Morning in Varanasi

25 December, 2015
Krishnamurti Centre, Varanasi

It was morning. The sun had risen over the ancient city, once again. It was another morning. There had been thousands of mornings before. The ancients, coming from past the Sindhu river, would have stopped here and beheld this sight. They sang to it. They considered it holy. They bowed down to the majesty of the sun and they bathed in the healing waters of the river.

For them, the forces of nature were persons to be loved, adored, befriended. The sun was Surya, the waters were Jala, the morning was Ushas, the breeze was Vayu. These were not mere sounds over whose meaning all men had agreed, they were the names of entities that one lived together with, just as one lives with one’s family and friends. One met them everyday and communed with them. Over the millenia, the songs the ancients sang were chanted again and again here, every morning. They had become part of a tradition, a religion, a way of imitation and mechanical repetition.

Today, thousands of years later, the morning was accompanied by the sound of the train passing on a bridge nearby. There were also sounds of boys shouting while playing football, not far away. The ancients did not know of these sounds. But the splendour they knew was still here.

As he came home from his walk, his sight fell on the sun, a brilliant disk of gold, majestically present over the river. The river glistened in the sunlight, and its usual stillness could now be seen moving. It was stillness nonetheless, but one in which little currents continually formed and moved to the left.

In his field of vision, between him and the sun, were the branches of a tree. The brilliance of the sun’s light blurred the contours of the leaves. At times, for a few moments, a flock of birds would fly across this sight, little black specks in the foreground of the tremendous golden disc. Somewhere behind him, sparrows twittered. The world had woken up not too long ago. Sometimes, the breeze would move the leaves of the trees and he would feel a slight chill in his body. It was a new world, a new morning.

The order of nature required that everything be created new everyday. The sun was new, the water in the Ganga was new, and new was the breeze gently blowing. Only, we, human beings, were not new, he thought to himself. We continuously carried the past with us, we continuously created a future. Never awake to the present moment, which is now.

On the other side of the ancient river, the river bank was clothed in mist. One could barely see that there is something there. As the day would proceed, the curtain of mist would be drawn, and the green pastures would be visible.

From the far distance, a drill could be heard for a few moments. It was part of the ugliness of the world that man had created. Terrible ugliness that had emerged from a life out of touch with nature.

The sun, brightly illuminating, was present, yet far away. None of these sounds could touch it. It stood in a world that was millions of miles away, where no sounds reached, where there was no ugliness, where nobody hated another. There was absolute, eternal silence.

Out of that silence arose a tremendous order, an order that created night and day, cold and heat, the play of light and dark, and the sustenance of all life on our planet. Out of that order also arose the birth of all we know. And one day, out of that order would arise the death of all we know.

Here on earth, human beings lived with no perception of that order. They were blind to the amplified silences of outer space, the rhythmic turning of the heavenly bodies, the impersonal yet awe-inspiring way in which life force moved through these gigantic pieces of matter, creating a celestial dance, bits of which could be seen from our earth.

Human beings, for the first time in history, lived a life totally oblivious to nature. And they had brought themselves to the point of destruction. He wondered if there would be human beings in the next century.

As he sat there looking at the sun, he wondered if the teacher was here. The teacher was here. In the stillness of the moment, in the compassion for all that was around, in the tremendous sorrow for what we had done to ourselves. He was asking, as he often did, “Why don’t you change?”

His eyes moistened as he realised this. He stopped writing, so that he could converse with the teacher on the most vital of all questions.

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~ by tdcatss on January 7, 2016.

2 Responses to “Morning in Varanasi”

  1. Brilliant, Kaif, brilliant. Though I have not been commenting, I have been reading all your blog posts when I get the notification on my Gmail. Miss you a lot, man. When do we meet again? Come over to Bangalore, my friend! :-)

  2. Thank you Abhilash. It is good to know you like reading my blog :). I appreciate your really positive comments and encouragement.

    Any plans to be in north India? It would be wonderful to meet you, and Abhinesh too. I might be in Bangalore in some time on the route to Rishi Valley or one of the other K centres and schools in the area. We will certainly meet then.

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