Universe, World And The Self

This essay arose of a conversation that remained incomplete, largely because of the apparent unfamiliarity my interlocutor had with the subject, which factor lent an air of abstraction to the matter despite it being so obvious and close a phenomenon to ourself. The difficulty at the core of its seeming obtruseness was two-fold : one, the meaning we carry of the terms are so very formal that they remain distant from ourself, compared to the carnal and electronic objects that readily engage the youth of our day; and two, any attempt to segregate the entities, and their phenomenal effervescence in our mind, fails to start because we ourself are too caught up in the mix to lay out the categories at play separately, sequentially and seamlessly between the universe yonder, our world at hand, and the heady couldron of vitality playing things up as feelings, emotions and thoughts in our mind.

Universe, World And The Self

The Terms

The universe is the endless expanse, the mother set, containing all the astronomical and heavenly bodies, visible and invisible, known and mysterious. It includes our world and our self within it.

The world about us reduces to “our” world for all practical purposes, with objects that actually occupy our memory and mind more or less, in some way or other. The entities come in all shape and form, state of animation and consciousness, nature and character, and value to ourself in the long and short term.

The self — our self — is the being we are, the person who decides the right and wrong for ourself, who is curious and who engages with the objects in our world, who notices the feeling and identifies with the prevailing will and emotion, happy or sad, enthused or indifferent.

The Personal Phenomena

Our individual being involves our world and our self, with all the objects and entities about us, which we live in the midst of and value, positively and negatively, often in the same single thing, person or being. There is a wider world out there, distinct from our world, that we are either not intimately aware of or to which we are indifferent because it does not touch us, that does not engage us in the least for now. But our living being is restricted to all that affects us, physically or by their presence in our memory, in the way it makes our vitality rise and ebb, outward to action or inward to feeling quickened or depressed, draws our emotion to flare with a will of its own, triggers our thought stream hither and thither, making our desire next sprout or dry, and leads our self through an experience memorable or forgettable.

Our experience of life, and indeed our life itself, is an endless train of such streaming consciousness constituted of this mix : feelings and emotions, will and thought, desire and knowledge, memory and more, with the self — the sense we have of ourself — often helpless like a ball ricocheting  from the walls upon a momentum imparted in unknown past or an oarless boat in the middle of  flowing waters. What we gather along the journey in life, through our growing up years, is knowledge and memory of the character or nature of things, person or individual beings, usually in binary terms : happy, or not. Each encounter or recall of this summary sense, as it happens, brings in its trail the emotion and will that our psychological or attitudinal behaviour, caution or enthusiasm and more extreme expressions at the juncture. And thus life continues to happen : happy or sad, or in the pall of any other shade in between.

The Exploring And Analysing Self

There are several reasons why we wake up to need of reviewing the momentum of the personal phenomena upon which we are carried, and to the burning will to intervene. Often it is the consequences, material and mental, that leave us dissatisfied, inadequate, delinquent or destitute. Or, usually in comparison with our peers or with inspiration from other people’s lives past or present, there is a sense of not doing justice to what we have and what more we could do with greater control over our phenomenal being, with empowering our psychological self at making the most of our situation, spotting opportunities and playing up to our strengths. Too, it is extremely deflating to our self-esteem to realise that we are living the animal way, to our lowest nature, or are being merely passive or reactive to our happennings. And lastly, we might discover that the unexamined knowledge we have gathered is mostly untrue, that we need to revisit each as they come and bring our conclusion up to date. Whatever the cause, we then want to put an end to our self-cipher outside-in existence and steel ourself to imposing our will inside-out, to being what and how we want ourself to be and experiencing a life by our own choices than by what fate or our world has thus far deemed it to be.

A true awakening is more a phase than a moment : outwardly langorous and dilated but hyperactive inwardly. In that state of concentrated awareness, we refuse to be moved even as we go through the motions and insist on observing and knowing the details of our personal phenomena as it occurs : the feeling caused by an object on our world, the emotion representative of our reaction to it, our will that automatically presents itself … that jucture when we can choose to react or contemplate the pros and cons of alternate courses, the thoughts at reviewing the object, the feeling and the emotion, the will we were ready to commit ourself to, and the state of our own being, the quality of our self … We hold ourself at it, intending to exhaust the fulness of one series : object, feeling, emotion to the object and to the feeling it causes, the will and the choices, the doubts, the light on ourself, and the values we hold to ourself in the shadows of our each thought and glance at the categories and their possibilities thus laid out.

Our Self And Our ValuesSelf and Values

To fast forward, we may now observe the continuous series of categories laid out before us, connecting seamlessly the universe and the self :

[ Universe ] — [ World ] — [ Our World ] — [ Objects, Entities, Plants, Trees, Animals, People, Food, Sex, Beautiful Form, Panorama, Family, Friends…] — [ Senses : Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch, Hear ; Mind ] — [ Feeling ] — [ Emotion : Will ] — [ Thought : Doubt, Examination, Analysis, Possibility ] — [ Knowledge ] — [ Self : State, Quality, Values ]

Of  the above, we notice, animals are arrested by their emotions and accompanying will; and so are we. The only interactive behaviour that sets them to peace, and is hence both necessary and sufficient, is love. And so it with us, as far as others are involved and our interactive behaviour goes.

However, as human beings with the power to be pro-active, to change ourselves and our world about us, we need to choose our values and therefore need to know what works, which yields what and how. The knowledge and values are already indicated by our history, our myths, our texts ancient and modern, our epics, our traditions and our ways of life. It is upto each one of us to inform ourself, know and choose for ourself, and to embark upon that journey of examining and clarifying from experience that which is absolute and invariable and those that are relative and dependent upon situation and circumstance.

Some truths are universal though :

—   Feelings are nature’s means to reveal itself to us. Men do not cause feelings, our world does. We do not stop feeling except when we are literally or sort of dead.

—  Emotions are our own and arise almost always from the dark and unexamined part of our within. They are mostly wasteful except when prompted of love.

—   Our mind is a means and an instrument to feel, examine and know our world, our emotions and will, our memory and impressions from past, as also to sense the state and quality of our self and the values we associate with.

—   The values we choose and commit ourselves to provides a firm unshakeable ground to ourself; nothing else does. The self committed to values empowers the will to choose the right course of action; nothing else does.

—   There is no truth apart from our self. It is lost in the mind, in thoughts and habitual emotions, in addictive feelings, when we begin our search for our self. The process of extricating our self and living in the light of its truth is the eternal way.

Let’s walk it.

Footprints

Paan, My Love

Ha – ah – ha … love them both : the man and the outlet !

No one can make a great paan except with love.

Shot in winter time, rather dark evening.

There is a queue, if did not notice.

Ah, Paan, my love !

Have not partaken as frequently

but the feeling for you is undiminshed …

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The Pan Outlet

Beauty Of The Quest

Cover of "Altai-Himalaya A Travel Diary"

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part X : INDIA (1924)

The Talmud relates that the dove brought the first olive branch to Noah from Mount Moriah. And Mount Moriah and the mountain Meru both lie in Asia. Here is the beginning of all things. Here is the source for all travelers and all searchers. Here is raised the first image of the Blessed Maitreya—Messiah—Muntazar, the Messiah now awaited by the Mohammedans. Thrice powerful M ! Here, above all disputes, the teachings have raised up the olive branch of the new world. Here is ordained the universal commune.

Some one voluntarily approached and touched our tent ! Who is this man, with his long black braid and a turquoise earring in his ear, and garbed in a white kaftan ? It is the Lama, Pema Don-dub, the local ikon painter. We ask, “Can you paint for us the Blessed Maitreya, exactly like the one in Tashi-lhunpo ?” He consents and now he sits on a tiny rug in the corner of the white gallery, and with various pigments, paints the Image full of symbols. He prepares the fabric for the painting and covers it with levkas (a mixture of chalk on glue), and irons it with a shell. He works exactly like Russian ikon painters. In the same way does he grind his colors, heat them on a coal pan; and thus does he keep an additional brush in his thick black hair. His Tibetan wife helps him to prepare his colors.

