In some of the earlier posts (Secluded Faith, If Technology Fails, Abundance), I have shared the lively experiences and ideas from Mount Abu, the place where I had not only been able to roam but also stayed for 10 months. This post, 'The Indian Redeemer', is a recollection of the exceptional experiences of the first day of my entry into the Mount Abu wildlife sanctuary. My first day in Mount Abu...
Perhaps the most common desires among most of the people around the globe are the desires of everlasting happiness, neverending love and to witness novelty from time to time. If these ‘everlasting’ and ‘neverending’ labels sound too subjective, proper alternative terms could be ‘abundant’ or ‘overflowing’. In an ideal boundless life, which is usually considered an imaginary one, everything we desire is plausible indeed and there are myriad ways to achieve what we want. But certain fears regarding life and our tendency to undermine our true potentials by labeling ourselves as ‘just human’ direct most of us to live life in a few specific committed ways and trying to achieve anything we desire for by playing safe around a set of conventional pathways. A fact which most of us would agree with is that the fixed physical and emotional surroundings and series of repetitive events, irrespective of how much interesting they were in beginning, turn out to be colorless with the passage of time and we tend to lose the meaning of our existence. Whether it is in our control or not, but we do want to see a progressive change and break the cycle of repetitive events before we start to see them as monotonous. To find the meaning of our existence we keep ourselves challenging with new tests. For me, the best way to feel what I have mentioned above is to travel to new places, meeting new people and to learn new things. Travelling gives me an opportunity to observe the progressive change and sets the framework for developing and understanding diverse existing and novel ideas. One such interesting thought, which gave a better clarity on how to achieve the overflowing happiness and witness newness at every moment, was developed on my second last day of one-year long stay at Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India.
I had heard about two disconnected villages, named Uttraj and Shergaon, of mount Abu. I had already been to Uttraj, but Shergaon was still in the list of must visit places. For that reason, before leaving the mount Abu I decided to go for an approximately 10 km mountainous trek from Gurushikhar, highest point of Aravali range, to Vastan ji temple on the base of another less known side of the mount, traversing through Uttraj and Shergaon. I was accompanied by 4 local people of the mount. Because of the monsoon season, the surroundings were saturated with clouds at eye level. Somewhere on the way from Uttraj to Shergaon, we witnessed a fascinating and beautiful location having a Bhairo Ji temple adjacent to a waterbody. What attracted my attention was the presence of a water hand-pump on the edge but within the waterbody. The very first reaction came in the form of a playful smile, thinking about what was in the mind of that intelligent person who conceived and executed the idea to place a water hand-pump inside the waterbody. Usually, the presence of hand-pump represents the lack of water on the ground surface. But a hand-pump surrounded by water on all sides was unimaginable. what was the need to place a pump within the waterbody? Whatever the logic might be, but the location perfectly reflected the state of longing human mind and normal miseries of human life.
The image reminds me about the presence of an invisible abundance in our surroundings and the way we have got programmed to ignore it. I realize that the world around me has an overflowing diversity. Water represents that abundant or the everlasting thing which we always chase for. We have been divinely blessed with various senses (vision, touch, hearing etc.) and with wisdom to wonder about and explore this multiplicity. The recognition of this heterogeneity and learning to use our senses and wisdom to observe and feel it are the basis to perceive newness from moment to moment and to set new goals to challenge ourselves. Perhaps the senses can be trained to perceive novelty even from the constant subjects. This diversity is so much abundant that even my whole life would not be enough to figure out everything available. As an analogy, I am free to take as much water as I want from any place around the lake and at any moment of time where each act could be experienced as an entirely new experience. However, due to our main focus on the things which we lack, the things which are in abundance easily skip out of the mind. We hardly acknowledge how blessed our ears and eyes are to hear myriad sounds and visualize countless views. Generally, we do forget this availability of water. Instead of the presence of water everywhere, we have been programmed to ignore it and focus only on what can be taken out from the hand-pump. There are countless views all around, but we chase only for a few to feel delighted. The handpump of the image symbolizes the widely executed conventional mediums by which most of us the have been influenced to seek what we want and to ignore the fact that what we want is already in abundance everywhere.
The image conveys a message that as long as we are aware of the abundance in our life, we are eligible to see the life beyond mere sustenance and maintenance cycle. This realization helps to stay away from unwanted fears and to live limitlessly. On the other hand, a failure to recognize this factor of abundance and focussing on only a few options, like hand-pump of the image, brings misery and pushes to identify other conventional options to discover the abundance which by default is already there. I comprehend that I need is to learn how to be constantly aware of this abundance around me. Some of the ways to be aware of this abundance could be to practice to live in now moment, to keep senses open for careful observations and to identify and be thankful for what we usually take for granted and tend to forget easily. Traveling to new places, interacting with nature, meeting new people, understanding diverse cultures and beliefs and learning new things are definitely my ways to be aware of the present moment and to recognize how much blessed I am. During all these activities I tend to carefully observe which I might not be able to notice when I am in unchanged surroundings for a very long time. During these physically and mentally dynamic activities, it’s easy to visualize myself as an integral part of mother nature & borderless society and so to acknowledge the blessings which normally are invisible to me. Travelling allows me to see beyond the handpump. However, I acknowledge that there is still a lot of space (and will always be) for further improvements. I still feel that it is challenging to identify anything really interesting and novel out of repetitive events and fixed surroundings. Perhaps meditation will be a tool to practice to minutely observe the dynamics of almost fixed monotonous surroundings.