“It’s Not About Sexuality. It’s About Power.” Really ?

This celebrity #MeToo comment on #HW saga is wrong. Not because it is not about power but because sexuality is about power, existentially speaking. It is always about domination and supplication until sex is in the middle, between them. Even otherwise dominating or subservient characters would end up playing their respective roles as master and slave, perhaps alternately, while they couple with sex in their eyes.

People might have legitimate romantic notions of approaching each other sexually in the flow of deep goodwill and love, after interacting with dilated intimacy, understanding and feeling of togetherness, but that flow does not become an overpowering need without wanting something from the other for oneself. It is no longer the want for the other person, as one might have felt in the flow, but for something that the person must yield to the other. Nothing changes in the best of concurrent circumstance, when the wanting is equally intense in both. Right then, it is that respective something wanted by each from the other that is of utmost value to them individually, overriding the personal respect and regard the best of lovers would otherwise have for each other.

Things worsen if the players get too involved with their drive for that “something from the other.” Then, it launches the existential self onto an overdrive, charged with superior notions about oneself, or into a relentless act of burrowing to compensate for their accumulated sense of inadequacy and dissatisfaction. They both bring out the worst manifestation of power into the sexual act. Which is why and how the sexual relation comes to be defined by the overt display of power in one and of subservience or rebellious agony in the other.

The evolved form of the play does not descend into sexual considerations at all, as it is in the drive of wanting for something from the other. It could continue interactively even through the physical exploring, and the act if invitational, marked by ever present readiness to stop and revert away from the body. Such evolved beings are scarce; hence, such loving is practically unheard of. Above all, it has no reason  to be in the news.

If only people understood their selves… Sex does not respect the person. It values something that the person is known or presumed to have, which what the other seeks to to obtain, with that intense expectation that the person would yield.

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The Absent Narrative In Indian History When Mughal Delhi Sponsored Terror In Kashmir And Guru Teg Bahadur Stood Tall, Heavier Than A Mountain

These were one of the worst of times in Indian history, when people were driven to the very pits of despair. Four years through his “padshahi”, Guru Teg Bahadur was informed of Emperor Auragzeb’s general decree authorising and charging every State official of note with the ‘pious’ duty of demolishing all native places of worship and education, converting as many of them into mosques, and prosecuting the persistent non – believers as if they were “persona non grata.”

After Aurangzeb’s 1669 order to demolish non-Muslim temples and schools, a Sikh temple at Buriya was converted into a mosque, which the Sikhs then demolished. The Emperor visited Punjab in 1674, and his officials forced many people to convert to Islam. The Guru gave a call to Sikhs everywhere to withstand these persecutions.

Aurangzeb was a terror even to his co-religionists and members of his own family. He had imprisoned his sister and his father, Shah Jahan, and had all his brothers murdered to become an unrivalled authority unto himself. Perhaps to wash his sins in his own eye, he presented himself to the people as being a good Muslim, offering prayers five times a day, leading a simple and frugal life, and defering to the advice and ruling of the Islamic clergy, who thence endeavoured to bestow on him his very elusive ‘peace of mind.’

The Emperor sent gifts to rulers of Mecca and Medina in 1659. That year he appointed a muhtasib as a censor to enforce Islamic laws. His main advisors became the chief judge (qazi) and supervisor of ‘pious’ charity. In 1672, he took back all grants that had been given to Hindus. In his zeal to reinforce the ‘pious Muslim’ face in public, he sought to please the fanatic Islamists by converting the native non-believers, especially Hindus, through making their keeping of faith impossible, prohibitive and fatal. His method of measuring the success of his ‘conversion program’ was to weigh the sacred thread worn by Hindus ! A “maund” would imply that about 7000 of them had been either converted or killed

One of the major centers of learning then, Kashmir was governed by a liberal Subedar Mir Ahmed Khan, who restricted his administrative machinery to maintaining law and order and implementing the taxation policy of the State. The smooth functioning however was soon disrupted by an overzealous Islamist, Muhata Khan, who was a powerful Islamic scholar of repute. The latter had been sidelined by the coterie whom the brutal Emperor courted, and was hence in dire need of establishing his ‘holier than thou’ upmanship over others in order to tide over his discontentment and regain the Emperor’s favour.

Muhata Khan submitted to the Subedar of Kashmir a list of measures the State must take to penalise, indignify and pauperise the Kashmiri pundits. He was bitterly critical about the liberal policies of Subedar Mir Ahmed Khan and his treatment of the Hindus. He had made it clear that any avenue or opportunity available to the Hindus to advance and progress was intolerable.

Muhata Khan’s charter of demands included the following :

  1. Hindus should not be allowed to ride a horse.
  2. They should not permitted to wear the “jama” (a type of Mughal dress).
  3. They should not keep, carry or handle any kind of weapon.
  4. They should not visit the public gardens.
  5. They should be barred from wearing vermillion (Tilak) on their forehead.
  6. Their wards should not be receive education of any kind.

The Subedar Mir Ahmed Khan refused to entertain any of the proposals submitted by Muhata Khan. He instructed Muhata Khan to keep his distance from affairs of the State in Kashmir.

Attack on Hindu function

But Muhata Khan decided to have his way, by taking the law in his own hands. He set up a centre in a mosque for carrying out his plan. He incited people, who used to come for Namaz, and exhorted them to remain steadfast on tenets and proclamations of Islam, and to bring the Hindu idol worshippers within the ambit of declared Islamic policies of the Emperor. He roused a following of Muslim youth with his discourses,  and raised a group of young men who were ready to to do his bidding. Muhata Khan issued instructions for implementing the resolutions he had submitted to the Subedar. As a result, any Hindu found with Tilak on his forehead was mauled badly, even killed, his home vandalised and women folk abducted, molested and raped. The Hindu could no longer ride horses, a speedy means of transport in those days. And he could hardly carry on with his trade or profession, or official duties of the State, without being presentable enough in a decent dress !

An attack on a well-known trader, Majlis Rai Chopra, took a historical turn. Majlis Rai had arranged for community luncheon in connection with a religious function, to which thousands came. While they were having their lunch in a garden, Muhata Khan, with a band of bigots, attacked them with weapons. Majlis Rai managed to escape and took shelter in the house of Mir Ahmed Shah. But that house too was srounded and picketed by the blood-thirsty rowdies. Mir Ahmed Khan made good his escape by a secret door and took refuge in the nearby cantonment. He waged a battle against Muhata Khan with the help of a company of troops, but was defeated. Muhata Khan arrested and jailed the Subedar, denouncing him as a Hindu supporter, and took over the powers of the State.