And so, in the corner of the white gallery is being conceived the ingenious image, many-colored. And each symbol upon it more clearly defines the Blessed One. Here is the frightful bird-like Garuda and wise Magi and Ganeshi, elephant of happiness, and Chintamani, the Steed, bearing on its back the miraculous stone, Treasure of the World. A sacred cycle of chosen symbols. And upon the image and the hands is laid pure gold.

Like our ikon painters, the artist lama chants hymns as he labors. The chants become more fervent; this means he is beginning upon the Image itself.

And another wonder occurs, only possible in this land. In the deep twilight when the waxing moon possesses all things, one hears through the house the silvery tones of a handmade flute. In the darkness, the artist lama is sitting upon his rug, playing with rapture before the image of Maitreya-Messiah-Muntazar.

The Strings of the Earth !

Talai-Pho-Brang.


Panoramic Kashmir
Panoramic Kashmir (Photo credit: NotMicroButSoft

PIR-PANZAL (1925)

Where have passed the hordes of the great Mongols ?

Where has the lost tribe of Israel concealed itself ?

Where stands the “Throne of Solomon” ?

Where lie the paths of Christ the Wan­derer ?

Where glow the bonfires of the Shamans, Bon-po, of the religion of demons ?

Where is Shalimar, the gardens of Jehangir ?

Where are the roads of Pamir, Lhasa, Khotan ?

Where is the mysterious cave, Amarnath ?

Where is the path of Alexander the Great to forgotten Taxila ?

Where are the walls of Akbar ?

Where did Ashvagosha teach ?

Where did Avan-tisvamin create ?

Where are the citadels of Chandragupta-Maurya ?

Where are the stones of wisdom of King Asoka ? . . .

All have passed by way of Kashmir. Here lie the ancient ways of Asia. And each caravan flashes by as a connecting link in the great body of the East. Here are the sandy deserts on the way to Peshawar; and the blue peaks of Sonamarg; and the white slopes of Zoji-La. And in the flight of the eagles is the same untiring spirit; in the fleet steed is the same unalterable motion. Nor does the world of roses and shawls of Kashmir resemble that forgotten and hidden world of Kashmiri blades.

Sacre du Printemps“— when we composed it together with Stravinsky, we could not conceive that Kashmir would greet us with its very setting. In Ghari, camping out by night, when the vivid spring sky became afire with stars and the mountains were azured, we observed rows of fires upon the mountains. The fires started into motion, separated and strangely circled about. Then the mountain slopes became aglow with these fiery processions. And in the village below, dark silhouettes began to whirl about brandishing resin torches on long staffs. The flaming circles proclaimed the end of winter frosts. And the songs proclaimed the Sacred Spring. This is the festival of the Ninth of March.

Bulbul,” the nightingale, sings on the apple tree. The cuckoo reckons out a long life. White linens are spread on the meadow and a samovar is boiling. Red and yellow apples and sweet cakes are passed around to those seated upon the spring grass. The eyes of the violets and the white and yellow narcissus are woven into a many-hued carpet. At evening, flocks of ducks and geese completely cover the tiny islands over the lakes. Small bears steal out on the spring glades. But none fears them—unless the mother-bear is with her cubs. . . .

The river banks are sloping. A line of boatsmen steer their canopied boats. . . . Upon a broad road the oxen drag themselves and the wheels grind along. Three-hundred-year-old plantains and tall poplars guard the ways. And the teeth of the encoun­tered travelers gleam often in the smile of greeting.

In the sheds lie the sleighs—veritable Moscow sleighs. In the yard, a crane screeches above the well. The straw roof is over­grown with green moss. Along the road are gnarled willow trees. And the greetings of the children are noisy. But where is this ? Is it in Schuya or Kolomna? It is in Srinagar, in the “City of the Sun.”

Tiny, big-bellied pillars—small ornamental designs—steep little steps of stone—the gilded roofs of the temple—creaking, orna­mented window-shutters—rusty locks—low little doors with their “curtesy”—carved balustrades—slanting tiles on stony floors—the odor of old lacquer—small windows with diminutive panes. Where are we then ? Is this the Kremlin of Rostov ? Are these the monasteries of Suzdal ? Are they the temples of Yaroslavl ? And what of the endless flocks of daws ? What of the naked branches behind the windows ? This is the chief palace of the Maharajah of Kashmir. How curious is everything which re­mains from antiquity. But the modern additions are hideous.

Upon the road are many Fords. In the hotel dining room one sees the faces of Americans. In the jewelry shop, side-by-side, hang two paintings—one of the view of Delhi, the other the view of the Moscow Kremlin. Among the crystals into which one gazes for destiny; among the sapphires of Kashmir and the Tibetan turquoises, are shimmering green Chinese jadaites—and like a garden, many-colored are the borders of the embroidered kaftans. Like precious shawls, the rooms of the museum are strewn with minute Iran-designs and “Gandhara,” belabored by destiny, unifies the cleft branches of West and East.

In the styles of the temples and mosques; in the angular carved dragons; in the tentlike, sloping hexagonal tower, is seen an unexpected combination of the old wooden churches of Norway and the Chinese pagodas. Out of one well is drawn the Roman­esque Chimera, the animal ornaments of Altai and the tiny animals of Chinese Turkestan and China. The Siberian paths of the nations have carried afar the same meaning of adornment.

The fort of Akbar stands firmly planted. But after you have climbed the steepnesses and flights, you may perceive that the old bricks and the claybeaten cement barely hold together. The arches are ready to give way.

Nishad, the garden of Akbar, occupies the site from the lake to the hill—a high place. The structures are modest and upon the corners are the little towers so beloved by him. They are characterized by simplicity and brightness.

Shalimar—the garden of Jehangir—is also in character with its possessor, standing “for itself.” There is less of outward show, but more of luxury—of that luxury which brought the descend­ants of the Moguls to poverty. The last Mogul, in Delhi, secretly sold furniture out of the palace and destroyed the valuable fac­ings of the walls of Shah Jehan and Aurungzeb. Thus ended the great dynasty.

The weaver of Kashmir accompanied the making of each of his designs with a special chant. Such a searching for rhythm reminds us of the great harmony of labor.

No song relates why the mountain “Throne of Solomon” bears this name. This is a place of such antiquity. Janaka, son of Asoka, had already dedicated here one of the first Buddhist temples. Seven centuries later the temple was rebuilt and con­secrated to Mahadeva. . . . But whence comes the name of Solomon? The mountain received the name of Solomon from a legend that Solomon, desiring a respite from the conventions of a sovereign’s life and from the burdens of his court, trans­ported himself upon a flying carpet to this mountain with his favorite wife. Here, again, we come upon the mention of that “flying apparatus” possessed by Solomon. A similar mountain is in Turkestan and in Persia.

It is not alone the mountain “Throne of Solomon” which transports the consciousness into biblical spheres. In the valley of Sindh the prophet Elijah is reverenced in a special manner. Most stirring are the legends; how the prophet sitting in his cave saves fishermen and travelers. Under various aspects, at times benevolent, at times stormy, the prophet appears to defend the works of justice and piety. Mohammedans and Hindus, divided by many differences, equally reverence the prophet Elijah.

Purple iris will always recall Moslem cemeteries. They are covered with these flowers. But there is also joy. The lilacs have blossomed, lilies of the valley are nodding and the wild cherry tree glistens.

Mount Moriah Cemetery Gate


I Joke Because I Need Your Steam

Woman r guilty

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Of course not, but the point made was as follows :

If women go for vaginaplasty or other ‘lotions’ to tighten up the vulva

to please the men or themselves,

or go for younger ‘studs’ to literally fill themselves up,

they actually are underscoring the value of size, the rub,

and virility or hotness of vitality for themselves …

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Which is fine in itself, for themselves. Except that it is not.

