Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back to Bhutan-Vadodara!

Bhutan has never left me since the time I have been there. Its not just the mountains, trees, weather which takes me back there, its the people of Bhutan. All of them whom I met have been so loving, humble, caring and helpful.

In India if we meet more than a few people of this kind in a single day, we feel something is wrong. We are so much adapted to dishonesty, fear, uncaring and other bad things that if someone does good to us we see them with doubt and feel that person has some hidden intentions for doing that.

In the later days of my travels in Bhutan I came to know why the people of Bhutan are so amazing. Its because its a tradition passed on from their ancestors and its in the genes now to be good, caring, helpful and loving to everyone they come across. 

Its a painting, a story called Thuenpa Puen Zhi (Four Harmonious Friends). In Bhutan, the story gives a national identity for people to live in harmony with nature, for people to co-operate with each other even with cultural differences, and for families to work together. A conservation ethic has arisen based on it that also influences Bhutan’s national policies.

The story is a familiar Tibetan motif derived from the Jataka tales of Buddha’s former lives
In terms of a symbol understanding of this beautiful allegory: The elephant represents our body, the monkey represents the restless mind, the rabbit represents emotions, and the bird is the soul. Here is the story adapted from Buddhist Channel:
Once in a forest in Varanasi, four animals: An elephant, a rabbit, a monkey, and a partridge disputed about the ownership of a tree where all of them had fed. The elephant claimed, “Well, this is my tree because I saw it first.”
To this the monkey replied: “Now, elephant do you see any fruits on this tree?”
The elephant agreed that the tree was without any fruit.
The monkey continued: “That’s because I had been feeding on the fruits of the tree long before you ever saw it.”
Next the rabbit spoke up: “I fed on the leaves of this tree when it was just a small sapling before the monkey ate its fruit and way before the elephant ever saw it.”
Finally the partridge who had been watching the argument, came forward and asserted: “The tree belongs to me because the tree wouldn’t have grown if I hadn’t spit it out as a seed. I helped plant the seed that grew into this huge tree before the rabbit fed on it, or the monkey ate its fruit, or the elephant saw it.”
The elephant, monkey, and rabbit, conceded that the partridge was the first to know the tree. So all of bowed to the partridge and regarded it as their elder brother.
The four animals became friends and decided to share the tree together in peaceful harmony, enjoying the beauty of the tree’s fragrance, the nourishment of its fruits, and the bounty of its shade. They worked together to obtain fruits: The fruits on the ground and on the lowest branches, the partridge and rabbit found by working together. The monkey climbed the tree and dropped the fruits for everyone to share but only the elephant could reach the highest branches with his trunk. The four animals worked co-operatively and with their combined strength, each one benefited and no one went hungry.
Other animals in the forest often saw them together with the partridge on top of the rabbit who was held up by the monkey who rode on top of the elephant. Since then, they were called “The Four Harmonious Brothers.” The four animals were looked upon as an example of peace, harmony, co-operation, interdependence and friendship.

I dont know this is going to be possible for India, but for a city called Vadodara, I am definitely going to try it!
I know they exist, I can feel their presence the Four Friends, they are in Vadodara too! :)
Lets rewrite a story of the city called Vadodara....