Majlis Rai was mercilessly killed and all his property was confiscated. It was followed by many more instances of shameless atrocities on the Hindu community in Kashmir. The new Subedar of Kashmir, Iftikhar Khan, took to the task of forcibly converting the Hindu population to Islam by the sword. The Hindu Brahmin Pandits of Kashmir were among the most learned and orthodox of Hindus and Aurangzeb felt that if they could be brought to accept Islam the rest of the country would easily follow. He decided to strike at their exalted identity by barring the practice of wearing tilak(holy mark on the forehead) or janaeu (sacred thread). There was turmoil among Kashmiri pundits and their families lived in fear of their lives. They bore an ultimatum upon their head : convert or die.

In that conspired atmosphere of terror, many Hindus gave in and were converted to Islam. Among the rest was Pundit Kripa Ram, who had met the Guru several times. He led the pundits to the assuring sanctuary of the Sikh Guru, Teg Bahadur, whose very name meant, “Brave of the Sword.”  Pandit Kirpa Ram Datt would later become the Sanskrit teacher of Guru Gobind Singh and eventually a Khalsa, and would die fighting in the battle of Chamkaur against Mughal forces led by Wazir Khan.

The Guru soon appointed his son, Gobind Rai, as the tenth Guru of Sikhs and thus addressed the Pandits, “Go, my esteemed friends, and tell the Emperor that if he can cause Guru Tegh Bahadar to change his faith and accept Islam, you will all follow suit in his footsteps. If not, he should leave you alone.”

The Pandits rejoiced at the resolution and duly informed Emperor Aurangzeb of the decision. Aurangzeb was delighted with the reduced task of having to convert just one person in order to obtain the cooperation of thousands of Hindus and Sikhs, and the way to bring millions of willing infidels into the folds of Islam. He summoned his officers to arrest Guru Tegh Bahadar and present him in the royal court.

Meanwhile, the Guru left Anandpur Sahib with Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Dyala and Bhai Sati Das, to seek an audience in Mughal court. He was arrested soon after on the way and brought to Delhi in chains. In the royal court, reminiscent of Jesus’ interrogation by the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate, Aurangzeb asked him why he was hailed as the Guru or the Prophet, addressed as the ‘Saccha Padshah’ or the True King. The argument between Guru Teg Bahadur and the Emperor went on for days. Finally, the Emperor posed to the Guru the plain course, and his Islamist sycophants echoed in unison : “ If you really are the One, as addressed, perform a miracle for us to believe the truth.”

Guru Tegh Bahadur was unmoved and in fact reprimanded the Emperor for his blind orthodoxy and his persecution of people of other faiths. He said, “Hinduism may not be my faith, and I may not believe in the supremacy of Vedas or the Brahmins, nor in idol worship or caste, in pilgrimage or other rituals, but I would stand for the right of all Hindus to live with honour and dignity, and freedom to practice their faith according to their own beliefs.” The Guru further suggested : ” Every ruler of the world must pass away but not the Word of God; nor would the Saint who holds it in his heart. This is how people call me a “True King” and that is why they have done so through two preceding centuries, in respect of my “House“ and in respect of all those others who came before and identified themselves not with the temporal and the contingent, but with the eternal and the immortal.”

The Guru refused to perform any miracle, saying, “this is the work of charlatans and mountebanks to hoodwink the people. Men of God submit ever to the Will of God.” Guru Tegh Bahadur refused to embrace Islam, saying “For me, there is only one religion – of God – and whosoever belongs to it, be he a Hindu or a Muslim, him I own and he owns me. I neither convert others by force, nor submit to force. I will not change my faith.”

Aurangzeb was enraged and ordered Guru Tegh Bahadur to be forced to accept Islam as his faith through torture, or be killed. It led to a period of great cruelty on Guru Teg Bahadur’s body, and of his colleagues. The Guru and his companions were tied to hot pillars and heated sand was poured over their bodies, which were scalded and covered with wounds. The torment, in some form or other, became a routine. Guru Tegh Bahadur was kept in an iron cage and starved for many days. When even the intolerable pain and physical afflictions heaped on them proved ineffective, orders were issued to kill each, one after the other for appropriate effect.

The Fatwa or decree of the Royal Qazi specified the precise manner in which the life of each one was to be taken, with maximum brutality : Bhai Dayal was to be thrown in a boiling pot; Bhai Sati Das, to be packed in a bale of cotton and set ablaze; and, Bhai Mati Das to be sawed into two. The Guru was made to watch as Bhai Mati Das, the devoted Sikh, was tied between two pillars and his body sawed into two, as Bhai Dayal was boiled alive in a cauldron of heated water until he died, and, as Bhai Sati Das was wrapped in cotton wool and set on fire.

The Guru bore these cruelties without flinching or showing any anger or distress. Finally, having put these orders into effect, Guru Teg Bahadur was publicly beheaded on November 11, 1675. Before his head was severed from the body, the Guru had enough to recite the first five lines of the sacred book, Japuji.

The Gurus body was left to lie in dust, in Chandni Chowk, the area right in front of the Red Fort, where no one dared to approach for fear of the Emperor’s reprisal. But a severe storm swept through the city and, while it raged, a Sikh named Bhai Jaita managed to collect the Guru’s sacred head under the cover of darkness. He brought the Guru’s precious remain to Anandpur Sahib, where Guru Gobind waited for the latest to happen. Another Sikh, Bhai Lakhi Shah, smuggled the Guru’s headless body in a cart and brought it to his house nearby, where the Gurudwara Rakabganj today stands. Since a public funeral would have been impossible, Bhai Lakhi Shah cremated the body by setting the entire house on fire !

At Anandpur Sahib, on November 16, 1675, the young Guru Gobind Singh and the grief stricken widow, Mata Gujari, placed the late Guru’s “head” on a pyre of sandalwood, covered it with roses.  Guru Gobind lit the pyre to complete the cremation rites of the departed saint

Never before in the annals of history, or after, has a religious head of one faith stood so tall and heavily steadfast, as to sacrifice his own life for the sake of another religion, for their rights and freedoms.