For, why then is the society shocked or hold men guilty

when they go for their preference for size and softness,

when they fall for younger gals or have mistresses,

or when 60 year old Saudis marry 10 – 12 year olds

( it’s legal in their country ),

or when 1% of men can’t contain their desire overdrive

( any statistical distribution curve would be their alibi )

and grab girls in manner they legally should not…

such as kidnap, molestation or rape ?

 

I have to agree that ‘women’s lib’ trend should allow women the same statistical allowance

for some of them to kidnap, molest or rape men.

 

But, of course, I find myself covered with stupidity :

Society rightly want men to desist;

but from how it’s going, by the time men reform or even before,

women would need to be handed the same advice, to “desist.”

Untill there is no one to advise or listen.

 

Would the wiser ones, especially women, clarify the argument ?

For me, the issue might start with men or women, or both,

but its resolution must end in the family.

Anything, act or value, that harms the family,

breaks or erodes trust, or creates an unbridgeable distance,

should be unacceptable … inelectable, howsoever pleasureable

or legal it be, or legitimate and right it may seem !

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English: Young Saudi Arabian woman wearing Isl...
Young Saudi Arabian woman …

An Award I Cherish …

 

I don’t believe in fairies and angels. But I have one who showers her kindness on the smallest of effort I put in to raise a blog devoted to beauty, happiness and truth. She – Julianne – is far and unseen, unknown and unmet, but one who I imagine hovering close over me, infusing an encouragement I feel happy to accept. The last part is important … because there are many whose words seem so empty and motivated, and merely distractive to the committment I summon while adding a small beam on my blog staff.

Julianne has awarded this blog with The Sunshine Award … It brightens my blogging spirit. I am grateful to her for honouring the author thus … and thank Robin at Whitecrow12013 and Theresa at Soul Gatherings for earlier conferring the same recognition to her blog at Julianne Victoria dot com ! If you haven’t already, please visit their blogs for all their spiritual and soulful insights.

The “rules” for most of the awards can be viewed on the Awards page.

It’s a blogger’s award to a fellow blogger !

For the Sunshine Award the rules are :

blog-wonderful-team-membership-award

1. Display the award logo,

2. Link back to the person who nominated you,

3. State 7 things about yourself, and

4. Nominate 15 (or however many you can)

other bloggers for the award.

blog-influential-award

  Seven new things about myself:

1) My gods are the Sun, Moon and my late parents.

2) I am a recluse, done with the mundane.

3) I live in heaven with a woman who is love and devotion itself,

and who can bite real nasty.

4) My heaven includes two young men who may be a little foolish and lazy at times,

but who can never ever be accused for lying, dishonesty or cowardice.

5) I was a champ at all small town games that children in Railway colonies

used to play in the 1960s and 70s.

blog-awesomeness

6) I used to write in school and college and read writers little known

among students of engineering at my prestigeous alma mater

7) While young, I’d groove on Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull, Doors, Queens,

Led Zepp, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Joan Baez …

apart from Beatles, Bob Dylan et al.

 

New Nominees: 

Please visit

blog-liebster-award

these interesting blogs

who I choose award because

their efforts mean so much to me.

Nominees, may please honour us 

with their kind acceptance.

blog-loyalty-award

Congratulations !

 1) http://kiwis-soar.com/

2) http://theholisticconsultant.org/

3) http://sreenivasan.ksshouse.com

4) http://wanderingmirages.com

blog-seed-of-light

5) http://worldfalls.wordpress.com

6) http://www.drishtikone.com/

7) http://theethicalwarrior.wordpress.com/

8) http://andidreamed.wordpress.com

9) http://ofthehighest.wordpress.com/ 

blog-best-moment

Namaste _/|\_ …………………………..

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

~ T S Eliot

 

Let us go then, you and I

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:

Streets that follow like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question….

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”

Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,

The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes

Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,

Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,

Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,

Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,

And seeing that it was a soft October night,

Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time

For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,

Rubbing its back upon the window panes;

There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet

There will be time to murder and create,

And time for all the works and days of hands

That lift and drop a question on your plate;

Time for you and time for me,

And time yet for a hundred indecisions,

And for a hundred visions and revisions,

Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time

To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

Time to turn back and descend the stair,

With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—

(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)

My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,

My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—

(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)

Do I dare Disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:

Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

I know the voices dying with a dying fall

Beneath the music from a farther room.

So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—

The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,

And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,

When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,

Then how should I begin

To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?

And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—

Arms that are braceleted and white and bare

(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)

Is it perfume from a dress

That makes me so digress?

Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.

And should I then presume?

And how should I begin? . . . . . . . . .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets

And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes

Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?

I should have been a pair of ragged claws

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas. . . . . . . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!

Smoothed by long fingers,

Asleep… tired… or it malingers.

Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.

Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,

Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,

Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald)

Brought in upon a platter,

I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,

And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,

And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,

After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,

Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,

Would it have been worth while,

To have bitten off the matter with a smile,

To have squeezed the universe into a ball

To roll it toward some overwhelming question,

To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,

Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—

If one, settling a pillow by her head,

Should say: “That is not what I meant at all; That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,

Would it have been worth while,

After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,

After the novels, after the teacups,

After the skirts that trail along the floor

—And this, and so much more?

— It is impossible to say just what I mean!

But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves

In patterns on a screen:

Would it have been worth while

If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,

And turning toward the window, should say: “That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all.” . . . . . . . . .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;

Am an attendant lord, one that will do

To swell a progress, start a scene or two,

Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,

Deferential, glad to be of use,

Politic, cautious, and meticulous;

Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;

At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—

Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old… I grow old…

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind?

Do I dare to eat a peach?

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves

Combing the white hair of the waves blown back

When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea

By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Resource : http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1567/1567-h/1567-h.htm

Related articles

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

MIND, KARMA AND GUNA – IV

Truth in one’s knowledge

Love in one’s heart

Beauty in one’s eye

Leads to … Perspective …

to raising consciousness right up to the start of Big Bang

and witnessing time and space evolve in form and faculty

Values Orientation

Moral Strength

Right Action.

The Householder

What does our readiness to gain the mandate to change or transform mean, and involve ?

Since happiness is the very destination of our quest, we are duty-bound to orient ourselves individually to how it would best serve our own well-being and the common welfare.

Yet how do we proceed, what do we focus on ? Truth-realisation is fundamental to rise of long-scale wisdom, to avoiding that tread on which misery trails our good intentions.

The monotheistic religions have no concern with truth. What they seek is followership, the numbers in submission. Both Christianity and Islam abhor freedom of quest, without acceptance of their tenets that bar such curiosity in the first place, and definitely have no place for the challenging questions.

The Hindu has been fortunate : there is no regulator to pry into or question his individual quest. But the problem of diversity remains before the individual : what and which to pursue ?

In the Vishnu Purana, Lord Vishnu is highly eulogised and a secondary place is given to Lord Shiva. In the Shiva Purana, Lord Shiva is immensely praised whilst Lord Vishnu is assigned a secondary status. In the Devi Bhagavatam, the Divine Mother is given prominence over Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. All this is done in order to create in the aspirant an intense and unswerving faith in his own favourite Deity. It seems to be declaring : there is nothing that is not absolute; pursue precisely what suits you. All Deities are one; they are different aspects of the same truth. It is simply absurd to believe that the anthropomorphic Shiva is inferior to Vishnu, or vice versa.

In the same manner, in Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna praises Karma Yoga in one place : “The Yoga of action is superior to the renunciation of action”—V.2. 

In another place, He praises Raja Yoga : “The Yogi is thought to be superior to the ascetics and even superior to men of knowledge; he is also superior to men of action. Therefore, be thou a Yogi, O Arjuna!”—VI.46. 

In yet another place, Lord Krishna praises the path of Bhakti Yoga : “The highest Purusha, O Arjuna, is attainable by unswerving devotion to Him alone within whom all beings dwell and by whom all this is pervaded!”—VIII.22. 

Again, He praises Jnana Yoga : “Noble indeed are all these; but I deem the wise man as My very Self; for, steadfast in mind, he is established in Me alone as the supreme goal”—VII.18.

