Friday, April 27, 2007

R i v e r S p e e c h C o n g r u e n c e

"Acharya, what is the purpose of life ?", asks Jaya with his hands folded before Dheesara, the chieftian of the city of Vaishali.

"You need patience, Jaya.", curtly replies Dheesara.

"I am thirsty for answers, Acharya. My entry into this world has been unwanted. I never knew my mother. I do not know the reason she left me for. I do not know if she has died immediately after she gave me birth, or if she is still alive at this very moment now. If I only knew, I would have asked her. All that my life presents me is a single question - why. I tried to learn patience. But if is of no avail. I am consumed by restlessness. Please help me Acharya. I am damned. Please show pity on me. And as a kind person offers a morcel of food for the starving, you offer me a tiny spark of knowledge.", implores Jaya.

"Jaya, you are more to me than a son. A father reserves neither the right nor the ability to force his thinking down his child. You should understand that these answers to your question will not come from me. You will find them yourself.", replies Dheesara with kind affection.

"When would I find the answer, Acharya ? "

"When you ask the right question, Jaya. You will find the answer immediately. My blessings for you will only be that you shall have the patience that is needed until you discover the right question."

"I am deeply afraid about that, Acharya. I am consumed by hate. I hate the stupidity of people around me. And I hate their cupidity. Of what purpose are these sacrifices, these sham religions that they follow ? Of what purpose is their blind drive for money ? Of what purpose is their cruelty to fellow human beings ? For that matter, of what purpose is love ? I know answers to none of them. Whenever I hate people, I only hate myself, because I am only their equal. The Bodhisattva has once said that a person consumed by hate would never find the answers. Please pray for me Acharya - for the blessings of the exalted one that I may find peace in my soul. "

Dheesara smiles at the young man before him. He then points to the mighty river flowing at the edge of the city. "O Jaya ! Look at the river Ganges flowing in front of us. Does it have a purpose ?"

"This river is born at the feet of the mountain Gangotri in the Himalayas. Only the mountain can tell us about the purpose of this river."

"You are wrong, Jaya. The mountain would indeed tell us the purpose of this river, if only it had been the true parent. But it is not. By crediting Gangotri to be the only parent of the Ganges, you will be ignoring the mountain Yamunotri which creates the river Yamuna that flows into the Ganges. You will also be discrediting the thousand little brooks that flow and build this mighty river up. Where are they born, my son, each one of these brooks ?"

"You are correct, Acharya. But all these tiny streams are born inside several places within the Himalaya. Surely, Himavan, the collection of these mountains, will know the answer as to what is the purpose of this river."

"Surely he would, Jaya, if only he is the true parent of this river. But he is not."

"What do you say, Acharya ?"

"It is the cloud that rains on these mountains, stocking up the lakes and the glaciers. Without this action of the cloud, the river would not have been born.", explains Dheesara.

Jaya gets to see the light of the argument. He says humbly, "O Acharya ! But neither is the cloud the true parent of the Ganges. Because he draws the water from the ocean through the action of the sun. It is the ocean who is the true parent of the Ganges."

"No Jaya, the ocean is no better than either the cloud or the mountain. The water in the ocean comes from every river flowing on top of the earth, as also through the continuous action of the clouds and the sun. So, the ocean would not be the true parent of the Ganges, and thus it would not have the answer to our question."

"Then, O Acharya ! Who is the true parent of the Ganges ? "

"That, my son, would be the Ganges herself. Along with every single river on earth. They are all children and parents of each other at the same time. Now, I will ask you the question - what is the purpose of each of these rivers ? "

"I do not know, O Acharya. Only the Ganges will know the answer to this question, she being a self-born. I will meditate before the Ganges and request the answer to this question."

"You will understand my message, Jaya, only when you understand the exact congruence between rivers and ideas. Ideas do not have an existence until they are spoken, neither do rivers until they start flowing. This principle is called the river-speech-congruence. Vahini (the word for a river) and vani (the word for speech) mean one and the same thing. The ancient people have understood this congruence and thus equated the river Saraswati with the very goddess of learning. As a conscious human being, you are no better than an idea. And the idea would not have an existence until it is spoken. "

"And that will be the time when I ask the right question ?"

"Yes Jaya, just as a river finds its form revealed when it falls as rain on the feet of a mountain, you will find yourself revealed when you ask the right questions. What you should not forget is that, as an idea, you are neither born nor will you die. You will meet every other idea, inspire them and be inspired by them. Just as the Ganges gets into contact with every other river through its waters, through the ocean and through the clouds, you will meet every other idea before you reveal yourself."

"Like the exalted Bodhisattva, a person who discovers the right questions will flow like the mighty Ganges. A person who does not, he will only be a tiny droplet of rain falling down the sky.", says Jaya and bows with respect before his Acharya.


Chaitanya said...

U've no idea how I long to read the entire novel!

Ananth Majumdar said...

Lovely... Superb amazing.. thanks for writing this..

Ananth Majumdar said...

What is this book?

Ray Lightning said...

Hi Ananth.. Thanks !!

This conversation is part of a story I want to write, about a Buddhist monk in the city of Vaishali around 400 AD.. I have been planning to write this since 4 years, but never succeeded. Actually, I should improve my writing skills, otherwise what I write will be very sugary and irritating.. like how this blog post seems to me in retrospect :))