Art of Life

An extract from my autobiographical memoir, On the Loom of Time pp. 3, 33 (see the Homepage of www.shivakantjha.org)

I have felt life just a sparrow’s temporary sojourn in the space we call our world. The imagery of a sparrow’s sojourn is a powerful ‘objective correlative’. to express what human life is. Lord Krishna considers it so (the Bhagavadgita 11.28), and Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone has even called his autobiography A Sparrow’s Flight. I would revisit this profound imagery several times in this Memoir…….

When we reflect over the roots of the Sansarvrikhsa, spreading with branches and leaves luxuriating down below, we are amazed at the sublime creativity of God. Mind goes to the stimulating idea of Prof Gould who said: “Homo sapiens as a tiny, effectively accidental, late-arising twig on an enor­mously arborescent bush of life”. Persons come, spend sometime in the Sansarvriksh and than leave for some unknown abode. The birds come, create their nests, and then they desert them, or see them wither, without qualms. The idea underlying the process is beautifully stated in the Bhagavad-Gita (11.28)

avyaktadini bhutani
vyaktamadhayani  bharata
avyaktanidhananyeva
tatra ka paridevand

[Being are unmanifest in their beginnings, manifest in the middles and unmanifest again in their ends, O Bharata (Arjuna), What is there in this for lamentation?]

It is interesting to note that whilst writing his Ecclesiastical History, the Venerable Bede (672-735) expressed similar ideas thus:

“Such O king, seems to me the present life on earth, as if…………….. on

a winter’s night a sparrow should fly swiftly into the hall and, coming in one door, instantly fly out through another …. Somewhat like this appears the life of man. But of what follows or what went before we are utterly ignorant.”

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