Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Sad end of a Honeycomb



Honey from the Backyard
Earlier in the year a honeycomb began to develop in a corner of the backyard. It was on some very low dry branches and therefore one had to be very careful while watering the plants near it with a hose. Once when I sprinkled water on them by mistake the bees got after me and I ran indoors but not before a couple had bit me on the face. These are tiny local bees but their sting sure hurts. After that I was very careful in watering around that spot and it seems the bees too realized that and never ever bothered me again. Steadily the honeycomb became larger and larger. My mother used to say that a honeycomb is very fortunate in a home. She was a spiritual lady and from experience I believe in most of what she said.

Wild honey as opposed to farm grown honey is also very medicinal and this honey was as close to wild as one can get in an urban area. However, I was in two minds if to take that honey. In my communing with nature, my understanding is that all life is precious and in principle I am against disturbing the bees and stealing the work of their hard labor while having to destroy their homes for it. At the same time there was a risk from the bees too. In case they got inadvertently disturbed a group of them attacking could be dangerous. Moreover my grandchildren would visit soon. They are infants and play in that area. While having full sympathy for all life I am pragmatic enough to realize that one has to protect oneself and not yet spiritual enough to be fearless with all kinds of dangers from the animal and insect world as some ancient spiritual persons living in the forests were in ancient times as per historical records. They lived fearlessly with snakes and lions that were completely friendly to them. Today morning a construction worker in the neighborhood who had seen the honeycomb approached me and volunteered to remove the honeycomb if I would let him have a bit of the honey that he needed as a medicine. He said he was experienced in collecting honey from forests in his village. Therefore I agreed suggesting that he could keep half the honey.

A little while ago he smoked the bees out when it was dark. He said it is safer at night. He has left half the honey for me as in the picture. I am grateful for the honey because it is medicinal but very sad that so many bees were forced out of their homes. A few drowned in the honey collected and some have died in the operation. However, even though most have escaped safely they have all lost their homes. Imagine an entire village forced out of their homes in an earthquake or some such natural disaster. There is no doubt that the bees loved their homes just as much.

It has left me wondering about the old saints who said in some of the scriptures, “Eat the honey and the honeycomb too, for it is good.” Perhaps they knew something that we ordinary humans do not know and in providing honey and health to humans perhaps the soul of bees evolves to higher levels, the purpose of all including humans to exist. Hope so but one is sad about it tonight. I shall pray for them all that they find a nice new and safer home soon.


 
 
UPDATE: Next Morning


The Backyard near the Honeycomb

Around seven o’clock this morning I looked at the spot and their were numerous bees hovering furiously over the spot. They looked angry and I stayed away. Around 9 am I checked again and they were still there. Then I began playing a CD of sweet devotional music near a back window that is near the spot. Either because of that or otherwise they seemed to calm down and one by one have gone to rest somewhere near the spot. There is a thick thicket of green near the spot and a clothesline as shown in the picture just snapped. May they dwell in peace with new beginnings. In the meantime a dear friend, a classmate from college who retired as the senior most official of the Indian equivalent of IRS and who is an accomplished poet too a little while ago has contributed a lovely poem to the post as a comment


Eat the Honey
By Vinod Khurana

Eat the honey and with it honeycomb too
Lest bees become complacent
And eat their own honey too

Love a child much but let him become a man too
Lest he becomes complacent
And remains a child all his life too

A man struggles hard to repay the debt of life too
He has to be ever on watch
Lest he is indebted until the last too

Eat the honey and with it honeycomb too
But let no harm come on the innocent bees
And give a thought to repay their debt too



  

The Aftermath


I am putting this down so that it might be guide to others but being a novice at this, if you have more experience on the issues please share. After breakfast it was noticed a few of the bees were clinging to the kitchen window pane desperate to get out and join their family. They had somehow got in last night. The window also has a mosquito net to it and it is not possible for the bees to get out that way. Therefore I used a technique used earlier to rescue trapped insects. I took a glass and held it over the bee until it moved into the glass and covered it quickly with a plate and then left the bees outside one by one. Next was the honey in the pot. I am a novice at this, not having done this before. A few more bees were in there and these were rescued gently with a tea strainer and left outside too. Next the honey was strained through a very course strainer into another pot. It shall be moved into empty jam bottles after they have been steamed.  The honey comb remained and even though the scriptures recommend eating that it is not really feasible. I found a solution for that. Just add a couple of glasses of water and bring to boil. All the honey dissolves in the water and much of the honey comb dissolves too. I do not intend to pasteurize the rest of the honey but this bit is boiled. The solution tasted heavenly when warm but the wax stuck around the mouth. After cooling that would not happen. I shall have a bit of that drink first over the next few days and I am delighted at having found a way to eat the honeycomb too. The honey would be kept for winter, a tablespoon a day when it is colder. Until then it shall rest in the fridge. I have tasted a spoonful of that and it is truly heavenly, the essence of all the lovely flowers that have grown around the garden over the past several months, truly a gift from the gods.
 

