Saturday, March 6, 2010
In Rishikesh there are two types of monkeys. Red monkeys and brown monkeys with black faces. The black-faced monkeys have long, lean bodies with dignified faces and long curvy tails. They walk serenely down paths, lounge near the temples of Hanuman the monkey God, calmly take the food offered to them by well meaning humans and generally behave with dignity and grace. You can sit with a black-faced monkey and have a conversation over a bag of nuts. The red monkeys would bite you for that same bag. They are smaller, with more compact features and wrinkly faces. They knock over garbage bins, steal food, attack humans, fornicate everywhere and at every opportunity, and generally behave in an aggressive and unsettled manner. In the morning they wreck havoc on the roof of my building in the ashram, howling and banging things as if some kind of war is happening. Both of these species are our relatives in the natural world. The question for us as humans is, do we want to behave like brown monkeys or red monkeys? The time has come to set aside our more base instincts of aggression, fear and greed and to move onto dignity, fellowship and elegance. We have to make a leap in our own evolution into a new version of ourselves.