Automaton story

Smartness trumped by foolishness.

Once upon a time a nomadic priest came to a river bank to take morning bath in the river. He was alone. There was nobody around. He had to return the call of nature. He had a pot of copper which was his total “assets”. Hence he wanted to hide it some where. He feared that in his absence some thief may steal it. So he found a solution. On river bank sand was spread all over the area. He made ​​a pit in the sand by his hand and after placing the  copper pots in the pit, he covered it with sand. Now to identify the place he made a Shiva Lingam (a Religious Image; See below) over it. Now to make it more authentic, he also placed some flowers and leaves over it so that it may appear that some one has recently worshiped it. Of he went to attend the call of nature. Upon his return to that place, he was in a shock.Now there were so many similar ‘Shiva lingam‘ statute carved on sand. People presumed that on that particular date, it was a ritual to make that image on the sand and perform the ritual of prayer/worship. Hence the people without much thought and consideration followed the presumed ritual. Now the priest could not find his own Shiva lingam under which he had buried his valuable copper pot and had to lose it. Finding himself in this situation he expressed his anguish in these words in a couplet:

In this world people follow each other in passing;
Who cares for right or wrong;

Actions are performed in automatic motion;
Sand ate my copper-ware due to shiva-lingam.

(The story and couplet translated to English from Hindi/Sanskrit Source: Nishant’s Blog)

Shiva Lingam im Hindu-Tempel/AAI Wien

Shiva Lingam im Hindu-Tempel/AAI Wien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a sequel to my earlier post on Automatons. How we are lost in our thoughts and are acting mechanically. This story is also reflective of the fact that we plan things from a very limited perspective and future is always uncertain. Fatalists can blame the priest in above story, for his loss as natural because he had misused the religion to cling to his assets. But that is not the point. Point is how our mind travels, in limited two dimensions and we create problems for ouselves and others.

Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi and its lost meaning.


Today 2nd August 2012 is the auspicious day for Rakhsha Bandhan or Rakhi. This day is chosen on the basis of Indian Calender therefore its date as per Gregorian Calender differs. It falls on full moon day (Purnmasi) in the month of ‘Shravan’ as per Indian Calender.

English: A sampling of rakhis. Image by self -...

Meaning of Rakhsha Bandhan & Rakhi:

Raksha means ‘Protection’ and Bandhan means ‘Bond’. It is a vow but not a bipartite contract. It is a sentimental bond not a legally enforceable act or duty.
Rakhi is a thread which can be of silk or decorative or rather simple thread.
On this day a sister ties this thread called Rakhi on the wrist-arm of brother. (Generally right arm)


There are many tales. One is that tying the knot of Rakhi enforces the duty of brother who as a male is presumed to be superior in strength to protect the sister. It is also considered a symbol of affection of the sister for the brother, as both share sweets after tying the Rakhi.
Very often unrelated females also tie the rakhi on the wrist of male and thus proclaim him as brother. It is the only symbolic gesture in the world in which male and female can proclaim platonic, non-sexual emotional relationship. Very often this relationship crosses the religious boundaries. Though it is not so common in the cities where everyone has no time. But any where in the country if a male who is acquainted to the female and her family and he asks a female to tie him Rakhi, she will not refuse, irrespective of religion. A gesture of which no offence is taken. But like corruption elsewhere, rakhi brothers are no exception and incidents do occur.

Lost Meaning:

In childhood everything is a play. A joy. So is Rakhi. In adolescence every ritual looks strange and performance is with indifference. The real test of this bond takes place when siblings are settled in own house-hold respectively. It is further put to test when the distances are wider. Different town or even different countries. Actual test is that: Do they keep track of each other? Sending Rakhi by post by sister and brother sending money by wire or cheque even along-with gifts is not within the spirit of the bond.

Life has become a never ending chase in which time is getting rare. No time to eat, relax or even to rest or sleep. Who has time for mundane relationships. Rakhi was a good way to keep the siblings to meet and share their life, problems, joys and what not. It was a reason to get together once in every year. It also gave the female a chance to visit her parents else the brother will visit the sister and inquire the welfare of married sister and her house-hold.

Now it is just a ritual. Unless the sister is newly married, rarely a sibling would travel to another city for Raksha Bandhan. Within city it is ritual which is a rigmarole of visits. Husband and wife would be keen to get over with it. A quick visit here to wife’s sibling, may be over lunch. A quick visit there, to husbands sibling, may be over a cup of tea. And may be more visits to cousins, so just sweets. See you next time. Be well. Keep alive. Ritual is over and We are too tired and exhausted. Thank God He or She did not keep me waiting from morning to evening like last year. I would not do this next year. I would do something different on type of rakhi or sweets or lunch or something else mundane. I have no time to look at the face of my sibling silently or ask him/her if he/she has any trouble. I have too many problems of my own. I will take care of my problems. For others there is God.

© Sandeep Bhalla