This is history that our historians have weaned away from their narratives; it is what our history texts do not carry. It is these details that clarify the genocidal purge of Kashmiri Pundits since late 1970s, three centuries after the evil was seeded by a Mughal emperor from Delhi, from that line of Islamic invaders who trooped in with bigoted fervour from Central Asia.

Journal : Sartre On A Pink Monday

It’s not Monday blues. The moment is early, clear and happy. A why is needless. If I did allow one, it will fill a whole library.

Is existentialism the last of all philosophical statements made in the West ? Properly, it is more an observation than a philosophy. It brings thought to focus on the phenomenal condition of man. As did Marx, about half a century before. The previous one was wholly materialistic; the last presented its spiritual depth. It is easy to see them as integral to each other.

Sartre, the most well-known face of existentialism and its chief ideologue, was more ambitious than what he roundly presents in the tome Being And Nothingness, if you remember its footnotes. He promised to write about the offshoots indicated therein but never did. Contemporaneous with his last days, I recall his perpetual rebellion that led him to compare his Nobel with a sack of potatoes. I empathise with his nausea but still find it pathetic, as a half blind man distributing leaflets in the street.

What was amiss in both the thought and the man ? Happiness, it is plain. And nobility, I suspect.

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I watch this video in mute mode. It emits happiness. I live with her.

 

Then there was this quote I append below. It compares the given animal ways evident in rats and roaches with what is possible among humans.

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The author is a noble thought leader, as are most common folks in this net age. But ask the economists and the legions in our economy : the businessmen and their manfridays in PR & Advertising. And watch the honourable justices in our courtrooms, I dare say. Most among them can’t bear with the possibility. Their impatience shows the contempt.

I sign off with bringing today’s alltime stats for this blog :

Over 150,000 views and 100,000 visitors.

Cheers !

Flowers Pink And White

This potted plant is amazing. At first, early in the year, it had pink flowers. In summer, it bore only white. In autumn, it bears both pink and white.

Color is in the genes. Its variation over time is also in the genes.

Racism, on the other hand, is an insistent psychological bubble blown up on exclusivist cultural subscription to one way of life and its particular set of values.

Racism abhors diversity, which is a lot worse than having the constricted frog-in-the-well view of the world our belief is limited to. It disbelieves, then fears and rejects, all things beyond.

Colours inevitably signify multiplicity of forms and hues, an openness to possibilities, and being as it comes.

Putting Logic Into Sex : Wed And Unwed

The Supreme Lordships have decided on the minimum age for penetrative sex within marriage. It shall be 18, below which a sexual act with one’s sub-18 wife would be a crime that could see one put away into caged isolation for years. It makes for consistency, the justices announced, alongwith the minimum age for marrying your lover, for giving consent and now for enjoying the act…all at 18 or later.

The judgement itself celebrates logic, rationality and “harmonising” the process for young people to marry, consent, and have the pleasure. However, the reality captured in available data is disconcerting : overall, about 30% of women marry before they turn 18 and, by 2011 census, about 8 million had coupled before they were 10. Further, the Muslim Personal Law in India allows girls to marry after they turn 15.

Even globally, there nothing universal about 18 as the age for sexual consent and in general, except for Middle East Islamic nations, it is not the same as the legal age for marriage. Refer data link here. Have our Lordships discovered the rationale for this offset between the age of consent and the age for marriage ? Apparently the two, consent and marriage, are different things : one is hormonal and rooted in irrepressible juvenile biology; the other is institutional, for the purpose of forming a family, pooling personal income and labour economics, raising kids, and continuing the lineage. Or, did the exalted justices make marriage inseparably align with the sex need alone ?

It’s raining questions, in fact. In view of such large numbers of sub-18 girls currently married, tens of millions if not more, what should they do ? Will they have to go without the pleasure until they are 18 ? And consider the constant dread of their husbands even their minor wives beseech : it is a crime they are committing everytime they engage sexually. It could alright while the affection lasts; but what happens if the disaffected ones should one day decide to use one more handle in law to extract undue favours ?

The Sharia provisions are social norms that Muslims generally abide by, which fact the Personal Law in the statute acknowledges. Did the logically harmonising Supreme Court judgement today amend the provisions in Muslim Personal Law ? It stands amended anyway. Or, is it part of the wise Lordships’ plan to usher in the Uniform Civil Code ?

I hope we know more in days to come, not years.

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Civil Wooing For Sexual Consent 6000 Years Ago : A Mahabharata Story

It is civil but no less lusty or viscous, from what has been very vividly described in Devi Bhagavata Purana (II.2.1-36). The encounter took place over six millennia before our present day, between Sage Parashar and Satyavati, variously referred in ancients texts as Kali, Matsyagandha, and half a dozen other names. The narration herebelow freely adapts the textual content in the book to present the story in a more contextually meaningful and interesting way.

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The Sage was relatively young and a scion of great Vedic seer Sage Vashisht’s lineage. Satyavati was well formed but barely sixteen, who rowed a small boat to ferry travellers across river Yamuna. She was the future stepmother of grand warrior Bheeshma and the powerful matriarch of Hastinapur-based mighty Kurus, which later split into Kauravas and Pandavas during decades preceding the apocalyptical Mahabharata War.

But there were no superlatives about our protoganists when the incident took place : the Sage was greatly honoured in niche quarters but relatively unknown otherwise among common folks. Locally, the ordinary-looking but well-worked girl was better recognised, both as the Chief’s daughter and as a girl who was sharp, smart and voluptuous.

The story is but a tiny snippet within a mammoth epic. However, the unique sexual encounter of a virgin with a non-husband is neither rape nor adultery, and is teeming with information about the status of women, even minors, in the later Vedic age society prior to the Sindhu Sarasvati civilisational explosion of urban settlements in northern half of the Indian subcontinent.

The story of that day, mid-river, on the ferry…

On the boat, midway through the crossing, Sage Parashar was overcome by lust and, desiring the boat-woman, he grasped the young girl’s right hand and held her from her rowing with entreating eyes, “Please…”

Kali smiled. “Sir, what are you about to do ? Please consider, does it befit your glorious lineage descended from Sage Vashisht ? And your own ascesis and the scriptural demarche ?

