Sunday, September 7, 2014

Transience of human life, as Nature demonstrates!

Photo of flowers on the veranda of my house

A few days back, I and my wife were in the living room of our house chatting over a cup of tea when she spotted a sparrow hover around the flower plants on the veranda. She suddenly rushed out to drive off the bird but when the bird left, she saw a freshly plucked flower on the floor. She found the culprit. She had been wondering who was plucking the flowers from time to time. But there wasn’t anything we could do to prevent it in the future.

I asked her for the flower which was lying on the floor and I held it in my hand. As I held it, I wondered how just a few seconds ago, it was joyfully clinging to its mother, dancing to the cool breath of Nature with full of life and music. Now it’s removed from its family and its world just in a flash of seconds. It’s true that we also exist like flowers, blooming throughout the peak of our season, not realizing when and from which directions will sparrows or for that matter, any creature/object will come to destroy us. So for me, it was another great lesson from Nature that reminded me of the transience of human existence.

I feel that Nature is the greatest teacher who constantly teaches us good lessons but it’s sad that only a few of us pay attention to what it demonstrates to us. All our great Lamas, gurus, priests and religious leaders teach us theories while Nature demonstrates them. A dry leaf feebly clinging to the branch waiting to be blown off even by a light gust of wind, bees spending their entire life collecting nectar to make honey only to be robbed by human beings and wild animals, a fallen tree that has been deserted by birds and animals for whom it had provided a shelter when it was alive, green and strong, all show that nothing is permanent in this world. If we can really observe the drama of Nature carefully, there is a huge chunk of lessons we can learn and embed them to our life.

Photo of an ant carrying a dry leaf

Sometime ago, I was reading a story on the internet about a wealthy man who had learnt a big lesson from the ant. As the man was sitting on his balcony sipping a cup of coffee, he spotted an ant moving from one side of the balcony to the other side carrying a big dry leaf. He kept observing the ant as it struggled to make its way forward with the leaf. At one point, he noticed that there was a crack, certainly too big for the ant to cross it over. He patiently kept observing the ant. When it arrived at the crack, the ant paused for a while and to the surprise of the man, it pushed the leaf across the crack, crossed it over to the other side of the hole and pulled on the leaf and continued. It was a fantastic demonstration of Nature’s power and creativity. The ant kept moving towards a corner of the balcony from where it had to go down to its final destination. But when it reached the small hole at the corner of the balcony, it was confused how to squeeze through the hole with the leaf. The poor creature tried to push and pull the leaf into the tiny hole, but couldn’t succeed. Finally, it had to go alone leaving behind the leaf which it had brought up to that point with great pain and struggle. Despite so much hard work, the poor ant had to get to its final destination empty-handed. The man learned a big lesson from this observation. We live as though we would never die and struggle throughout our life trying to accumulate wealth and power, not realizing that after all, we will have nothing to take with us when we leave for our grave. This is a universal truth of life. Some people say God conveys his messages to us through Nature, and sometimes I think it’s true. There’s no wonder why some people still worship unique rocks and trees as Gods.


  1. and for us you are Nature's messenger :)

  2. Amrith sir, I agree with you the lessons that nature teaches on us, everyone. Your story about the ant is embedded with lesson. Similarly, your realization over cup of teach chit chat is a every moment think-think we need to do. It's always good to be reminded of immortality. Thanks.

  3. A good reminder again on life n impermanence. reminded me of a saying I heard long time back which says, "Man is mortal, it's his fate.He pretends to b immortal, it's his sin ".it's funny tat we live as if to live forever, not knowing tat death awaits us everywhere, every moment . Ignorance...I believe is the biggest barrier.