Berm the Mind

Berm the Mind

From vantage points spread across Laohuzui, observing the meticulously crafted rice terraces, I was reminded of the process of internal growth as I have understood.


The internal faculties of our subtle body comprising of Mind, Ego and Intellect are preordained with specific functions, which they faithfully perform, resulting in experience overlays on the Self that becomes perceived reality.


Mind: Remains focused on motivating the Self to undertake the path of least resistance. Simply put, in any situation encountered, it will tell the Self to choose the path of Sense gratification.


Intellect: It is the faculty entrusted with the power to discriminate. With rationalization, it motivates the Self to consider paths other than that suggested by the Mind. These options are intrinsically the Right paths.


Ego: The trump card that always emerges in the instant when the Intellect is about to overcome the path suggested by the Mind. At that crucial instant, it anchors on past experiences and future desires, to cloud the intellect, resulting in the Self falling back into sense gratification path that the Mind wants it to move towards.


Forever tousled between these faculties, what then is the way to naturally gravitate towards the path suggested by Intellect, ignoring the Mind and overcoming the clouding by the Ego?


The slopes of Laohuzui valley are akin to the Mind, offering the path of least resistance to rain water, gravitating it to sheer wastage. Over years, the farmers of this region have cut the slopes to make terraces and locked them with berms. These embanked terraces help in collection of rain water, enabling high yield rice cultivation.


In photographing these berm slopes, I could draw parallel to the essence of the message conveyed for Mind management in the hymn below from the spiritual scripture of the Sikhs.


Raise the berms around mind’s fields

for a guest only comes to the house that can support it.

O clouds, rain now; as what would be the use after the season has passed?

Nanak sacrifices to those who have thus trained their minds.

Third Nanak (Guru Amardas), page 517 of Adi Granth


Pursuits of life need to be spent towards creating berms around the Mind, so that its natural tendency to gravitate thoughts towards the path of least resistance of sense gratification become restricted. In this manner, the mind can be prepared to receive the rain shower of right Intellect, untainted by the Ego of past experiences and future desires.


With these thoughts, I leave you to enjoy the symmetry amongst these man made berms on the hills of Laohuzui valley, filled with water after rain showers, being prepared for plantation of rice saplings. These terraces are located on the southern slopes of Ailao Mountain in Yuanyang province of China. The terraces have been patiently crafted for generations by the Hani people, whose ancestors came to these steep mountains about 2,500 years ago. In their struggle against the difficult terrain they successfully established these terraces, where they now grow rice in order to make a living.


Similarly, with effort, Mind too can be crafted.



 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  2 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  3 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  4 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  5 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  6 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  7 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  8 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China


 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China


 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China


 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  12 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  13  Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  14  Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

 15  Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  16  Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  17  Laohuzui Rice terraces, China

  18  Laohuzui Rice terraces, China


  Laohuzui Rice terraces, China


 Laohuzui Rice terraces, China


Laohuzui Rice terraces, China


Laohuzui Rice terraces, China


  1. Punit Jagada


  2. Yash Alagh

    Whow. Looks so serene. How do they cultivate. How n from where u took this snap

  3. Surupa Chatterjee

    What a masterpiece…I loved the wonderful philosophy of our three inner battles and the construction of these berms you have mentioned….So deeply felt, seen and absorbed, your camera (within your mind) and the one outside (mechanical) have an unusual tuning of insight and enlightenment. Thank you…..You have a rare gift…

  4. Rekhi

    A good description of the mind…..

  5. Bhupinder Chowdhri

    Excellent interpretation of how to enjoy life to the brim.There could’nt be a better example than what you have very aptly illustrated.We, mortals try to take shortcuts to fulfill what the mind directs.Thanks once again for this beautiful illustrative example.Could we have some more of this please in days to come……..

  6. Amir

    Amazing pictures Sir

  7. Amrita Sehdave

    Great analogy!!

  8. Simerjit Singh

    Impressed by your knowledge and way you connect the things together !!

  9. Geetali Tare

    Brilliant, as always.

  10. Kunwar Yuvraj


  11. mustafa

    How did u get there?

    The journey is the destination!

    Amazing pics.
    Inspires me to travel

  12. Bipin Naravane

    no words

  13. Ajay Tripathi

    It’s amazing photos as of of a lost paradise.
    It’s clicked at different times of the day and reflects the mood, a mind goes through in a day, as if!
    The interpretation of Ego “At that crucial instant, it anchors on past experiences and future desires, to cloud the intellect, resulting in the Self falling back into sense gratification path that the Mind wants it to move towards.” is very thought provoking.

  14. kishore kumar biswas

    This pictorial philosophical feature makes us understand the ” truth” of our ” being “. Amardeep with his thoughtful vision saw this ‘ truth’ reflected in the traditional Chinese paddy field.
    This photo feature tells us if a person can truly assimilate the teachings of religion within , then the person can see the manifestation of ‘ truth’ around. Here we see how the design of a traditional system of agricultural reminds Amardeep the teachings of a sacred scripture. The teachings appears before him with living alphabets on the earth.

  15. Arvinder Singh

    Absolutely speechless with the photos and the comparison.

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