” O Knower, what is this you wish, enslaved by desire ? You are the best of brahmins; rare is human birth on earth and rarer still as a brahmin. You know it all.

“O Exalted One, you notice my body is fish-odorous. Why yet do this un-aryan feeling arise ? I doubt not your wisdom, but what auspicious marks in my body do you see that you crave to possess me ? Does the desire so possess you that you forget to discriminate between what befits and what does not ?”

Thus saying , the dark-complexioned Satyavati mused : Oh, my ! In his madness to possess me this twice-born has lost his senses. He’ll upset the boat and drown me with it. He’s desperate; his heart is pierced by his want for me. None can prevent him from acting under its influence.

The girl however continued to address the great sage, in her bid to avoid the tragic event that she felt is sure to follow :

“O Great one, be patient till we reach the other bank.”

Suta, the narrator of tale in the epic, extends the story thus : Sage Parashara heeded her well-meant advice. He let go of her hand, quietened, and sat through rest of the way over the waters.

But reaching the other side, tormented by the same desire, he seized Matsyagandha again beseeching an intercourse.

Quivering with apprehension, and greatly annoyed, she spoke to the sage before her, “O foremost amongst the best of sages ! My body stinks; can you sense it not ? Making love ought to equally delight both the souls through its process to quench their wanting.”

And even as she spoke, in a flash, she turned fragrant, a sweet and pleasant presence, lovely to hold and beautiful to behold. Making his beloved musky and enchanting, the sage seized her right hand and, pulling close, squeezed her into his bosom.

But Satyavati instantly recoiled back and told the sage bent on coitus, “We are visible to everybody on the bank, O Sage, and by my father in particular. Coitus in broad daylight, in the open, would be a most beastly conduct, the thought of which disgusts me. Hence, O best of sages, wait till nightfall. It is prescribed for men to restrict the act to night time, under cover. Doing in daylight would be a grievous sin; if seen by others, it would bring great disrepute. Grant this desire of mine, o wise one.”

Finding her words logical, the generous sage at once shrouded all in mist by his yogic power. But while the riverbank was shrouded by deep darkness, Satyavati spoke to sage in a sweet, dulcet tone :

“I’m a virgin, O chief among the twice-born ! Enjoying me, you’ll depart where you will. But infallible is your seed, O Great Knower. What of me? If today I become pregnant, what shall I tell my father ? How shall I explain ? What shall I do if he casts me away ? Pray, tell me.”

The sage assuringly responded to her fears, “Beloved, today, having delighted me, you shall be restored to your virgin state. You shall regain your virginity, as of yore. Yet, woman, if you fear, ask what boon you will.”

Satyavati said, “Best of twice-born, you ever honor others. Hence act, that my father nor anyone else would know about it. Act, that my virgin status is not destroyed. And, as it happens, may your son be like you, as wondrously gifted. May my body be forever fragrant. And, may my youth be forever fresh, ever new.”

Assuring her of her son’s fame as Ved Vyas, the immortal sage with millennial reknown as compiler of Vedas and author of Puranas, Parashar swoops upon the consenting maiden. Having sated himself, the sage bathes in the Yamuna and departs, never to have any contact with her again.

The clever young girl was more than consenting and even more delighted. She bore the divine son and delivered the baby during the same shrouded while, on that isle in the river, and set the baby afloat and off. The day cleared when she reached the bank and was met by her father, who noticed nothing amiss.

The same woman drew the amorous attention of the mighty Kuru king, Shantanu, who married her. The kingdom rose in power under her deft matriarchal lead, overshadowing every other, with her gifted, undefeated warrior stepson Bheeshma at the head of the  Kuru army.

But that was when the tragic consequences of the act on the river isle were yet to unfold, leading to the apocalyptical Mahabharata War…

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BJP’s Sin-Ha ! Ji…

#Sin-ha ! To be fair, YS’ speech did not purport to be a full fledge paper on India’s economy. The reservations he expressed on GDP slide, demon n GST effects are widely held. He is not the demon (no pun) he is being made out. It’s life come democratically alive.

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Yashwant Sinha’s opinions are about sentiments, not data. They could be flawed, as indeed they are. And they do have a smaller purpose witin a more narrow perspective. Above all, it suits him to say what he did, even if it doesn’t behove.

The Party’s much-travelled old guard, Yashwant Sinha has peeves and grudges. He spoke out of that, with as much sense he could muster. Hence, much of what he said is far, far from the goals in sight of the current captains in the Party’s federal government, which is to align and reorient the Indian economy along classic virtuous line of honesty and rule of law, away from diverse subverting nexus and crony elite cliques with which the polity had been saddled since decades now. The black world it had engendered was not just economic but a national depletion of character and white values and an imminent existential threat to the country and the society.

Which is how PM Modi’s government should be assessed, as a turnaround movement that is set to transform the polity into one based on old world values and ethics. Initiatives in the society, judiciary, politics and economy are found on that resolve : let’s change, let’s be better. That task is taller than anything Indian leaders have ever formally envisioned, much less resolved or attempted.

Carry on, Mr Modi ! I would be surprised if your vision is understood and appreciated by people with a power base to gain or protect. It’s just the people who will, and do.

 

Journal : Heritage, Demography And Golden Silence

Archeological evidence in a country like Pakistan poses a grave danger, instantly posing an identity crisis : is it Indian, which Pakistanis insist they are not ? Vedic, which as hiers to Muslim invaders they have desecrated, looted and destroyed ? How to claim, house and study such finds with love and affection it demands ? The Bamiyan Buddhas were part of great heritage that were brutally destroyed in Afghanistan.

A similar trend is evident in Iran, in relentless persecution of Zoroastrians, Bahai’s and remnant Jews, and their scant symbols extant. Indeed, the evidence is there all over the Middle East, where virulent brand of Arab and Turkic pan Islamism prevailed. Recently, remaining Babylonian and early Christian heritage in Iraq and Syria were systematically destroyed by the Islamic State.

