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  • Writer's pictureNanda Botadkar

Himalayas & the ego

Recently I was on a trip to Nepal, the country of the Mount Everest !

The country’s landscape was so divine. To see the entire Himalayan range and abundance of nature all around, was truly an unforgettable experience !

One such day in Pokhra, a place known for its umpteen adventure sports, we decided to go on a temple sojourn. The place is also famous for some of its temples nestled between the mountains or deep inside of the caves each offering the most scenic sights of the Himalayas and the sun rising there.

We began the journey with a visit, to a Shiv temple, where a Mammoth statue of Shiva is placed. Looking at it from a distance, makes it look like majestic like any another mountain peak.

The drive is spell bounding with muddy spiral roads, with trees and flowers of either side reaching out to touch you.

The driver drops us off at some base point and says, “it’s just a few steps away, please walk up, take your time and come back whene

ver you are ready”.

And there began the journey of climbing, huffing, puffing and gasping for breath.

Our physical condition a complete mockery, almost as if we wore big invisible labels, saying, ‘’people from city, leading a life of comfort with elevators, accelerators and all else’.

The climb is steep and the mountain sun harsh but we kept going higher and higher.

I was getting tired and agitated and my mind kept thinking of the driver who I felt misguided us by saying, “it’s just a few steps away “!!

For a local who has grown up in this mountain country, these are but few steps.

Almost as if to further mock our pampered life style, were small built Nepali women, walking besides us carrying a load of sand on their back with the basket belt on their head.

They were merrily walking up with this heavy load like it was picnic goodie basket…. And I felt as if I was on an expedition to climb the highest peak, already out of breath and resilience.

As we reached up, my heart was pumping so fast, my body drenched in perspiration, my mouth was dry due to dehydration, aching legs, my body was protesting the overdrive of the climb !

I sat down beneath a shaded tree to calm myself. A few deep breaths and I began to slowly cool down.

My vision could now see the mountain range right across as it stood there majestically. A silent testimony to time.

How long has it been here ? What all it must have seen ?

Yes, It has seen it all… Kings, knights, & soldiers, Rise, shine, kill, conquer and eventually go back to dust.

As I sat there, I started to feel meditative. The cool breeze that was blowing had a hypnotic effect on me and my eyelids got heavy and I started to drift.

Suddenly I felt the mountain was talking to me.

It posed me a question, “ As a living being, you are here on a limited shelf life, then why is your ego so big ??”

“Can you claim anything to be yours in reality ??

“None of us are made by you… neither the mountains, nor the flowers nor the cool breeze, yet why is it that you have an ego that is bigger than us in size ??”

I felt as if I had no answers, all I wanted to do was go deeper and deeper and relax.

The mountain continued, “ “We allow

you to climb us, hammer nails into us, to hold the cords to support your climb and yet at the top it’s always only about your victory, no gratitude expressed towards nature that supported you in your climb.

Victory happens only when nature aligns with your intentions. But you seem to have missed this completely”.

“We also understand about evolution, your need to develop, even the thing you call technology.

But what leaves us at loss is the relentless and reckless need of humans to destroy nature”.

All this was making me shrink becoming smaller and smaller in size. I had no answers. I just sat there in a negative state and felt as if the mountains grew in size. Dunno how many minutes or hours had passed, I now felt as if I was at the foot of the mountain like a tiny ant, unable to even fathom the size of the mountain !!

A wave of terror ran through me and I snapped out of my meditative state. Once again the human need to control didn’t allow me the serenity to let go and be. The connection was broken and I found myself in the same place under the tree.

As I began the descend, my thoughts kept reflectivity about the conversation.

Indeed we spend so much time and energy in wanting to be right.

Be it personal or professional relationships or countries at war.

It always boils down to egos that were bruised and led to the face off.

I reach the car and graciously thanked the driver.

There on the rest of my journey was spent in pensive silence pondering about our short lives and our massive egos that make life unpleasant and disharmonious for us but rarely ever are we in awareness…

Our temple sojourn continued… each climb was more difficult than the other, making it a very humbling experience.

We came back feeling rejuvenated, full of zest for life and the deep wisdom guiding us to be grateful for all that we have.

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