Wonder Of A Creation

I regard Camus’ The Fall as the first by far among top three wonders of modern classics. Yet there are reasons, unfathomable for the most part, why it is exceedingly difficult to talk about. For one, it isn’t just that the work can be read at several levels, while interpreting the narrative; there are levels within levels too closely enmeshed to disentangle and reduce it to one or other simple version. Secondly, it is hardly composed to even seem to be a novel, as works of fiction go. The story at the fore has pronounced enough features of Holland and its canals, a former laywer and now a judge-penitent for its loquacious protagonist, in a rather fast-paced conversation with a chance visitor over a few vividly described evenings, largely about his present and past life, highlighting the high and low experiences, judgements of people and sundry events it includes, ending in a climactic anti-climax, followed by adieu.

But there, you might have already guessed : these form just the background over which the most intended aspects behind the creation are pasted on the run, going round and round about the same and similar setting, both in the immediate environment and the point recalled in the autobiographical storyline, leaping across continents in the same paragraph and bounding over epochs in collective history in the next sentence, now sizing up an individual and then summing up entire humanity in the next breath. What do we speak of : the prominent but inconsequential story or the elusive but most important intent the artist has woven in it ?

What moves the author to exercise his craft is man, his destiny and his failures, despite the declared futility of such passion. He creates the frames and their ambience to succintly lay down the fall or failure parallels in individual and collective experience, without losing hope or the sight of stalled but grand journey of man, specifically of Europe. That brings the review part of this essay to end : there’s nothing more to be said, which has not been better narrated in the work itself. Let us turn its leafs…

* * *

“Oh, not the Dutch; they are much less modern… Well, these gentlemen over here live off the labors of those ladies over there. All of them, moreover, both male and female, are very middle-class creatures who have come here, as usual, out of mythomania or stupidity. Through too much or too little imagination, in short. From time to time, these gentlemen indulge in a little knife or revolver play, but don’t get the idea that they’re keen on it. Their role calls for it, that’s all, and they are dying of fright as they shoot it out. Nevertheless, I find them more moral than the others, those who kill in the bosom of the family by attrition. Haven’t you noticed that our society is organized for this kind of liquidation ? You have heard, of course, of those tiny fish in the rivers of Brazil that attack the unwary swimmer by thousands and with swift little nibbles clean him up in a few minutes, leaving only an immaculate skeleton ? Well, that’s what their organization is. “Do you want a good clean life ? Like everybody else ?” You say yes, of course. How can one say no ? “O.K. You’ll be cleaned up. Here’s a job, a family, and organized leisure activities.” And the little teeth attack the flesh, right down to the bone.

“But I am unjust. I shouldn’t say their organization. It is ours, after all: it’s a question of which will clean up the other.”

“… allow me to introduce myself: Jean-Baptiste Clamence, at your service. Pleased to know you. You are in business, no doubt? In a way ? Excellent reply ! Judicious too : in all things we are merely “in a way…: But no matter. Professions interest me less than sects. Allow me to ask you two questions and don’t answer if you consider them indiscreet. Do you have any possessions ? Some ? Good. Have you shared them with the poor ? No ? Then you are what I call a Sadducee. If you are not familiar with the Scriptures, I admit that this won’t help you. But it does help you? So you know the Scriptures ? Decidedly, you interest me.

“As for me … My profession is double, that’s all, like the human being. I have already told you, I am a judge-penitent. Only one thing is simple in my case : I possess nothing. Yes, I was rich. No, I shared nothing with the poor. What does that prove ? That I, too, was a Sadducee …”

