Friday, July 12, 2019

The Story of a Falling Leaf

Article in Kannada by:  Subrahmanya Somayaji
English Rendering by: Bhashyam M Ramachandrachar 

This is a story from the Puraanas. Yayaati was the son of the famous king Nahusha. Kachadeva was the son of devaguru Bruhaspati. Both were friends and study-mates. Yayaati’s mind was turned towards enjoying the pleasures of senses whereas Kacha was focused on the joy of the inner self far behind the senses. Once, the two friends were strolling in the ashram of the great sage Angirasa. A soft breeze swept the trees and a ripe leaf from a Kesar tree floated towards the ground. Kacha picked up the leaf and exclaimed “Oh exquisite, you do not need to lament your end. You gave beauty to the tree while you lived and you gave shade to many. When your strength ebbed, you let go of your position and gave way to another young one. What a useful and detached life your’s has been! Your place is secure in the heavens.” What a view of life! Every day, how many do not witness a falling leaf? How many observe and contemplate on the great hidden meaning thus? Did not the leaf fall in front of Yayaati too? But his thoughts were not as sublime. Does the incidence of leaf-fall not inspire our lives to be truly useful and unattached?

In this impermanent body of ours, the stages of infancy, childhood, youth and aging are but natural. In such a body there exists an eternal and effulgent spring. Discovering this through experience leads to peace and unbounded joy. If we restrict our focus to this ephemeral body then misery is inevitable. That does not mean we neglect this body. We need to live happily like that leaf and fulfil our role. We need to discern the difference between temporary and the permanence and subjugate the fleeting to the eternal. If we learn this art like our great sages did, our life would be meaningful. Incidences like that of the falling leafabound in nature. We should have the wisdom and patience to learn from these and brighten our lives.

In our country, the life filled with peace and joy was fostered by our sages who understood nature through their eternal inner light. The culture of our country, Bhaarat, is rich with such grand views on life. When someone asked whether life had any purpose, SriRanga Mahaguru had replied that life not only has purpose but has a supreme ultimate goal too. Such expressions originate when one has a true understanding of the panorama of life from its evolution to dissolution. In the pantheon of our sages, there were many who discovered profound truths by contemplating on instances in nature like that of a falling leaf. Let us pray to God to help us travel through our life’s odyssey in the light of the lofty objectives and thoughts of our sages.

Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs