The Cow in the Water

Recently, sitting in the Graduate Cafe near the Cam in Cambridge, I came across a couple of interesting sights. A cow who had fallen into the river and was wading through trying to see how to get out (which it finally did, after calmly wading past the banks that were at a height that was too high for it to move out the river). The other was the sight of a beautiful grey heron on the banks of the Cam near the Darwin College banks. Both had a single message in common, in the world of symbolism, as I felt.

Balance and symmetry.

The idea that the cow, a symbol of prosperity and accumulation in cultures around the world would be wading in a stream of (literal) lucidity showed how aggregation and flow were two part sets of the same process and needed balance to attain equilibrium. It was not as much the getting-out of the water bit that fascinated me as much as the cow in the water. In Vedic culture, the cow represents illumination and knowledge (rather than the literal cow which unfortunately has become the focus of discussions and dialogues related to Vedic and Indian culture, and even a political tool!). Lucidity and illumination are two nuances of the same tale of knowledge and realization of life and the cosmos around. Illumination often arises out of a moment of lucidity. A moment of introspection or understanding. A potent symbol, manifested.

The second symbol, the egret, is a famous one of balance. Of being in the waters (or without) and standing steady, even on one leg at times.

In the contemporary world, the idea of balance and symmetry need to play a big role. The fact that symmetry and balance are not the same thing is highlighted by the idea of asymmetrical balance. Just as equity and equality are not the same thing, balance and symmetry are not the same thing. A group of historically deprived people who are greater in number cannot make do with as much resources or opportunities as those with more historically prosperity but in equal or lesser numbers. The countries that are developing cannot make do with the same amount of carbon emission allowance as.developed countries that have advanced techniques and technology for renewable and environment friendly fuel that don’t entail such emissions. In politics, financially responsible and yet compassionate administration and politics is required. We cannot have too much spending and we cannot have too less.

In life, the balance between knowledge and wealth, between silence and conversation, between the light and the dark, are of utmost importance. One highlights the significance of the other. One complements the other. That seems to be the order of life, the order of nature.

Just some musings on a rainy May Day, with Ma sitting on the side, at the Grad Cafe, Cambridge.


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