But this embracing of diversity, primacy to individual nature and proclivity, becomes a cause for conflict to the linear, logical rationality of the thinking person. A beginner is confused when he comes across these seemingly contradictory verses. It is with some contemplation that we realise … Krishna is praising each path to the same Yoga in order to create interest in the aspirant in his own particular path, as it suits. The Gita is a book for the people of the world at large. It was not meant for Arjuna alone. Each Yoga is as efficacious as the other.

Attachment is due to infatuation. It is the offspring of the quality of Rajas. Detachment is born of Sattva. The former is relatively a demoniacal attribute, the latter a divine one. Attachment is born of ignorance, selfishness and passion and brings with it death; detachment is wisdom and brings with it freedom. The practice of detachment is a rigorous discipline. You may stumble like a baby who is just learning to walk, but you will have to rise up again with a cheerful heart. Failures are not stumbling-blocks but stepping stones to success.

Just as coloured dye stands out more clearly only when the original material is pure white, so also the instructions of a sage penetrate and settle down only in the hearts of aspirants whose minds are calm, who have no desire for enjoyments and whose impurities have been destroyed. For this reason an aspirant is expected to possess the qualifications of keen discrimination, dispassion, control of the mind and senses, and aversion to worldly attractions, before he can practise the three-fold Sadhana of hearing the scriptures, reflecting upon them, and meditating upon their significance. Discipline and purification of the mind and the senses are prerequisites for aspirants on the path of Truth-realisation.

Even when the nature of Truth is explained, those who have not been purged of their faults and impurities would either disbelieve or misbelieve it, as was the case with Indra and Virochana. Therefore knowledge, as it is, arises only in him who has purified himself by austerity, either in this life or in a previous birth. The man waiting for his libido to crank up will do just that.

Devils can also quote scriptures, as most people in the West and inspired ones in the East are doing. Unwittingly, they are following the Virochana school. They are evil-doing, deluded and the vilest of men. They cannot understand that there is no truth without freedom and diversity. 

May Truth grant them a more subtle and purer intellect !

The highest unity is realised only upon embracing the diversity about us.


Journal : Legend And Conjuration

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part VIII : INDIA (1924)

Are the inhabitants of Sikhim poor ?

Where there are no riches there is no poverty. The people are living simply.

Upon the hills, amidst blossoming trees, stand the quiet little houses. Through the colored branches shine the bright stars and glimmer the snow-covered peaks. Here are people carrying their vege­tables; here, they pasture their cattle and smile kindly. Here, with fairylike music they walk along the steep paths in wedding processions. Knowing of reincarnation they quietly cremate the bodies. And they are singing. Mark, they are often singing.

Verily, one can sing under a canopy of various flowers and plants. Orchids, like colorful eyes, cling to the trunks of the giant trees. Pink, purple and yellow bouquets are strewn along the way like bright sparks. And these are not simply plants; many have their ancient powers of healing.

Nature awaits here full of gifts. Come hither and be cured. Charura, Parura, Orrura are the three important curative fruits against cough, cold and fever. Charura is like a yellow cherry; Parura like a green chestnut and Orrura like a yellowish-green crab-apple. All three are sharp to the taste and full of tannin. Here is the red bark of Aku Ombo, to cure wounds. Salve against fever is Sergi Phurba, like a dry giant bean. Chuta, the dry bitter root, will cure swelling and heal the throat. Bassack is a brown powder for colds. The red-stemmed Tze produces magenta; bitter Purma is for incenses. A broth from the roots of Berekuro is effective for women’s ailments. The flowers of Dangero heal the stomach, much like the flower of the red rhodo­dendron; while the leaf of Dysro is a disinfectant for wounds. Memshing Pati is a sacred plant in Nepal, where it is used for head ornaments at festivals. Endless are the useful plants…

The leaves of the herb Ava Duti are said “to soften” stones, just as do the “snow-frogs” * in the Himalayas. Therefore, if upon a stone you see the print of an elk’s foot or the paw of an animal, it seems they have eaten or touched this wondrous herb. Turning again to legends : near Phalut, on the road to Kanchenjunga, grows a precious plant, the black aconite. Its flower lights up at night, and by its glow one locates this rare plant. Here again is the trace of the legend of the Russian fire flower, that enchanted blossom which fulfills all wishes— and which leads us not to superstition but to that same source wherein so much still lies concealed.

* Snow-frogs”—a legend which attributes to snow-frogs the ability to soften stones.

Before our gates was found a strange gift. The branches of a fir tree, rhododendron and some other plants were there, with their leaves pointing to our house, and covered with a flat stone. This is a conjuration (Sunnium) and the man who raises this offering receives upon himself all which is sworn upon it, whether of good or evil, sickness or sorrow, or joy. For many days it lay there and even horses shied at it. The same conjuration we observed in the suburb of Jaipur; there in the middle of a street, in a flat basket, lay a lamb’s liver, flowers and three silver rupees. None touched them. These conjurations are of very ancient origin.

Everywhere are legends of the accidental discoveries of sacred spots, the revelation of which was followed by dumbness and even death. Thus it is told that one Shikari (a hunter) in Assam, accidentally wandered into a sacred place and beheld its mys­teries, and when he attempted to reveal them he was stricken dumb.

On the shore of the sea is moving a stick. It moves on alone and near the top of it is tied a lighted tinder. Thus do the conjurers of the coast of Malabar invoke their conjurations to burn the house of an enemy. Doctor Jones of Calcutta tried to overtake such a stick but it “walked away” beyond his own pace.

A legend from around Mongolia : “A venerated mother died and her son was desirous that a high lama possessed of exalted powers should perform the services over her. But such a lama could not be found. The son at the moment of death deposited the spirit of the departing one into a sandalwood casket, strongly sealed this sanctuary and himself invited the best lamas from Tibet. The lamas concentrated upon the casket; one of them be­gan to change in countenance, first becoming red, then blue from exertion. Then suddenly the casket burst into splinters before the eyes of all. This lama was able to free the spirit and thus could perform the service.”

The people here know everything; they have heard everything. One can remember and disclose all things in the twilight : of “Nam-Yg” (heavenly letters)—the letters and sacred books which are falling from heaven; of rings of silver or turquoise which change their color as a sign of foreboding and warning; of Si, the stone bead, sent from heaven to guard the health; of the finding of objects which disappear afterward. All this is known.

A woman was very pious and dreamt that she might receive the image of Buddha. Working in the morning amid her flowers she discovered an image and brought it into her shrine. But soon she forgot it and Buddha disappeared from the shrine. Next time the woman found in her garden a whirling sparkling stone and put it into a coffer and forgot it. Then the stone disappeared. Neglect always results in the disappearance of the bestowed happiness.

Do not record the things which can be read in books but those which are related to you in person; for those thoughts are the living ones. Not by the book but by the thought shall you judge life.

Understand the sparks of the primordial bliss.

Journal : You Ask …

You ask, how my life is spent ?

Hear : My nights are a grant

And dawns are lent, as in alms !

Oh ! To live is not to breathe mere

Without heartaches, tears

And sleeves wet.

Look …

How besotted lovers pass

The witching hour

Eyes open pierced

With mirrored dreams of glass.

This sore is the enemy

Over my deep loss;

The ache too is ever

What the heart craves for.

Even a moment’s rift starts

The hunt for hub, my frenzy

For the fragrance lost.

My destination sometimes, then

Is a prelude mere to trek thence.

~ Meena Kumari

Freely Paraphrased.

Pakeezah

Journal : Lyrics Of Rebel

The days pass in bits and parts, night avails in shreds n pieces;

We’re each endowed in accord with heaven’s cover, its reaches.

I’ve wished to know this heart of mine

But have heard the laughs on each try

Like a yell on top at my defeat once more

Will in rout and loss, my life down and beat.

But what of defeats, of their attacks oblique ?

Move on I must, keep on walking

I have the beau after my heart

And this unrest too, ever since.

