Tuesday, May 30, 2006

An ant is possibly half an inch long and maybe a tenth of an inch wide, by a wild guess. A normal human foot would be, say a foot long with the footwear, twelve inches that is and about three inches wide. Approximately, the surface area of a human feet should be 1000 times more when compared to that of an ant. And when you think how many humans can attend a concert in an open air auditorium, it is a pretty dismal state for an ant.

And yet, there is this ant, not more than a few centimetres away from my chair that scuttles along with some very obvious purpose known perhaps only to itself. In a given interval of say a minute, at least 10 people walk through that area, each of them coming perilously close to squashing the ant.

And yet the ant scurries. The ant might not know mathematics and probability, but the odds of it getting squashed are very high. But it does not get squashed. Beyond mathematics and physics, the ant (and the world around it) obeys a superior set of laws. The law of purpose.

This ant here has a definite purpose that drives it to scurry from across my chair towards the post. It might be a basic survival urge of hunting for food. It might be that there is an ant doctor living on the other side who has to be fetched for an emergency. It might be that the movement of this ant might cause a disturbance in the atmosphere that might in cascading cause climactic changes. It might be just that the ant has to go pick up its mother-in-law from the other side failing which it'll be eaten by its wife. But there is a designated purpose for this movement, no matter how small. And till that purpose is not completed, the ant shall not be squashed. Even if there were meteors, glaciers, avalanches, SUVs and nuclear explosions running amock all over the place, this tiny ant here shall survive it all. And that survival shall be done in a plainly explicable fashion - no miracles.

Now, if suppose the ant knew for every action of its' this is the rule that governs it - if the action has a definite designated purpose, no matter what obstacles might come, the action shall be completed. Even if the ant by itself gets obiliterated, the action shall be completed in one way or the other. Destruction therefore does not limit the ant in its actions. With this knowledge, would an ant then have fear? Fear of failure/death?

The ant is free with this knowledge. The knowledge that death would not lead to its failure and neither will failure mean death of a purpose. It is clearly aware that there is a Mother, a Sakthi who is behind this universe driving every iota of action in it for Her purpose. It is aware that this Sakthi will never let even a tniy insignificant ant fail in the purpose it has been given. While this Mother is immensely benevolent when guiding the ant to its goal, She is also equally impassive in removing the ant once its purpose is completed. It's in fact not even cold justice on Sakthi's part. In fact nothing could be more merciful because even to an ant, life without a purpose would seem infinitely ardurous.

If such be the case with an ant, then so be it with everything in the universe - the Sun, the Moon, the rivers, the fields, the crows, the pigs, the tigers, men, women, children, knowledge, love, hunger, pain... everything, living, non-living, abstract, concrete obeys this single law. They exist for a purpose and they shall do so till that purpose is served. Their existence till the purpose is served cannot be affected by any means, however perilous their life might seem.

How different am I from this ant? I too scurry along hunting for food, protect my loved ones, procreate, have my pain and joy and then one day be squashed. How many vehicles come close to running me over on the road? How many bombs/shootings happen in very close proximity to me? In the air that I breathe, in the water that I drink and food I eat, how many fatal diseases almost enter me? In the given 24 hours of a day, how many possible ways are there to end my life without my even trying to do so? How many children are born dead? How many children never see the spring of youth?

I have seen much more in this world in a day than possibly many will see in a lifetime. From some perspective, perhaps, it makes no sense for Sakthi to continue this existence of mine. A loose nut in the bike that I drive, a loose electric cable in my path, an open gas regulator in my house - it is really easy. And yet, I do not die. Because there is a purpose to this life which has not yet been completed.

The ant might not be aware of its purpose. But it scurries on, in what might appear as a mechanical fashion. So too shall I scurry on with this life of mine. The entails of my actions, the purpose of this life might never be revealed to me. But that is not of consequence. A goal exists and the goal shall be achieved by what I do in this life. The goal is true, the path that leads to the goal is equally true, though the exact nature of the goal and the path can perhaps never be understood or described.

Life in effect would be a charted journey. A happy adventure through blossoms of spring and the winds of winter. An adventure just like those that come in children's stories, where the children always end up happily ever after. Death in effect would be a joyous end. A moment of repose in Her embrace after having completed the task. And yes, children, be it in stories or in life always live happily ever after.

That is because they do not know of death in the sense we adults know it. To them it is perhaps father not coming home from office for a long time, pAtti's chair being empty for a long time, Lakshmi no longer running with the cowhand chasing her. It simply means to them something that had been happening for quite sometime now is not happening anymore. It might be because father's office got shifted to the skies, pAtti has gone to have a private interview with her Krishna, Lakshmi has found a better store of hay and milk in some paradise. It is because, something better has happened to someone, because they finished their game and are now playing a better one in a better field.

This then shall be the mantram, the truth, the Holy Word. That we shall live as long as we desire, as long as our purpose is incomplete. That we shall achieve this purpose in spite fo how much we are deterred because our Mother, parAsakthi is abundant in love. That our actions, our immediate need might change by Her will because it does not take us close to our desire, our purpose. That She and She alone shall guide and carry us through Her love. That our servitude and allegiance is only with Her will. That She is the path and the goal laid out as truth. And this above all, that we shall move on once our goal is achieved.


Parvati said...

Aaaah! How true "that our servitude and allegiance is only with Her will"...

Beautifully put, Sriram - "She is the path and the goal laid out as truth".

A favourite post on a favourite person - the Divine Mother Paraashakti.

msp said...

Ah ! Profound again. Though the insights are peculiar to the beholder's eyes.I'm not sure I agree with the everything-has-a-purpose drift, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of writing.

Another piece which I enjoyed and I am throwing at you thinking you may enjoy it too (though you may disagree with the content)is Odgen Nash's "The Ant":

The ant has made himself illustrious
Through constant industry industrious.
So what??
Would you be calm and placid
If you were full of formic acid?

Keep posting !

Sriram C S said...

@Parvati - :-) That second line that you've quoted is part of the Christian doctrine - 'I'm the way, the truth and the life' I love those lines!
@MSP - What do you mean I may not agree??? I worshipped this man for his 'The cow is of bovine ilk/one end is moo, the other milk'! :-P

Anonymous said...

To reiterate what msp has already said...very profound..

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.
..(from Illusions by Richard Bach)..

your post reminded me of those lines...though I am not as wise as the ant to not fear failure/death..perhaps I need to trust more..

Nice post.


msp said...

Still musing here ! Was away from netland for a week hence the delayed reply.

Why did I think you may disagree with Nash. Here is why: Nash's ant is the way he is because he can't help being so. He is naturally disposed to being the way he is, quite decidedly lacking in any sort of purpose.

But of course, one could interpret "formic acid" as "the invisible hand that guides" the ant and lo we have philosophical concord. The onus is on the beholder ....as always :-)

Sriram C S said...

@MSP - Actually, Formic Acid in itself might have a purpose of its own to effect which it drives the ant crazy! :-P Although I wonder how it would feel if you were full of formic acid...perhaps your life will be filled with nightmares about Hajmola and Eno! ;-)

Sriram C S said...

@JAB - Wise as the ant? Possibly the ant is ignorant of both death and failure...maybe that's why ignorance is bliss! :-)