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Brockwood Park - 15th Entry - 29th September 1973
The rains were nearly over and the horizon was flowing with billowing white and golden clouds; they were soaring up to the blue and green heavens. All the leaves of every bush were washed clean and they were sparkling in the early morning sun. It was a morning of delight, the earth was rejoicing and there seemed to be benediction in the air. High up in that room you saw the blue sea, the river running into it, the palms and the mangoes. You held your breath at the wonder of the earth and the immense shape of the clouds. It was early, quiet and the noise of the day had not yet begun; across the bridge there was hardly any traffic, only a long line of bullock carts, laden with hay. Years later buses would come with their pollution and bustle. It was a lovely morning, full of song and bliss.
The two brothers were driven in a car to a village nearby to see their father whom they had not seen for nearly fifteen years or more. They had to walk a little distance on an ill-kept road. They came to a tank, a storage of water; all its sides had stone steps leading down to the clear water. At one end of it there was a small temple with a small square tower, quite narrow at the top; there were many images of stone all round it. On the veranda of the temple, overlooking the big pond, were some people, absolutely still, like those images on the tower, lost in meditation. Beyond the water, just behind some other houses, was the house where the father lived. He came out as the two brothers approached and they greeted him by prostrating fully, touching his feet. They were shy and waited for him to speak, as was the custom. Before he said anything he went inside to wash his feet, as the boys had touched them. He was a very orthodox Brahmanah, no one could touch him except another Brahmanah, and his two sons had been polluted by mixing with others who were not of his class and had eaten food cooked by non-Brahmanahs. So he washed his feet and sat down on the ground, not too close to his polluted sons. They talked for some time and the hour when food is eaten approached. He sent them away for he could not eat with them; they were no longer Brahmanahs. He must have had affection for them, for after all they were his sons whom he had not seen for so many years. If their mother were alive she might have given them food but she would certainly not have eaten with her sons. They must have had a deep affection for their children but orthodoxy and tradition forbade any physical contact with them. Tradition is very strong, stronger than love.
The tradition of war is stronger than love; the tradition of killing for food and killing the so-called enemy denies human tenderness and affection; the tradition of long hours of labour breeds efficient cruelty; the tradition of marriage soon becomes a bondage; the traditions of the rich and the poor keep them apart; each profession has its own tradition, its own elite which breeds envy and enmity. The traditional ceremonies and rituals in the places of worship, the world over, have separated man from man and the words and gestures have no meaning at all. A thousand yesterdays, however rich and beautiful, deny love.
You cross over a rickety bridge to the other side of a narrow, muddy stream which joins the big wide river; you come to a small village of mud and sun-dried bricks. There are quantities of children, screaming and playing; the older people are in the fields or fishing, or working in the nearby town. In a small dark room an opening in the wall is the window; no flies would come into this darkness. It was cool in there. In that small space was a weaver with a large loom; he could not read but was educated in his own way, polite and wholly absorbed in his labours. He turned out exquisite cloth of gold and silver with beautiful patterns. In whatever colour of cloth or silk he could weave into traditional patterns, the finest and the best. He was born to that tradition; he was small, gentle and eager to show his marvellous talent. You watched him, as he produced from silken threads the finest of cloths, with wonder and love in your heart. There was the woven piece of great beauty, born of tradition.