'Know thyself' and join the chorus 'Laudato si'

In a poetic-prose style, Sr.  Lissy reflects on the elements of nature we are part of, like fire, earth, water, space, and air. The call to know thyself echoes a call to praise God. 'Know thyself' and join the chorus 'Laudato si'
The Hindi words, 'Sabka Malik Ek' means we have one owner.

It's rather unusual to engrave 'Know Thyself' as the frontispiece of a temple as if it was a form of worship. That precisely was the inscription on the frontal beam of a temple in Delphi, in Greece, around 300 B.C.  

Know thyself: What comes first: 'who are you' OR 'what are you?

What are you OR who are you? – Fire!

A simple fact of life is that about 4% of who/what you are as a body person is fire. Sure, you are much more than fire. However, you would not be wrong if you answered, 'I am fire.' Curiously, the fire does not need us at all. We need it for our survival. Without it, we are not. We are because fire is. Fire was before us, and it will be there after us.

Among all the creatures, we are the only ones who are gifted and blessed to know this truth. All of us are kept warm all the time, whether we are awake or asleep. About 7.9 billion bodies are warmly kept alive all over the world at the same time. We do not even know how we are kept warm. Imagine humans being given the responsibility to keep everyone warm. Our life span would have shortened considerably. God almost anticipated our inability to handle our own inner ovens. So it is done to us. If our bodies go cold, we will soon be counted among the dead.

The fire is the same, whether we are males, females or transgender persons, people of all religions, agnostics and atheists, in the East, West, North or South, anywhere in the world. We are all connected to a cosmic fire cylinder. All those who exist by fire remain fire-wise connected. And wherever there is fire, we too are there. 

The one, who takes time to become aware of and be grateful for the gift of fire, would naturally deal with its presence with care wherever it is. And the one, who defiles fire, inadvertently harms oneself and also the cosmos. Fire and those who live by it ever remain connected to the owner of everything and everyone, the author of life, our Creator God, Abba: may we join nature's sun-lit choir, singing aloud: Laudato si!

What are you OR who are you? – Earth!

A third simple fact of life is that about 12% of who/what we are as a body person is earth. Sure, you are much more than earth. However, you would not be wrong if you answered, 'I am earth'. Curiously, the earth does not need us at all. We need it for our survival. Without it, we are not. We are because earth is. Earth was before us, and it will be there after us.

Among all the creatures, we are the only ones who are gifted and blessed to know this truth. Till we die, we shall be earthy. Whether we sit, stand, walk or run or sleep, we stay earthbound. There is always earth inside of us and outside of us. Mother earth is carrying about 7.9 billion humans all over the world almost at the same time. If the earth-element moves out of us, we stop being humans.

The earth element is the same, whether we are males, females or transgender persons, people of all religions, agnostics and atheists, in the East, West, North or South, anywhere in the world. We are always being carried in the arms of mother earth. And wherever there is earth, we too are there. 

The one, who takes time to become aware of and be grateful for the gift of the earth, would naturally deal with its presence with care wherever it is. And the one, who defiles earth, inadvertently harms oneself and also the cosmos. Earth and those who live by it remain ever connected to the owner of everything and everyone, the author of life, our Creator God, Abba - may we join nature's country choir and keep humming: Laudato si! 

What are you OR who are you? – Water!

Another fact of life tells us about 72% of who/what we are as a body person is water. Sure, you are much more than water. However, you would not be wrong if you answered, 'I am water.' Curiously, the water does not need us at all. We need it for our survival. Without it, we are not. We are because water is. Water was before us, and it will be there after us.

Among all the creatures, we are the only ones who are gifted and blessed to know this truth. Till we die, we shall live thirsting for water. About 80% of our brains is just water, 72 % of the heart and lungs are composed of water. Our lungs, hearts, and brains are playing with water all the time, asleep or awake. An ocean of water keeps flowing inside 7.9 billion humans worldwide almost at the same time. If the water element moves out of us, we will turn out to be dry bones.

The water element is the same, whether we are males, females or transgender persons, people of all religions, agnostics and atheists, in the East, West, North or South, anywhere in the world. Water remains connected to wherever water exists, in an invisible tiniest minuscule way, by the law of attraction. All those who exist by water remain connected through waterways. And wherever there is water, we too are there. 

The one, who takes time to become aware of and be grateful for the gift of water, would naturally deal with its presence with care wherever it is. And the one, who defiles water, inadvertently harms oneself and also the cosmos. Water and those who live by it ever remain connected to the owner of everything and everyone, the author of life, our Creator God, Abba - may we join nature's harmonious choir, musically accompanying: Laudato si! 

What are you OR who are you? - Space!

Another fact of life tells us that about 6% of who/what we are as body persons is space/ether. Sure, you are much more than space. However, you would not be wrong if you answered, 'I am space.' Curiously, the space does not need us at all. We need it for our survival. Without it, we are not. We are because space is. Space was before us and it will be there after us.

Among all the creatures, we are the only ones who are gifted and blessed to know this truth. Till we die, we shall be in space. Whether we sit, stand, walk or run or sleep, we remain space bound. Inside there is space, so also outside. The space like a womb surrounds all 7.9 billion humans all over the world almost at the same time. If the space element moves out of us, we stop being humans.

