Friday, July 2, 2010

Love is the basis of Life



Some days ago I noticed that every time I opened the front door to my home a small bird (a red tailed bulbul) would screech frantically. At first I thought it was because she was hungry. We keep a pan to feed birds in the garden and on some mornings various common birds that live in and around my garden wait patiently for us to place some left over bread pieces in their plate or millet grains that we store especially for the birds. However, on closer examination I discovered that the screeching was not about food but about the two young bulbul chicks that had recently come into the world. An asparagus creeper hangs in the porch near my front door and hidden within its branches was the bulbul nest. The screeching was from fear that some harm may come to the chicks.

A few days later the little chicks were climbing out of the nest on to the branches. Then a couple of days ago while we were away from home we discovered that both the chicks had flown out of their nest and jumped into a small pond in the garden. One of them was dead but the other was still flapping its wings. The parents were flying around and screaming frantically. We retrieved it quickly from the pond and placed it back in the nest, while giving the other chick a decent yet mournful burial in the corner of the garden. All through the day the mother bulbul nursed the young chick while the father stood on guard nearby. By evening, the chick was climbing out of the nest once again. Most tragically though sometime later she repeated the feat and jumped into the nearby pond again and died. We buried her too, both on either side of a jasmine bush, and placed some perfumed flowers over the graves.

We were sad and wondered if we could have done more to save the little birds, perhaps by moving the nest to a safer location or even by emptying the pond. Eventually I consoled myself that these two birds were little angels that had only briefly come into the world to experience the love of their parents, and that their souls have flown back to angelic realms once again. The fact that their may be a sign or message hidden in the story for us as well has occurred to me but I have been unable to fathom that message.

Although these two birds did not survive in spite of the care showered on them by their parents as well as two inexperienced humans, those that do survive, do so because of the love and care of their parents. Without that it would be impossible in any case. That brings me to the realization that creation of higher forms of life including humans is impossible without love. It is the basis of life. That is why I do not take Darwinists seriously when they say that life evolved merely by material movements and trial and error etc. even though I agree in general with the Darwinist mechanism broadly. Much more important is the mysterious force – love – that has nothing to do with random movements of matter, but is a Higher Force that pervades the Universe.

The pond in the author's garden

Update July 2015: Since then many other bulbul chics have been born and grown up in the garden and recognize us as friendly. One of them comes out immediately as soon as I pull a hose out to water the garden and follows me around. At first I wondered if it was for a shower. However I have discovered it is because the water raises moths from the grass and plants and the bulbul grabs them swiftly for a meal.Clever little devil!

There are more stories of birds in this blog but the most interesting one is my experience with a friendly sparrow in my home here:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2010/08/from-birds-to-telepathy.html

3 comments:

Vincent said...

Ashok you write here on topics dear to my heart. Never mind what any "Darwinist" may say. Darwin himself was wiser and more humane than any of them. I confess I haven't read any of his original works, only short extracts.

But like you I observe animal behaviour in the garden, and see what's what directly from that. Once I had a similar experience with a young bird, which seemed to have fallen out of the nest prematurely as its feathers were not properly developed, it could not fly, and it was liable to be taken by a cat. Like you I put it back in the nest but the inhabitants inited in throwing it out immediately. I suspect they had thrown it out in the first place.

Recently, watching a documentary about lions in the wild starring Anthony Hopkins, I learned that the male lion is liable to kill the cubs of another family if they are not constantly guarded by their mother, up to a certain age; and in rarer cases, may kill one of his own offspring.

So I may be less inclined than you to take a sentimental view of parental love amongst certain species. Nor do I make any particular distinction between "higher forms of life" and the rest.

I agree with you that a higher force (than materialistic randomness) does permeate the Universe. But I feel it as a mysterious force known through the heart and obeyed through the instincts.

Certain mammals leave the runts to die, by depriving them of the mother's teat. That provides a microcosmic example of survival of the fittest.

These are facts, but I agree with you that love is the basis of Life, at least in the eye of the beholder. I'm not sure that everyone can see it in a cosmic sense. Sometimes I can, sometimes I lose sight of it.

ashok said...

Very well described Vincent. Most unfortunately cruelty is as much a part of our universe as love. Our world is indeed made up of pairs of opposites. That appears to be a necessity of creation.

I am glad you agree that a mysterious force pervades the universe and that it acts through the heart. I see Love as one manifestation of that force.

Hayden said...

Ashok, I suspect that the Love you describe is much the same as Spirit or God as seen by others. I do agree that there is something - some unseen force as strong as gravity and just as intrinsic to our world - that nurtures us all.

Vincent, Perhaps it is not always cruelty to allow the unfit to die. No, I'm not endorsing euthanasia or a change in human ethics. I am recognizing that without access to hospitals, welfare and other social supports, some critters are simply never going to make it. Perhaps in these cases there is a higher wisdom in denying food early, rather than allowing a longer, slower death later. As for the death of lion cubs at the teeth/claws of an unrelated male - this isn't a lack of parental love, but a refusal to become a step-parent. Some critters adopt orphans, some do not. In the rarer cases of a male lion killing his own cubs, I suspect something dysfunctional is going on. Anyway, it appears no more common than in the cases of human fathers who beat their children to death.