Each river is sacred1

When a country or something significant in a country becomes part and parcel of our Peace-Blossoms programme, it gives us such joy and others also get special joy. Now so many sacred rivers in India are becoming Peace-Blossoms: the Ganga, Yamuna, Sindhu, Narmada, Kaveri, Brahmaputra and Godavari.

Each river is sacred. Each river has a connection with spirituality. Each river embodies inspiration. It is all the time inspiring us. Each river is movement, giving us the feeling of a journey as it is flowing, flowing towards the ocean. Each river is water, and water is life, the life-force. Again, water is consciousness, infinite consciousness.

As soon as we think of a river, purity enters into us. We do not have to think of a particular river, for the very word “river” gives us a tremendous inner thrill. Even if I do not know anything about a particular river, the very name gives me joy. In my case, as soon as I hear “Mississippi,” I get an immediate inner thrill. What do I know about the Mississippi River? Nothing, but the word itself gives me joy. The Mississippi River is America’s most famous river, and the name gives me such joy. It is the same when we think of some rivers in Indian villages. There are sacred rivers near the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

If it is a moonlit night and we are in a small boat on a river, then Heaven is not very far. While I am watching the sky and the stars on a moonlit night from a small boat on a river, I feel that Heaven is only an inch higher than my boat. Such a divine feeling I get when I am in a small boat! If we enter into the ocean in an ocean liner, it is all vastness, but there is such noise!

Sometimes it happens that something small gives us tremendous joy. If we enter into a flower garden, a tiny, cute flower may give us such joy, whereas a huge flower may not give us that kind of joy. Sometimes a tiny plant gives us much more joy than a huge plant. In comparison to the ocean, a river is nothing, but the river can give us much more joy. Or we may see a huge boat, an ocean liner, in the ocean, but a tiny raft gives us much more joy. I still remember with greatest joy being in a small boat on a lake in Kashmir. The little boats had names like “New York” and “Chicago”!

Always when I think of my childhood, I get such joy. Anything that we see or think about from our childhood we feel is sweeter than the sweetest and better than the best. Afterwards, when we go around the world, we see things that are infinitely better or higher; but we are never going to get the same joy, the same sweetness. From our childhood days, everything is sweet; everything is by far the best. When we grow up, a scientist or an important person may mock the things that we treasure from our childhood. He may say, “This is such a silly thing!” But we are full of love for the littleness or so-called silliness of our childhood days.

A child’s dog will always remain sweetest in his memories. The child may later get love from the whole world; but no matter how much someone else does for him, a child’s dog or a child’s toys will remain sweetest in his memories. Fondness is always in littleness. When something becomes big, fondness disappears. Then the mind comes into the picture to dissect and judge.

When the heart is to the fore, everything is love, everything is joy. When we grown-ups enter into a garden, we look around to see if this flower is more beautiful or that flower is more beautiful. But a child just runs around the garden, from this flower to that flower, from this plant to that plant. That is why he is so happy. Alas, as soon as discrimination comes into the picture, joy disappears.


  1. WSI 15. 21 August 2000, New York