धीरे-धीरे रे मना, धीरे सब कुछ होय ।
माली सींचे सौ घड़ा, ॠतु आए फल होय ॥
[Dheere- dheere re mana, dhere sab kuchh hoye,
Maali seeNche sau ghada, Ritu aaye fal hoye.]
Be patient O my heart, for everything happens slowly, in its own time.
A gardener may irrigate his plants with a hundred pots of water, they will bear fruits only when the time (season) is right.
~ Saint Kabir
This couplet has always been a favorite. A farmer would need to learn the laws of the farm in order to be successful. This couplet is all about the law of the farm.
On the farm, everything is a process. Each process has its own sequence of steps that need to be followed. You must sow before you reap. After you sow, you must nurture and tend your crop with diligence and hard-work. You cannot skip any step nor disrupt the sequence. You cannot sow your seeds before you prepare your soil, nor water your crop before you sow the seeds.
There are no shortcuts or quick- fixes on the farm. You cannot fast- forward any process. You cannot fool yourself into thinking that nine women can give birth to a baby in one month. Life is not a matter of arithmetic. Life has her own processes which must be given as much time as she demands. All your fiery rhetoric will not hasten her even by a second.
You cannot sow double the seeds and expect double the harvest. The law of optimization cannot be violated. You must plant so much and no more. There are limits that must be adhered to. To get greedy and kill the goose that lays the golden egg is counter- productive.
Everything has its own season. You may work hard at sowing and tending your crop. But the crop will yield a harvest only when it has been planted at the right time. If you missed the planting season, you will need to wait until the sowing season comes again. There is no point in throwing your seed down in arid soil baking in the summer heat. All you will accomplish will be to lose your seed.
Life’s success is in the progressive realization of all that you were meant to be and to do. That realization doesn’t happen in those moments when you are about to reap your harvest. The realization creeps up on you as you sit looking out at your farm after your day’s work is done. In that silence, when the soft night closes in and birds have gone home for the night, you know what you were meant to be and to do. As you fight the dangers that threaten your crop, you will become what you were meant to become. The harvest was never raison d’ etre of life; it is just a means towards an end. The point of life is in the person you become in the process of running a farm. The point is the lessons you will learn and the stature you will acquire. Life was never about the destination; she was only about the journey.
Delayed gratification is an old fashioned concept in a world gripped in the frenzy of instant gratification. You want everything yesterday… and you want two of them. Adversity, misfortune and hardships are things that happen to other people. The trouble is, other people think so too. Dismaying, yes.
It is not easy to be patient. The worst of being patient is that you are not up and about doing something. The worst of it is that you can do nothing until things fall into place by themselves. You cannot hurry it up, you cannot interfere with it, you can only hope it gets done soon.
Practicing patience is an art. So is practicing hope.
Kabir (1440AD to 1518AD) was one of the early saints who lived in northern India. By profession he was a weaver. He shunned religious affiliations and sang the glory of one God. His couplets (called dohas) are little nuggets of wisdom. Kabir wrote in simple language that common people could easily understand.