LESSONS FROM PLANTS : 

Plants don’t set limits for how big they can grow, they grow as much as they can….
Their Struggle for existence becomes their Strength..
They Take only what they need to Thrive…
They turn to face the sun…
They adapt to the changing Seasons….
They neutralize pollutants….
They don’t let their surrounding circumstances define them…
They are not afraid to shine….
They are focused on fulfilling their potential…
They create something of value for others…
They give out more value than they use up….
They are Persistent….
They need just a few simple things to be their best…. 
They build up their defenses…..

Rainsong

 Right now it is raining vey heavily . There is an ocean opening up wide in the sky. This rain will not stop for quite some time .The children are not back yet from school. Will they get drenched? I begin to wonder, for if they do, then there is much to feel anxious about. But I sitting doing nothing but watching the noisy rain with its attendant thunder rumbling slowly, dream of pleasures of the green forests and dark waves of a friendly sea.Rain is a reminder of our destiny. We

come from and go to a place far away we don’t know where. We dream of forests or seas due to their vastness and impregnability. There is something so mysterious and fascinating in contemplating the Unknown …death and birth are both so mysterious that none has able to fathom their depths. And it is the rain that brings all these stories to the fore. It has a way of gently insisting our mind to romance with the Unknown which is so much a part of our spirit nature, a reminder of the effervescent now which leads us on to so many nows of glory and pain. Rain song is of the earth as well as of the sky, the many rivers ,seas and oceans; far flung habitations, deserts and streams; long journeys over mountains and deep valleys, swinging on clouds robust and white; even further off than mind can dwell,where stars meet and rays fuse in colours no man has ever seen.

What Rain Does to the Soul

Rain is the symbol of purification, grace of the Divine , the dispenser of joy and harbinger of plenty. After a long wait in the desperation of draught and heat, and the dust of the fields and streets, the first showers bring great relief. Rain is the life line of a civilisation. It drops from nowhere as it seems. Its source appears to be so mysterious. All scientific explanations of its nature and its formation leaves the imagination cold. The imagination feeds on mystery and mythic ideas . Nature is our first teacher, and it is nature which has taught us to see through the eyes of the heart rather than that of the brain. So it is but natural to feel the exhilaration runnig through the blood and coursing through the mind, heart and soul when the rains visit our little world as messengers from the vastness of a yet untramelled universe. 


Rain has therefore been closest to the heart and soul; a reminder of the copious grace of heaven; the purest substance to be found on earth, cool , soft and straight , touching every thing–big or small, from the meanest to the most glorious. Mountains, rivers and plains; forests, oceans and marshes, all are its beneficiaries. When it falls, it raises the soul up to the heavens, in fact it lifts everything up and nurtures its growth. 


When we are in tandem with the foces of nature, the rain appears to us as the elixir of life. When we see little children dancing with abandonment in the rain, we can feel their thrill. We understand their laughter and also what secrets the downpour of rain shares with them in their souls. A corresponding thrill runs through the leaves of trees, through the birds watching from the shelters of eaves and also the minds of humans . 


The rain does something to the soul. It releases the soul from the confines of myness and stills the mind into a state of surrender to something immensely large and beatific. Everyone loves the rain, when it is gentle, plentiful and serene. When it assumes devastating propertions, flooding and damaging whatever comes within its ambit, it nevertheless does its work of reminding us that to live we must die, to be in pain and incurring losses is a way of life , a retribution and a redressal. 


The Lotus

This flower is India’s favourite one. It has aesthetic, spiritual and social appeal. It has become the symbol of purity and excellence. It has gathered innumerable connotation , all pointing to man’s aspiration for excellence in matters pertaining to the higher intelligence and the spirit. It acquires a mystical aura as it is deemed to be the seat of God’s and Godesses. 

