Bannanje Govindacharya is a great Sanskrit scholar. A few months ago I came to know that his lectures on the Ramayana, The Gita, Mahabharata and on many other interesting topics are available on YouTube. I like listening to them. In one of his lectures on the Ramayana, he speaks about how the epic poem came to be composed. Once a hunter killed a male Krauncha bird while it was with its mate. Valmiki was very angry and cursed the hunter. Later he regretted his hasty action and reflected on it. His reflection led to the composition of the Ramayana. Govindacharya explains how a single incident (in this case killing of the bird) is seen differently by different people. For the hunter the dead bird is merely food, whereas for Valmiki it is deeply emotional subject. That thought remained in my mind.
Later in the morning I was gazing up into the sky and saw three birds gliding far above. It was such a graceful sight. Looking at them a chain of thoughts followed. I was reminded of these lines which I had read long ago. I do not know who wrote them: “Fly away little bird, fly high but keep your feet on the ground.”
These words brought to mind two youngsters who are achieving their dreams. My parents lived in a small town near Mangalore till 2015. They have a house and land there which they purchased in 1980. My father retired from the Indian Railways in 1986. They lived there for almost thirty years. There is a little house on the property adjacent to their home. Over the years many people have lived there as tenants. For the past ten years, a single family has been in residence. These people are not well-off, but are very hard-working and honest. They look after the whole property since my mother lives alternately with my brother and with us.
The tenants have two children who were in school when they came to live in that place. My parents helped to educate them. With financial and emotional support they have studied well and have good jobs now. They believe strongly that the turning point in their lives came when they started living in that small house. There are always turning points in the lives of most people.
I kept watching the birds and wondered how they fly in such a compact v-formation. How did they learn this? This thought brought to mind images of our granddaughter who has just completed one year. We saw her trying to get up without support. She would try again and again, flopping down after a minute. In a few days she mastered the art of standing up without support. It is ironic that as we grow older we forget and take for granted what we have learnt with so much persistence. A few months ago my brother asked me if I could manage to get up without support from the ground. I could not. I have learnt to do so now. After learning to stand, the little one took two steps forward, balancing herself by keeping her arms outstretched. Each day she walked a little more. She was so excited and her brother more so. He would shout and tell us that she was walking. 😊 We were all thrilled to see her walking behind a ball and kicking it. So many changes!
All these thoughts came to mind as I saw birds fly away into the distance. I wondered where they were going. I think the same when I see trains rushing away or aeroplanes disappearing into the distance. There is no limit to our imagination.
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
― Albert Einstein
Bannanje Govindacharya – Wikipedia