Rahul became a common visitor to the old sage who sat by the tree. He used to call him the “old wise man”. Today, he came up with a very general query. He approached the old man who sat in a meditative lotus position and waited for him to finish his meditation. He then bowed before the old man out of reverence and asked him.
“If you may allow, I want to ask this question about the nature of beings. Why do feel a sense of pleasure when we come in contact with the nature? Why does nature nourish us? Why do the trees provide us oxygen, fruits, vegetables, shade, medicines? Why do the clouds provide rain? Why do the animals have a sense of connection with us? Why is the nature so virtuous and provides us with so much help?”
The old man smiled and repeated the following lines –
“Without the concept of an other,
There is no separate I.
Without the sense of an I,
Nothing can be seen as other”
He then said, “Listen carefully my boy. This is wonderful secret that a great enlightened soul left up on us a few thousand years ago.
We believe our selves to be separate from the nature around us.” Rahul nodded. “How do you define self? Anything that is a part of your consciousness, under your control and attached to body is a part of yourself. However, if I say that what you have experienced up to now is only your physical being. You own self transcends this physical nature of things. Consider your heart. It is a part of your body because it pumps blood throughout your body and keeps you alive. However, you can feel it as it is physically attached to your body. Consider this tree’s leaves. They provide you with vital oxygen without which you cannot survive. Why should that lead not be a part of your vital self.
Our consciousness does not extend far enough to accept the tree, the cloud, the river, the sun as a part of our selves. Only an awakened soul can realize that our beings can never be embodied in a physical body. It transcends the body, mind and extends into this infinity expanse of life and universe. The leaf is as much a part of your being as is your heart. For every molecule of oxygen it generates brings vitality to your body, helps you think, powers your muscles and lets you live. In return, do you not care for your heart through exercise, good food etc. Unconsciously we tend to those plants, water them, provide them sunlight and help them grow. In essence, you nourish your own self through.
This is the concept of non-existence of self. Our minds are trapped by ignorance. Our minds are clouded by the thoughts of an existence of self, of I and you. The concept of “I” and “You” can not hold ground for your existence and development depends on me and mine on you and without the other one is powerless. Interdependence and non- existence of self are important to realize. You can understand it. However, true understanding germinates from a feeling of a realization. The answer to each and every question lies in the nature. You need to let yourself free from the notions of a physical entity. Consciousness is an all encompassing force that includes right from the smallest of the particle to the entire universe. A universal being is reality. That is why you love to sit in nature. That is why nature tends to nourish you and helps you grow healthy for it is not tending to the “other” as there is no other. It is tending to the one and only being – “we”.”
Rahul seemed content and went back happy and satisfied with his gurus answer.