“No excuses ever, for anyone; that’s my principle at the outset. I deny the good intention, the respectable mistake… In philosophy as in politics, I am for any theory that [132] refuses to grant man innocence and for any practice that treats him as guilty. You see in me, très cher, an enlightened advocate of slavery. Without slavery, as a matter of fact, there is no definitive solution. I very soon realized that. Once upon a time, I was always talking of freedom. At breakfast I used to spread it on my toast, I used to chew it all day long, and in company my breath was delightfully redolent of freedom. With that key word I would bludgeon whoever contradicted me; I made it serve my desires and my power… I did on occasion make a more disinterested use of freedom and even—just imagine my naïveté—defended it two or three times without of course going so far as to die for it, but nevertheless taking a few risks. I must be forgiven such rash acts; I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know that freedom is not a reward or a decoration that is celebrated with champagne. Nor yet a gift, a box of dainties designed to make you lick your chops. Oh, no ! It’s a chore, on the contrary, and a long-distance race, quite solitary and very exhausting…

“Ah, mon cher, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful. Hence one must choose a master, God being out of style. Besides, that word has lost its meaning; it’s not worth the risk of shocking anyone. Take our moral philosophers, for instance, so serious, loving their neighbor and all the rest—nothing distinguishes them from Christians, except that they don’t preach in churches. What, in your opinion, keeps them from becoming converted ? Respect perhaps, respect for men; yes, human respect. They don’t want to start a scandal, so they keep their feelings to themselves. For example, I knew an atheistic novelist who used to pray every night. That didn’t stop anything : how he gave it to God in his books…

“Ah, the little sneaks, play actors, hypocrites—and yet so touching! Believe me, they all are, even when they set fire to heaven. Whether they are atheists or churchgoers, Muscovites or Bostonians, all Christians from father to son. But it so happens that there is no more father, no more rule ! They are free and hence have to shift for themselves; and since they don’t want freedom or its judgments, they ask to be rapped on the knuckles, they invent dreadful rules, they rush out to build piles of faggots to replace churches. Savonarolas, I tell you. But they believe solely in sin, never in grace. They think of it, to be sure. Grace is what they want — acceptance, surrender, happiness, and maybe, for they are sentimental too, betrothal, the virginal bride, the upright man, the organ music. Take me, for example, and I am not sentimental — do you know what I used to dream of ? A total love of the whole heart and body, day and night, in an uninterrupted embrace, sensual enjoyment and mental excitement — all lasting five years and ending in death. Alas !”

Journal : Serialised Story

Lifetime In 36 Hours

The last you heard of it was when the Chapter I concluded with :

… There was nothing I could add right then to what she was already doing to fill on her want. 

” Telescoping our sight on our being does bring much of our life into focus. They reveal the emotion being for us to know all that we are not. It is what we want in it that roots us, and lets it defines us. The want is the error. What is ours is the curiosity, the quest to know. Spot it and resume with the being in quest. Know and move on. There is nothing there to hold on to, nothing in it to claim as yours.” 

The distance must have shown on the visage, as she gravely pored over my face for the longest moment with a firmness of resolve. 

I picked up the book but soon snoozed over it. I had poured the oblations on the crackling fire within her. The result would arise. Read more here …

Chapter – II

I woke up to call for lunch. Silence through that tête-à-tête with food, the body and its vitality, served well. The train was rushing over land rich in Vedic spirit, Muslim life, British colonialism and Indian revolt. I was still at the window, legs folded, a pillow at my back. She, at the other end, a leg up, half folded, the other on the floor. Simple trapezoidal lenses in a light frame rested easy on the bridge of her nose. I felt, we were friends … a happy sense of togetherness. Priceless, I thought.

” There is an integrated form of grouped impressions behind this sense of being we have of ourselves, as this individual we each are. It appears to us as exclusively ours and extends all over the space our lifetime has covered, the experienced impacts impressed in the vital-mind, shoring up our I-sense. Its roots go fathomlessly deep into time. In effect, it subconsciously limits the content in our interpretation of what we experience to forms of reactive feelings — emotions that end at want or desire. All our animated life is lived as emotion.”

” I do see, above all, in my own instance. But where specifically is the problem with the process ? We do not seem to mind it. Why should we seek to change that ?”

” Because we are allowing what has been in our past to interpret what is happening in the present, now. We are not listening to what is before us, but to impressions from the past.”

” That’s horrible, like a prisoner blinded decades ago … who has no sense of what is in view now, has not connected with the present in a long long time. Horrible ! And he doesn’t even know. Most horrible ! Terrible ! Terrible !”