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The Christian onslaught, both through destruction and usurpation of pagan or ancient world heritage, was only marginally less thorough but more because much of that heritage was discovered or unearthed in and after successive ‘rebel’ movements in Christendom : Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment, whereafter an influential society of philosophical boldness and scientific temper prevailed, sensitising brute clergy anointed emperors and kings and their clerically dominated feudal representatives with historical and civilisational value of archeological discoveries. The deleterious sweep of Christian effects on ancient world culture and perspectival heritage, in what was deemed as ‘uncivilised’ territories, were very devastating and often thorough, right since centuries of Christian flourish under Roman patronage and later, through spread led by an enriched and armed Vatican in the Dark Ages and trooping behind colonial shields that all major European powers provided to Christian missionaries in distant lands they went on to occupy and rule.

All of this mindless antipathy considered, India is fortunate in having what it has on its soil, from remnants of hundreds of Sarasvati Sindhu Valley Civilisation settlements to ancient temples and glorious monuments and forts, and continuity of tradition among its culturally diverse people.

It’s autumn time and almost the entire country is busy celebrating the victories of the Goddess, the Great Mother, welcoming her ten avatars into their homes, and of Lord Ram, watching his story enacted on Ramlila stage set up in every other village and residential colonies in town.

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There’s been elections in Germany and Chancellor Merkel has won yet again, albeit with a margin more modest than ever in last 70 years. The results are currently being debated rather ragingly : “its a win, a win is a win,” versus “but the far right is in.” A major issue has been open borders that facilitated ingress of a million Muslim migrants, good bad and ugly, before Merkel herself went public with admission of her error. The left liberals, ideating their ideated ideas, are in “shock” of an impending “Nazi” takeover. The conservative right are chest and puffed somewhat, akin to rejoicing at this opportunity of sending in about a hundred representatives into the Bundestag.

The conservative liberals are plain glad for the balance introduced from the right. Methinks, the fate of Scandinavian countries — Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and Nordic nations in general, is grim in parts and could turn dire culturally. We, in India, know something about that. So should Europe.

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We here have seen perhaps the last of the monsoon downpours. The sun has come back strong and the afternoon is lit bright. Mercifully, it is quiet and mellow, with the orange and yellow drapes drawn in.

It’s a golden silence I’ll allow to settle on my thoughts now. Till we meet next…

The 21st Century Dread

No, nobody senses it consciously, much less speak out its exact terms at fora that matter. It’s been hovering for a while since the last World War : this constant dread of discussions instantly gathering and gravitating toward its conclusion, and not hang perpetually in its spread; of global human problems getting directly resolved long term because the champions are clear on our universal priorities; or, of community matters finally settling right for everyone concerned since moral perversions from niche quarters are summarily kept at bay.

It is dread of us no longer being conflicted, as a people. That would be when we’d either choose privacy on the web or allow ourself the freedom to let apps access our data with a click, but not harp for both; when women will stop founding themselves on their power to cause overwhelming urges in men, all in the name of liberalism or feminism, and men will go back to work at overcoming their felt fears and perceived inadequacies.

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The dread is real amongst religionists, which term is exclusively meaningful to Abrahamic faiths. Atheism is not being opposed to religion per se; it is merely disbelief in God. But how it spells apocalypse to Christians and Muslims ! That is because their religions are tied to God, in their instituted hierarchy of representatives of that male ogre on the sky. Apostasy is a crime in Islam, punishable by death; Christians are less inhumane : they only resort to that subhuman attempt at harvesting souls, by numbers — hundreds, thousands, millions.

In contrast, pagan and panentheist practices start at individual level and are formed by their way of life, around their fears and aspirations cast abroad to phenomenal entities naturally surrounding them. Their gods are close witnesses to their fate, their being, condition and conduct. The tree or the mountain stands guard over their resolve; the river carries away their prayers. The stone remains in their living space, linking their lives to their beyond.

But don’t dread these dreads coming true. Not yet. As it is, I see that possibility recede even more as sheer ideating liberal proliferate on social media of all hues and kinds. More and more people believe in talking, writing, and even more urged to suggest, advise, retweet and share, repeat and regurgicate.

No, madam. No, sir. There is no threat of that dread becoming real. Hunger is necessary and wars are needed. We require men to argue, not to understand but to oppose, break down, cause mayhem, riot, rape and kill, in order to make our politics revolve, corner our justices into doubt, give better than half a chance for narratives to propagate and keep the strife-serving humanity going, by  keeping our people distracted from immediate, simple and direct solutions to our most abiding of divisions, conflicts and miseries.

Cheers !

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

MIND, KARMA AND GUNA – II

https://vamadevananda.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/journal-awakening-into-the-truth-10/ … Hereon, it becomes difficult to chart the inner processes and describe nature of change they each bring about in the very nature of our mind and its consequence upon ourself… contd…

Karmas are attracted by the activity of mind, …

The mind is not in the horizontal spread of, and of the same order as, the material universe, in which the body-identified individual finds itself as one amongst trillions. The Mental Space is a vertical shift away within the self and, phenomenally speaking, is of an entirely different order. A view of one’s mind is available only to the particular individual to whom the specific mind unit belongs. So, there can be no group study, examination or observation, of the mind.

The task is an uphill one : for, the individual-self must rise to identify with the witness consciousness peering through the buddhi or the intellect to avail of the toehold unaffected by the mind, against one’s own sensory habits anchored to material objects that, to our vitalised sensibility rooted in subconscious drives, promise what we all prefer in our experience : pleasure, joy, ecstasy and happiness.

But that involves allowing the emotion-backed will to take over our self, consenting to the consequential intent, wading into action for specific result, and pushing ourself through hope and despair. That choice we commit ourself to, through consent and action, is our Karma; and the habitual proclivity in the nature of our mind, to act in order to avail, is a display of the dominating Guna or the Great Qualifier of each thing or being manifest, which in this instance is Rajas.

The entire creation, gross and subtle, is qualified by the three Gunas : Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Though all three Gunas are present in each being, there is predominance of one at any given point in time in accord with its Karma or the nature of choices it has habituated itself to, the general character of the species to which it belongs, and the environment it finds itself in.

Typically, the dominance of Sattva leads one to arise and rise into more calm and peace, non-violence, quest for truth, inclination to focused contemplation and persevere at effort to gain knowledge, patience and honest conduct, freedom from envy and covetousness, and attenuation of worldly ambitions. Rajas makes one more driven to action, more given to vitality and less to self-examination, reduced scrupulousness, to more ambition for material acquisition and attachment to sensory pleasures, and to more agitated states of the mind. Tamas causes the tendency to remain in inertia and general inaction, and easy slide down into mere physical pleasure, without assuming responsibility or striving to exert.