It is the way we have come to understand detachment and flowering of the soul. The lotus blooms in muddy waters of lakes. Although the lotus plant has its roots in the slush , it remains untouched by the dirt and swamp surrounding it It’s leaves do not become wet by the water surrounding it. Similarly, a wise person remains untouched by the distress , the misery , the poverty , the many afflictions that beset the average human being.  Rather , he takes sustenance from the soil of life , but remains immersed in the contemplation of pure being. 

The offering of a lotus to the Godess Laxmi augurs good fortune.  Godess Saraswati makes the lotus her seat .  The lotus is so special that Lord Krishna is described as lotus eyed lotus foot. Anything auspicious is compared to a lotus. 

Super maids

When I think deeply about women who work for improving the quality of life of their family members, I have to speak about the super maids in cities like Mumbai. I cannot but wonder at their tenacity and Bon homie . Not only are they the very pillars on which their families rest, they are the very source of values like hard-work, fortitude , adaptation and a passionately ambitious attitude so far as their children are concerned. Exquisite cooks, washerwomen , ayahas , nursemaids to the old and what not, they display a rare capacity to blend swiftness, sweetness and caustic wit to suit situations and people they serve. 

I sometimes watch their madams stepping out in the mornings , with their office portmanteaus , laptops and an intent professional expression on their faces. I think of their house help who takes up the cudgels at home, preparing lunch and dinner, escorting their children to the school bus and again back in the afternoon. 

A wide river of flowing humanity, keeping the soil of a vast city alive by their dedicated service, making the city flourish with variety and colour, takes strength and succour from the contributions of these maids. They keep their own home fires burning by burning themselves in the homes of their  madams . And in the process , they bring so much prosperity to their own husbands and children . 

Their children attend schools and colleges and emerge out of the chrysalis of darkness as butterflies flying towards light.

Religion and humanity

The way things are going on these days all over the world , it becomes imperative to rethink religious beliefs as they have been existing for a long time now. It has been an accepted practise to leave religion out of debates and reconsiderations, as they are believed to be sacrosanct, and religiontherefore not amenable to discussion . At best , the philosophy behind religion engages our attention, as it involves a purely intellectual exercise, and absolves us of the necessity to put faith and intuitive understanding to test.  The gap between faith and rational understanding therefore creates the opportunity for vested interests to use it as a tool to manipulate the political situation at every instance , and create dissension among the people of different religious sentiments . The votaries of different religions use mutual distrust, lack of humanitarianism and the propensity to violence inherent in the human psyche, as weapons of further destruction and dissolution. 

That there is a volcano of dormant negative passions in the best of men and women, is an idea that needs to be considered. Evolution should be a continuous process that grooms the sensibilities in a way that constantly examines and reassess humanity on the basis of their growth on spiritual terms , and not merely on its economic and technological achievements. It was hoped that religions would be aiding the growth process by propounding ideas of discipline, non violence, love and compassion, and thereby achieving for humanity a degree of sophistication. But this has not happened. We have allowed religions to be grounded on violence . We have weeded out the compassionate aspects of religion, and fuelled its hidden agenda of violence. Proxy wars are being fought on all sides of the globe, apparently to protect different gods , apparently to stop blasphemy and destroy “unbelievers ” , but the worst has happened. These wars are not crusades, but excuses for expanding the territories of different ideologies. 

We cannot protect religion by destroying humanity. If we desire to keep religions alive and vibrant, we have to put it under scrutiny, and review them on the basis of how they add to the richness of life , and how they further the interests of humanity as a whole. Our myths and legends that speak of violence as a tool to remove evil, may have to go under the scanner first, for it is here that the child who is the citizen of the future world learns his lessons . Rituals that subject us to mental and physical discipline, can be encouraged, but here again , any kind of sacrificial killing should be avoided. 

We are entering a new millennium of cooperative living . The whole world becomes just a room in which we have to live together as human beings. Our differences , which we use to express our individualistic identities as a religious group , should not disallow us from mingling with each other on the basis of a common identity as human beings. Will we be able to protect our humanity and still remain religious?