It starts but is without consequence

When my story is without that name…

That co-traveller who dissolves

In the dark folds of my mane.

Ill-repute, yes, I do embrace

But am lost no more, no more misplaced.

Why must I not heed

The calls of youth in heart ?

Pick at its joyous yields

Its smiles and laughs ?

Not all are destined otherwise

To avail in life… those rewards.

Flowing tears pause to tell the eye

It’s not the goblet that melts in wine !

Is the day over ?

Or is the groom’s party

On the boat drowned ?

No dirge from the shores

I hear not a soul’s howl !

~  Meena Kumari

Freely Paraphrased.

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

Truth & I

This is a spin off from a discussion on the web … on God !

“Is this not an important part of the dynamic multidimensional mind …

Can you find nothing of value with meeting this view, at least as a challenge ?”

My response to the plea is that starting any discussion with God is a bad idea.

Perhaps, ending up at that would make for more sensible exchange.

Consider, what God can we really speak of while we know so little about ourselves ? Sharing personal experiences is fine because that would be on an informal and subjective matter. But to write something on stone would be premature without a clear perception in our truth, with which others can relate and which one can stand up and defend using commonly understood terms.

I do speak of bliss and the Self because they are in our experience and notion; it isn’t the same as speaking of God. Is God relevant to the dog sucking on the bone ? I am not sure if he is even aware of God, but it is plain that nobody in the entire universe is more pleased, fed and satisfied than a dog with a bone. And, like it, our senses need their respective objects to home in, not God as a hard, formal entity. Experience is a matter between the world and us, or us and ourself, subject to rules and laws, norm and order. And the Self is indisputably evident to each one of us.

When I broach bliss infinite, I also speak of zero identity, silence and love, and of the process to take ourself from being between the world and ourself, from sense and vanity, to love without object, to silence without thought. What remains is peace that I term as bliss infinite. So when people with vanity speak of God, I instantly choose to be counted with atheists.

It’s impossible to find someone without vanity ordinarily, much less hear him speak… of God. I am fortunate to have met one such and have heard him speak, when it was plain that he was referring to the all-inclusive truth supreme. The common skepticism at any mention of the over-individualised notion of “inner reality” is understandable. I mean, only an overly vain person would com-municate notions of the “inner” to the dog perched on his senses !

The dog is equally an individual and he ‘knows’ that all other individuals are no different. He would be right in wondering what the whole babble and brouhaha was all about. Almost all voluntary attempts by us at introspection are short-lived and prove to be more of fad or diversion, which make no difference to the individual’s spiritual content or moral perspective. Forced attempts, imposed by others, are worse. 

There is something fateful or innate at work when the introspection abides for long, deepens with increasing withdrawal from material values, without loss of honesty. There is a surge of courage and quiet determination to live by one’s own accepted truths.

* * *

Dawkins was in Jaipur and I found his view a lot more balanced, less bigoted and militant. All knowledge or realisation must deal with morality. As an aside, that is my compelling argument against intellectual property rights. What damned “rights” on knowledge of any kind ? Or, why must we have to give references, when all of what we wish to say is ours, with us ? If it’s not, we shouldn’t be saying it anyway.

The formal aspect of Truth or truths is onerous. There are libraries out there where it goes dry. It is the informal one that I wish to put across : it is mine… and for that reason could be shared with everyone. That Truth is… my HOME, that which is truly me and mine, which I am, with which I can rest without fear, be absolutely free and fulfilled, which nothing in the whole universe can remove or distort. There is no other Truth than the one which is our Home. 

This is no parable I’ve begun. People are spent on a ” home ” for themselves. They build, buy, rent one for their body… a house or apartment, car or craft. But then the worst amongst us, who constitute the 99%, come to believe that the home they have so invested in is also the ”home” to their emotion, to their thought, their identity, and their happiness !

What is concurrent within us, the ego-person, is a build up and an intensification of vanity… which says : I possess; I win; I acquire; I am successful. It is all a matter of process that is normal to our drive and inevitable in our quest.

But, as surely as sure can be, it is vanity too that blocks our outgrowing, our evolution and progression into the true Home …

for our emotion – which is Love,

for our thought – which is Silence,

for our identity – which is Void, and

for our spirit – which is Bliss Infinite. 

The vain phenomenon limits us to what we have, even as it automatically makes us pore over all that we do not have. Without liberating ourself from that acquisitive pitch, we can never give up our right to pride … and can hence never view people with Love or see things with Silence.

To my mind, these are the real aspects and issues to spirituality : Home of the Self and being Void of Vanity. I find these ideals more pertinent to my quest than God. It is these that will address the monstrous twists with which we reduce ourselves to the gutter.  

I myself have experience with belief in God … the Hindu way, which posits that God is all there is in eveidence. It served to connect me better with others, the environment around, and with the wider universe. It topped up my capacity to accept life and its experiences, both happy and sad. It also shored up my ability to remain focused on whatever I had set for myself and fortified my moral strength through clarifying my values perspective.

But I’d fully appreciate if one did not believe in God and could still avail the stated capacity, ability and strength for himself.

* * *  

Our monstrous idiot, Digvijay Singh of the Congress Party, says :  

Can an individual be allowed to hurt the sentiments of the ”people ?” 

My answer is a clear ” Yes,” provided the individual is true to himself in intent and the mode and manner is completely non–violent. I can visualise the Charvaka, the Jain, the Advaiti and the Buddhist … standing in the courtyard of a temple, before a Vaishnava shrine or any place of worship or congregation, professing their contrary beliefs without any physical obstruction or violent opposition. 

That is the culture of this land from ancient times.

That is what we must all affirm today. 

Freedom is above all the freedom of speech and expression… which must allow every person to say what the people do not want to hear, what they disagree with, and what they might find hurtful to their belief.

Of course, I repeat, with the caveat that the expression be accompanied with peace in mode and manner. 

Journal : Awakening… Into The Truth

LOVE AND HAPPINESS

Everybody loves and is happy, more or less. None of which abides though : loves meet the gutter and happiness is flushed in the sink. If we are into possessions, there is always more to have; if sensory experience, more to consume. Feelings and emotions ? There is nothing more mutable than them, by the minute. Thoughts and actions follow … for the same : love and happiness.

There is a love though that is not people- or thing-specific, not even beholden to returns in cash, behaviour or kind. It is not abstract but palpable, like the love we have of ourself … but only to one that is de-identified with lineage, station or familly, with the body, sex or vitality, or with knowledge and ability. 

Such love abides : without the necessity of give and take. It is unworldly, so to say. It not an idea but is ideal, resting on the reality of the truth of an idea realised. It is of the heart, in love with that reverberating in its beat. It needs no other and is more than adequate for all – in nature, people, animals, things, good, bad and ugly – despite conflicts and contradictions in our world of action and thought. One could be opposing to restrain, fight to disable or kill to eliminate, be it one who praises or humiliates, even watch horrible conduct flow out of one’s own self … but that realised idea shines unblemished and with it, the love : perfect in the midst of imperfections, calm through the trail of agitation.

The love we each already have is not dependent on preferred happenings, though we would give ourselves with our whole heart to make things happen. It seeks no change, even while we would be working hard to bring it about. It is placid, in its own thanks of being, in its own freedom from identity and preference, in its own knowledge of truth in one’s own regard, in its own unity with the manifest, felt and unmanifest universe, and in its own bliss, eternal and infinite.

The concomitant happiness is of the nature of peace to which its variants converge with diverse hues : pleasure, joy, satisfaction, contentment, enthusiasm, discovery, welcome, fulness, exhilaration, ecstasy … There is no abiding happiness without eternal love, nor that without true knowledge. 

Though we pick up the words floating in material space, our quest for love and happiness completes itself in the transcendent space of knowledge infinite, where the terms morph into forms unrecognisable from our references in the gross and subtle spaces !

Journal : Beauty, In Truth

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Serge Whitman : We who search the paths of international understanding and the structure of universal peace, must look upon Roerich as the apostle and forerunner of this new world of all nations.