12 comments:

Vinod Khurana said...

Dear Ashok ji,
A wonderful article full of deep wisdom:


Eat the honey and with it honeycomb too
Lest bees become complacent
And eat their own honey too

Love a child much but let him become a man too
Lest he becomes complacent
And remains a child all his life too

A man struggles hard to repay the debt of life too
He has to be ever on watch
Lest he is indebted until the last too

Eat the honey and with it honeycomb too
But let no harm come on the innocent bees
And give a thought to repay their debt too

With warm Regards/ Vinod

Ashok said...

Immensely beautiful words Vinod. Thank you for adding them here. I would be adding some updates to the post in a few minutes please do look up again.

Vinod Khurana said...

Dear Ashok ji,
Superb. You have saved many a bee and also found a good way to make honeycomb into a nice solution . But see the marvel that the honey bee creates from the flowers around you. We have a great lesson to learn from them. Thank you so much for posting my stray thoughts in the form of a poem on your lovely blog. It is a treat to visit and read many interesting posts that appear on your blog. With Regards/ Vinod

Ashok said...

Thanks for your nice comments Vinod and the nice poetry. please do visit often.

हरि चन्द said...

Sir
These days I am using mobile only for net and fb and it is tedious for typing long text, so could not write exact and full response to this post. Yes even our worshiped saints tend to draw a line between humans and other living beings and hence they preach in this way. But forest dwellers are better than us at understanding the law of nature and living accordingly. They also do depend on other living being for survival and hence hold them in high esteem. But they do not profess to ensure heaven for those killed by them, which we civilised ones do. This concept has been bane of Indian Culture which has ruined the fabric of Society.

हरि चन्द said...

Yes, Plant Kingdom bribes animal Kingdom (in form of flowers, nectar and fruits) on its own to have its purpose of spreading far and wide , solved.

Ashok said...

Thanks for your comments Hari Chand. I see all life as parts of a continuum, seeing the gene pool is same and a gradual evolution of life forms to more evolved states e.g rats 80 percent humans, monkeys perhaps 95 percent, chimps 99 percent and we have got up to human so far but it would be ridiculous to think that evolution stops at humans. it will go on. The physical side of it is discussed in my othr blog - http://alienaccount.blogspot.com - explaining how chimps got to where they are starting from bacteria in simple step by step posts. This is the physical side but an inner evolution of the soul must accompany. I donot regard heaven as anything magical - it simply describes a state and place as significantly better than the present one i.e it is merely a relative thing. Nor is the soul anything magical, just our inner emotional self. The problem arises when we first erroneously assume that these are magical things and then reject them.

Ashok said...

Hari Chand ji there are several post on heaven and hell in this blog that can be reached by using the search tool in the left cloumn. Just mentioning one here that describes what heaven is from a scinetific point of view ( you would have to copy and paste the link in browser address bar)
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2010/08/heaven-scientifically-speaking.html

Ashok said...

There are several older posts on interaction between violence, food, survival, health in this blog too with philosophical speculations plus practical suggestions for good health. The following link is a good one to begin with
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2010/07/lovegan-food-is-better-than-vegetarian.html

Ashok said...

Seeing that this blog is seven years old and the thoughts in it more than fifty years old, many topics humans discuss about life have been covered earlier and it is has become a convenient way for me to refer others to a previous debated and discussed topic rather than begin all over :)

हरि चन्द said...

Sir
I had responded to that specific sentence of quoted context only and even if we seek guidance from old sayings, we may be allowed to question them before using them as such.
following joke may put my response in a better way-
A jatt and a a panditji were neighbors. one day a cobra appeared in the house of jatt. Jatt killed it and panditji happened to see him in the act. 'O brother ! you have earned great sin by killing naag devata' exclaimed panditji and made jatt to part with a better part of his resources to free him from the burden of sin. some days later, another cobra appeared in the house of panditji and panditji killed it. jatt happened to see him in the act. he asked panditji as how he would free himself of burden of sin. 'O brother ! naag devata was lucky to be liberated by being killed at the hands of panditji' said panditji.

Ashok said...

Nice one. Yes you are right we have to question many superstitions and beliefs that prevail amongst the people. Unfortunately it was not the original saints who erred in sharing knowledge with the people but its interpretations by common people and followers that have often been erroneous and must certainly be questioned.