Sunday, November 1, 2009

Meeting to Depart

"Blue mountains lie beyond the north wall;
Round the city's eastern side flows the white water.
Here we part, friend, once forever.
You go ten thousand miles, drifting away
Like an uprooted water-grass.
Oh, the floating clouds and the thoughts of a wanderer!
Oh, the sunset and the longing of an old friend!
We ride away from each other, waving our hands,
While our horses neigh softly, softly . . . . " ………Li Po (701-762 CE)

Li Po, the great Chinese wandering poet, had the capacity to bring out, in simple poetry, great insights into the process of life. Every moment of our lives, we are constantly witnessing a meeting and a departing. This event of meeting and departing starts with our being born into this world and confront our own existence in a new level of evolving consciousness. This journey ultimately comes to an end in our death. The ‘Blue Mountains’ lying to the north mystically portrays our own unfathomable beginning at a higher consciousness level but now seen in the east, a polarized dimension, where we exist as a flow of white water signifying the turbulence of our earthly sojourn.
Every moment of our existence there is a meeting and parting of people, knowledge, emotions. Though some of these entities come back, if we carefully examine them we will find that they are modified due to their own travel and experience in their journey. Let us as an example take the emotion of love. In each stage in our life, the character of love, even towards the same object, its shade, intensity, meaning and purpose, gets continually altered. This is the reason that Li Po says of his friend that he would ‘go ten thousand mile, drifting away’. The floating clouds are the best example of the impermanency of existence which is very similar to the thoughts of the wanderer as the words and actions that issue forth from such thoughts have no permanency in its impact.

This raises the big question. What is the purpose this journey? The permanency of possession is an ego driven thought. It is the ego that seeks to possess and hold on to its experience under a false sense of comfort or fulfilment. If we let go, in this process of experiencing or encountering, there are two benefits that we derive. One there is no suffering in departing or letting go and the other is that in the knowledge of inevitability of this short encounter and our brief relation to all that we come across, we tend not to impose our will upon the object of encounter thus allow the natural order to take its course. In the Gospel of Thomas, in the shortest yet most powerful saying, Jesus says “Be a passer by”….. Logion 42

Especially in our relationship with the ecosystem and our role in human society, the inevitability of meeting to depart and our responsibility to empower rather control or exploit must be borne in our minds. People who lived in the pre-Cartesian dimension, that was before we were told that nature was there to be plundered, were basically no different from us. They had the same positive and negative human attributes, but the results of human profligacy were contained by the natural order of things, which transcended technological and political sophistication and even religious disposition. Excess in the natural order was contained because it was biodegradable. When old civilizations, however opulent, profligate, greedy, or brutal, died, the forest just grew over them. They left no pollutants, damaging poisons or nuclear waste. By contrast, and assuming we survive as a species and are permanent fixtures in this creation, we are heading at a hypersonic speed into a blind alley.
Slow down, let go and enjoy the ride!

Love to you all


  1. With our intelligence we never allow things to flow free and many a time we tend to over do it. Slowing down and allow things to happen is also a virtue.
    Manikavasagar starts his Thiruvasagam by praising the Lord who has showered many blessing on us. In one of the verse he says "I praise the Lord who hath reduced my unwanted speed."

  2. Magi, beautiful reflection. Thanks for enriching the thought through Thiruvasagam.

  3. I like the quote,"be a passer by".Very often Whenever I come across turbulent situations in life,I tell myself,"This too would pass by".Though allowing life to pass by and being nearly a spectator are not that easy as they may sound.

  4. Thank you for your intimate sharing.