The reaction seemed a shade hyper. But I could se she has taken it very personally, intimately. She had pierced her heart with the thought of her wasted years, a life futile.

” It’s alright, Pam. The horror of this realisation is invaluable to rise of satya in our vision.”

I was concerned but could relate and empathise. In this country, people didn’t kill themselves with such an enveloping sense of annihilation. They renounced the world and walk away to heal themselves, serve in a temple, live with an ascetic, enter a monastic order, or simply disappear in the wilderness of forests and mountains. This darkness over the spirit was terrible, before the purge.

I could see her body heave ever so softly to her barely audible sniffs. She remained bent over forward for a while, closer to the ground, her head almost between her spaced out knees. It was exceedingly painful for the person with her pride, a life full of achievements and self-belief, I sensed. The universe was sombre just then. The noise of shattering completely clouded the pregnant opportunity for freedom and light to take over.

I was pained. We might know better but invoking that privilege for securing apathy was a greater darkness than all else. I could be as the train, railing forward without a mind to all that its passengers carried in their body, heart and soul. But the truth was that this being that was in me was also everywhere else, in all things and people.

She looked up. I gestured, if she felt better. She nodded. I sat a little more erect, breathing in deep and deeper, throwing out as long as it would. After the third, I let it on a more even course, deep but without the effort, more thin and easy. She straightened up, looked at me and held herself, and thought of using the washroom. Nothing would have worked better, to break the spell.

” Vam …”

The pause seemed significant … the sound of it certainly eased my concern. For a rebound, it was firm and clear. Seemed miraculous to me. I was all ears with abundant expectation. The smile was a consequence.

” Could I go back to truth ? It’s important.”

” Sure.”

” How do I regain myself ? My truth ?”

” First, you need to appreciate that the entire thing is a process of allowing ourselves to be charmed but refusing, in our awareness of ourself, to be claimed by anything, any person, any issue, any event, situation or experience, thought, idea or belief. They all are the other, not the stark self we each are. We can live without it all and must check ourself up on that. For a time, at least, we must be and know that being.”

” How about desire and want ? Surely, we are there where they are. Can’t say they are not what I am. They are our truth.”

” Seems like but no … you only have to look at a renunciate like Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Ramana … we have a whole tradition.”

Hmm … so why am I so completely identified with them ?”

Because you want to, you want the experience that identity leads you up to, something that answers the call of the starved mind. It gives the feeling then that you are now complete and quenched but only until another time, another occasion of longing.”

So why and how should I disrupt it, as it offers to happen ? I am out of it soon enough when it’s done with.”

Consider what you just lived through. It is suffering, misery and unhappiness. Besides, the craving is a carryover within you from a long gone past. It’s not, never was, about the object or the experience we ever again crave for, and are poised on having every now and then. The incompleteness is ours, on account of absence of our self in it while the experience happens. Only by restoring our self in our knowledge that the lack can be fulfilled, not by the object of our desire or by more of the same experience.”

I let the insight complete itself : “ I believe, every experience brings out something from within our self. What we desire is that which is within us, which we forget in time and long for again and again. The desire belongs to the past, which our first experience with the object left us impressed with; the same object now before us has more dimensions than the one we hold it in, out of our desire for it.”

I looked away, into the afternoon outside. It was rich and deep, resting in itself, in the distance. Speech must take a pause, a long one I felt. The sheep were there but I wasn’t counting. I knew she was heading towards a circularity, a singularity that she was just not in a position to accept. We never do … because what the dualistic position offers shocks us, mesmerises us blind and enslaves us.

I noticed she felt alone and wished she would break the spell, out of the emotional depths and go on top of her thoughts. A walk in the coach corridor or a splash of water on the face would have served well. I could create a light moment but that would let the opportunity take cover. The rock would then have to be raised uphill at another moment of intensity, which do not come easy for lack of our invitation; the demon of our ignorance would live to be met another day.

