IRATE MOTHER SQUIRREL ATTACKED A VISITING TEACHER ON UNIVERSITY CAMPUS :
The Ann Arbor News has reported this story about a mother squirrel’s angry attack. A 52-year-old Detroit Public School teacher was with a group of students touring the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor on Thursday, April 23. She had spotted some baby squirrels that were outside of their nest. The teacher had tried to alert the mother squirrel that was at a distance about a baby squirrel that was left behind. The mother squirrel could instantly recognize that the teacher was giving unwanted attention to her baby. The mother squirrel was instinctively aroused, turned on the teacher. The teacher tried to run away from the angry mother squirrel. She slipped and fell on the ground and injured her ankle. Seizing the opportunity, the mother squirrel bit the teacher on her leg. The teacher managed to escape and went to the Hospital Emergency for treatment.
PARENTAL CARE IS AN INSTINCTIVE BEHAVIOR :
Parental care is an aspect of social behavior exhibited by all animals. This is a complex unlearned or innate behavior that is influenced by heredity(genetic basis) as well as by experience. The study of behavior provides valuable information about relationships among animals. No animal is ever completely isolated from some kind of environment. Animals exhibit social behaviors and form parental societies to care for their offspring. This parental care/maternal instinctive behavior is highly organized amongst mammals. The young are part of the mother while growing inside the mother and are nourished before birth by the ‘placenta’ of the mother. After birth, the young still seek nourishment from the mother and suck or lap milk produced by the mammary glands of the mother. This ensures that there is a strong family association between mother and the offspring.
BEHAVIOR AND CONSCIOUSNESS :
The mother squirrel while displaying its maternal instinctive behavior has demonstrated that it is a ‘CONSCIOUS’ entity. Consciousness is defined as the state of being ‘conscious’ which has two components. 1. Being ‘conscious’ means being aware or recognizing the fact of one’s own existence. 2. Being ‘conscious’ also means being aware of our natural environment and it represents the state of knowing what goes on around one. Being conscious gives us the ability to interact with our environment and display an appropriate behavior. In higher animals this consciousness or awareness is also characterized by the presence of mental activity which includes an awareness of our own thoughts and emotions. A living entity is always conscious of its own existence. A living entity always exists in a state of consciousness. We identify a person as ‘UNCONSCIOUS‘ if the person is not spontaneously interacting with his environment. There are several medical conditions that alter and affect our state of consciousness. Several drugs and intoxicants such as alcohol and poisonous agents like carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide cause drowsiness, stupor, and various levels of semiconscious to deep unconsciousness. Consciousness is very important in evaluating people with head injuries and neurovascular accidents such as ‘stroke’. While a person is unconscious of his environment, he is still aware of his existence. This fact could be easily demonstrated by conducting tests. A living organism or a living cell responds when exposed to a stimulus. For example, an unconscious individual is evaluated by testing to see the response of the pupil of the eye which reacts by constriction of its size on exposure to a light beam.
CONSCIOUSNESS AND SURVIVAL :
An organism uses its awareness to survive in the environment. I could illustrate this by narrating my personal experience. While I was camping in the Himalayas, We were using the quarters left by the British while they ruled India. On a cold winter night, I was sleeping in a small room that was not heated, and the room had no fire-place or a chimney. However, I had used a coal burner to heat the room. The coal burns very slowly giving heat and it lasts for several hours and needs no attention. On that particular night, I did not recognize, the coal was of poor quality and it was not burning as expected and was giving away smoke. The door and the windows were shut, and the smoke started filling up the room. The smoke is lighter than the room air, and it slowly went up filling the room from top. While I was fully asleep in a dark room, unaware as to what was going on around me, I was suddenly alerted when I experienced ‘palpitation’, a consciousness of my heart’s rapid beating. I awoke, but still could not see the smoke in the dark room. I had evaluated my condition to understand my rapid heart rate. I was in good health and there was no reason to experience an increased heart rate. I had decided to investigate my problem and walked up to the door to turn the light switch on. The moment I had turned the light on, I could immediately see the smoke-filled room and the fresh, clear layer of room air was below my bed level. I immediately left the room to get fresh air from outside and saved my life. Many people are not that fortunate, and we read about entire families losing their lives while sleeping in rooms that are heated by improper burners. I was not conscious of what was going on around me while I was sleeping. However, my body was aware and conscious all the time. The chemical sensors in my body worked alright, they sent signals to my brain centers, which in turn sent signals to increase my heart rate to improve the oxygen delivery. It fortunately worked like an alarm for me. Very often, people become more drowsy, become fully unconscious, and lose life while asleep in smoke-filled rooms.