The mind is made of wholly non-material impressions left by our Karma in the unit mind. These too determine the predominant Gunas that characterise the mind unit and qualify the “person” or the individual self attached to it. Hence, phenomenally, one with reduced residual karma would have progressively attenuated activity in Chitta and Manas, in that order.

Theoretically, an individual without any residual karma, with his quest for knowledge and experience quenched, will not have a mind unit as the rest of us are attached to. Such a person will no longer be an “individual” but will be unified with the undifferentiated infinitude of the Causal Space, where the three gunas exist in a state of perfect balance and there are no object things or differentiated beings to observe !

One is then the being itself, of which all beings are manifest and de-manifest; one is then knowledge itself, of which finite knowledge forms arise and become extinct; and, one is then bliss itself, of which all transient pleasures and joys are experienced and which all beings constantly desire. One is then the Soul of the universe, pervading the Mental and Material spaces, pervading all phenomena and beings in them.

Buddha, The Conqeror

Courtesy Nicholas Roerich archives : http://www.roerich.org/wwp.html

Indian Secularism : Dilemma And Absurdities

There are those who invoke secularism in the context of State policy and others who expect common citibzens to be ‘secular.’

The first bunch of secularists demand, or at least they ought to call for, absolute separation of religion from State affairs or any instance of factoring in of the religious subscription of citizens before the State extends its punitive or welfare policies to them.

So, why wouldn’t these champions oppose subsidy to Haj pilgrims ? Or protest Hindu Temple Endowment Act, which empowers the State to usurp all donations and the right to adminiter them ? Or fight for return of vast tracts of land leased to Church all over the country ? Or the more recent RTE Act, which makes it mandatory for Hindu educational institutions to reserve 25% of admission for students fron economically weaker sections of society, at considerably subsided fee ? All of these associate State policy with religion.

The second group of secularists expect people to be practically a-religious, or so they would have to be if they were to be logically consistent in their attempt at being truly secular. Nobody can be personally secular without obliterating every trace of religious affinity or belief in his values system.

Is that even possible, especially in a nation of deeply spiritual people, who engage at a dozen religious observations through the year and several personal rites through one’s lifetime ? There are 800 million Hindus, 200 million Muslims, and another 200 million of other denominations, all of whom are guaranteed their right to freedom of religious practice and belief, by their choice. Who would change the fundamental tenet of Constitution, and how ?

It is not my case that secularism must cover itself in these dire dilemmas and absurdities. A simple scenario of religious freedom to individuals in their own personal space and strictly enforced uniform civil code for every behaviour involving other people, even within family, would greatly harmonise our societies everywhere.

But weren’t we speaking of Indian secularists ? They are our liberals, intellectuals, politicians, as it happens. Their motivation is lust, not harmony.

Hush, Still Now

Speak not of fears

Yours or mine

Nor of the future

Verging on mind

Let’s step back just

Hold our silence

And let it all pass

Over, away far

Before we look at now

Free and unafaid

Without future or past

And wonder at last

On this one raging want.

*

The die is cast

Determination locked

Right or wrong

To surge by the day.
There is no foam

Nothing fluffy here

Just the wanting

Every moment

To hit hard

Where it hurts.
It’s a gift received

Of deep pain within

That must rebound

Back to you, for me

To let go of breath

I have held for long

To blow it all upon you.
Sleep well, my enemy

The die is cast

Determination locked

To heap upon you

Tonnes of dark, biting

Whorling storm

Of exterminating misery.

European Indology : Lies With Long Legs

At its start, Indological studies were taken up by Europeans, with political motivation. The study itself was about India, its history and language, but the people who published their research, opinions and views with their slant, were officials or upper class citizens of European colonising nations : Britain, Germany and France. They were individuals affected by their collective dilemma and own personal purposes.

Why did the Europeans vest so much time, effort and money, on matters that barely concerned them ? And that in such depth, to such unimaginably antiquated detail ? Answer to these questions need to be uncovered and widely disseminated among native heirs of Indian heritage for, one, the love of truth and, two, to understand uncorrupted facts about their own history, as far back as it went.

“There is cognitive dissonance in this stance of Sir William who, on the one hand, praises the Sanskrit language and its significance while, at the same time, not inviting a single Indian to participate in the deliberations of the Royal Asiatic Society. In fact, Indians were effectively barred from such participation.”

Who were these people who came to India so eagerly ? What motivated them to do so ? Prodosh Aich has documented the real story behind the study of Indology, the subject that Sir William Jones was credited with initiating. There are many questions that he answers in the book Lügen mit Langen Beinen (Lies with Long Legs).

For example, individuals who served in upper echelons of the British East India company were awarded the title Sir (or a Knighthood) before being sent to India, presumably to impress the Indians. A gentleman with the title “Sir” was a Knight of the British Empire, reminiscent of the Knights of King Arthur. A Knight did not belong to the hereditary nobility, except on rare occasions.

In order to become a Lord and sit in the House of Lords, one had to own a substantial estate; but land was scarce in England and hence, while it was possible to impress the Indian by awarding a titular “Sir,” it rarely resulted in their elevated to Peerage. So it was in the case of Sir William, whose primary motivation in coming to India was to attain wealth, at an accelerated pace than he could hope for in his own country.

Inadvertently, Sir William set in motion a chain of events beginning with the search for a Proto Indo-European language (PIE). What puzzles us is that it never occurred to him, as far as we are aware, that possibly Sanskrit itself could be the grand ancestor to all Indo-European languages. Untill then, Europeans had assumed that the oldest language related to the European languages was Hebrew. Given the anti-Semitic feelings that simmered underneath the surface in European hearts, there was a general relief among all when Sir William’s study informed them that the roots of their heritage lay elsewhere than in Hebrew.

But even as it did, the pioneer realised that transferring that origin onto the “unwashed millions” of a subject people would perhaps be equally unacceptable. Indeed, it would have been prohibitive and preposterous to even think, much less admit, that India possessed the linguistic technology (in Panini’s Ashtadhyayi) to explain the grammar of their own languages.