Presently I stood up, told Pam I’d walk the corridor and, perhaps, open the door to the coach and spend some time. She nodded, then blurted if I was disappointed. It made me sit back, closer to her. I reached for her palm and held it in mine.

I’m sorry, Pam, if you feel that it mattered. Let me tell you that it doesn’t, for one; I am unimportant, if not irrelevant. And besides, I have nothing to be disappointed about. Quite the opposite, without any hyperbole, allow me to say : you are one of the bravest person I have known. You’ve been great, so frank and deliberate. And I’m so glad, grateful, to have known you. Just get on with the task you’ve chosen to deal with and let me know if I could be of any help. I cannot do it for you but you only have to reach out and you’ll find me happily extending whatever strength I am capable of. You are stepping up to attain what I know is of herculean dimensions.”

I sat with her, her palm in my warmth, for long enough while… till her moist eyes were clear again. She nodded, looking me with a togetherness that that was enveloping. I leaned over to hug her ever so slightly. She stayed. Pulling back, I thumped on my knees with vigour before raising myself. I went straight to the coach door and opened it to the gushing wind on my being.

Journal : The Movie to Watch

‎#LifeOfPi : The movie does not not prompt criticism or review, unless the bread on your table depends on churning out one !

It’s a once in a lifetime movie and will last that long in its impact.

If you do not want wish to watch a lifetime movie, go and view something else… maybe the absurdity that the khans offer ! I sleep thru them if dragged.

A majority of our human population is either too deprived or too involved at arriving somewhere to appreciate the mystique of existence. Some evolve to recognise it. Life Of Pi is a about one who experiences, imbibes and lives it.

Life Of Pi is one movie I suggested to the family after decades and never blinked an eye till the end. It’s an Ang Lee work, so there’s little risk if you are going to watch it. And, it’s my recommendation … if you have not visited the theatres in ages !

Serialised Story : LIFETIME IN 36 HOURS

The story untill now …

https://vamadevananda.wordpress.com/category/serialised-story/

” Perfect. Let’s introduce ourselves.”

I was nodding at her ‘free-bird’ boldness and smiling of pleasure at having as frank an interlocutor as she was … of amazing mettle. I was again abrim with gratitude and gladness. 

The suggestion seemed to have finally broken the ice, in a manner. We spoke with some familiarity, then animatedly, as friends would. She was Pam : for Pamela, a professor of humanities. I very truthfully bared the mystique : I was Vam, for Vamadevananda, a nomad. That, I had retired early and did nothing for livelihood. I did things that served my peace, truth and happiness.

Kalka was not my destination and I did not know what was. I would be taking the connection to Shimla but would head for the bus stand, for proceeding to Kalpa. The district administrator, a younger man who knew me, had arranged for my lodging in a village nearby. But right then, sitting in the coach a thousand miles away, it was all tentative. It was somehow tiring to speak of myself.

She wowed, looking wistful. I looked at the fields passing by, at the transient objects afar as they gradually came in and receded from the view. The being, of which they arose, brimmed in my heart.

” I’ve decided to spend the summer interlude with my sister, in Shimla. I expect to finish these essays during my stay and hope they would yield their truth to my contemplation. Do you think they will ?”

” I wish they do. Sincerely. They might too.”

I knew, that transforming featureless fullness seldom happened with reading and thinking. It does not impact us enough to self-inspect the station we are at, along our inner journey : the purity and extent of love in our heart; and the knowledge at source in our eye. But everything helped … if the drive to restore our self, to the self in its solitude, was intense enough.

” You’ve done well till now, Pam, through over half a century, if I’m not wrong. Why are Vedanta truths so important for you at this late stage ?” I saved the thought to myself, ” Especially since you seem well off, and without any apparent crisis that might occasion the necessity.”

Truth, our truths, do not have a formal form. It is too tied up with ourselves. The subject could not be discussed from our surface. It needed informal communication of what we were perceiving in our mind just then, without also causing it. I was hoping to know her, in order to understand her words more fully, more accurately.

The introspection process does take its time. It demands that we wait. Time was essential to effective and efficient communication.

