Jammu and Kashmir, Oral Stories from Rural India, Short Stories
Comments 31

Man’s Search for Meaning

When I returned to Ishbar that night, Shiban seemed speechless. But Dr Kaul looked at him with satisfaction giving an expression like “then he has seen.” And soon the moment came to explain to him what he had seen.

We sat around fire, while waiting for the food to arrive.

Open your ears, said Dr Kaul and he began speaking like reciting an over practised hymn. “The men in the east, he said, are trees; those in the south are flocks of animals; those in the west are wild plants. Last, those in the north like ourselves, who cried out while they ate other men, were the waters. When the collective sound of chewing filled the air, he started explaining about eating.

The act of eating is a violence that causes what is living, in its many forms, to disappear. Whether grass, plants, trees, animals, or human beings, the process is the same. There is always a fire that devours and a substance that is devoured. This violence, bringing misery and torment, will one day be carried out by those who suffer it on those who inflict it.

Pouring milk into the fire- every morning, every evening- meant accepting that what appears disappears and that what has disappeared serves to give sustenance to something else, in the invisible. There are some people who have become skilled in detecting evil with supreme ease. Evil for them was already apparent ever since the moment an axe first struck a tree or a hand uprooted a plant; a metaphysical evil, inherent in everything that is forced to destroy a part of the world in order to survive. Evil is therefore everywhere and in everything. This is why sacrifice is also everywhere and in everything. Quiet. Now finish your food !


Hi, I am Narayan Kaudinya. And i welcome you on this journey, the Road to Nara ! I am an Ethnographer and a practicing Indologist. I did my masters in History and further learnt Sanskrit, Yoga and Nerve-therapy. At 24, pushing most academic sounding, office sitting works away, i felt compelled to know and understand the world and my country, Bharat/India. I travelled, and as it happened i took up teaching in Kashmir and further up in the remote villages of Baltistan in the foothills of Karakoram Ranges. For around three years and many states later there came a time when i felt that it was only while teaching i learnt how to laugh, to see, feel, breathe, love and cry -with children, and mostly resource-less parents in the harshest-freezing border conditions. I write, and work as a documentary photographer and Filmmaker, with numerous published, exhibited and some awarded stories. In my travels and life i have let nature lead me, the divine mother, and as a Yogin, my resolve here is to share my experiences and thoughts as honestly, and through them to blossom in everyone the power and possibility in pursuing your breath, that you seek your true nature with courage and curiosity. Here, on this road i will share my spirit, my love for nature, the elements of life that are us. And in doing so, i'll be happy to see you along.


  1. Breathing… Each inhale & exhale..in itself the combustion the burn the creative destruction..Shiva & Shakti in each cell & this cosmos does this ..& true to what you say of eating.. fore & milk.. dig this. keep sharing your traverse & soul… thanks..

    Btw , was trying yo post this below on your nlog ‘About me’ ..juz couldn’t do there..an it glitch?
    Hope you dunn mind me posting here, 🙂

    Thanks for seeing you through my blog scribblings… a purva janma bandham sure perhaps.. falling unto your golden depths! Not just writing the write… you live breathe & flow with your thoughts pen & pure action…mark of a true Yogi, Narayan Tushar Kaudinya! an awakening blog & soul you are… indeed a destiny to have met you through your blog.. travel & yoga & purpose & endless search ..towards liberation in each breath.. is what a truthful soul strives for ..& what you are doing & what i love too to be. ‘ TO BE…’ seems hears scribes simple , but has all & nil..this ‘now’.. you feel & doing it.. my wishes .n hope will be meaningfully connected in whatever means with your blog & life.. ஒளியும் அன்பும் என்றும், நன்றி, வணக்கம்🙏
    Uma ”


    • Uma, thank you for writing, and not only this but expressing so profoundly, sharing your soul and energy here with me.

      What kind of glitch Uma, please share. Was it that you did write but couldn’t see the ‘send’ key? Or was it something else?

      Purva janam bandhan 🙂 you feel that strongly ! I am humbled with your drive and a strong sense of quest to be.

      Accepting your wishes and i feel we will write often. My wishes Uma. Pranam.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A very thought-provoking post, Narayan. Thank you. I would like to comment on the following statement made Dr. Kaul: “The act of eating is a violence that causes what is living, in its many forms, to disappear.”

    The life consumed does not disappear; it is transformed. This is why I believe it is so important to bless and give thanks for the food we are about to eat. Another life form is sacrificed so that another may live. It occurs throughout the food chain. Only the life-giving trees appear to be exempt from causing such violence to other living species.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Rosaliene, i appreciate your writing here, thank you. Dr. Kaul’s narrative has connotations different from a straight narrative of merely eating and transforming. I, Apart from absolutely agreeing on feeling gratitude and saying a prayer before food. What he meant was that the violence is not in the eating but the act of it. Imagine the first ever cow slaughtered or the first ever tree cut. And trees as much we know are quiet, are not. Even though they are our closest relatives, they fight, consume and send vibrations in their own ways to protect themselves from possible preys, be it of their leaves or wood 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s interesting Dr. Kaul’s words on the directions, how they tie in with the elements. Another wonderful, esoteric post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thought-provoking. It reminds of Richard Feynman’s words (from ‘What do you care what other people think!’):

    “For instance, the scientific article may say, ‘The radioactive phosphorus content of the cerebrum of the rat decreases to one- half in a period of two weeks.’ Now what does that mean?

    It means that phosphorus that is in the brain of a rat—and also in mine, and yours—is not the same phosphorus as it was two weeks ago. It means the atoms that are in the brain are being replaced: the ones that were there before have gone away.

    So what is this mind of ours: what are these atoms with consciousness? Last week’s potatoes! They now can remember what was going on in my mind a year ago—a mind which has long ago been replaced. To note that the thing I call my individuality is only a pattern or dance, that is what it means when one discovers how long it takes for the atoms of the brain to be replaced by other atoms. The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, and then go out—there are always new atoms, but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday…”

    Strength to your pen.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Powerful and, I fear currently unanswerable sentiments. I concur wholeheartedly and wish the world was otherwise. Perhaps one day we will learn how to defeat entropy without destroying other life. That is my belief and my hope. De Chardin called that far off time the Omega Point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anthony, thank you for coming over and having your words here. Yes, may be we might learn slowly, individually. But collectively we are bound to do most of the times of what and where our memory takes us. Binds us.
      Let see how far Omega point be from here onwards 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Frank, lovely to have an almost political commentator, writer here. Welcome. And thanks for your words, it is as true as it gets because it is just not that we were hunters and gatherers, but for the longest period we were the ones hunted, rather were only gatherers. It was that time, when gathering turned into chance discovering when things changed.

      Anyways, wishes from India. Nara.


  6. Thank you for recently visiting my blog.
    Your journey is fascinating , inspiring and educational and I wish you well in all your endeavours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dearest Jenne,
      Thank you for writing, for I would have never known.

      As I am travelling,.I will come over soon and write.

      Thank you again.
      Nara x


  7. People are so dependent on grocery stores in America that many people do not even understand where the food comes from or the process of growing, gathering, and processing it. They just take it for granted that the food will be there. I’ve often wondered how many Americans could survive in a real apocalyptic event. COVID doesn’t even come close, and people are eaten up with anxiety and fear.


    • Here too Dawn, i am in complete agreement with you. But it is not only the people of the US but throughout the world where ever the capitalist model has touched people, it has destroyed their long standing affinity with nature and all things that earth gives us. Only and until we do not understand the importance five elements outside and their presence inside us, we as people or as spirits cannot go too far.

      It is has to start from us.

      Liked by 1 person

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