Like Flowing Water…
Human life can be likened to a flowing river. What is a river? A river in fact is a unique phenomenon of nature. In the river fresh water is being added to the existing water at every moment. This everyday phenomenon is responsible for the freshness of the river water. In the absence of this continuous flow of newly added water, the river will lose its freshness: it will not be able to maintain its health-giving, nay, life-giving properties.
The same method is adopted by nature with regard to man. As we know, human beings continue to be born generation after generation. Within a period of a hundred years the previous generation is replaced by new men and women. If the old water is replaced with fresh water, in human beings this same occurrence takes place in the form of previous generations yielding place to new generations.
A great wisdom lies behind this system set up in human life by nature. Its aim is that the coming generation should learn its lesson from the experiences of the previous generation. By benefiting in this way, it may continue its life’s journey in a far better way. This is the precious gift of the previous generation to the new generation. This is why the phrase ‘old is gold’ is often used with reference to the older generation.
For instance, an old father sees that his son is very intelligent but that there is one thing wrong with his temperament and that is his over-confidence. Due to this he suffers losses in life. On seeing this, the father, in the light of his own experiences advises him thus:
“My son, confidence is good, but over-confidence is bad.”
This advice is very useful to him.
Similarly, another old father sees that his son is impatient. He cannot wait for anything to take place in the ordinary course of events, so he gives him advice, with reference to his own experiences:
“My son, life is one percent action, and 99 percent restraint.”
This advice proves very useful to his son.
Similarly, another parent finds that his son does not have the quality of perseverance. He is not able to work unflaggingly with others, therefore, in the light of his experiences he advises his son:
“My son, maturity is the ability to live with things you cannot change.”
This advice of the father gives the son the right guidance. He reviews his actions, and re-plans his life and then achieves great success in life.
These examples show how important the previous generation is for the new generation. The previous generation bequeaths its wisdom to the new generation. It passes on such formulae as have proved right in the light of practical experiences. In this way the older generation enables the coming generation to refrain from committing the mistakes which earlier people made, thus incurring great losses. The truth is the previous generation is a valuable gift of nature to the present generation — a gift which cannot be acquired unless granted by nature.
If man’s life is like flowing water, in which fresh water continues to be added at every moment, then it will always remain fresh and will never become stale. On the contrary, water which is lying in a closed place, where fresh water is not being added, will lose its freshness. It will become unhealthy. In this matter, the flowing river is a healthy message given by nature and the experience of human history testifies to this in practice.