"Earth teaches us patience and love. Air teaches us mobility, Fire teaches us warmth and courage; Sky teaches us equality and broadmindedness, Water teaches us purity and cleanliness."
............... Panna 1018 - Guru Granth Sahib
The recent disasters in Uttarakhand and this week's floods in northern China have instilled a sense of awe in the human mind. The fury that nature exhibits is difficult to understand from a human perspective in spite of the technical and scientific advancements that we have made in the twenty first century. I read the above verse from Guru Granth Sahib and immediately I was struck by a dimension which the first sentence conveys. Patience is a virtue which we lack in our busy modern day life but the tectonic process through which the beautiful landscape formed over billions of years and the slow process involving millions of years through which diamond naturally forms in the womb of mother earth through the compression of the common carbon atom into an unique lattice giving rise to the hardness and lustre, teaches us the virtue of patience. Starting from the very basic elements such as hydrogen and Helium, all elements that are present on the earth's core have been formed through chemical bonding in a process of nuclear synthesis, either here on earth or aggregated through the cosmic process of supernova explosion. This is the epitome of love at the mineral kingdom. The plants that grow in such abundance, the mighty trees from Redwood to the Baobab and the animals that roam the earth have all taught us the love that exists in nature through which they have multiplied and flourished and given us a habitable home.
The air we breathe acquires its mobility through the differences in pressure over the earth's surface and the temperature differential between the land and sea. The ocean currents and temperature determine the severity of the hurricanes. Mobility and the all pervading nature of air is equated to the omnipresence of the Divine.
As Jesus says "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." ........John 3:8
Fire gives us warmth. This warmth is both external and internal. To keep our bodies warm in the cold of winter we resort to the comforting warmth of the fire. But we need the nature of fire in our metabolic process to consume the food we intake and convert it to energy needed to keep us alive.
Located in the area of the solar plexus, navel, and the digestive system, the fiery third chakra is called Manipura, the "resplendent gem." Associated with the color yellow, this chakra is involved in self-esteem, warrior energy, and the power of transformation; it also governs digestion and metabolism. The tattwa (principle) for this chakra is the element of Fire.
The sky, especially the deep sky beyond the clouds, is undifferentiated and teaches us equality and equanimity. An all encompassing acceptance of the universal nature of creation. The duality sets in only when we perceive external objects through our ego dominated mind.
Finally, water can be equated to the mind. When not agitated or rushing in turbulence it remains still and pure. All the dross and sediments settle down. In one my earlier post I had told the story of the disciple who went to fetch water for Lord Buddha and found it muddy. Buddha teaches him to wait for the water to settle down and then fetch the clean water for drinking, with the admonition that the mind is also like the water in the pond.
Nature is a great teacher because we are part of this very nature from which we have become so alienated.
Let this verse from Guru Granth Sahib enliven our spirit.
Love to you all.