Nov 05

Praying Mantis Joins Memorial Week Vigil

Praying Mantis - Photo by Sharani
Praying Mantis - Photo by Sharani

I am particularly fond of the song by folksinger Bill Staines called
All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir. The lyrics are:

All God’s critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire
And some just clap their hands, or paws
Or anything they got.

Listen to the bass, it’s the one on the bottom
Where the bullfrog croaks and the hippopotamus
Moans and groans with a big to-do
The old cow just goes MOOOOO

The dog and the cat pick up the middle
While the honey bee hums and the cricket fiddles
The donkey brays and the pony neighs
And the old coyote howls

All God’s critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire
And some just clap their hands, or paws
Or anything they got.

Listen to the top where the little birds sing
On the melody with the high note ringing
The hoot owl hollars over everything
And the jaybird disagrees

Singin’ in the night-time, singin’ in the day
Little duck quacks, and he’s on his way
The possum ain’t got much to say
And the porcupine talks to himself

All God’s critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire
And some just clap their hands, or paws
Or anything they got.

It’s a simple song of livin’ sung everywhere
By the ox and the fox and the grizzly bear
Grumpy alligator and the hawks above
Sly raccoon and the turtle dove.

All God’s critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire
And some just clap their hands, or paws
Or anything they got.

Here you can watch a video of a performance of it by the children’s singer/performer Red Grammer.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/OjkvQm8M6k0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]The philosophy in this song’s lyrics were never more true than during a week-long memorial vigil after Sri Chinmoy‘s passing. The praying mantis photographs shared here were taken by me while sharing in these memorial activities. During the entire time I spent in Queens, NY for the wake, memorial service and burial of spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy, this particular praying mantis stayed nearby. It was as if the insect world joined us in paying respects to this revered spiritual figure.There is much lore concerning this insect. Insectlore.com’s entry on the praying mantis states,

Mantises are famous in many cultures. In some cultures, they are considered holy. Some believe that if you are lost, and you see a mantis, that you should go in the direction it is facing: that will lead you home. Others think that the mantis always ‘prays’ facing Mecca.

Chinese martial arts movements derive inspiration from the praying mantis and after I saw this one during my sojourn in New York I wrote, “This morning when I folded my hands at my personal shrine to sing the Invocation I felt as if the spirit of the praying mantis was teaching me to yearn for the capacity to keep my hands folded sleeplessly in prayer and gratitude for the glory of God and His Love.”

More photos I took of the praying mantis

Praying Mantis - Photo by Sharani
Praying Mantis - Photo by Sharani