The space element is the same, whether we are males, females or transgender persons, people of all religions, agnostics and atheists, in the East, West, North or South, anywhere in the world. We are always being held as if in a womb of space. Space remains connected to wherever space exists, in an invisible tiniest minuscule airily way, by the law of attraction. All those who exist by space remain space-wise connected. And wherever there is space, we too are there. 

The one, who takes time to become aware of and be grateful for the gift of space, would naturally deal with its presence with care wherever it is. And the one, who defiles space, inadvertently harms oneself and also the cosmos. Space and those who live by it remain ever connected to the owner of everything and everyone, the author of life, our Creator God, Abba - may we join nature's open choir singing along Laudato si!

What are you OR who are you? - Air!

Another simple fact of life is that about 6% of who/what you are as a body person is air. Sure, you are much more than air. However, you would not be wrong if you answered, 'I am air.' Curiously, the air does not need us at all. We need it for our survival. Without it, we are not. We are because air is. Air was there before us, and it will be there after us.

Among all the creatures, we are the only ones who are gifted and blessed to know this truth. The coming and going of the air is channelled in a never-ending process. About 7.9 billion noses are doing the same thing all over the world almost at the same time. We neither consciously breathe in or out. It keeps on happening. If that does not happen for five minutes, we are breathless and dead.

The air is the same, whether we are males, females or transgender persons, people of all religions, agnostics and atheists, in the East, West, North or South, anywhere in the world. 

We are all connected to an organic cosmic oxygen cylinder. Air remains connected to wherever air exists, in an invisible tiniest minuscule airily way, by the law of attraction. All those who exist by air remain air-wise connected. 

And wherever there is air, we too are there. 

The one, who takes time to become aware of and be grateful for the gift of air, would naturally deal with its presence with care wherever air is. And the one, who defiles air, inadvertently harms oneself and also the cosmos. The air and those who live by it remain connected to the owner of everything and everyone, the author of life, our Creator God, Abba - may we join nature's choir and chant: Laudato si!  - Fr. Ittoop Panikulam SVD

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Sr Shanthi Priya BS, Sep 02 2021 - 12:01pm
Dear Fr Ittoop, my appreciation to you and heartfelt gratitude to God to have blessed you with such an inner vision and contemplative heart to see beyond... the most ordinary elements of life. You have very profoundly expounded our connectedness to God the Creator and the Creation. Your reflections on the spirit of Laudato Si is illuminating. Hearty Congrats!!
Bindu , Sep 04 2021 - 1:46pm
Dear Ittoop uncle,
It was an enjoyable read - so simple yet so profound. When we break our human selves down, we are the earth, we are the elements and the earth becomes us! :) wonder how much of ourselves is made up of ego, anger, hatred, unforgiveness, jealousy and also how much of ourselves is made up of love, joy, peace and happiness! :)
Ittoop Panikulam SVD, Sep 04 2021 - 5:25pm
The article made an attempt to answer the question that I was never asked in my life: ‘what are you’. What you are wondering at, belongs to a familiar question, ‘who are you?’ If we remove the ego from us, what is left could be just its last letter, 0.
Elsie, Sep 05 2021 - 12:29am
Fr. Ittoop it is so simple yet so profound a truth....I need to accept it with sincerity. Loudato si is explained in its so basic facts. I am inspired and challenged as well.

Dyan kutir looks different from what I have seen. All the best for more of such articles....dear fr. Ittoop.
Elsie SSpS
Annamani Joy, Sep 05 2021 - 11:31am
Very good meaning ful message Fr Ittoop Chettan
Leema Rose , Sep 05 2021 - 9:22pm
This article is an eye opener to experience that God has gifted us with these five elements whhich enables the balancing in our body to keep us healthy. Father Ittoop you have very well explained in simple term the complex function. This is a great way to know oneself where the Creator God is being awakened within... Thank you.
Lara chari, Sep 06 2021 - 8:32pm
Thank you for sharing this Laudato si!! Laud means' to Praise'. Such a praise be U, Fr Ittoop. The logical breaking up of the myth assumed by man as an indispensable creature is very interesting. Its an illusion man lives in that he is all powerful and that the planet or the space is obliged to have him here. Its so true that we are the borrowers in need of all these other elements for our basic survival. We are indeed connected to the organic cosmic oxygen cylinder, ,7.9 billion noses involved in the same activity simultaneously in the entire world. Man is a parasite. He can not survive if all these elements were to be deprived to him. You are. a precious soul, a torch bearer for all of us Fr.ittoop. We must soon call for the Hico group to get into exchanging of all ideas through discussions.
Robyn, Sep 07 2021 - 12:11pm
Dear Ittoop,
Thank you for sharing these simple, profound truths with us. We have been receiving so much material these days, all so important, challenging, inspiring....

You bring us, me - back to the heart of things. And when the heart is open, the Spirit breathes!
Jency , Sep 13 2021 - 11:18pm
Thank you father for the enriching article.
When water goes away from our body only bones remain.
We become skeleton.... Let us fill us with love and peace of God