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Carrying the Water

Mark Nepo

"Keeping the acequia clear and flowing is a useful metaphor for interdependence and cooperation. Keeping the acequia clear—both the actual acequia and the acequia of humanity—bears learning how to do well."

In Hindu lore, Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and art, was born out of the Saraswati River, the invisible river that carries the waters that sustain all life. Her name means “the one who flows.” From the earliest times, the invisible river sustained our natural resources as well as our human and spiritual resources, carrying actual water and the water we have come to know as truth and love. Saraswati’s ageless counterpart is the serpent-demon Vritrasura, who is driven to hoard all the water on Earth. And so the endless struggle was set: whether to be one who flows or one who hoards. In the Rigveda, the sacred collection of Sanskrit hymns, we are given a profound instruction. With help from her brother Ganesh, the provider and remover of obstacles, and Indra, the god who connects all things, Saraswati killed the demon who would hoard the Earth’s water. It is eternally true that working our way through obstacles until we can connect all things helps move us from being one who hoards to being one who flows. Those who would carry the water and those who would hoard the water keep appearing, …

This excerpt is from Mark’s recent book, More Together Than Alone (Atria, 2018).


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