As may be the case, there are two major disservice that Jones did to the Indic Civilisation. One was the possible misdating of Chandragupta Maurya by several centuries and the other was postulating the assumption of a PIE, which implied an Urheimat (ancestral home) from where the Indo Europeans fanned out to the four corners of the Eurasian landmass. By so doing, he laid the seeds for a fractured historical narrative for the Indics, which was not supported by any Indian legend, tradition or folklore. In short, he saddled the Indics with perpetually having to refute dual falsehoods : a false chronology and an imposed ‘Aryan Invasion’ or what has been light heartedly called the “Aryan Tourist theory.”

The extraordinary level of interest by German scholars in Indic matters is a very interesting narrative in its own right and we need to reflect upon its highlights. The German speaking people experienced a vast increase in intellectual activity at about the same time that Britain colonised India. We do not understand the specific factors that came into play during this time, other than to remark on the tremendous intellectual ferment that was running concurrently during the French revolution and the keen interest that Napoleon showed in matters scientific, including the contributions of the orient.

Clearly the remarks that Sir William made about Sanskrit as well as the high level of interest in Sanskrit language that he triggered, contributed to the overall sense of excitement. But why was it Germany and not Britain, the center of research on the Oriental contributions. The answer lies in the intense search for nationhood that was under way in Germany during that period. When Sanskrit was discovered, and it dawned on the Germans that the antiquity of Sanskrit was very great, and that Sanskrit and German were somehow related, the Germans suddenly had an answer to the question of their own ethnic and linguistic origins.

Sir Henry Maine (1822 – 1888), an influential Anglo-Indian scholar and former Vice Chancellor of Calcutta university, who was also on the Viceroys council, pronounced a view that many Englishmen shared about the unification of Germany : “A Nation Has Been Born Out Of Sanskrit.

From the beginning, the great interest that Germany showed in Sanskrit had more to do with their own obsessions and questions regarding their ethnic and linguistic origins. It had very little or at least far less to do with the origin of the ancient Indic. And yet, that does not stop the proponents of AIT (Aryan Invasion Theory) in India, whose knowledge of European history appears to be rudimentary at best, from asserting that AIT is an obsession of nationalistic Hindus. Such is the fate and perversion of history that conquered nations are expected to suffer !

The discovery of Sanskrit was a matter of immense “political” relief : that, finally, the languages of Europe did not after all derive from Hebrew but from an ancestor language which was initially assumed to be Sanskrit. In the immediate aftermath of the discovery of Sanskrit by Sir William Jones, there was a great gush of admiration and worship of the sublime nature of Sanskrit texts such as Kalidasa’s Sakuntala. But that appreciation was political, not in truth, barring a few souls, of whom Voltaire was amongst the foremost.

The ideas of racial superiority were still dominant in 18th Century Europe despite the Renaissance and the much celebrated Age Of Enlightenment. And it showed, as the Europeans realised that the present day practitioners of Sanskrit were not blonde and blue-eyed, nor as mightily depraved or strong as they themselves were. The fact that they had conquered, robbed and tortured, their own cultural forebears would have been a horribly uncultured thing to do on part of the Europeans, and was hence equally shameful and unacceptable.

The European Indologists therefore came upon an ingenious explanation, which led them to declare that the Sanskrit culture of the subcontinent was not native to the subcontinent but was impregnated by a small band of nomadic Viking like marauders – the Aryan invaders. These “specialist” scholars then proceeded to root and project themselves, within the short span of 200 British-rule years, as being the intellectual class of India. Of course, the Macaulian project would “educate” the natives and create sidekicks by thousands, and increase their tribe.

The hypothesis (because that is what it was) had of course no basis in fact, but it served the purpose and killed several birds with one stone. It denied India the autochthonous legacy of the dominant culture of the subcontinent, helped create a schism in the Indian body politic, implied that the native Indic was incapable of original thought and certainly not capable of producing a language like Sanskrit. It still fulfilled their obsessive need to escape from the Semitic umbrella and yet did not pin them down to the influence of a “subject” people. The thesis held the ground that their ancestors did not come from India but from a long lost Shangri-La, of whom there were no survivors; an exceptionally nice fit, to say the least, since the hypothesis could never be contradicted !

Thus was born the mythical Aryan, whose only qualification was that he should hail from a land that was anywhere but India, a nowhere, preferably from a region not very densely inhabited or conscious of their antiquity. It gave the excuse for the British to claim that they were indeed the later day version of that long-lost impregnating race, destined to lord it over lesser, more unfortunate people by reason of the fact that they were “Aryans.” One only has to refer to some these stalwarts such as Trautmann (1997) or Chakrabarti (1997), to feel the perversion.

The civilisationally deleterious effects of systematic destruction carried under Macaulay project are evident even today. It is commonplace in India to deride somebody who expresses pride in his tradition, and his civilisation, as being jingoistic. The British went to extraordinary lengths to undermine the civilisational commonalities amongst the people of India by various means and diverse instruments. Anything that had a negative impact was played to the hilt. The knowledge and pride of India’s antiquity, history and cultural heritage, was systematically downvalued and new datelines had to conform to the belief that India did not contribute anything of significance to the civilised world, and that all she knew in the area of science and mathematics was learnt from the Greeks. The Indian was uniformly characterised as a shiftless, indolent individual with very few redeeming qualities.

So great was the change and so lasting its effect that today vast numbers of Indian youth have almost the same opinion of India and Indic traditions that the colonial overlords had, and propagated, in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. There has been a massive change in the psyche of the Indic, much of it for the worse, a fact that was brought out in vivid portrayals by V S Naipaul, when he coined the phrase ‘the wounded civilisation’ in his reference to the Indian subcontinent.

Journal : September, Wednesday, And The Little Boy

The dawn is yet to break; the twilight is just about creeping over the night ambience. The tea brewed up excellently; its taste and flavour, and the caffeine dose, remains as its felt presence. The being is awake.

September is the other equinox month of the year, heralding autumn in the Northern half of the planet. Region about the Tropic of Cancer will have golden hues in the morning and late afternoon. In India, the days of monsoon rains over most parts are over. The air begins to be less humid; and virtually crisp at times during the day. The monsoon will soon recede from North Central parts, tracing back its path over Eastern region and dip south over the gaping Bay Of Bengal, hitting the south-eastern regions of coastal Andhra and Tamilnadu by December. It will be winter by then, cold, in rest of the country.

