Bliss at Sathimure

October 31, 2018.

You have been climbing for three hours. Every pore of your skin is sweating. Your legs are tired. Your head is spinning. You are still conscious of not slipping down the narrow foot trail. There are small round seeds that have fallen off the tress beside the trail. They threaten your existence. The peak is just “there” but you can’t seem to reach it. The peak is just at an elevation of thousand metres, and it takes your breath away. “What if it was Mount Everest?” you ask.

One of your friends, Anish, climbed a five-thousand metre peak last year, above the Everest Base Camp. “It was cold. I felt my fingers would fall off. But once I reached the peak, I forgot all the pain.”

‘This is not even a tenth of the harshness of close to the Everest’, you think. Your spirit lifts up a little. Legs drag you up better than they had a couple of minutes back. But your lungs are not helping. Your low stamina hampers your movement.Luckily, your friends are in your support. They themselves are tired, but they do not lose the hope of reaching the peak. The hope of finding the target village-Sathimure.

***

Your climb began from Mugling—an old hub connecting Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan with three of your friends: Anil, Anish and Ishwor. The town is at the altitude of about 180 m from the mean sea level,well-developed, full of life. Your twenty-eight years old topographic map shows a foot-trail leading to the village in question. The policemen show you a road. It looks easy, but it’s long. ‘How long will you have to walk?’ you discuss with your friends. You and your friends decide to take a foot trail if possible.

You are not hiking. It’s a geological exploration. You measure the rock orientation, wonder at the folds you see and imagine the amount of stress the region might have undergone. You know these rocks tell the history of the evolution of the Himalayas over a million years. These mountains are not as tall as the mighty mountain peaks that are popular as the Himalayas or Great Himalayas. You call them Lesser Himalaya, but reaching its peak is tough. More so, when you realize you have to climb up another two hundred metres and climb down to Kalikhola if you are to make an accurate geological map. But you lack time, and you make a rush.

You realize your stamina has lowered because of eating and sleeping for the last couple of months. You are panting. You take long breaths. Nothing helps. You have not walked a mile and you have felt the heat. You strip off your jacket. Your body balances heat by sweating. You reach a shade. The sweat cools you. After a rest, you don’t want to move. Yet you carry your legs forward. “Return back if you can’t,” your friends suggest. It’s a good advice. One person should not slow the group. Yet your ego gets hurt. You can’t give up before it has begun.

You ask help from the locals. Most of them are girls. Some help, some don’t. It’s a cultural thing. Villagers don’t trust city men. Girls are told to shy away from men in most of the occasions. Male-female interaction is still spied in the cities. Anyway, you find help and catch a foot-trail, width decreasing with each footstep.

You don’t find villages along the trail. One house at an interval of about one-hundred metres climb. They have farms and gardens. You and your friends express desire to reach Kalikhola. The locals say it’s a dangerous path. Three people died some months back. You and your friends are scared. Safety comes before the map. Your teachers did not expect you to go all the way. You give up the thought of completing the track. Had you been allowed to stay for a day at Sathimure, you could have hit the target. But you have restrictions. You decide to reach the village, at least.

A garden somewhere in the route

***

“Look out for the real trail,” Anish calls. Foot-trail has forked. Each time you saw a fork, you made a unanimous decision: “Take the route that goes up.” This time, the up-going trail looks dangerous. Ishwor says the other path goes nowhere. “Are we stuck?” you fear. Anil goes up the dangerous route, reaches the peak and calls out. You follow. The ground is slippery and covered with grass. You don’t know where you are stepping. “Goats would not climb this,” your friends behind you tell. You are attacked by ants.One last step. And you reach the top. You lose yourself for a moment. At that moment, you have become victorious over the mountain. You feel blessed.

A little farther, you see what you had been longing for. Sathimure. A small village. A place where you have found solace in it even from the distance. Bamboos, oranges, cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables. A farming village. That’s what you wanted all day.

The village has less than twenty houses—small, all of them painted in blue and red. The people are amicable. Your group wants to buy some oranges. They don’t fix a price. “Give whatever amount you want to give.” These people have hardships. There is some help from the NGOs but the nearest town, Mugling, is miles downhill. There is no good road. They have to buy everything.Yet, they are generous. They don’t take our offer for granted. They believe in emotional relationship, not commercial. They give you noodles. You longed for it but can’t help wonder that noodles have made way into even in a village that small.You eat anyway. The taste reminds you of home.

