The River of Existence
The River of Existence
A man who doesn’t know how to swim falls into a river. He looks around for some means to remain afloat to stop being washed away by the strong current of rapidity flowing water. In his desperate attempt to keep alive, he catches hold of anything that comes his way — a log of wood, floating straw, twigs — anything at all. Holding tightly onto this support he survives, but the strong current is carrying him swiftly, along with his supports, towards an unforeseen danger — the great waterfall..
He doesn’t know that a waterfall lies ahead. Will he survive this hazard or will he get trapped in the underwater weeds, or hit his head against a rock, and drown? What if some unseen danger is lurking in the deep water far below; a crocodile or something as menacing?
It would be wise for him to try and get out of the river before reaching the fall, instead of complacently accepting his present situation. He needs to look around now for a rock to get hold of so he could jump to the safety of the river bank. Or grab an overhanging branch. He could then happily return home.
|The River of Existence with Kabir’s Bani/Vaadi/Baani
We, like that unfortunate man, have fallen into this great river of existence. The laws of karma and transmigration are the strong influences that help this river flow constantly. We cannot swim against the forces of these influences and are being carried swiftly and surely towards the Great Fall by their strong currents. The Great Fall is the great wheel of 8,400,000 species through which these laws could take us before we again qualify for a precious human birth.
We too are only partly aware of our situation. We might know that we must be saved but how and from what? Do we still cling onto our relations, possessions and achievements, positions in society, the rites and rituals of our respective religions and so on, hoping they will help us? These ‘supports’ are helpless against the strong currents that are carrying us. If we do not try to find a way out now, while we still have time, we shall soon reach the Great Fall of 84, the end of our existence in the human form. All chances of grabbing that ‘strong sturdy rock’, or ‘overhanging branch’ could be lost for a long time. Will we surface in the human form again, or will we become trapped in some lower form of existence for a long time?
The Lord, through his immense grace, always sends guides in the human form to whom people can talk and understand when he explains the means to salvation. If we listened, the loving guide will make us aware of our situation: we are warned against the great dangers that lie ahead if we do not take appropriate measures to save ourselves. The guide reveals the path back home: how to adjust our lifestyles so we don’t add to our burden of karma and the correct method of meditation that facilitates our deliverance.
These are guides up and down the riverbank. Our guide will reach out to us and hold on to our arm with a firm grip. He will be forever by our side and will never leave or even loosen his grip until we are safely on the firm ground, ready to be taken to the loving embrace of the Lord. All we need to do is to trust and obey him.