A lotus in the mud

A lotus in the mud

Recently I came across not one but two stories that underscored the fact that the notion of squabbling over mundane matters takes away from us the pleasure of being enlivened by some very fine things.

In one story a man finds that the house he lived in needed reinforcement. The walls were falling apart. While probing ways to resolve his dilemma he found that the land he owned had well-shaped rocks and stones that could be used to renovate his home.

He, however, used the rocks and stones to build a tower next to his house. The neighbours and even his own family members began to criticize him.

“Why would you build a tower instead of fixing your home”? they ask. “His mind is probably unstable”, they said. The man listened to all this with equanimity and continued to build the tower.  A sage crossing the village expressed his desire to meet the man who was building a tower.

“Why the tower when your house is in such an obvious need for repair”? he asked. The man took the sage to the topmost level of the tower and said, “I’m not going to let petty reasons and words keep me away from the view of the ocean, the rest can wait”. Both the sage and man then quietly looked at the halcyon ocean from the top of the tower. 

An eagle is said to obtain its glory from the way it manages the storms in its life. It responds to the pecks of a raven in a befitting manner.

A raven is said to be the only bird who dares to sit on the eagle’s back and jab at its neck. The eagle, however, is above this trivial altercation and does not let this instigation disturb its calm. It begins to fly higher and as it gains altitude, the raven finds it harder to breathe the thin air that the eagle can take in its stride. Eventually, the raven falls down asphyxiated.

When faced with criticism or petty demands on our time and energy, we can either justify ourselves to others or elevate ourselves such that explanation becomes redundant.
A lotus does not need words; the muddy waters are obliterated by its beauty.