“As a mother watches over her child,
Willing to risk her own life to protect her only child,
So with a boundless heart, should one cherish all living beings,
Suffusing the whole world with unobstructed loving-kindness.”
– Metta Sutta (of Theravada Buddhism)
The Concourse is an office complex located on Technology Drive, between Airport Pkwy and Skyport Dr. in San Jose. If you ever happen to be in the area, be sure to visit a water sculpture called Melquiades by Roger Berry 1(727 Technology Dr.). A pump lifts the water from a pool and lets it spill out to the east and the west from a central spout. On the West side, the water falls in thick sheets over large concrete steps, creating a very masculine boom. On the opposite side of the spout, the east side, the water runs down like a gentle brook over numerous small bricks, producing a very feminine murmur. The water sculpture is a favorite break spot for the office complex tenants. When I worked in the complex many years ago, I had spent many an hour admiring the sculpture. I would whimsically think during my visits that the two water falls that emerged from a single central spout, went their opposite ways in dramatically different fashion, but finally came together again at the base were symbolic of the emergence from, and return to, a single divine principle or consciousness by the myriad life forms on Earth.
Our planet is covered with living things that cover a wide spectrum of consciousness from the grossest to the subtlest. The grossest expression of life energy is in plants; they live rooted to a spot on earth and are unaware of anything but sunshine, soil, water and insects.
Life in the animal kingdom is marked by its mobility; be it fish, fly, snake, bird or bison, it is no longer tethered to one spot on earth. Animal life still retains the gross impulses for survival and its obeisance to the rhythms of nature, but the finer tendencies for family bonds and social life are evident even among insects. The folds of life that shroud the consciousness within are lighter; the texture of the consciousness within is beginning to shine through. And finally with humans, consciousness achieves its boldest and most divine expression yet. We express it in our pursuit of happiness, in our seemingly irreconcilable desires for the bonds of love as also for bondless freedom, and, in our incessant quest for the meaning of life itself. If the divine impulses within humans get any stronger, they will surely be angels or Gods?
Of all human endeavors, perhaps none has greater universal appeal than music.
And of all human emotions, perhaps none is more natural than parental love.
The verses of Oscar nominated Pi’s Lullaby written and sung by Bombay Jayashree to music by Mychael Danna is a celebration of love through poetry and music. Jayashree sings:
“Oh my precious child, pearl of my eyes,
Are you the peacock or its dance?
Are you the nightingale or its song?
Are you the moon or its shine?
Are you the eye or its dream?
Are you the flower or its honey?
Are you the fruit or its sweetness?
Sweet dreams, gentle child!”
The mother’s heart struggles to find an image that is fit to receive the blossoms of love that spring forth at the sight of her child’s face. Note how the author each time picks an object but immediately moves towards a transient, intangible quality of the object. Is the translucent shine of the moon the more rightful image than the moon itself? Is the flighty dream in the eye better than the eye? This progression from the gross to the fine is appealing to us because we innately know that the subtler objects are the better expressions of the divine.
Love is consciousness at its subtlest, the divine pinnacle of human emotion. Love is gentle but forceful, powerful but humble. Love is simple, natural and universally accessible, requiring no special skills or training. All religions extoll the virtues of love.
St. Paul, an early follower of Jesus wrote in one of his epistles, “faith, hope and love are the great virtues, but the greatest is love.”
It is normal and natural to love one’s own child as if it is the whole World. Everyone does that, even insects do it. But to love the whole World as if it is one’s own child – no matter the ugliness that resides along side the beauty, the ferociousness in it as well as its tranquility, the violence in it as well as the peace – is the rare and Godly achievement of a few Great Souls, yes Mahatmas, like Gandhiji and Mother Teresa. Truly blessed are those among us whose Consciousness has evolved to such sublime levels that they see themselves in the whole World and the whole World in them. They seem to have realized that the World, however gross or fine it might be, is all divine!
Truly blessed are those among us who’s consciousness has evolved to such sublime levels that they can love the whole world like it is their child!
Jojy Michael dedicates this piece to all Great Teachers, and to Great Music, which for him is currently personified in the soothing, uplifting voice of Bombay Jayashree.