***

You begin to descent. There was an error in the map. You have decided to correct it. Sitting upon a ground facing north, you look at the Great Himalayas, the Lesser Himalayas, and the miniature town of Mugling. You can’t see a human from that height. You feel lost. “Humans might have built civilizations and have dreamt of exploring other planets but we are microscopic in the universe. If a portion of the Earth is this big, how big the Earth is! And it is not even the largest planet.” The extent of universe amazes you. It’s not for the first time, though. The universe has always fascinated you. Geology was one way you thought that would help you understand the universe.

Mugling viewed from Sathimure

The walk downhill takes two hours. The villagers at Sathimure had told it would take about forty-five minutes. “Time is relative,” you begin to understand. They have lived their whole lives going up and down the hill. Their legs have strengths your legs do not. They are faster because they have lived with the mountain. You see school children going up and get a stronger proof.

When the journey ends, you are satisfied. You might not have met all your goals but you made memories. You have learnt something. You have something to tell others. You have stories for your children and grandchildren.

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Who teaches her?

I am astounded every time I look at her. She moves with grace and agility, plays with the table tennis ball as she should play with a mouse (and like a pro footballer), and jumps like an athlete. She grabs a piece of rag and drags it around. She smells the ground and discovers every corner of the house. She covers up her liquid and solid excreta. When she is hungry, she looks up, her eyebrows narrow, and cries, “Myau Myau”. Except during such hunger and times she’s irritated, this little tabby kitten understands the instructions we give her. Who teaches her to do all these things she does?

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Billy on the stack of chairs

I met her first the first time in November with her twin. Their mother had left them after keeping them in a drum under the stairs. They were crying. We waited for their mother’s return but that cat did not return. We kept them in a box and started feeding them with milk in a bottle. The nutrition in the dairy milk we get is non-existent. The twins survived but were malnourished. We named them Lily and Billy.

Even when they were malnourished, Billy was the smarter among the two. She had figured out how to jump out of the box, how to play with her sibling and how to irritate her. Life was going on pretty good for them until two weeks later when their mother came back with two other kittens. Would she recognize and accept Lily and Billy and take them away? We thought it would be good if she did and at that, we made the mistake we should never have.

We showed the cat Lily and Billy on our roof. They were smaller than the other kittens she had brought but she seemed to recognize them from their scent. She wanted to take Billy first but the kitten was too stubborn and reluctant. She did not let the cat carry her. Lily too resisted but she was not as smart as her twin. The cat caught her scruff and took her away.

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Lily and Billy the day before they were separated

The mother cat came back again. We decided to give up Billy as well. We did not know whether Lily-Billy could survive. Even if they died, it would be nice if they died together, we thought. After an effort of more than half an hour, the cat took Billy away. A little farther, she could not carry Billy. She was still struggling to get away. The cat tried her best to take her away but when she could not, left her. Billy cried alone on that balcony for more than an hour in front of our sight before we decided we would now adopt her as long as she wants to stay with us.

Meanwhile, the cat took away the fourth kitten and never returned for the kitten. She came back a few times to steal milk and we haven’t seen her for more than a fortnight now.

Now Billy is with us on her own. And she has learnt everything her instinct allows her. When she was with her twin, we thought they learnt together but even when this tabby is alone, she has learnt everything on her own. Who teaches her? I tried to know the answer. I discussed with my parents and my sister.

Does Nature teach her? How, though? Could Billy’s genes have carried her natural instincts and behaviours? Does the DNA carry all the things she needs for survival?

It’s strange to note that humans have very few individual survival instincts. We are not as agile as the cat, we don’t have the physical strength they have. We don’t even cover up our excreta as a natural instinct. It’s a learned social behaviour. Why does a cat have more survival instincts and more unique natural behaviours than a human? Aren’t we vain in saying that we are the smartest or the most intelligent creature on the planet? I have seen the kitten picking up our language before we picked up hers. How are we the only sapient beings? And finally, I came to the question that has intrigued people for ages: why are we here thriving (not just surviving) against all odds?

