23/02/2015 8:14 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

5 Life Lessons From Water


II Aapsu me somo Abraveedantarvishwani bheshejah II

"Within the waters, Soma has thus told me, dwell all the balms that heal".

Rig Veda I.23.20

The body thrives on what it is made up of. There's no greater truth than that which is the simplest one. Our quest for meanings, answers and reasons assumes convoluted dimensions and hence ends up with similar results. The simpler truth has always pointed in the direction of the five elements, and that is exactly where 'God' lies. The Vedas and Upanishads have long emphasised this. The five elements or the panch bhootas - apah (water), vayu (air), tejas (fire), prithivi (earth) and akash (ether) - are the essence of all that there is and will be.

Every being or object - the tangible and the intangible - when broken down to its lowest common denominator will present the five elements as its essential ingredients (albeit in different proportions). The Vedic people understood it very well and so did the ancients in different civilisations though they accorded this conception of the world different names, be it the Chinese Feng Shui or the Greek theory of humours.

In the first part of this series, we take a look at the first element that is apah or water. Vedic wisdom has always emphasised that the human body is a microcosm of the universe - 'Yat pinde tat brahmande (you are the universe within the universe)'. No wonder then that just as about 70% of the human body is composed of water, so is 70% of earth's surface. The Vedic texts accorded Varuna, the deity of water, the highest place in the hierarchy.

And there are some truths about the nature of water, which when applied to life, will most certainly help you thrive.

1. Fluidity: Life, just like water is fluid. We are also in constant flow on a continuum of time - from experience to experience. Stagnant water develops a stench over a period of time. Life must flow too, to keep the essence of it alive - that is for the 'spirited' feeling to thrive!

2. It finds a way, always: It doesn't matter if the solution is immediately visible to you or not, life will find a way just like water does - it may cut through, circumvent, overflow, percolate, but it does find a way. It is one of the softest elements but the most persistent. Those who have struggled enough with errant plumbing would understand this best! You only have to look around or stay at it long enough and surely life will find its way just like water.

3. Form and adaptability: It takes the shape of the vessel it's poured into, gets coloured by hues mixed in but essentially remains the same. It is a quick medium and does not get enmeshed with the temporary form. Life's truth is the truth of the spirit - its divinity, its oneness with everything else. Just as water remains true to its essence, life thrives when its truth - manifestation of the spirit - is encouraged.

4. There is nothing that it can't wash away: The song of the mountain stream, the magnificent sight of an ocean, the first shower after a scorching summer, the wave breaking against a rocky shore, the warm shower after a long day, the wondrous joy in an ice lolly - There's nothing, absolutely nothing that water can't wash away - infusing freshness, infusing life.

5. Silent waters run deep: The aphorisms of yesterday may sound clichéd but they have a world of wisdom embedded within. This is a call to sit in silence, for the depths of a rumbling mind can be fathomed only in stillness. The mind is a vast ocean of emotion and your own truth - the golden pearl - lies awaiting in its oyster at great depths.