An extensive literature is dedicated to Nicholas Roerich. A large monograph “Himalaya,” published by Brentano’s, New York (1926), gave 100 reproductions of paintings Roerich made during 1923-25. Another, published by Corona Mundi in 1923, International Art Center, introduced to the world the phases Roerich”s consciousness morphed through in its quest for beauty and peace that he sought for us after the gore and gloom of the First World War.

For four and a half years, Roerich traveled the Indian Himalayas, over the Silk Route through Central Asia to Mongolia, before returning to Tibet. Precisely, his expedition started in 1924 from Sikkim, then an independent kingdom, through British India region of Punjab and Kashmir in Himalayan foothills, on to Ladak, Karakorum, Khotan, Kashgar, Karashar, Urumchi, Irtysh, Altai Mountains, Oyrot region, Mongolia, Central Gobi, Kansu, Tsaidam, and Tibet.

Apart from the paintings he made during that mem­orable journey, Roerich kept a diary of sort with jottings, travel notes, those “thoughts upon horseback and in the tent,” contemplations induced by lofty mountains and boundless deserts, all wrapped in the inviolable secrecy of the East.

The publishers called Roerich’s write up “The Symphony of Asia.” But Roerich himself wrote in a letter, in 1925 : “Friends, it would have been far easier for me to have set down the entire journey in all its fairy-tale of ‘fantasy,’ which colors every peak and every desert space with unprecedented truth. But then some will be incredulous, as he who sleeps in darkness does not believe in the sun. Is it possible that the sun is already rising ? Facts are needed. I am writing only facts. I am setting down fragments of the thoughts as they now live in the East. I am setting down distances and tales, as they are now related. But even in facts, the Sunrise comes from the East.”

Then, after its lengthy wanderings in Tibet, came this telegram on May 24, 1928 :

Roerich American Expedition after many hardships has reached Himalayas. Thus ended big Central Asiatic Expedition. Many artistic and scientific results. Already sent several series of paintings to New York. Hope last sending from Mongolia safely reached you. Many observations regarding Buddhism.

Peaceful American flag encircled Central Asia. Everywhere warmly greeted except Khotan and Lhasa Governments. Further movement Expedition from Khotan assisted by British Consul at Kashgar. On Tibetan territory have been attacked by armed robbers. Superiority of our firearms prevented bloodshed. In spite of Tibetan passports Expedition forcibly stopped by Tibetan authorities on Oct. 6, two days north of Nagchu. With inhuman cruelty Expedition has been detained for five months at altitude of 15,000 feet in summer tents amidst severe cold about 40 degrees below Centigrade.

Expedition suffered from want of fuel and fodder. During stay in Tibet five men, Mongols, Buriats and Tibetans died and ninety caravan animals perished. By order of authorities all letters and wires addressed to Lhasa Government and Calcutta British authorities seized. Forbidded to speak to passing caravans. Forbidded to buy foodstuffs from population. Money and medicines came to an end. The presence of three women in caravan and medical certificate about heart weakness not taken into consideration. With great difficulties on March 4, Expedition started southward. All nine European members of the Expedition safe. Courageously bore hardships of exceptionally severe Winter. Greetings.”

I have chosen to serialise Roerich’s work because, I believe, we all need to have a glimpse of that spirit and its quest, that yet oriental culture, as it was before its westernisation, that yet untrampled topography and pioneering adventure, and those words yet special, in their wonder and pithiness. The excellent “intoduction” here below speaks of “surface existing for depths” and an “aura that brightens the darkness” with which you, dear reader, might well strain to connect but emerge refreshed in ways that is becoming increasingly rare in our electronic age. It merits both my extraordinary belief in beauty and my hope for personal evolution.

INTRODUCTION – By Publisher

ON May 8, 1923, Nicholas Roerich left America for India, and he has been wandering about in remote, dangerous and seldom-visited parts of Asia ever since. “Altai-Himalaya” is the record of his mission, just as his series of pictures “Tibetan Paths,” “Banners of the East,” “His Country,” are records in terms of paint. But “Altai-Himalaya,” though penned on horseback and in the tent, under conditions the most difficult, is as much more, and as much richer than the ordinary diary of travel, as his paintings of the Himalayas are more than a literal transcription of some of the earth’s most magnificent scenery. For in whatever medium Roerich works, or in whatever he is expressing, there shines forth not only the artist, but the embodied intelligence – the man, the whole character of the man. Though sincere and simple, it is a character compounded of such unusual elements as to be on its esoteric side uncomprehended.

Now, “esoteric” is to most ears either a meaningless or a hateful word : what do I mean by it in this connection ? I should perform for Roerich an ill service if I failed to answer such a question, because it would be to avoid mentioning what seems to me the very raison d’être of his journey, his art, his life. And yet how is it possible to make intelligible or even plausible what I have in mind ? Without attempting to elucidate, explain or justify it, therefore, I shall simply say that there is a tenable point of view from which one may regard Roerich as an envoy of those powers which preside over the life and evolution of humanity in the same sense that gardeners preside over a garden : that he journeys into desolate and forbidden lands for the fulfillment of a mission, the purpose of which will increasingly reveal itself. Whether one believes this or not, it would be hard to imagine a better ambassador of good will from the West to the East, for the reason that although he represents the summit of European accomplishment and culture, Roerich is deeply Oriental in his temperament, sympathies and point of view.

One has only to look at him to see – or, if you must have it so, imagine – the reincarnated Eastern sage. In Little Tibet, and in the white vastness of Siberia he was received with an honor, accorded a confidence and even an affection, quite different from the ordinary attitude of these peoples toward strangers, which has the reputation of being covertly or openly hostile. Roerich and his caravan encountered frustration and hostility, too, and in full measure, but it is interesting to note how exactly in proportion to the spiritual development of the various peoples he encountered was their response to his unique quality, and their recognition of the unprecedented nature of his mission among them.

This book was written “in the saddle,” more literally than figuratively. There is a certain vividness, immediacy, authenticity about it for this reason, giving the reader a sense of actual participation perhaps impossible to be imparted in any other way, together with intimate glimpses of the workings of the author’s mind in the presence of sublime scenery, new human types, strange manners and customs, and under the assaults of hardship, danger, and the stresses and strains of exploration in almost untrodden lands. Roerich is a man of original, strong and definite personality, of which everything he does bears the stamp. His expressions are themselves revealing, eloquent – not only of himself, but of the thing he is attempting to describe. The one-, two-and three-word sentences, the subjects without predicates – they have been suffered to remain just as he wrote them because they have so much the merit of the sketch, the jotting, put down in the moment of that “first fine careless rapture” which in a more premeditated form of art is likely to leak away.

This is a book whose surface exists for the sake of its depth, and even for concealing from all but the most penetrating, what that depth contains, as surfaces sometimes do. But in order to give you every possible advantage, and for your further enlightenment upon Roerich’s antecedent accomplishments and life, I shall devote the remainder of this essay to what I have learned and know of Roerich, and what I think of him.

In the history of the fine arts, certain individuals have appeared from time to time whose work has a unique, profound and indeed a mystical quality, which differentiates them from their contemporaries, making it impossible to classify them in any known category or to ally them with any school, because they resemble themselves only – and one another, like some spaceless and timeless order of initiates. Such were Leonardo, Rembrandt, Dürer, Blake, and, in other fields, Beethoven and Balzac; such also, in our own times and in a lesser way, were Rodin, Ryder and Burne-Jones, for their work show flashes of that dæmonic and eerie beauty which is the sign whereby they may be identified as belonging to that mythical, mystic brotherhood.

Roerich, in his life, in his character and in his art reveals himself as a member of this fraternity. For thirty-five years – since the time of his first exhibition in Russia – he has been going up and down the world – Europe, America, Asia – absorbing the auras of diverse peoples, making pilgrimages to remote places, and always and everywhere scattering wisdom, planting seeds of beauty, some of which have sprung up, flowered and scattered seeds of their own.

