I was intending to wash the portico this morning and went towards the garden tap to turn it on. A delicately woven spider web covering the space between the Hibiscus and the ‘Paarijaata’ blocked my path. I noticed it just in time to avoid my face getting entangled in the web. If it had, we (me and the spider) would have ended up cursing each other and I do not know which way this cursing duel would have taken my thoughts. The light reflecting from the droplets of water festooning the web enabled me to notice it in time and retract. It was not there when I operated the tap last evening and the spider must have been busy through the night braving the pouring rain. A great job for such a small creature. (It is just below the leaf which is projecting out at the center of the frame - difficult to notice. You will have to click on the picture to enlarge it and see). I did not want to disturb the spider’s luncheon plans and managed to crawl under the net to turn on the tap.
The monsoon, which had taken its job easy this season, suddenly seems to have become duty conscious and has been trying to make up for the lapse. It has been pouring for a week now and has been a dampener, literally, during this Ganesha Chaturthi time. I had to go out in the pouring rain, squelching through the dirty market, a bag in one hand and the umbrella in the other, to buy coconuts, betel leaves, five types of fruits and five types of flowers, as also a number of other items required for the festival. Even with both the hands occupied, one with the bag and the other with the umbrella, I could get the things into the bag as the vendors obligingly put the things in, but had difficulty taking out my wallet and paying them. I managed somehow by shifting the umbrella to my arm pit and freeing a hand but after buying the coconuts the bag became very heavy and this exercise was not possible. I had to turn around and offer my butt to the betel leaf vendor to take out the wallet from my hip pocket and extract his money. Fortunately the vendor was a male. If it were a female, my wise act might have made me spend the festival in the lock up of the local police station.
My religion demands that I go through these difficulties, worship the gods to please them, in general be ‘good’ and follow my ‘Dharma’ (set of duties, laws, conduct and virtues - or the right way of living) so that I will be able to be born as a better individual in my next life. Follow the same principle, be better in the next life and be born again as an even better individual. If I manage to repeat this again and again, maintaining my standards all the time, for god knows how many cycles, I will be able to be out of this “punarapi jananam, punarapi maraNam, punarapi janani jathare shayanam” loop (being born and dead again and again) and ultimately attain ‘Moksha’. (be a liberated Soul)
I envy the spider. It has no such worries. It seems to be oblivious to the necessity of aspiring for ‘Moksha’ in the future, or the festival, the pouring rain, its conduct and everything else in its present life. It has been capable of weaving a net in pouring rain, has done it and is now staying serenely suspended at the center and waiting for the breakfast/lunch to be served. (Assuming that the web is not damaged by fools passing through it). No shopping, no cooking, no pooja, nothing. Just a bit of hard work. No other distractions and compulsions like me. Just gulp whatever gets into the net and stay calm till some other creature is stupid enough to fall in. In case, before something else falls into the web, you fall in the sight of a bird, you go in one gulp and there is no more need even to weave a web!
I was rushing through these thoughts on perceiving the spider sitting like a saint at the center of its web when my mind suddenly said “hey, wait”. When I waited and slowed down I realized that according to my religion I probably was a spider myself once! I had been good spider and had followed my spidery ‘Dharma’ to the letter and so was born as a higher being. May be a fish or a frog. After being a good fish or frog I was promoted possibly as a bird. Then maybe I was a cat, rabbit, deer or most likely a donkey. I must have remained a good donkey - not kicking any one, not rolling in the garbage, not braying loud and probably must have carried my load without a grudge - and so have now ended up as Raghunandan. The human donkey. Now, instead of going up the ladder, if I feel that a spider’s life is better and want to be a spider again, I will have to undo whatever I have done till now and be ‘bad’ for many lives so that I can be born as a spider once more.
Not a bad idea actually. But there is some difficulty. I have finished almost three fourths of my present life and have been living life like a good human donkey - not kicking any one, not shouting at any one, not rolling in the garbage (or doing whatever is equivalent of rolling in the garbage - for a human) and carrying my load without grudge. Now, this behavior has got impregnated in my being. The time left is too short to learn to kick and roll in garbage and go down the ladder. I can only hope to start my journey back to being a spider from my next life. But then I will have to come back to being Raghunandan once again, be bad and then continue going backwards. It may still be worth it. But science puts a spanner into the works. It says that behaving good or bad is not in my hands but in my genes. If I am born again with good behavior genes in me, I may never be able to get back to the spider stage at all. This life, at least I am capable of having bad thoughts. God knows what happens in the next life. I am confused. I do not know what to aspire for. I hope I am not confusing you.
I will take some time and try to think clearly. As of now, going back to being a spider seems to be a good idea. Have anything helpful to suggest?