Water seeks its own level

Water seeks its own level,
on a quest to find the sea;
The answers we seek taste of metal,
our understanding like liquid drawn from a well
that finds the hard edges
of knowing, the galvanized pail
holding the essence of our being
in one place, in this world.

What is outside this frame of steel,
this skeleton that time binds to this space?
To where are we going?
From where did we come?

What can we know of answers,
we who will be one day poured from this bucket
into the ocean?

What need is there of questions then,
when we are part of the wave?

And to those who are still on the shore, separate,
how shall we describe
what is gained, what is lost?

“Wherever I look, I see men quarrelling in the name of religion —
Hindus, Mohammedans, Brâhmos, Vaishnavas, and the rest. But they
never reflect that He who is called Krishna is also called Úiva, and
bears the name of the Primal Energy, Jesus, and Âllâh as well — the
same Râma with a thousand names. A lake has several ghâts. At one
the Hindus take water in pitchers and call it ‘jal’; at another the
Mussalmâns take water in leather bags and call it ‘pâni’. At a third
the Christians call it ‘water’. Can we imagine that it is not ‘jal’,
but only ‘pâni’ or ‘water’? How ridiculous! The substance is One
under different names, and everyone is seeking the same substance;
only climate, temperament, and name create differences. Let each man
follow his own path. If he sincerely and ardently wishes to know God,
peace be unto him! He will surely realize Him.” — Sri Ramakrishna
(1836-1886)

21 DEC 2004

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