Humans are physically weak. We don’t have strong legs like that of the felines and canines. We don’t have strong teeth and claws to hunt. We don’t have a thick hide to protect us from cold. We don’t even have furs. The only strength we have is our large head (more than 2 kgs), which is also an evolutionary liability.

Yet, it is in our head the brain lies and it has the ability to analyze the world like no other creature in the world. We are the only creatures that can understand the secret of this world and that of the universe. Only we can alter our natural instinct of fear to compassion.

Are we really thriving to understand the real secrets of our lives, how we originated and to care for the lives around us, to coexist with every living being in harmony? Eastern philosophers and poets of my own country have answered “Yes” to the question.

But is there any force or energy that compels us to survive, to contemplate and to understand? Why is the Nature the way it is? Why is the cat the way she is? What is the source of the chaotic order that rules the Earth? I have come to believe in the existence of that energy that has created this chaotic order. I have now come to believe this energy is the God–the Creator, the Caretaker and the Destroyer.

In these two months, the cats have taught me a lot of things about life and the way we behave and feel. And we can’t always control everything that happens. We make mistakes we can’t amend. We don’t know what happened to Lily but Billy continues to grow and to impress. She is here in my house with a purpose–to teach me about other living beings, including humans.

The Faults in our God

It is said sinful to put a debate on God. May I be punished for the sins I will be doing here!

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The question I think of often, “Did God create us or did We create gods?” There are ample evidences for the latter while there is a huge amount of speculation for the former. Yet people seem to believe in some supreme force that governs them. There are also people who dare to challenge the Divine Authority. I find myself in the middle.

How can someone be in the middle of believing and not believing God? You might be thinking. Well, that’s where I am. Sometimes I believe in God so much that every inexplicable/unexplained thing becomes Divinity. Take the origin of life (not evolution), for example. Sometimes I doubt God so much that every progress in human-induced. For example, the technological progress is the best thing humans (especially the Western World) have done. I am really confused about the existence of God.

But in the Geeta, God is said to “exist and not exist” at the same time, that God is “as small as microbes and as huge as universe”, that God is both “the creator and the destroyer Himself”. If God preaches duality, maybe I am following his path of duality at the moment. Maybe it is that fault I am unwilling to accept.

God is said to balance both Good and Evil within Himself. He is said to possess both physicality as well as spirituality and he is said to create everything visible and invisible (let’s not get into destruction right now). So, we should possess both the Good and Evil within us. We should have similar physicality and spirituality as that of God; that we should be able to tell right from wrong. And we should be able to tell differences between God and god.

You might have recognized that I have been writing “God” and “god” in different senses. If not; by God, I am talking about the Omnipresent, the Omnipotent and the Omniscient Being: the “Creator”. By gods, I mean the ones created by Humans. To God, death is “soul changing its body” like we change our clothes. (Hence, no emotions!) To a god, death is emotional. Shiva mourning for Sati is an example. A god is driven by passion, like Indra seducing Ahilya. And God is not jealous as Indra envies kings.

But I am confused again. If God created us and if We have created gods; and if we have all qualities of God and god have all our features, aren’t gods the same as God? Shouldn’t God be as emotional, as passionate and as jealous (if not more) as us and our gods? Are the faults in me (or those in God) confusing me?

गौतम बुद्ध: जन्म, कर्म र हाम्रो धर्म

सिद्धार्थ गौतमको जन्मका सम्बन्धमा
करिब २६४० वर्ष अघि बैशाख पूर्णिमाको रातमा यस धर्तिमा अवतरण लिएका थिए सिद्धार्थ गौतमले रानी मायादेवीको कोखबाट- लुम्बिनीमा । विभिन्न कालखण्डमा त्यो पवित्र भूमि विभिन्न देशभित्र पर्‍यो । वर्तमानमा त्यो क्षेत्र नेपालको सिमानाभित्र पर्दछ । लुम्बिनी संरक्षणको दायित्व अहिले नेपालीको काधमा छ । तर त्यसको अर्थ बुद्ध ‘नेपाली’ थिए भन्ने होइन । बुद्धलाई कुनै एउटा देशको नागरिक बनाउन इतिहास र नैतिकता दुवैले दिँदैनन्[१] ।

