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The river of life



Two young girls, Laukika and Samatha, set off on an adventure. Both of them had completed their formal education and before venturing into their respective samsaric enterprises, they thought of taking a break to contemplate life. And thus was born this hedonistic idea of journeying down the river.

Laukika was so overwhelmed with the river’s speed, energy and her own enthusiasm that she said to her friend: “I’m going to jump into the river, Samantha and be carried along with its great energies. Meet you later.” So saying, she took the plunge, without waiting for her friend to respond.

Laukika enjoyed the initial adventure. At times the river frightened her, its strong current sweeping her along. But she dismissed her fears as she was taken up by the full flow of the river. The current carried her afar, and she could now no longer see the shore. Laukika was euphoric and wanted more of the adventure. Forever engrossed in steadying herself from the speed of her journey, she managed mere fleeting glimpses of the beauty around her.

Now, the waves got bigger, the waters deeper, the river widened, the gushing became so forceful that she was thrown about, knocked about on the rocks all over, water and sand filled her nostrils and mouth, she was being bruised... by the gravel and creatures in the river. The girl panicked. She had had enough; she wanted to come ashore. “Help me to the shore, someone”, she cried, but no one heard her. Those who did hear her couldn’t do much, as they were not in a position to help her.

Meanwhile, Samatha had set out on foot. “I choose to walk down the river bank instead. I might be able to enjoy the vistas better this way”, she had thought to herself before embarking on her journey.

Many years passed. The two friends met again. They hugged each other, happy to meet once again. They shared their experiences.

Laukika admitted she did have her share of fun, but the journey had tired her out. Moreover, she felt vacant inside. There was so much she wanted to do, she said, but the sheer speed of her journey didn’t permit her to take those liberties.

Samatha spoke: “I too thought for long after you left me, Laukika. I was tempted to follow you. The river looked enticing. But then, there was no hurry, either. I chose to walk down instead. I got to experience and enjoy the scenic offerings around the river. I marvelled at the sunrise and sunsets that were so different each day. The open blue sky was so re-assuring, as were the stars at night. I played with the countless birds and butterflies that filled the forest. I stopped to smell the forest and waited with bated breath for the kingfisher to dive into the waters for a quick meal, and the seagulls that flew over my head. I was tempted many times to plunge myself into the racing river – but would spend only a little time in the waters before drying myself on the warm rocks on the banks, read a book and resume my journey.

The local people who collected firewood and fruits from the forest would invite me to their humble homes. I would play with their children and share with them simple tips on improving their health before bidding them goodbye. It has been an amazing journey.”

The friends sat in silence, mulling over the choices they’d made and the experiences they’d been through.

Lovely Thoughts for Lovely People Just Like You

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