The month also revs up the festivities that start low key in August, after the streaming month-long Saavan visit to temples of Shiva, with Rakhi followed by Ganesh Utsav and Teej. There will be Jiyutia that mothers observe in the Hindi belt, and the iconic Durga Puja later in the month. The latter, celebrated whether as victory of Lord Ram over Ravan or of the gods led by Devi Durga over the demon army, essentially reminds us of the triumph of good over evil, of the goodness of being over the evil that existence secretes.

There will be Deepavali or Diwali, the festival of light, about twenty days after the Puja. Ten days later, by November-end, people in East Central region will observe Chath, with offerings to the Sun God, whereafter the exuberance will be reigned in for work in the fields, cropping for the Kharif season : wheat, mustard, potato and peas. There will Gregorian celebrations for Christmas and New Year before the spring season festivities will kickstart in mid-January with Makar Sankranti, when the sun will begin to go increasingly overhead.

*

Wednesday is a sombrely observed sacred day for our ‘Tewari’ clan of village Tewaripur in Bhojpur, Bihar. It is the day our migrant ancestor, from the mountainous region of present-day Uttarakhand, had passed away. The day is still remembered about 30 generations by the wider family of his descendents, whom I have referred as “clan.”

There is restriction on starting any new venture or holding an event on this day, except if a child is born in the family on this day of the week. Which would be I, in my family. After my birth, the family felt free of the self-imposed ‘Wednesday’ restriction and I inherit the same freedom to this day.

There are two other days our family holds in same sombre sacredness : Tuesday and Thursday, on which days my parents passed away. Fortunately, our sons were born on these two days and freed us of the constant trouble of having to remember and factor in these inexplicable restrictions on our daily life events and initiatives.

*

The litlle boy from next door entered our bedroom slowly, to bid a ‘bye’ before going to school, but not shyly. He lent a hand, to help me get up, because I insisted on walking him back to the lift lobby. As I was about to wish him and turn back, his mom called to say, there was time before the school bus arrived.

“Five minutes,” she’d allowed. He and I used those moments to recall bits of the story I’d read to him yesterday evening. We were yet halfway through. “You’ll complete the narration today ?” I assured him, I will. It was a happy boy who stepped into the lift, following his mother, for his this day in school.

And, it was a happy old man who walked back to his chair, to resume with the news daily I was reading when it got interrupted. Now, why would Vladimir Putin talk about talks with North Korea, without himself taking the least initiative at holding a one-to-one with dictator Kim Jong-un ?

It is ten o’clock when I press the “Publish” button.

Graduating From Marriage

Graduating from marriage is culturally the opposite of men and women in their sixties marrying for the thirteenth time or, worse, men in their fifties hitching with minor girls.

When you graduate out of marriage, you have fulfilled the purposes of that institutional framework which allows two people to join up and live together. Then, both gradually evolve out of it, while still living under the same roof but in separate dwelling spaces, as two single individuals.

The couple would still have common time in their long established routine, habitual short durations for tea, meals and interested talks. But that would be exceptional to their otherwise independent, self actuating lives.

Graduating from marriage leaves the togetherness intact unlike as it happens after divorce, which precipitates on account of dissatisfaction. One necessarily graduates out of marriage with shades of satisfaction, an alround sense of happiness and peace. And it takes preparation over years to thus graduate; again, unlike divorce.

In Sanatan Dharma, the Vedic Hindu way of life, graduating from marriage was part of the third stage of life called Vanaprastha.

What Do I Know…

What I know.

What do I know ?

What do I know ? Much, I should say. About things, phenomena, life, people in general, society, economy and politics. What I know nothing about is other people in particular except those I have lived and interacted with. I know some about about members of my family and a couple of friends with whom I have shared experience, who’ve trusted each other enough to open their selves from time to time. And about almost everyone I have met and observed, even heard about, from their behaviour relative to the condition they are in or life situation they are facing.

What I know about the other person is always held in trust, with a sense of responsibility to not allow contempt, bred out of my familiarity with the person, to takeover my disposition. Or, to look upon the person as someone from hell, come to wrap up my own in his own shadow.

I cannot say that I was always thus responsible and successful at safekeeping of such trust. But from the time I felt accountable to myself about 35 years before, I remember keeping a strange kind of kinship with people about whom I knew. It might not mean much on the surface, in terms of expressed relationship, but the relatedness existed in an unspoken, rather solemn way. It was like love felt in secrecy, often without involvement of the other person over decades or ever a loving word exchanged informally. It wasn’t the love we mean in our daily usage, of something effusive, interactive, acts of giving and receiving, or identity bound to a mutual relatedness.

It is a love that is entirely my own for the being I knew about. Its presence or rise was not dependent on sensuous impact for, say, the form in sight, words in the ear or being held close in contact. The real difference in the nature of two kinds of love was that the one within, resting solely on what I knew of the other, could expand to include all beings, the entire universe, while the love bound to relationship cannot. The latter has limited scope of spreading for very practical reasons; it can only be particular, not generalised.

In sum, this is what I know :

“As we know, keep what we know non-transactional and safe in our trust, so shall we love for the sake of what we know alone.

“Love transacted perforce has its rules, bounds and limits. It is at best like the tip of an immense iceberg.”

Ginosko : The Excellent Journal

Two Short Poems

(1) Dementia Nights

Boxed into a realm of confusion,
she must have felt so desolate.
Strands of memories wiggled away from her.
Lines blurred.
Life’s bric-a-brac jumbled itself
into a labyrinth her eyes
couldn’t clarify,
could find no path out of,
couldn’t penetrate with anger, will power
or even calm discipline.
Wires hanging in the dark
in a cityscape of litter and winds
knew how to entangle her.
Street lights dimmed.
There was no moon.

(2) Hospital Visit

“Aren’t you happy to see me?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered.
Presently, she offered a smile that mocked
or ignored or refuted
my unsolicited concern–
more a grin or a smirk as opposed to a smile,
an expression that perfected her ambiguity.
Then, positioned only a foot from her bed,
I gazed at her out-of-reach presence
as she twisted
away from the ungainly chair in which I sat,
toward the more comforting company
of death.

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cover #19 7.3.17