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Adi & Praja 130

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Adi and Praja

Chapter 9

Issue 130: Depression

The golden rule among all ethics is compassion, to take suffering upon oneself for the sake of kindly awakening others from their illusions, their dogmas, their limits.


(shano’s depression)

But, turning back to our forest, it was only a little less than paradise, as far as possible among humans and animals, plants and spirits.

Shano thought a lot. Perhaps a little too much. He also conceived opposites. He himself already understood good and evil as spirits within himself. They were hard to handle. His thinking had invited them. Happiness prevailed by far though, and because he was devoid of self-pride and egotism, there was never deep depression within him. Deep depressions come only after feeding them, perhaps lifetime after lifetime, by associating with and embracing disharmonies. Of real disharmony Shano did not know.

Whether he was in a sad mood or a happy mood, he always loved to listen to the rain. In the afternoons, also in the night, rains would come. First winds would be blowing and move the trees and distant thunders were heard. The mood of nature changed. Then the first few big drops started producing ticking sounds of different pitches, some hard, some soft, some softer, and the sound high up in the canopy of the forest would swell and come closer. After a while drops of different sizes started to drip down from the saturated canopies and fall on other leaves further down, or on the ground or in pools of water. Eventually the rain would become a tremendous surround-sound, almost thundering, but always full of nuance. Every drop is different in size, in distance of free fall from another leave or branch, and every leave is different, in size, in thickness, in form, and they can be solitary or packed in dense tufts. It was also funny to put his drums out in the rain – it would add interesting aspects to nature’s composition. Many of the pitches he could make sound from his spirit-of-the-bamboo instrument. He played in harmony with the sounds of nature. Despite his great invention it was still Shano’s dream wish (one of many dream wishes) that he could build an instrument with the richness of sound and possibility of variation of a rain shower in a rainforest. And then he would like to have a thousand ears, posited in different positions, up and below, close and far. Nature was teaching him. Nature tries to teach every human and every other creature, but most creatures, especially humans, choose to be seeing while blind and hearing while deaf, and occupy themselves with pity thoughts. And there are people who are ‘born blind and deaf’ because they have not yet a wish to see and listen; there are others who can see and hear of they want to, but still associated with pity thoughts and chat about the same with others. In general people there liked the sounds of nature, but gave no special attention and concentration to it – it had always been there and will always been there, it’s part of life as normal.

Yet Shano was no longer as unconcerned and vibrant as he used to be. What played in his mind? He could talk about his deeper thoughts with no-one. Nobody knew about his esoteric book on religion – nobody could read and understand it anyway. He often talked in philosophical ways with Moimoi – things he felt he was allowed to share. Only what he thought that she might understand. She was not much interested in abstract thinking. For her it was important if his philosophy was directly applicable, of direct use for people, especially people who had problems and she wanted to know how to help them.

What was it inside Shano’s mind? He was aware of the greatness of the book – yet it didn’t make him a god. He had become aware of the uselessness (he thought) of his past, yet had no clear vision about the future. Much he didn’t understand, and there was nobody to explain him things. Was he stagnant? He had read the book over and over again, yet he felt he knew nothing really. He became more aware of the stupidity of the people around him, and how they were running mad in their own treadmills. How long had he himself done that? He felt that he had heard about a way to stop and step out of the treadmill, still didn’t know how to stop it. There was no way back and no way forward. If he had not had that handicap he would have been a normal man, a father, grandfather, a hunter. He would not have met these two old men and their scriptures. He would have been happy like everyone around him. It was lucky for him that there was love and beauty in his life. Life was too small and too short to learn much of value. ‘What was infinity? Could he continue to learn, to expand? Where would he be? Did he have a soul which would be given a new body – sometime? – would he meet the two old men and Moimoi again? Would they have bodies? He also realized that if he existed in eternity, he might have existed in other bodies also – he did not remember, but logically it was possible – even probable. But why did he know nothing when he was a baby? Would he again lose everything when he died? Would he have to learn all over again with his same enthusiasm, not knowing that he had learned the same thing again? Was it again a treadmill?’ At such moments he didn’t realize that when he was a baby he was already Shano, with all his character qualities and former accomplishments. He did not realize that all his lives had been trainings, in intelligence, in human qualities – and that thanks to that he now possessed his intelligence and qualities. He had been in many treadmills, but slowly they had moved upwards like spirals. The same applied of course to other people – but some had especially developed there laziness and tardiness. He wished at times that he could be as simple as the other people in the forest – though, who knew what was going in their mind? Were there others like him? O, should he thank or curse the two old men with their scriptures?

Such things went on within him during his depressions. Moimoi understood that he was struggling, fighting, winning and losing, almost giving up – but never really, never for long. She didn’t have all his philosophies, but she had love – and she could not imagine that love would ever end. There was an infinity of creatures to be loved – so love must also be infinite. At least that is how she felt. What could she do for Shano – and what meant love at all when it could not help him? Well – in fact, it could and did. Deep within Shano knew (though his mind might have denied it) that she would always be with him, that her heart was always with him, and his with her. It was the support and power of her love which made him grow spiritually. Together, one day, they would both be gods – he had concluded from the book – and, he thought, for her that would not be a very long way anymore. About himself … he didn’t know. He stumbled and stood up, mentally, and stumbled again – was he going in the right way? Yes, as long as he was true to her – her soul – he could never get lost.

Shano got older, and because of the way he had to move on sticks under his arms, his back became bent and a bit ugly. His lungs were pressed in, and his heart suffered. The last few years were difficult – he could do less, but his mind became more content, wiser and hopeful like a pre-dawn before sunrise. There was singing inside his breast. He had many pupils in the art of wood carving, playing drums and making bows and arrows in his life.

Next to making woodwork, bows and arrows, music and musical instruments and teaching music, he also taught philosophy. Not is a class or any formal way, but by means of the many, ever developing stories, …

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