THE SQUIRREL IN THE STORY OF RAMAYANA :
Just like the mother squirrel in Ann Arbor which demonstrated its consciousness, in the epic poem of ‘RAMAYANA’, the awareness and the behavioral response of a squirrel is described. The story narrates the construction of what is popularly known as “SETHU” or a bridge across the sea from the southern shores of Indian peninsula to the island of LANKA. The squirrel was apparently conscious of its environment. It had observed the activities of thousands of monkeys throwing stones to build the ‘ADAM’S BRIDGE’, and recognized the presence of LORD Rama who had initiated the effort to build the bridge. The squirrel had volunteered to help and in its behavior it showed attributes of devoted service. The abilities of the squirrel are very small and yet it won the favor of the LORD and is blessed. The LORD is pleased with the squirrel’s conscious efforts to offer devoted service.
CONSCIOUSNESS AND ENERGY :
The living human entity or man is known as “NARA” in the Sanskrit language, and the superior energy is personified and is known by the name “NARAYANA”. The poem of ‘BHAGAVAD GITA'( The Divine Song) narrates the dialogue between ‘Nara’ known as prince ARJUNA and ‘Narayana’ known as LORD KRISHNA. The LORD describes the relationship between the human soul( ATMA) and the divine soul( PARAMATMA). In Chapter 7 which is called ‘PARAMAHAMSA VIJNANA YOGA'( The Knowledge of the Ultimate Truth), verse 5 describes the ‘energy’ relationships. The material nature which is composed of sky, earth, air , water, and fire are constituted of ‘inferior energy’ of the LORD. The superior energy of the LORD is manifested as the embodied soul of all living entities. This superior energy of the LORD which is in the living entities gives the ability to the living entities to exist in the world by exploiting the inferior material energy from nature.
THE ENERGY PROVIDER AND THE ENERGY SEEKER :
Humans like other living entities supports his existence by deriving energy from the environment. Living cells obtain nutrients such as sugars and use oxygen in their metabolism to generate energy to carry out their vital biological functions. The primary source of energy of all living entities on planet Earth is derived from Sun. The Sun provides energy by burning its hydrogen fuel. It is reasonable to assume that Sun has derived its energy from a higher source of energy or “Higher Power”. This is evidenced by the observation of stars in various stages of their natural cycles of birth , and death. We can observe the birth of stars, the stars that are existing for a long time, the dying stars, the spectacular supernovas, and the dead stars like the white dwarfs, and the brown dwarfs. Human consciousness brings us the awareness and sustains the connection between the energy provider and the energy seeker. We manifest our existence with this unique ability to gain energy from the environment. Just like the squirrel in the story of Ramayana, if we use our awareness, we will become ‘CONSCIOUS’ of LORD’s presence whose superior energy we manifest.
Please also view related blog post titled ‘I am consciousness, therefore I am’.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.
THE PHENOMENON OF EXTINCTION :
Alpha Orionis, or Betelgeuse is the largest and brightest Star visible to the naked eye near the Constellation of Orion. This mammoth star is slowly evaporating. This massive star is shedding weight and is near end of its life. This red Supergiant star is about 640 light years distant. If this star is now placed at the center of our Solar system, its plume would extend past the orbit of planet Jupiter. Sun towards the end of its life would also evaporate and its expanding plume would totally wipeout all living entities on planet Earth. When we speak about human existence, we need to understand man as a biological species. Like all other living creatures of this planet Earth, man is a mortal being. Whosoever had arrived on this planet, must also depart. Extinction is not merely a past geological event. The reign of Dinosaurs upon Earth ended 65 million years ago and it is marked as Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction Event or K-T Event. Apart from Cosmic Radiation, and Massive Collision events involving asteroids, comets, or other heavenly bodies, there are biological factors involved in the phenomenon of Extinction. Man’s existence depends upon an orderly functioning of the universe. The existence of the Individual(microcosm) is linked to the existence of Cosmos(macrocosm).
IS MAN BORN FREE ?