” Vam, I never married. When I looked about, after finishing my doctoral studies, I couldn’t be listed in the 20’s column of matrimonial pages. Too, I discovered, I wasn’t keen to hitch on. Life was engaging in the university, in the classroom and in my chamber, where I wrote scholarly papers that got noticed and always lead to more work, research and papers, more conferences and seminars.”

Concise, deliberate, critical and frank. Filled with truth.

” The campus was quiet, simple enough for my pleasure, liberal and liberating. I wouldn’t have given that up for anything just then, much less for playing the second fiddle to someone who had priorities for himself, his career or business. The fullness I was living meant everything to me. I was happy.”

“As was I, to have met her,” I told myself.

” There was money enough, which meant little to me except when it enabled me to travel. Have never been a shopper and had felt no need of more property than I’d already inherited. Investments, other than some tax-savers like insurance policy and fixed deposits, were completely off my radar…

“There were men who saw a future with me but no one I felt over time whom I could admit into my life for all time, into my house and in my decision making.”

” Does that make you sad, today ?”

” No … but I am seized by the need to make amends for not having a companion I could call my own, who would speak to me, be with me during my solitary departure from the world. Someone who would hold my hand and miss me while I breathed out my last. Having lived in the present all my life, I cannot ignore preparing well enough for what I am walking into, at the eve of my journey’s end.”

It showed in her eyes. A developed intellect that had sincerely fashioned a values system for all matters, moral and ethical. The moment was pure and fascinating.

Reflexively, I picked up the water bottle and drank to a thirst that seemed unquenchable. It was still in my clasp, while I assessed the need for more, when she reached for the bottle unasked, without a word. Our relatedness could now be categorised as informal.

” I sense that you need the skill to complete yourself in solitude, by and to yourself, and the capacity to choose emptiness than abhor it, even more than ‘ something intimate and substantial.’ It will likely free you from the need of having someone by the death-bed.”

There was nothing I could add right then to what she was already doing to fill on her want.

” Telescoping our sight on our being does bring much of our life into focus. They reveal our ego-emotion-being for us to know all that we, in truth, are not. It is what we want in it that which roots ourself in it, and lets it defines us. The want is the error when we need to be free of it…

“What is ours is the curiosity, the quest to know. Spot it and resume with the being in quest. Move on to knowing, and persist with moving on. There really is nothing here to hold on to. We could give to it, but give up we must because there’s nothing that would accompany us through our great departure, except what we are to ourself.”

The distance must have shown on the visage, as she gravely pored over my face for the longest moment with a firmness of resolve.

This was an unknown, unpredictable domain. I picked up the book but soon snoozed over it. The oblations had been poured in the crackling fire within her. The result would arise.

End of Chapter I. To be continued …

Serialised Story : LIFETIME IN 36 HOURS

The story untill now …

https://vamadevananda.wordpress.com/?s=serialised+story&submit=Search

I turned to another live page of my book of rules. 

” Be mindful of all you perceive, within and without. Be aware of everything in your experience. Be giving, not wanting. Never use a word without holding its truth within. And, always … always believe that there is someone looking after you, that you are not alone. ” 

” Wait … I wish to write that down in my diary.” 

She pulled out a small notebook with orange plastic cover, a little thick for its size but looking somewhat delicate. She wrote from memory on its first page that had been left blank, and was stuck at a couple of places. I had no memory of what I had reeled out but she was accurate at prompting the keywords. 

” What you said seemed to describe the ways I would love to have and be. They touch me, as if they are my own long-lost nature, some of which I still have and follow but imperfectly. Thank you, for sketching so fully what I need to restore to myself.” 

” I believe every word of yours. Mindfulness and conscientiousness are supreme virtues on the path you seek to travel. There will be exceptions, some spiritually agreeable, some for pragmatic reasons, and others in error. Mistakes do not matter, however big, if they are clear in our awareness.” 

” I’m both elated and daunted.” 

” As it should be. Now leave both these imaginations behind.” 