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यो विज्ञान प्रविधिको युग हो । यस युगमा हरेक विषयमा तथ्य केलाइन्छ । बुद्धकालिन कला, संस्कृति, लेखोटका आधारमा लुम्बिनी नै सिद्धर्थ गौतमको जन्मथलो थियो भन्ने प्रमाणित भइसकेको छ । उनको यात्राको बाटो पनि पहिल्याइ सकेका छन् इतिहासकारहरूले । उनको जन्ममितिमा भने एकमत छैन । खोज गर्नै पर्ने विषय जन्ममिति हो, जन्मस्थल होइन ।

बुद्धको जन्मथलोको विकासको “गुरु योजना” २८ वर्षअघि बनेको रहेछ । आजको मितिसम्म योजनाले पूर्णता पाएको छैन । केही संरचना बनेका छन् तर ती पर्याप्त छैनन् । बौद्धहरूको चार धाममध्ये प्रमुख लुम्बिनीको विकासमा किन ढिलाइ ? २९ वर्षको उमेरमा त सिद्धार्थले राजपाट त्यागि सकेका थिए, सम्यक ज्ञानको खोजी गर्न । हामी बुद्ध भूमिका संरक्षकहरू किन आफ्ना व्यक्तिगत स्वार्थ त्याग्न सक्दैनौँ ? उनले बाटो देखाइ दिएकै थिए त ।

सिद्धार्थ र बुद्धका कर्मका सम्बन्धमा

सिद्धार्थको बाल्यकाल सुखसयलमा बितेको थियो । राजा (गणनायक?) सुद्धोधनले वातानुकुलित तीनवटा महल बनाइदिएका थिए भनिन्छ । यद्यपि भौतिक सुखले उनलाई छुन सकेन । मैले सानो छँदा एउटा कथा पढेको थिएँ, जुन यस्तो छ-

हरेक वर्ष रोपाइँ सुरु गर्नाका खातिर हलो चलाउन किसानका खेतमा जान्थे । उनलेे छ वर्षका सिद्धार्थलाई साथ लगेका थिए । रोपाइँको तामझाम छोडेर सिद्धार्थ चाहिँ एक्लै बसिरहेका थिए । वरपर कुदिरहेका कमिला हेरेर रमाइरहेका बेला एउटा छेपारोले तिनलाई खान थाल्यो । फेरि हेर्दाहेर्दै एउटा सर्पले त्यो छेपारोलाई निल्यो । एकैछिनमा, त्यो सर्प पनि बाजको आहारा बन्यो । प्रकृतिको समिपमा त्यस्तो अनौठो चक्र देखेपछि उनी गम्भीर हुन थाले । प्रकृतिमा यस्तो नियम किन छ भनेर सोच्न थाले । मनमा आउने दार्शनिक सोच हटाउनकै लागि ती तीन महल बनाइएका थिए । तर सिद्धर्थ प्रकृतिमा फर्किन चाहन्थे । २९ वर्षको उमेरमा उनी फेरि प्रकृतिमा फर्किए । उनले रोगी, वृद्ध र मृत देखे [२]। उनलाई त्यही दिन थाहा भयो पहिलो आर्य सत्य- दु:ख छ । त्यो दु:ख निवारण गर्न सकिन्छ कि सकिँदैन भन्ने विषयको ज्ञान प्राप्त गर्नु नै उनको लक्ष्य थियो जसका लागि उनले व्यक्तिगत स्वार्थको त्याग गरे । लक्ष्यमा सफल भएका कारण बुद्धका नामले चिनिए ।