In Sanskrit literature, the word ‘DAIVAM’ describes ‘FATE’. It conveys the sense of belief in God as the ‘PRIME CAUSE’. If God is in control, man is not free to act as he pleases even in his own defense. We may not be able to conduct experiments and scientifically establish the fact that God is in control. What we clearly understand is that the man cannot govern or rule the cells that constitute his body and define his physical existence. Man is not an independent living entity. Man’s dependence upon external sources of energy, and the biological phenomenon of ‘cellular autonomy’ would not permit man to act as he pleases. Man is not in control of his existence. Man’s capacity to defend his own existence is limited and he continuously faces challenges to his existence from several different directions. If man is truly free, the Universe, the World, and the Society can place no constraints on him. Man is tied down, he is born in shackles without Freedom.
THE FUNDAMENTAL FORCES :
The orderly functioning of the universe demands the synchronization of the Fundamental Forces that operate the Universal Order. If there is no ‘ORDER’, the resulting ‘CHAOS’ , or extreme disorder would destroy all living entities. In Physical Science, the Four Fundamental Forces that operate in Nature are described; 1. The Strong Nuclear Force, 2. The Weak Nuclear Force, 3. The Electromagnetic Force, and 4. The Gravitational Force. While these Forces operate all reactions with matter in Nature, we need a Creative Force or Creative Energy to bring into existence each individual living entity which enables the entity to exist in nature as an ‘INDIVIDUAL’ and to live by exploiting other forms of Energy provided by the material Nature known as PRAKRITI.In Sanskrit language this Creative Force or Energy is named as ‘MAYA’ and hence the phenomenal Universe is a manifestation of ‘MAYA’. However, the living entities and all other created entities have no ability of their own to fully defend their state of existence. In Sanskrit language the word ‘KRUPA’ describes the great and powerful Force of ‘DAYA’, or Compassion, Mercy, Grace, and Kindness that sustains, protects and preserves existence of life. ‘KRUPA’ is a great and magnificent Force which enables man to overcome difficulties, get over obstacles and face huge challenges. The Provider of ‘KRUPA’ exists in a state of complete, and perfect ‘BLISS’ called ‘ANANDA’. The thought of ‘KRUPA’ delights human mind and is associated with a sensation of Sweetness and it visually brings the Joy of Spring Season described as ‘VASANT’ or ‘BASANT’which symbolizes creation and rejuvenation. Krupa being Sweet like ‘NECTAR’ and HONEY; when we seek Mercy and Grace; when we ask for Compassion, and Kindness; it not only provides Peace and a sense of Tranquility, it imparts a sense of Pure Joy.
A HYMN TO SEEK ‘KRUPA’ – A FORCE TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT HUMAN EXISTENCE :
Muukam karoti Vachaalam, panghum langha ya tey girim,
Yat Krupaa ta Maham Vandey Paramaananda Madhavam.
I pay obeisance(Vandey) to Eternally Blissful( Paramaananda ) MADHAVA whose Compassion or KRUPA is boundless ( Maham ) and with His Mercy a mute person ( Muukam ) can be transformed into an eloquent speaker ( Vachaalam ) and a physically challenged person ( Panghum ) can easily cross over ( langha ) the mountains ( girim ). This hymn beautifully connects the problems of human condition, the physical limitations imposed upon our fragile state of existence, with a limitless source of energy known as KRUPA which is the manifestation of MADHAVA who brings the Joy of Spring Season and symbolizes sweetness, sugar, honey, or ‘Madhu’, and is constantly accompanied by this energy or Shakti which assumes the form of RADHA or MADHAVI or LAKSHMI.
SEEK THE EXPERIENCE OF ‘MADHURYA’ :
We need to constantly remind ourselves about the transient, ephemeral, and fleeting nature of human existence. In our life’s journey, we tend to follow an easy course and tend to avoid facing obstacles. Very often, we behave like a physically challenged person and act as if physically incapacitated due to fear, doubt, and a lack of resolve or indecisiveness. Sometimes, difficulties arise without any prior warning and overwhelm our existence. Many of us remain mute or cannot speak up bacause of a sense of fear or because of sheer ignorance. We may not be simply aware of the dangers that may threaten our existence. We should seek the Force of KRUPA that brings a sense of Joy and imparts the taste of Sweetness known as ‘MADHURYA’.
