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Man at Sea

Updated on April 30, 2015

Stand before a sea. What do you see? There is nothing whatsoever like the sea in this world! A magnificently huge and seemingly boundless body of water, calm, if not still, away from the shore where it is deep and yet choppy when it gets closer to the shore. The noise of the waves is quite a din and sometimes even deafening. You have eyes only for the waves as they come running towards you determinedly and ceaselessly in their multitudes in rapid succession. Even as they wash your feet, you feel the ground slipping from under your feet, with the attrition of sand. You then realize how much you love being on the terra firma. After all, man is a land animal which speaks for your penchant for the ground! After the waves retreat in an apparent act of dejection and despair only to come back in relentless pursuit of whatever they were up to, the beach is littered with sea shells and other small life forms that inhabit the sea as well as quite a bit of debris consigned on earlier occasions to a watery grave by man. If it is your lucky day, you may find a bottle washed over, with a map of some fabled treasure hidden by some notoriously vicious pirate in a distant uninhabited island, away from the prying eyes of pigmies of greedy men who can't be expected to value the real worth of the treasure and would squander away the riches on worthless things if they could lay their grubby hands on the treasure over which was fought many a battle of valour as well as treachery!

Life Juxtaposed with Sea

How different is life from a sea? Both are humongous, awesome, mind-boggling and perplexing. Nobody is an island in himself. Everybody's life is interlinked with those of others although nobody gives two hoots to the life of others. It is like an intricately knitted net, one full of holes and yet interconnected to form a unique web, in the absence of which individual lives would have no bearing on each other and be rendered utterly insignificant. As insignificant as the trivialities washed over on the beach by the waves.

Storms and Stormy Situations

When there are storms, typhoons or hurricanes, the sea becomes more and more turbulent and is at its element of destruction. Unless and until the violent wind power blows over and subsides, there is no containing the sea. And then there are are tsunamis which are reminiscent of the deluge. Tidal waves are capable of wreaking destruction and fear of unimaginable proportions, making man look like a mere puppet of precarious and mind numbing vulnerability. Such situations of particularly hopeless disposition could arise in a man's life, being capable of driving him practically insane and making him go utterly out of control and awry. Such situations could bring about the end of life for him, unless he is firmly rooted to the basics of life and has an abundant supply of irrevocable faith in Providence in general and his destiny in particular. No matter how long or dark the night, there is always a dawn to look up to for a fresh fillip of hope and confidence. On the aftermath of any crisis in life rides in serenity just as in the case of a stormy sea.

Commonalities of Life and Sea

When you are in the thick of life, like in the middle of a sea, you feel the grandeur and majesty of life which is an awesome and humbling experience. It is when you are on the periphery of life that you feel the turbulence and the current of life force choppy. The din and roar of the sea lie in the waves. A full-fledged life is, like the deep sea, marked by the absence of the deafening noise. Away from the periphery where the depth is the greatest, is where the water is congenial for safely navigating your vessel. Besides, should you dare and care to go under the surface, vast treasures lie on the seabed. There are no sea monsters except in myths and minds. Nor is there one in the depths of life.

Less Treaded Path

When you are at sea, you can't even think of drinking sea water, no matter how thirsty and not even if your life depended on it. Nor can you drink at the fountain of life which is deceptive and illusory like an oasis in a desert. You have to overcome the thirst and not pander to it which would only increase the urge. You cannot suppress the thirst as it is counter-productive. You can and should endeavour to overcome the thirst by not developing it in the first place. This becomes possible only when you are fully convinced about the futility of living life by rules set in a mindless exercise by an ignorant society the hallmarks of which are superficiality and superciliousness. You have to be brave enough to walk the path seldom treaded. Dive deep into the sea of life for its real treasures.


Frailty of Life

The tragedy of humanity is that entire lifetimes of countless numbers of men and women have been frittered away on the beach of life in the futile exercise of picking up sea shells, pebbles and other trivialities which appeal to your sensory perception at the cost of probing the depths of the sea of life. Men and women have no idea why they spend all their time strolling on the beach without so much as giving a thought to plunging into the sea. They are too awestruck and dumbfounded to explore. Sand castles are built with full gusto in all seriousness only to be washed away by ceaseless waves in their relentless pursuit of an inexplicable mission.


Advent of the Achievers

Those who dare to plunge into the sea of life and collect the treasures are the enlightened ones. They move on with their journey, wiser with true knowledge and richer with experience. They are put on a pedestal and called saints, prophets and other glorious names by teeming millions of idol worshippers among the bystanders for having achieved what the latter do not even dream of attempting for fear of getting their feet wet! Iconoclasts who form the other end of the spectrum of humanity go about doing what comes naturally to them and what they are good at, namely tearing down images and reputations of larger than life figures! The achiever is thus either deified or demonized. He has no place among the lesser mortals just as the latter are in no tearing hurry to join the hallowed portals of the achievers.

Promising Life

Life promises the brave and the courageous sea-borne ones adventurous and joyful voyages to fantastic and fun-filled destinations, distant lands of fabled riches and divinely beauty, wild prospects of encounters en route with delightful mermaids and much more. The shy and the timid, the hesitant and the overcautious, trail behind and prevaricate, lost in the treacherous shore of life replete with insidious fallibilities.

© 2014 Kalyanaraman Raman


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