दु:खका कारण र निवारणको माध्यम पत्ता लागेपछि उनका मनमा विचार आयो- ‘मैले पत्ता लगाएका कुराहरू अरूलाई सुनाऊँ या नसुनाऊँ । कसैले सुन्ला मेरा कुरा ?’ आम मानिसमा हुने प्रश्न उनमा पनि आएका थिए तर उनले कोशिश गरे । बोधगयामा उनलाई तपस्यामा साथ दिएका दुईजना अनि कुशिनगरमा भेटिएका तीनजनालाई उनले आफ्नो खोजका बारेमा बताए । उनको बोली मधुर हुँदो हो, सरल अनि लोकको भाषामा प्रवचन दिँदा हुन् । त्यसैले त उनको दर्शनबाट प्रभावित हुनेको सङ्ख्या बढ्दै गयो । संसारभर छरिएका बौद्धमार्गीहरूका आस्थाका केन्द्र हुन् गौतम बुद्ध ।

जन्मबाट होइन, कर्मबाट महान् भइन्छ । सिद्धार्थको जन्म राजकुलमा भए पनि संसारले उनलाई ज्ञानको अद्भुत खानीका रूपमा चिन्दछ । जन्मका आधारमा त उनी क्षत्रिय हुनुपर्ने, युद्ध गर्नु पर्ने तर उनले साधक भएर शान्तिको सन्देश दिए[३] । कर्मले महान् भएका बुद्धलाई म मनैदेखि नमस्कार गर्दछु ।

हाम्रो धर्म
मेरो विचारमा उचित कर्म नै धर्म हो । सिद्धार्थ गौतमको धर्म थियो चार आर्य सत्यको ज्ञान हासिल गर्नु, बुद्धको धर्म थियो जनजनलाई आफूले पाएको ज्ञान बाँढ्नु । बुद्धले त्यो ज्ञान नबाँढेका भए के हामी उनको चर्चा गर्थ्यौँ होला ? तर हाम्रो धर्म चर्चा गर्नु मात्रै होइन । हाम्रो धर्म त बुद्धका मार्ग र धरोहरको संरक्षण गर्नु हो । बुद्धका संदेशलाई आत्मसात गरेर नै हामीले उनको सम्मान गर्न सक्छौँ ।

[१. महान व्यक्तिहरू कर्मले चिनिन्छन् । जन्म त सबैले लिएका हुन्छन् तर केही मानिस मात्रै सत्कर्मका कारण प्रख्यात हुन्छन् । यस्ता महान व्यक्तिहरूले सधैँ सम्मान पाउँछन्, उनीहरू जुनसुकै देशमा जन्मेका किन नहुन ।
केही वर्षयता नेपालमा बुद्धलाई नेपाली बनाउने क्रेज देखिएको छ । बुद्धको नाम र तस्विर राखेर फोटोशप गरिएका नागरिकता पनि देखिए सामाजिक संजालमा । मन चिसो हुन्छ । हामीले बुद्धको संदेश लिएर शान्ति बाँढ्नु पर्ने हो तर बुद्धलाई नै खिचातानीमा पार्छौँ । नेपाल र भारतका लागि राजनीतिक विषय हुन्- बुद्ध र उनको जन्मस्थल । बुद्धका  शान्ति संदेश रुँदै छन् पुस्तकालयका कुनै कुनामा ।
२. बुद्धचरीत्रमा भवनबाट निस्किएका  सिद्धार्थले तीन दिन तीन मानिसलाई क्रमशः देखे भनिएको छ- वृद्ध, रोगी र शव । कतै सिद्धार्थले एउटै मानिस त देखेका थिएनन् ? पहिलो दिन सायद उनले एउटा बूढो मानिस देखेका थिए । उनले पहिले कहिल्यै वृद्ध नदेखेकाले उनले चासो लिए होला । भोलिपल्ट सायद ज्ञान भयो कि ती वृद्ध रोगी पनि रहेछन् । तेस्रो दिन सायद ती बूढाको मृत्यु भैसकेको थियो । मानिस किन दु:खी छ र मरेर गएपछि अरूलाई पनि दु:खी किन बनाउँछ भन्ने साधारण प्रश्नले सिद्धार्थलाई बुद्ध बन्न प्रेरित गर्‍यो ।
३. बुद्धले मानव शान्ति र विश्व शान्तिको सन्देश दिए । उनले चार आर्य सत्य प्रतिपादन गरे: १) दु:ख छ ; २) दु:खका कारण छन् ; ३) दु:ख निवारण संभव छ ; ४) दु:ख निवारणका लागि अष्टाङ्गिक मार्ग छन् : सम्यक दृष्टि, सम्यक सङ्कल्प, सम्यक वचन, सम्यक कर्म, सम्यक आजीविका, सम्यक व्यायाम, सम्यक स्मृति, सम्यक समाधि ।]

I Believe!