In Russia, as secretary of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, and later as director of the school of that society, he was an important agent in organizing and coördinating that native, new and powerful impulse which in painting, in music, in the drama and the dance later spread throughout the civilized world : for it is not too much to say that everything which now goes by the name of modernism had Russia for its cradle. It is significant in this connection that Stanislavsky enlisted Roerich’s aid in the Moscow Art Theatre, that Stravinsky dedicated to him the Sacre du Printemps, for which Roerich designed the original mise-en-scène, and that Andriev, Gorky, Mestrovic, Zuloaga, Tagore and others throughout the world, who represent the newness, have paid him the tribute of their homage and their praise.

Coming to America with an exhibition of his paintings, at the invitation of the Chicago Art Institute, Roerich immediately took steps to resume and repeat the work he had inaugurated in Russia, that of uniting the arts, and thus uniting men through beauty, for he believed, as many others are coming to believe, that beauty is the universal and true solvent whereby racial and national animosities may be dissolved. To this end, he founded, with the help of friends, a school in which all of the fine arts were to be taught, under the title of Master Institute of United Arts, and a year later he established Corona Mundi, an International Art Center. The school passed through those vicissitudes which usually beset enterprises of this character in a civilization such as ours, the best image of which would be a rush-light in a wind-swept darkness – but it survived, and has today a permanent home on Riverside Drive, New York. Other vast outlines, sketched by Roerich at this time, have not been filled in : they include Cor Ardens, an affiliation of the creators of beauty everywhere throughout the world, and Alatas, an international, non-commercial publishing association for the interchange and dissemination of new and constructive ideas through the mediumship of the “art preservative.”

I mention these enterprises to show the vast sweep of Roerich’s vision, to indicate his function as a prophet and pioneer, clearly foreseeing and quietly planning a better order in a world still in the grip of its so recent terrible nightmare, not yet risen from a bed drenched with blood and stained by tears.

Should his prophecies come true, and should his dreams of binding humanity into a brotherhood through beauty materialize, it is for this that he will doubtless be most honored and longest remembered, but to us, his contemporaries, he is naturally best known as a painter of hauntingly beautiful pictures. These are of all kinds and on a vast variety of subjects, but in general they represent nature strained though a mystical consciousness – the light that is on sea and land translated, by some potent magic, into the light that never was on sea or land. Roerich satisfies the idealist without affronting the realist. Mukerji, the Hindu novelist and poet, remarked to a friend that if he wanted to know how the Himalayas impressed a beholder, he should see Roerich’s paintings of them, because along with true rendering of their form and color, something of their spirit was communicated too.

After a brief sojourn in America he forsook the ordered and easy life of cities, and unappalled by the rigors, dangers and difficulties of such a quest, he set out for Asia, “trailing clouds of glory” as he went, so to speak, in the shape of paintings of the Grand Canyon, the Santa Fe country, the Pacific, India and the Far East. The culmination of his life work, up to the present, is in those groups of paintings named by him “The Tibetan Path,” “Himalaya,” and “Banners of the East.” These are freighted with mystical meanings which, even though unintelligible to all save the initiated, yet act upon the unenlightened consciousness as does perfume upon the senses, or as music upon the emotions. It is not that Roerich attempts to be deliberately cryptic – on the contrary, a very great deal of his symbolism is almost naïve in its simplicity – but the average mind so resents the very idea of esotericism, that it closes itself to a certain extent.

Roerich’s symbolism, as I say, requires no glossary, possessing the characteristics of directness and universality. An example of his general method is seen in that painting of what he names the Messiah series, entitled, “The Miracle.” It represents a titan valley, not unlike the Grand Canyon, a world primeval, stark, rock-strewn, without visible flora or fauna. Prominent in the foreground is a natural bridge, and over this bridge passes a road. On the near side of the bridge are a few human figures, prostrate before the miracle of a great radiance coming from behind the bridge, the aura of some supernatural presence whose figure is not yet visible. Here is a simple, natural symbology subject perhaps to different interpretations, but none of them contradictory. Considered objectively, the picture is simply a dramatization of that expectancy of a messiah which is so general nowadays, and it holds forth the healing promise, that though his presence is not seen, his aura brightens the darkness, his influence is already felt. Considered from the standpoint of subjectivity, the denuded valley might symbolize the condition of the soul after trials and purgations; the road, the “small old path” to freedom and perfection; the bridge, that stage on that path where the transit is effected between the lower and the higher consciousness; the prostrate figures, those “qualities” which must be redeemed and “carried over,” awe-struck at the miracle of the felt approach of the “golden person” bringing release from the bondage through the shining of the inward light.

But the great merit of this picture, freighted as it is with meaning (and that of others of its class), lies in its beauty of color and composition. The mystic and metaphysician in Roerich never submerge the artist, with the result that when he permits himself the use of symbols he is still lyrical and not literary: his pictures are not sermons, but songs. “The Miracle,” despite the fact that it conveys a message, is not a morality so much as a delight to the visual sense, abounding in spatial rhythms and color harmonies as fine and subtle as those of some priceless old yellow Chinese rug. The “story” is there, but the final indelible impression is one of beauty, and this is as it should be, for in the hierarchy of trades and talents the creative artist is nearest to the throne of God.

Of Roerich’s archæological pictures I shall not speak, nor of his pioneer work in the theatre, important as that has been, because I feel that these things, which at one time absorbed his mind and dominated his consciousness have since become far less important to him than what I shall call his mystical quest. One has the feeling that in everything he does he is seeking the hidden truth, the unrevealed beauty, the Lost Word, in point of fact. Like some mighty indefatigable hunter, armed not with a gun, but with his pen and brushes, he stalks his quarry across oceans, rivers, mountains, though knowing all the while that the thing he is seeking is in himself. Both in his writing and in his paint­ing he permits us to participate in this adventure, and thus draw nearer to that truth which is beauty, and that beauty which is truth.

CLAUDE BRAGDON

Journal : Thoughts In Homage …

This day completes 150th year of Swami Vivekananda‘s advent – the Vedanta incarnate.

There isn’t much I have to say that isn’t already available online. I feel less of fervour than the light I merged in through following it from long afar, though I retain the simple verve he himself lived in his last days … of cooking for the poor who came to labour at the Belur Math project site, offering to them a glass of water and feeling blessed, sitting with them and shedding tears flowing in empathy from his universe-wide heart.

But I will recall a couple of his summarising thought …

He was an advocate of religion, for the universal human values it provides to us through our growing up years, when we are not yet capable of raising a values-perspective of our own, when our morals are yet unformed and we have yet not instituted a light bright enough within ourselves to guide our ethical conduct.

But his advocacy of religion was far from being absolute. In fact, he suggested that it was better we remained atheists than accept anything, any thought, without our questioning, without subjecting it to our reason. And, most famously, he declared : It was good to be born in religion but terrible, terrible ti die in one.

Again, he would advise our young to grow strong in body and mind than give themselves to studying religious texts. Football was a favoured sport. To all, he would exhort them to attend to their call of duty, to family and society, but even that was tempered with an opposite : ” Fools burn in the scortching sun of duty …” The value of introspective leisure was always paramount.

Lastly, ever so softly but glowing brilliantly, he says : ” If you are untouched by selfish ways, in thought and conduct, you need not read a word of the what the world of religious texts have to offer.”

Mother of all poisons negating the best of human endeavours… is selfishness. So said #Vivekananda. Capitalism relegates it to the church. In response, my best of online friend, Basudeb Sen, says, ” Socialism and Communisism do not delegate but internalises selfishness among the rulers who enjoy all the powers of the State / society. Democracy camouflages selfishness in numbers. No one knows how to use the poison of selfishness into a potion of love, care and non-interfering liberty.”

To which, I wrote :

The Sanatan Dharma … had found a way, and it is clear that a vast unselfish population including teachers, sadhus, recluses, judges, socio-political governing institutions, householders, govt and business advisors, and students … co-existed with the selfish verticals, keeping the latter in check.

