One of my friends posted the following lines on the Facebook:

Of the Young and the Old (written circa 1990 at the twilight age of 29!).

.....Mind of the young has an arrogance that is different from the insolence of the rich, the powerful and the clever. It is born not of accumulations, but of potentialities.

Mind of the young has a special energy. The energy of the young is its thirst for the experiences that will make it old.

It will be a while before it will freeze in the confusions of individuality, competition and comparisons --triple promises blazed in the neon lights of our being.

In response I wrote:

It is so beautiful. Often I feel proud that I know you. And I quoted Bertrand Russell:

"Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river — small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being."

His response:

A true and poetic friend. A keeper of the conscience. Maybe we could trace some more thoughts along the trajectory of Russell.

The river merges with the sea, which evaporates to become the black clouds with heavy udders condensing into saltless water that nourishes the life on this insignificant earth at the fringes of a minor galaxy among the trillions floating in a fathomless world--a proud life which crumbles to dust to make way for the new life sprouting from dust, water and sun! What an exhilarating mystery. What a cosmic celebration.

And in the eons of the universes upon universes, greater than all the grains of sands, the saga is not even a blink!

The individual was NEVER important.

I wrote back:

In everyone's life come a time like a waterfall. Rabindranath Tagore writes, "One morning I stood on the veranda and looked ....the sun was rising from behind the leaves ...As I stood there and looked, suddenly, in a moment, the curtain fell from my eyes. I looked, and saw the world and this earth enveloped in an astonishing glory, everything swaying in joy and beauty. Piercing in one moment through the many layers of dejection in which my heart was covered, my entire inner self was scattered in the light of the universe. On that day itself, Nirjharer swapnabhanga seemed to flow out of me like a waterfall.”

I continued..."That very day the poem, The Awakening of the Waterfall, gushed forth and coursed on like a veritable cascade. The poem came to an end, but the curtain did not fall upon the joy aspect of the Universe. And it came to be so that no person or thing in the world seemed to me trivial or unpleasing. A thing that happened the next day or the day following seemed specially astonishing."

Tagore wrote the poem in 1884. From there on there was a continual stream of poems.

Similar thing happened with Wordsworth when he was 14. He writes in his seventies, "The moment was important in my poetical history for I date from it my consciousness of the infinite variety of natural appearances which had been unnoticed by the poets of any age or country."

Individuals may not be important, but individual moments are. Recall the moment you wrote those lines. Perhaps many waterfall moments have come to your life, perhaps one of them was when you wrote those lines ...

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon

© 2017 by Dr Purnendu Ghosh