“I believe in luck. Call it fortune, coincidence [or serendipity], I believe in incidents that occur all of a sudden and change the course of life.”
As I was thinking of the above statement from an essay by Nagendra, I knew I had to present instances if I had to bring it up an article. I got them in a magazine. The stories of Buddhi Tamang and Kameshwor Chaurasiya made me believe the statement even more.

Would you have ever thought that a man who was doing labour works could get into movies? That’s Buddhi Tamang. He worked in different places as a porter until someone told him to work at a theatre. Gradually he got into acting and was soon doing dramas. After doing a few movies, he worked in the superhit movie Kabaddi Kabaddi. “Hait,”- the one word that made him famous. His acting was praised by all. He now aims to be a director. All the best Mr. Tamang!

When you have a passion for something it’s better to pursue it. But this did not happen to Kameshwor Chaurasiya. He got involved in stage acting but could not get a chance in the theatre- in Nepal and in India as well. One day he declared himself a failure and started selling ‘chatpate’. His passion came up alive once again when he met Anup Baral, the famous director on the road. Though details were not provided, he got a chance somehow and rose to fame after his work in the movie Resham Filili.

Call them fortune, universal conspiracy or Maktub (as Coelho says in ‘The Alchemist’) or ‘lekhaanta'(in Nepali) I believe in instances of sudden change in fortune. This dangerously means loss as well although I have mentioned gain here.

***

I believe in God. As a student of science, I should not just believe in God. I should be able to show evidence on God’s existence. But I am not only a student of science. I live in a society that believes in divine power. My parents tell me to have faith in God. In fact, faith is a way of life.

Nepal is known as the home of Gods. Most people believe that the mighty Himalayas and the plain of the Terai are gift of God to the Humans. Living in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal aka the City of Temples, there is no way I can avoid God. If I say I don’t want to believe in God a hundred times, God somehow makes me believe in the Divine existence.

This week I saw in much details the process by which Goddess was invoked into a stone sculpture. Through Tantra-Mantra-Yantra, when the Goddess was said to have entered the statue, we could feel the change in energy. Everything looked beautiful. You could feel the positive vibes of the Mother entering into you. There were smiles everywhere. A transformation of Goddess also promised a transformation of Human hearts.

That’s one way of having a faith in God but I also believe in the existence of all powerful God within us that we often fail to identify.

***

I believe in Love. The soothing feeling while you are with your family, the comfort you feel with your friends, the awesome inexplicable feelings while you meet your lover- Love comes in various forms.

Love is within us and among us. But we fail to recognize it’s presence most of the times. That’s why the Buddha, Christ, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale are special to us. Had there been no Love, the World would have fallen apart. I believe Love is what we live by (just like Tolstoy penned in ‘What Men Live By?’

***

At last:

I believe Love can change our Luck, Luck can help us discover God, God shows us way to Love and Love makes our lives worth living. I believe that if we can invoke God into a stone, there is no way we cannot discover God within us. It’s just matter of time, patience and well doing.

Why I love ‘Temple Run’

Almost everyone who has Android phone must have been acquainted with Temple Run. I do not intend to describe the features of the game (it’s there on Google Play Store and several other websites) but compare it with life.

Life? Does Temple Run have anything related to life? Yes, it has. And I realised it as I was “running” a character on the screen one day. Yep, I was looking at him and (SLAM!) he hit a tree. This was the moment I correlated the game with life for the first time. No matter how much, how fast one runs, death is inevitable. You DIE ultimately!

I, then winded my mind back where the game had started. The race starts as an idol (which is both a blessing and curse) is taken from a “temple”. “Take the idol if you dare,” the game challenges. One can not control their ego and begins the race immediately.

As already said, the idol has a blessing as well as a curse with it. As soon as one takes it, three(?) monkeys start chasing the character. In the sequel, Temple Run 2, one ursine monkey(?) chases. There are perks, however. The more you run and at a faster pace, points and gold increase. But whatever amount you gain, death will come up.

