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Adi & Praja 060

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Adi and Praja

Chapter 77

Issue 60: The boys’ village life

The priest had left and never returned. But something of his atmosphere seemed still to reside there. In this way evil influences kept away from the village, because they just didn’t feel at home.


[The Boys’ village life]

Shano was a sensitive boy when he was seven or eight, and he felt always some special feeling when he was in that temple – where he preferred to sit alone on the floor. Though he couldn’t explain it, he felt that there was something higher, more beautiful, or calmer there then you ever felt around people. All these stories he only half believed – they almost sounded as an insult to that feeling. He did not go there very often, only sometimes, when he felt in the mood. But the feeling was silently kept in his heart-mind, even when he was not aware of it, and it remained there hidden for ever. Marico didn’t care for the temple because the wood carving wasn’t very refined, but he brought his offerings like everyone else – and he silently hoped that the god would one day give him money also, or at least some sweets. But that never happened.

The family had a small temple at their house also. Every morning just before sunrise mother and father, Marico and Shano would sit there silently for a while, lit some incense and sing a hymn. Shano liked these early mornings. It was cool and absolutely silent except for some birds in the few trees around the houses, and perhaps a buzzing insect or some children getting awake in a distance, some farmer pouring out splattering water from a pot for the buffaloes. There were no power generators, motorbikes, cars, radio’s, televisions or other noisy machines in these days. It was as if you could almost hear the sand, or hear the plants grow, and the air was filled with many kinds of silence. After that, everyone went to his duty.AP 60 Arabian paper wasp AP 60 Panicum nervosum

Apart from working, playing and goat herding, the children learned very well, mainly by imitating the grown-ups – to do nothing at all. For long times Marico and Shano were just sitting, thinking about something, or looking around, until some spider or wasp or other creature would draw their attention. There were ants all around, big ones and small ones, walking over their legs and arms, but all species had in common that they never bit. And they watched the dark brown furred squirrels with beige stripes from shoulder to tail, who never got tired of chasing each other, sometimes jumping high up in the sky or racing up into trees. The boys did not have to go to school. Schools didn’t exist.

Not much did happen in their life. Sometimes a few musicians or dancers who were roaming from village to village would come and perform in the village square. Some were very good, but usually, when they had got their money they would get drunk and keep the whole village sleepless for a rest of the night – at least until they were kicked out by the big boys. Better was when story-tellers came. They limited themselves to a cluster of villages within a circle of no more than twenty miles. So they would come back and continue the story where they had left it the last time. The stories were about heroes, sportive events and right behavior, and always some gods were part of the stories, who could save the situation if from a human point of view everything else had become impossible. Like bringing the best fighter back to life, who would then beat the enemy in one blow. But the gods in the stories would also set examples of good behavior and superhuman justice, such as being absolutely non-violent and always forgiving people who had done them harm, and tolerance for viewpoints of entirely different people from other regions and the gods were always building bridges of understanding between those who differed in view – and thus posed an ideal of how people should behave and reflect upon themselves.

AP 60 indian_palm_squirrel

And, of course, tradesmen from afar would come with rare products, such as fruits not growing in or near the village, or hardware the people couldn’t produce themselves. At such events the village became alive, and the atmosphere was cheerful, but sometimes at night old discords would be fought out and people could even got hurt – what of course gave rise to new discords. One time a group of boys attacked the traders by night and stole everything meant to be sold in the next village. But discords and fights seem sometimes better that boredom, so that’s why it kept happening.

