil that has been tainted by his touch, die.

The ponds, the tanks, the wells that once provided us all the water we needed have been landfilled so that we could build shopping complexes. We clear away the forests, which ensure perennial supply of water so that we can have a clearer view of God. We poison rivers with chemicals so that we can produce poison to kill the soil.

Water, the only sign of life.

It seems predetermined that this world will, one day, be lost forever. As man looks around for signs of life in other planets, he sets his sight on Mars, the nearest one where he can at least hope to set foot upon soon. In the photographs sent down by our satellites, we detect patterns of what might have been once a river. Our scientists debate over it. Perhaps eons later, the creatures of a faraway planet might look down on Earth. In the breasts of Amazon, in the breasts of Mississippi, in the breasts of the Nile, in the breasts of the Yangtze, in the breasts of the Ganga, the creatures would detect the dry and cracked veins in which the elixir of life had once flowed. They would speculate whether life had existed in this planet.



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