Life lessons from water

When I first tried to learn swimming, I came to realize that the more I splashed my arms and feet, the more turmoil I st...

Editor's Note: The followed was authored by Tvisha Ahuja who is 15 year old high school student from Dublin California. 

Allow me to start with a story of a guru who took his disciple to the sarovar and said, “Today I am going to teach you the meaning of true devotion”.

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He asked his disciple to enter the sarovar with him, and placing his hands on young man’s head, he thrust him under the water.

The first minute passed. In the middle of the second minute the young man was struggling with all his strength to free himself of the master’s hand and return to the surface. At the end of the second minute the master released him.

With his heart beating fast and completely breathless, the young man stood up and shouted: “You tried to kill me!” The master waited for him to calm down and then said: “I didn’t want to kill you, because if I did, you would no longer be here. I just wanted to know what you felt while you were under the water.”
“I felt I was dying! All that I wanted in life was to breathe some air!”
“That’s exactly it. True devotion appears when we have just one reliance, only one hand-hold, and we feel that we will die without it.”

I have always been very fascinated by and attracted to water. Guru Nanak Dev Ji says in Raag Majh, “When it rains, there is happiness. Water is the key to all life. (SGGS Ji 150, 5) Even the thought of rain fills my heart with so much pleasure! Water has taught me so much…Here, I am happy to share some of the lessons I have learned:

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When I first tried to learn swimming, I came to realize that the more I splashed my arms and feet, the more turmoil I stirred in water, the more I sank. These early experiences in water taught me an important life lesson.

The trick is that even if you are scared of the depth of water, you have to trust and let go of the struggle. You'll find that you don't sink. You actually float. The same applies to the ocean of life-- Without trust or faith, it can be difficult to stay afloat. Trust in God, reliance on Him, allows me to keep moving forward. Water doesn’t stall, it doesn’t resist.

It keeps moving forward. It changes shape and flows around hurdles. Gently, it can carve its way even through hard stones and tall mountains. Just like water, when we don’t resist, when we go with the flow, allowing life to guide us then the journey of life becomes smoother.

Gently and persistently, water can wash away the earth and smoothen its terrain. Water can carry heavy loads without complaining. Instantly, it puts out blazing fire. We are nurtured by water, and we are in the perfect position to draw on these strengths of water while living our life. With patience, prayer and persistence, we can overcome difficult situations.

I remember a poem by Hazrat Rumi:
The Water said to the dirty one, “Come here.”
The dirty one said, “I am too ashamed.”
The Water replied, “How will your shame be washed away without me?”

We depend on water for survival and health. In absence of adequate hydration, chronic illnesses set in the body. The analogy necessitates that we hydrate our hearts and souls frequently with His Name. This will help in restoring hope and replacing negative thoughts with those of gratitude and guidance.


Water is a purifier. It prepares us not only for special ceremonies but routinely for our most important appointment -- Our time with God -- We use water for ablution before prayer. As a child, I was taught that before prayer, we wash our hands with water intending to pull them away from the affairs of this world so that we can give our undivided attention to God. By washing our mouth, we purify it before we utter His Name. We wash our face with water intending to wipe away arrogance and hypocrisy. We wash our feet to remove the dirt of the world intending to discard our flaws. Humbled, we arrive to pray with hope and thankfulness. May God accept our prayers.

“Ravi Daas offers this one prayer unto the Lord: please preserve and protect my honor, O Lord, my King.
Your Name, Lord, is my adoration and cleansing bath.
Without the Name of the Lord, all ostentatious displays are useless.
Your Name is my prayer mat, and Your Name is the stone to grind the sandalwood. Your Name is the saffron which I take and sprinkle in offering to You.
Your Name is the water, and Your Name is the sandalwood. The chanting of Your Name is the grinding of the sandalwood. I take it and offer all this to You.
Your Name is the lamp, and Your Name is the wick. Your Name is the oil I pour into it.
Your Name is the light applied to this lamp, which enlightens and illuminates the entire world.”
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 694, 13-16)

Tvisha Ahuja

Waves of life bring happiness and sadness, and I am learning that suffering can be prevented by developing inner strength. I want to share what I am learning - Writing has great power, and I hope to use it to make this world brighter. 

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