We Are A River.


‘We Are A River’

Don’t accept the modern myths of aging.
You are not declining.
You are not fading away into uselessness.
You are a sage,
a river at its deepest
and most nourishing.
Sit by a riverbank some time
and watch attentively as the river
tells you of your life.

This poem was sent to me by my friend M*****.  He had actually sent it to his lovely daughter S******* and his mail which included this is a classic worth its weight in gold.  I reproduce it below.

Dear S******,
A few days back I happened to read the following brief poem
” We are a River”.
by William Martin.

Two line introduction of the author follows.
He has been a student of Tao for almost twenty years.
He teaches the practice of Taoist/Zen meditation.

It is not fair on my part to tell you as to how you should
reflect/meditate on the poem.

All the same this is how my mind moved.

We are a river……”there is only flow of thoughts and feelings in my mind.”

you are a Sage…..” Perhaps what Sri Krishna meant….. ” Sthithaprajna” in Gita.

a river at its deepest….”deepest” a state felt while remaining in the present without identifying with the drama.

..”most nourishing”….almost in “Ananda”..a state wherein one feels this state alone will do.

While reading the last three lines
I was reminded Of the following read while I in in Poona years and years ago.

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
― Franz Kafka

You are very dear to me.
And I request you to consider reading this brief poem
in a quite place all alone and reflect.

Who knows ,
you too may be amazed to realize
as to how young you are.

M*****, you inspired me to go and sit by the side of our own Mulamutha yesterday evening and reflect.  It was a mind blowing experience.

S*******, you are blessed to have such a father.  I wish that I could write a similar letter to Ranjan.


Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Padmum and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get nine different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar.

I would like to call ‘thing’ as anything that is or may become an object of thought. Therefore, nothing would imply no thing. In other words, a void or emptiness with no thing in it. Say like the skulls of many people that I am sure all of us know, and like mine is considered to be by some very full skulls.

I started my spiritual journey in early 1978 and by 1985 was deeply into Vedanta, an Indian system of philosophy and Buddhism. I found no contradiction between the two and concluded that they were two sides of the same coin.

By this time, Fritjof Capra had already published his Tao Of Physics which was a best seller for that time and I believe continues to be in print even now, thirty years after its publication. Some little scepticism left in me was completely removed when I read that book which I repeatedly read even now.

What has that got to do with today’s LBC topic? Let me try and explain.

Science is reductionist in its approach to finding the ultimate building block. The smallest thing in nature, matter. Let us call that matter a thing. Eastern philosophy calls it Anu, the nearest equivalent in science being atom. Now, even atom has been reduced to protons, neutrons, quarks and leptrons. It still has not found the smallest. There is a problem however in that the sub atomic particles that make up the smallest particle, which is atom, appears to be some form of energy.

Mathematicians have calculated that 99.99percent of an atom is empty space, or NO THING. Since atoms make up every THING, 99.99 percent of everything including us human beings, is also empty space, or NO THING.

The appearing and disappearing nature of sub atomic particles is called ANITHYAM meaning, impermanence in the Eastern philosophical systems. In other words, since the smallest particle of matter is impermanent and the atom itself consists of such impermanent particles, even the atom is impermanent. In other words, every thing that is seen as matter appears for verification by our senses only when there is a perceiver. If there is no perceiver, there is no matter.

In Capra’s book I first understood this principle and the difference between Subject and Object. Since object is impermanent, the philosophical systems call all matter as MAYA or illusion, or NO THING.

Since our body/mind/intellect complex is also objectifiable, it cannot be the Subject. The mistake we make is in identifying the subject with the object and considering that the I is the body/mind/intellect complex, which we have seen as NO THING.

Then, what is the Subject? It is obviously the I, the perceiver. Eastern philosophical systems insist on dis-covering the real I. The method is meditation. In meditation, one can find that stillness, or the witness, which is again, NO THING.

The NO THING is called Emptiness (Shunyatha) in Buddhism and Limitlessness (Brahman) in Vedanta. This is what I meant when I said that they are two sides of the same coin. One uses a positive and the other the negative. The Yin and the Yang or the Male and Female principle.

Have I caused enough confusion? It is NOTHING but intellectual kite flying.

In other words, I am NOTHING. So are you.