I indicated a pause in our conversation and looked away. Speech was not the way beyond a point. Silence, contemplation and meditation was. Awareness of the involved fundamental drive, or cause, in the internal process was essential to know and free ourselves. Outside, it was mid-day for trees, cattle and herdsmen. 

I know there is no gain involving oneself with anyone other than whom the universe ordains. But we invariably transgress the law because of our wilfulness riding on aroused emotions and flared want. We all make moves of our own and arrive where we do. Then, consequences take over our spiritual lives : that evolutionary electable, which happens in moments, then takes years, decades and lifetimes. 

Ambition was an oxymoron in the spiritual context. 

* * *

I had been deep asleep : the body was at complete rest and so was I, absolutely. There was no other. Waking up, I found we were at a major station; hawkers were calling out for wares on their trollies. I found her gazing on me with a softness that tugged deep, triggering my alarm. I bought two rich chocolate bars and gave one to her with palpable joy. She took it with a laugh. 

It was just past noon and, I thought, dinner was an hour away. The train gave a heave and began to pull. The passing platform seemed crowded and colourful. A moment’s snapshot. It would take a compilation of all moments it offered, to present the content of what it was. How it relates to each person out there would be defined by how it serves, over time, and what that meant to each one. But a summary conclusion had to have its origin in the intent behind its creation. And that was true of each being, person and thing. Hard to find but … harder to accept. I smiled to myself. 

” I want to hear more from you.” 

This was bold and I met it with respect. ” About what ?” would have been pedantic, if not naive. 

” This is a call of love. Not necessarily for the person you believe I am but for what you experience with the words you hear. It is already yours. All of it. You do not need me or my words for that. If at first you can’t regain it, think of me and it will all come back to you.” 

” But why not directly from you ?” 

” Because I am just another imperfect person, who will be with you for a short while. What you need is someone who will be with you anytime you need and recede when you do not. It will be all you and yours, at your entire convenience. With perhaps better results and zero complications.” 

” Maybe I’ll do just that after we’ve parted. But for now … I am not at all apprehensive about imperfections and complications.” 

” Perfect. Let’s introduce ourselves.”

To be continued …   A spiritual thriller in the making.

Serialised Story : LIFETIME IN 36 HOURS

I am encouraged. The decision to publish the story here had posed an embarassing possibility if, prompted by how it unravels in later chapters, I were to alter its content in its finished form. And, more importantly, how would I handle suggestions or serious criticisms at this stage of the work when, frankly speaking, I would be giving my whole attention at taking the narration forward than on looking back in review ?

The answers that set my doubts somewhat to rest came after I reached out to a few of my online friends : they all said I should serialise the finished part on the blog. Which wasn’t an answer to any of my reservations … but it enhanced my own desire to upload it re-read it myself along with the readers.

The answers I share here are what I provided to myself in order to go ahead with the doing : one, change howsoever I may in future, the laydown is still enough of a story, as it is now; two, suggestions and criticisms that might trickle in would be welcome anyway, now as info to what or how I will  express the parts yet unwritten and later while reviewing the parts already published on the blog.

So, here it is.

What transpires between a man and a woman when they spend time together in an small coupe all to themselves, on a train that will take them to Kalka and, from there, to Shimla through a journey of about 36 hours … ?

There’s absolutely no chance of it being a love story, fit for celluloid, but I do see a spiritual thriller in the situation.

“ What remains with two people who come together on promise of love but do not empathise in their unity, and diverge away from-each other ?”

What remains with two people who come together on promise of love, deepen their empathy, and unite to mean everything to each other ?”

[ These questions would occur to me when younger and I’d actually posed them

to a couple of my friends who were in a relationship …]

Chapter – I

I too am going to Kalka.” 

I put down the book. She must have seen my travel itinerary on the reservation chart posted at coach entrance. It was quarter to ten in the night now. The woman who joined in at Durgapur station looked middle-age but was all eyes, weightless and sprightly. It’ll be one more night before we will disembark at Kalka. 

But what was there to say. I was glad. The nod in acknowledgment was reflexive but the smile on my countenance had stayed on. The juncture was loaded with a tentativeness, I felt. It would unravel, I told myself, as it always does.