Even when they were doing nothing – just sitting there, looking at squirrels or laying on their backs staring up to the sky or ceiling, or eyes closed, their minds never stopped. Mind always moves. It never really stops even for a second. Only great yogi’s can stop that type of mind entirely, and even then only for some time. If common people like you and me want something, your mind moves there. If you hate something, your mind also moves there. The mind can become very fierce and upset your emotions and your body. If there is nothing special to desire or hate, it moves around smaller things, but it always moves. You can easily change its direction by deciding to think of something else – well, even that is not always easy, it depends on how much will power you use for it. Shano, when he was doing absolutely nothing, like most people in that situation, didn’t use his willpower very much. When he was seven or eight or nine his thoughts would often wander to his friends. One of his friends was about equally good as he in sports. They would throw a wooden ball, and the other would hit it with a flat wooden stick. Of course you should not miss the ball, but more difficult was to have it fly in the right direction. The further it came the more points you got. But it should not go out of the demarcation line (which was quite far, but according to Shano and his friend it was not far enough). If it went out the thrower would get the point. After ten throws they had to change turns. So when doing nothing Shano thought about hitting that ball, and let it fly very hard and high, but land just within the demarcation line. With whoever he played he himself was always the very best. It was a happy thought. He also thought how he would become the greatest player of the country – in fact he already was the greatest player of the country. And therefore if somebody else had won the real game, he was in a bad mood. He was angry with the other boy, but soon he decided that next time he would win.

Also his thoughts often wandered to his mother. She was the only person in the world he really trusted. In his mind he would think about all the things he had experienced and which were adventures for him – such as for the first time reaching the highest branch of the highest tree, and his friend not being able to do that; and he would tell all these things inside his mind to his mother. She would always praise him. And in his mind he was telling her that another boy had insulted him by calling him stupid because he failed to get a fruit high up in a tree down by throwing a stick. He hit the fruit but because it was n’t ripe it did n’t come down. So the boy (who knew that the fruit was not ripe) had made him ridiculous before the others. In his mind his mother would always be on his side. So even that thought ended happy. In reality he would indeed always tell all his stories to his mother, and she was always was full of attention. But she was not always on his side. For example she showed him the difference between a ripe and an unripe fruit, and told him that if he had used his mind he would not have made that mistake. Then he was happy to have learned something – and felt superior to the other boy, who after all did not even know how to throw a stick. Anyway, even by doing nothing at all his mind developed a little bit and he learned something. He learned to understand things better.

Marico’s mind was less playful. He thought about how he would become a great craftsman, so that his father would be proud. He would not bother very much about what other people thought about him, or about losing or winning AP 60 Wood carver boysomething. He only wanted to be very good – the very best, to make his father happy. He did not think much about Shano either, except that he was sometimes boring because he shouted to him when he had done nothing wrong. Hundreds of different things went on in the boys’ minds. Shano’s mind moved sometimes inside the temple at the square of the village. Though there was nothing special to think about, it always gave him a feeling of being quiet and happy.

Then he would not think of games or disappointments or things he wanted, but feel that there was very much that he knew, yet did not know, because he could not think about it, but was there anyway. He had the feeling that he belonged there. Even with his mother he did not talk about that, or with any friend. It is a fact that Marico never thought about such things – he was a practical boy and not very emotional. But even with Shano these thoughts usually only took a short while, because something more pressing entered his mind. For example that he was hungry. Or about the swing in the village. Someone had brought a thick string from another village and bound it on a tree, so that the children could use it as a swing. There was only one, so there was often a hassle about who could go first. Shano was the one who dared to swing highest of all the boys – except one. But he was a year older, and he was stupid. Last year he had lost his grip when the swing was almost upside down, had landed very hard on the sandy floor, and broke his arm. The witch took care of his arm with pieces of cloth as bandage, a piece of wood as splint and herbs under the bandage. After a few weeks everything was fine again, and he swung like ever before, still the highest, but he never fell again. These were just a few of Shano’s thoughts at that age while he was doing nothing. Even when he was doing something, thoughts went on forever, but some of them more concentrated on what he was doing, even though the other thoughts also went on all the time. Sometimes his thoughts wandered to his brother Marico. These thoughts came especially when Marico had been praised for his work by clients or by his father, on when he had just done something better than Shano could do it. Shano was very irritated. He wished that his brother would do something very stupid, so that everyone would jeer at him. He wished that he would be better than Marico, but that almost never happened.


(The Witch)

One day Shano had a black wound-like spot on his forehead. He didn’t know where it had come from: he hadn’t hit anything, and it did not hurt in a way sores hurt. It didn’t disappear.

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