Let’s compare this with life now. The race of life begins once one becomes conscious of lives around them. One starts learning things, then they are sent to schools, colleges, universities and then the race for job begins. There are perks during the race- money, family, friends. But there are also troubles. One might even have to confront enemies. Ultimately one dies.

One thing about the game makes it different from life- “Run Again”. Even after a number of lives, I can make the character “run”, and resurrect. Resurrection and Reincarnation have been described in the Geeta, I am not sure when it will happen. In the game, I can opt for it in no time. This is why I love Temple Run.

Life’s Lessons

यस्तो रहस्यमय जीवन बुझ्नलाई
जानु कहाँ ? पढ्नु के ? गुरु को बनाई ?
फुल्दो गुलाबबिच ज्ञान अनेक फुल्छन्
उद्यानमा बस गई सब तत्व खुल्छन् !
-लक्ष्मीप्रसाद देवकोटा

Where can we learn the secrets of our life? Laxmi Prasad Devkota asks and answers himself, “Go to the Garden and you will find all the answers.”

The Garden here means Nature. There is everything in Nature we can learn. Nature is an open museum. What we need the eyes that analyse the beauty of nature, and that explore the knowledge within Her womb.

One day, I had written, “You see what you want to see. And nothing else.” I have been aided on this by my Teacher’s words, “You see what you know.” There are many things that might have gone unnoticed around us, but other people from far off can be seeing the same thing from some other perspective. Interpretation of what you have seen is equally important.

Life runs in a weird way, and people act in even weirder ways. It’s life that can teach you about life. A closed room that supports internet might teach you many things but to have a firsthand experience, you have to step out. In the words of my friends, “A bird has wings so that it can fly, not confine itself to its nest.”

For the last fifteen days, I was close to the Nature. Call it a tour or an excursion or a camp, whatever it may be called, it was an experience of a lifetime. The Geological tour for B.Sc. 3rd year gave many unforgettable memories.

What could be better than the assemblage of people from all parts of the country at one place? So many cultures, traditions and ethnicities mixed up into one. There was no discrimination, only friendship and love. No one cared if you looked dirty. Everyone was the same. Nobody raised questions on the religion and the customs one followed. No one fought in the name of sex, caste and religion. There was one friendly existence of like-minded people- all devoted to learn the science of the Nature.

There were rows, there were quarrels, there was a fight- which we can never forget. But I am proud to say that it was not in the name of personal biases. The tension the fight caused was immeasurable but the peace that came up later was extraordinary. I personally thank both the boys who were expelled for fighting(sadly)- despite your untimely rage, you acted like men.

Life is not just about the flowering rose. Even with the rose, thorns show themselves up. The task we did was not easy. It was nothing but determination that made us walk almost ten kilometers a day, observing, learning and sweating. Some of us even risked our lives in the quest of knowledge. However the sleep that came up after the hardworking was the best ever. Congratulations to all who accepted the challenge! Keep it up and one day, you will all stand up as wonderful human beings.

The camp was frustrating at times. Hours of work and no approval! We spoke out the frustration to our friends. We worked together. No matter how many times our work was rejected, we worked on to make it better. When we finally came out at the end with the maps, graphs and the reports we had prepared, I remember the smiles we all had. We had finally shown the spirit that we never give up despite all the failures we might have had.

The tour was not only a chance to learn different cultures within the camp but also to know the lives of people around us. Shree Bageshowri H.S.S., where we stayed, showed an excellent example of hospitality. Little students gave up the comforts of their rooms so that we could take a rest in the evenings. The love the villagers showed us, wherever we went was incredible. Their selflessness moved me. Here in city, where people run for money, there they act as humans and believe in humanity.

What else did I learn? For the first time in my life, I studied my friends closely and found that they are not entirely perfect. They have flaws in one way or the other, but they are also the best as humans. And one important thing- teachers are just like us. They have had more experience than us, but they are students in their hearts. They too are not perfect. They too are learners paving paths for the new ones to come up and take up their places.

Finally, life is the only entity that can teach us lives. Thanks to Nature who has given me life and an opportunity to learn about it.