She did her bed on the upper berth. It was a two-berth coupe. I had the lower one. Despite it being late, she chose to sit at the other end of mine. She looked out of the window and I followed suit. It was dark and rushing past. The wind on my face left me indescribably connected. Looking back after a while, I found her watching me. 

Not sleepy, eh.” 

Yeah. There’s still much too excitement remaining to subside. Perhaps you would …” 

No, I hate missing out on so much of experience to sleep. Perhaps, by the early hours of the morning I’d allow her to take over… Are you a little taken up by the situation of spending the night in the company of a stranger, a male… ?” 

Could be, subconsciously. Anything could happen but I perceive no cause that it would. It’s your perspective to sleep that I am curious about. Most would find it not so normal. Especially at your age …” 

How do you see it ? And what’s my age, I wonder ?” 

You look late middle age. What exactly do you experience, looking into the blank depths outside the window ?” 

It’s chronic … this presumption of what it is from what it looks to be. At what age should one stop appreciating the night … It’s healing, wondrous, quietly alive and so very gathered in peace.” 

Are you a monk ?” 

No, just a recluse.” 

We slept. It felt good to be traveling with someone. I embraced the track and wheel sounds for long, the wind on my face, the indistinct hills and trees in a darkness punctuated by the amazing presence of light framed in black. 

It felt good to be travelling with someone,” she said zipping close her utility pouch in the morning. I smiled. It was the thought I had slept with… There was no point to it but the wonder turned in my gut. An extra dose of vitality shooting into the nerves, if you know. 

A pleasure.” 

I may have said that to myself. She looked moist and fresh and strangely familiar. The book she’d opened was Narendra’s essays on Vedanta. I stared through the window. This existence out there never failed to empty the mind and rest the gut. 

Breakfast was timely and a silent affair. I ate without the dramatics but quite as animals do… single-mindedly. She smiled her satisfaction, looked out, read, but was mostly hesitant to launch an engaging conversation. I picked up the book barely read a paragraph or two, and snoozed. 

You know, this term for truth, “Satya,” keeps coming in but remains empty of content. It’s so familiar, almost intimate as it rings in the ear, but sort of undefined and unspecified.”

To Be Continued …

Journal : May 17, 2012 : The Works

The books I am now working on are :

01         Glimpses Of Vedanta

Excerpt from its Prologue

” But what is truth ? It is everything material, physical, psychological and spiritual, which exist of their own accord and power in past, present and future. It is existence that comes to be of its own potency, whose being cannot be denied in its moment or eternity, through which it exists.

” In terms of an allied category we are familiar with, a truth differentiates itself from the ‘fact,‘ as has already been noted. An objective fact is a truth of the moment that is yet to include us. It is revealed with its causes and effects in the objective, illuminating the dark domains in our knowledge of the phenomenon in its regard, and around it. But, however wide its scale, the knowledge remains formal, without our knowledge of what it means to us, until we are aware of how the fact, its sources or effects, subserve matters in our environment near or far, or directly impact our body, senses, being and mind. With this inclusive extent of awareness, we are able to sense the relatedness between us and the fact and judge the weight or importance of how and what the object in our focus means to us.

” The scope of truth starts with objective or factual knowledge, such as science presents of the material domain. It then extends in our understanding to include its relatedness to our self and being, revealing what it means to us. But each conclusion we make in the process, at every stage, is subject to its validity over time. A phenomenal observation, an object or facts pertaining to an object in the spotlight, may be true for the moment but may not stand to our scrutiny over the day, year, decade or century. Likewise, a fact may mean everything to someone and nothing to any other, to one people or community but not to others, or to one species and not to all living beings.

” The degree of truth is measured by the period of its validity, the space it influences, and the number of beings it affects. A truth valid over the longer scale is superior to one that holds true for mere minutes, hours or days. The one which holds good over the entire time scale, the whole of space and all being, is termed the Supreme Truth.