Please view the related blog post titled ‘Pain and Compassion – Philosophy of Medicine’
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” says the Holy Bible,in The Book of Proverbs,Chapter1,verse7.For the religious traditions that originated outside of India such as Judaism,Christianity and Islam,the fear of the Lord could be a primary motivating factor to seek worship of the Lord.On the contrary,the religious traditions that originated in the land of India,do not encourage their adherents to entertain any such fear of the Lord.In the Indian traditions,the Lord or deity that Indians choose to worship would receive them with a sign that proclaims ” BE FEARLESS “.The Lord reassures them with a sign that is popularly described as ” ABHAYA HASTA “or ” ABHAYA MUDRA “.In Indian literature,countless number of images,idols,paintings and drawings,there are invariable references to a consistent message of ” ABHAYA “and naturally Indians are less concerned with ” The fear of the Lord “.
The cultural traditions that originated in India motivate people to seek refuge or shelter at the Feet of the Lord by evoking a sense of fear and this fear is described as the fear of ” SAMSARA “.Samsara or Bhava describes the viewpoint about the human condition and deals with the problems of human existence.It contributes to a sense of apprehension and anxiety and the attitude it generates is one of intense fear and helplessness.Samsara portrays the picture of life’s journey as a tedious,difficult and challenging swim across an unknown,uncharted and treacherous ocean.Samsara is also depicted as a serious disease entity afflicting a person’s health and is referred to as ” BHAVA ROGA “.Others view Samsara as existence in a bottomless deep pit(“AGHADHA”)or that of being trapped in a deep well from where an escape would not be easy.The fear of Samsara/Bhava,the human condition,has nothing to do with physical courage.The powerful idea of Samsara inspires a sense of fear in the hearts of even the most courageous of all people.Cultural traditions that have their roots in the other parts of this planet may not be aware of this kind of fear and hence the fear of Samsara could be viewed as a feature that defines and molds the Indian Identity.Indians chant the Lord’s name as a medicine to cure this terrible disease and they seek Lord’s protection to reach the shore and complete the journey across the ocean.There are numerous references in Indian literature and some verses could be quoted to illustrate the point.
1.SRI RAMA MANTRAM:
Samsara sagara bhayaapaha viswa mantram
Sakshaanmu mukshu jana sevita siddhi mantram
Saranga hasta mukha hasta nivasa mantram
Kaivalya mantra manesam bhaja Rama mantram.
This verse would banish the fear generated by the ocean like Samsara.
2.THE PRAYER TO LORD MAHA VISHNU:
Shantaakaaram,bhujaga sayanam,padma naabham,Suresam,
Vishwaakaaram,gagana sadrusam,megha varnam,subhangam
Lakshmi kaantam,kamala nayanam,yogi hrudyaana gamyam
Vande Vishnum bhava bhaya haram,sarva lokaika natham.
The prayer would destroy the fear of bhava/Samsara.
3.THE PRAYER TO LORD LAKSHMI NARASIMHA SWAMY:
Samsara koopa mati ghoramaghadha mulam,
Samprapya dukha sata sarpa samaa kulasya
Deenasya Deva krupayaa saranaagatasya
Laksmi Nrusimha mama deeht karaavalambam.
The verse pleads the Lord to extend His hand and physically lift the worshiper from the horrible bottomless well of Samsara.
4.THE PRAYER TO LORD SHIVA:
Praatarnamaami girisam girijaardha deham
Sarga sthiti pralaya kaarana maadi Devam
Visweswaram vijita viswa manobhiraamam
Samsaara roga haranoushadha madviteeyam.
The verse describes Lord Shiva as the root cause of creation,sustenance and eventual destruction and the Lord’s name is the matchless medicine to wipe out the disease of Samsara.
5.A PRAYER FROM BHAJA GOVINDAM:
Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam
Punarapi jananee jatare sayanam
Eha samsaare bahu dustaare
Krupayaa paare paahi Murare.
This verse seeks the compassion of Vishnu to reach the shore and to get over the problem of this difficult existence which involves repeated cycles of birth,death and rebirth.
6.KALI KALMASHA NAASANA MAHAA MANTRAM:
Hare Rama Hare Rama-Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna-Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.
deliverance from the trappings of Samsara.The following verse from Kali Samtaranopanishad
proves the efficacy of this Mantra.
Eti Shodasam Naamnam,Kali kalmasha naasanam;
NaaTha parataropayaH, Sarva Vedeshu drusyatey.
Human existence is beset with countless uncertainties and difficulties which may arrive without any prior warning from different directions in an unpredictable manner.It is rational to approach life with a sense of apprehension and seek the help of the Lord who graciously held His right hand in a show of compassion and receives with a greeting of “ABHAYA” and is willing to banish the fear of Samsara.
Please also view a related blog post titled ‘Defining Indian Identity – The Land of Karma’
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.