April 24, 2014

Jonathan Livingston seagull: A review

It is about an ordinary bird who is jaded with his narrowed syllabus of life. With his tireless gusto for the love of flying, Jonathan Livingston seagull breaks the boundary of confinement and sets high on what other gulls dread to pursue.

As to many seagulls, flying is limited only to searching foods and survival but for Jonathan Livingston seagull, flying means pushing beyond the unknown, conquer fear and anticipate the adversaries.

However in his quest to ascend higher, he falls myriad times, sometimes even to the brink of causing his own life. He gets lambasted for his raw courage, not only from other seagulls for breaching their conventions but also from his own parents. Eventually failing to comply with his other colleagues, Jonathan is outcast from the flock.

Alone and determined, Jonathan keeps on escalating higher and higher until he is joined by two other farsighted seagulls. He is pleased to find seagulls of his type there, and because of his perseverance he earns the title, one in a million birds. It is in this wisest flock of birds that Jonathan perfects every move and decides to change the fate of other seagulls, whose syllabus has always been limited to squawking and finding foods.

With a positive motive, he glides down to earth to find others like him. Quite surprisingly, Jonathan conquers hearts of many gulls and gathers his first six disciples who had been outcast. Later we come to know that Jonathan is the pinnacle of inspiration for others.

The story never fails to inspire readers’ till the turn of last page.

Through the metaphor of the story, the author gives us insights on the importance of following dreams resolutely whether or not; it runs contrary to the opinions of others.

Likewise, all of us have our own “Jonathan Livingston seagull” perched within us. If we are not wise enough to let our seagull spread its wings wider, we don’t realize how far we would soar. Perhaps, we might even wake up one day to only repent over our action.

Dream big, take risk and move out of syllabus often.

April 16, 2014

Nabji- land of sacred sites

History has taught me hilarious, yet fascinating lessons on Drukpa kinlay’s mammoth phallus to Jigme Namgyal‘s audacious tenacity in warding off external threats with his homemade arrows and bows. It has revealed me the sufferings our forefathers endured to fix all the torn out regions, resolve power struggles and eventually come together as one.

However, as the richness of history is too vast to comb through, many historical sites that are of profound significance remain anonymous, despite having it within our reach.
Moreover, to refrain from external contamination few sacred sites in Bhutan remains cut off to assure pure blessings for the pilgrims.

Nabji, a distant hamlet in Trongsa is one such place where a lot have not even heard of its name, not to mention its location. Geographically, it is flanked in from all the sides by colossal mountains and thick jungles but surprisingly, the whole medieval remote village has the electricity. It is the testament to Bhutan’s rapid modernization. 

nabji lhakhang
What is wearing about Nabji is the days walk from the nearest motor road point. Although it has been paved with farm roads, no vehicles ply on it currently, except for few power tillers. When the installation of the bridge is done, I am sure it will see hordes of visitors.  For everyday dwellers, to and fro is just a matter of one day.

Once in the village vicinity, a large stretch of land filled with aroma of blessed air keeps company until it’s time to check out.

The abundance of religious site has made the soil fertile, people hospitable and nature serene amidst the wilderness. Locals consider it as a hidden land where in the seventh and eighth century, several great saints were believed to have visited the place. Of all, Guru’s visit is a landmark in the history of Nabji.

Legend has it that Guru came to settle a dispute between Sendha Gyab and Naochhe who were having conflict over control of provinces. Later, with Guru as the mediator both the sides agreed to negotiate it through peaceful means. As an allegiance, the two kings along with Guru affixed their palm prints on the stone to mark timeless peace between the two. Thereafter, the stone was named Nado (stone of oath) and the place came to be known as Nabji (place of oath).

encrypts of nymphs
Even today, the palm prints of Guru, two kings, nymphs and local guardians are evident. And on auspicious occasions, one can even see water spilling out from the stones which is thought to have healing power for all kinds of illness.

We were told by the temple custodian that the codes would be deciphered only in future by the great treasure discoverers.

The temple which houses the priceless stone (Nado) was constructed initially by the nymphs as per the command of Guru Rinpoche.

The other intriguing secret is the remnants of a time when august lineages of great treasure revealer, Pema Lingpa worked as blacksmiths. They sculptured finest swords for kings and other benevolent saints, and continued their noble deeds for centuries.

ceremonial kit carved on stone
Today, the swords worn by kings are deemed to have budded from the works of Pelings- direct descendant of Pema Lingpa. Until now, one of Pelings’ ceremonial kits can be seen curved on his working stone. With these, we were directed to the base of the cliff. We purged ourselves with holy water and readied the backpacks for departure.

As I kept fading away, I stole a final glimpse of the valley and realized that I have just been into one of the happiest place on earth aloof from outer space but a step closer to inner space.

After all, who can tell what could really matter in the end, the landing on the moon or the understanding of the mind.