” Whilst Vedanta mentions some of the truths of various kinds in passing, it lays at the very outset its primary focus : the Supreme Truth, its nature and facts, and meaning, especially the means and ways for an individual to attain or realise it. It would be clarifying to remember that the truth spoken of in the context of Vedanta is not the opposite of ‘ lie.’ A lie is a truth, a fact of the moment that gets contradicted in time. Conversely all truths, other than the Supreme, are lies. Truth is inclusive and is opposed to nothing that exists.

” Truth is existence and the Supreme Truth is existence infinite. Humans discovered consciousness in their own very existence, and universally in all living or semi-living beings, which consciousness could configure itself to forms of knowledge. The knowledge could be instinctual or reflective, depending upon the intellectual endowment of the being. Besides, it was sensed that every form of being, animate and inanimate, came to be on account of convergence of several inputs that actuated and cooperated at very definite processes respective to each, the knowledge of which pre-existed each manifestation. The Vedanta ancients hence appended their understanding of the Supreme Truth and described it as ” existence – consciousness – infinite ” or ” existence – knowledge – infinite.”

” In addition, a universal desire and pursuit for happiness, that is, for freedom from need, pain or want, characterises all animals, including man. The same desire was projected, and is now established, among plants too. All human motives, drives and actions are aimed at having happiness in some form or another – satisfaction, pleasure, joy, delight, fulfillment, contentment or peace. The descriptor for the Supreme Truth was thus modified to include this manifest aspect innate in existence, as it revealed : Existence – Consciousness – Bliss – Infinite.

” Vedanta suggests that whilst phenomenal truths, finite in their extention, having qualities and limited validity or lifetime, can be observed, studied and contemplated upon objectively, known, obtained or attained, the Supreme Truth is not an object accessible to our senses and mind. However, if it helps, we may go back to the facts at the origin : one, all truths are either contradicted, superceded or negated in time; and, two, the Supreme Truth alone remains beyond the limits of form and space, and transcendent of the effects of time. In other words, if we were to negate all forms in our vision, all emotions in our experience, all thoughts in our mind and all finite knowledge in our intellect… our own very consciousness would be subsumed in the Supreme Truth, since that alone is clear of all possible contradiction and the least negation ever.

” Traditions since antiquity admit all manner of ways of ” uniting ” with the Supreme Truth. Very broadly, it spells the perspective to human endeavour within which such an exercise could be pursued : livelihood and financial independence, sexual and sensory fulfillment, ethical and moral living, and liberation from all past impressions, present desires and future wants… which “liberation” subsumes in union with the Supreme Truth, the summum bono. It allows for exceptions depending upon one’s moral excellence, freedom from sensory desire, and focused drive to wipe the inner universe clean in order to maximise conditions for ultimate subsumption.”

02         Untitled … fiction… impromptu excerpt :

” I too am going to Kalka.”

I put down the book. It was midnight now. The woman who joined in at Gomoh Junction looked old but was all eyes, wieghtless and sprightly. It’ll be one more night before we will disembark. We slept. It felt good to be travelling with someone.

” It felt good to be travelling with someone,” she said zipping close her utility pouch. I smiled. She’d read my thoughts. There was no point to it but the wonder turned in my gut. That raises sensations, if you know.

” A pleasure.” I must have said that to me. She looked moist and fresh. The book she’d opened was Narendra’s essays on Vedanta. I stared through the window. This existence was the Lord. I had to keep it in my call before the gut rested quiet. Breakfast was timely. I relaxed, picked up the book, and snoozed.

” You know, this term for truth, “Satya,” keeps coming in but remains empty of content. It’s so familiar, almost intimate, with much meaning, but sort of undefined and unspecified.” It woke me up.

” The content would flow in with our understanding, with clear awareness of instances in our experience for support. That should flesh out its meaning to us.”

” You mean it means differently to the two of us.”

” Generally. But then the knowledge of truth, or the truth of truth, is not what it means. It is what those meanings, seen together, mean to us.”

It broke the ice. We spoke with some familiarity…

*    *    *

I can see the two books will long in the making.

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