The unselfish values are still publicly espoused values in society and politics … but largely in words, not lived in character. We still speak of the “good.” Our morals and ethics are still formally defined in unselfish terms. We still win elections through raising slogans of public good … but informally, in practice, as we think and live, we have legalised the selfish ways, instituted our business and economy in unbridled selfishness of our lowest common denominating standards, and actually teach and advise how to profit ourselves through making use of such social, political, legal and economic laxities.

Untill now, we find ourselves in such polluted and poisonous waste that we do not know how to extricate ourselves ourselves out of it, pull ourselves back to honest living, sustainable ways, empathetic hearts, reasonable intellects and happy relationships.

*  *  *

Abundant responses to my call of SOCIAL MEDIA CITIZEN INITIATIVE

have been personal, quite as its origin was : in my personal desire to meet people, my contemporaries, who I value. They all have refrained from going public … on the Google-doc I had published.

We will work on how best we would coordinate for an evening of warmth in the days ahead, at a suitable venue in Delhi.

Keep in touch, my friends !

Wishing you the best …

vamadevananda –

Social Media Citizen Initiative

My thought for the initiative started

with a desire to meet people …

and forge personal links with individuals I would value …

People who are capable of saying, “I want nothing for myself …”

who are already espousing simple human values,

quite apart from the other affiliations they may or not have

politically, socially, professionally or community-specifically. 

 

The initiative will be, by its embracing nature, a global one.

But it will start small with a series of meetings with people in Delhi and around,

before spreading out to Social Media Citizen communities

coordinated by altruistic individuals in other Indian metros.

I imagine the moral support of people who are abroad is invaluable

even though they might not participate in the regular meets

except during their sojourns here …

or of those in India who are unable to travel and be physically present

for whatever reason.

 

We all would have no need of a harangue on what issues to champion

or outrage against. We have already been doing it in our own way,

to the extent we can or are comfortable with. There’s nothing more

to be added or explained.

 

And, this isn’t an organisation in the making with offices and office bearers,

or hard structured hierarchies. If at all, it will be voluntary, found on love

we have for each other, for the spirit we have to welcome or defy.

 

Far from big money, there is no money in this initiative !

Everybody remains as free and unburdened … but now

in association with others who may not exactly be of like mind

but are definitely of like spirit : socially conscious, politically sharp and empathetically universal.

 

I have opened a Google doc for individuals to self – enlist in the initiative

http://fe.gd/6sZ   Please do so. At the moment it has just one … !

 

 

Journal : The Modern Contradiction We Live To Chase

All identities, esp religious and political, demand loyalty to a “Super” Order …  a Church, an Ummah, a Socialist Internationale, a Maoist dream, a grand global collective that bars dissent. In aspring to such a grand social or political order, it actually strikes at the *family* affiliation, the first informal institution and nursery of love that has little difficulty in embracing dissent.

But super orders insist on an exclusive affiliation, an uniformity in their ranks, raised along a rather tall hierachical structure, that brooks no deviation. It has set values that deny diversity of human thought and dismiss the creativity that the child in us delights in. The denial rules out a better or improved understanding; the dismissal takes away from our lives our capacity for love, our joy and happiness.

What remains, without the freedom to soar in thought and expand love in our hearts ? A society without family … the one and only collective that includes diversity of human nature, understanding and creativity. That is a recipe to a terrible disorder, not a grand order … for at no time and under no circumstance can human beings live without those freedoms, that allows us to meet again in love after pursuing our diverse ways, however long it takes, and makes reconciliation a natural, pervasive matter of fact in lives.

What remains is what we modern men see about us : failed religious orders, failed political dreams, failed education systems, failed democracies, failed enlightened values, failed behavioural norms, failed … human beings !

It’s the modern contradiction we are living, the chimera we are chasing without the family … that alone will accept us as we are, encourage us however different we seem, imbibe in us that sea of tranquility and rootedness signified in our feeling of love, on which we can build an understanding that is at once beautiful and true, and good for us all.

Let’s embrace the family. Let’s raise one in love, peace and knowledge. Let’s set the tradition, in truth.

Journal : Being Different

This is to introduce Rajive Malhotra’s recent work ” Being Different.”

Source : https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9jySISONeKibTItNU51QU52RkE/edit?pli=1

In the course of it, I would also adapt from observations about Albert Camus‘ works.

Source : http://www.enotes.com/albert-camus-essays/camus-albert-vol-9

And from Kartick Mohan’s article

@ http://www.hinduwisdom.info/articles_hinduism/52.htm

 *    *    *

Rajive Malhotra’s work, ” Being Different,” is a challenging book. If literary classics are especially vested with riches that enable them to be read at different levels, Rajive’s matter-of-fact psycho-spiritual non-fiction demands a subsumation of all levels to a very specific understanding of the Indian way of life and thought, and how if differs from that in the West. The universe he lays on the table has an entire history to contend with, the evolution of values along it and how they express today in acts, thoughts and utterences of typical Hindu and Western or West-imbibed individuals today. 

It reminds me of Albert Camus’ works and my own growing up in a partially Western scheme, if not values. His works show a subjectivity cut off from the supernatural paradigms in Judeo-Christian context and its alienation from the absurd world about him. His protagonist acts but only as drawn by situation and events and, very tellingly, fails to express the being he is privy to, of himself. 

What value abides in a world without order ? What do we make of this existential chaos ? These questions preoccupy Camus through every one of his works, wherein he intuits answers while feeling the presence of the cosmos in his own being, and in the being about him. This mode is extraordinary, compared with how the Western laity and leadership dwell within the monotheistic framework laid out and imposed by the Church. But for the poetic souls who embrace the irrational, with capacity for extended sensibilities, it is especially uncommon among linearly inclined atheists, materialists, logicians and rationalists, scientists, politicians and businessmen. 

Camus is different within the Western mainstream, as is the Hindu without it. Rajive’s Being Different juxtaposes the Western mainstream mind and the Hindu mainstream ways : the former caught up in its imposed Judeo – Christian orientation and Greek linear order, which collapsed with Bruno, and the latter with a sense of continuum anchored to reaffirmed cosmic truths and with guidelines to an illustrated way of life in dharmic tradition. The two are different, as the author details in the following terms : 

  • History Centrism vs Embodied Knowing

  • Synthetic Unity vs Integral Unity

  • Anxiety Over Chaos vs Comfort With Complexity And Ambiguity

  • Cultural Digestion vs Sanskrit Non – Translatables

 

In the Indian context, Dharma is both morals and ethics, and is rooted in Truth that is not apart from our Self, God, Pervasive Energy and Conscious Immanence.

To the Hindu, Truth is said to underlie existence entire; it is consciousness itself, of which our I-sense is constituted and which illuminates our mind and intellect. It is the vitality flowing in the body, operative in sense organs and interfacing the mind with feelings and emotions. It is the undifferentiated bliss we experience in deep sleep and is the undeniable power of existence in each being.

Positioned between the mundane and the divine, the dharmic tradition envelops the Indian soul in the same inclusive reality that at once and directly links him ever with the cosmos and the world about him, even if one has not perceived it for oneself. There is always someone in the present, or not so long ago, who has refreshed the same truth announced in antiquity and has periodocally enunciated it in contemporary terms. In sum, the call is same : We live in truth and die in truth. 

In contrast, truth in the Judeo-Christian scheme is either in the book or equated with phenomenal facts, knowledge about the other – the truth of the moment – discovered and known by those with some claim to scholarship. The Bible is community interpreted, compiled, edited and ordained, though of words issued by supposedly historic individuals. Deviations from the laid terms are generally considered blasphemous. Alternate notions, unless reinforcing that stated in the book, have no validity and acceptance. There are human arbiters, representatives of God whose word is final, with assumed authority of biblical historic characters. They have a right over a fraction of the fruits of one’s income and are empowered to channel the Lord’s forgiveness in confession boxes.

Everybody is a sinner and is exiled in the ungodly realm, to be finally judged at the end of history and take his place in Heaven or Hell till eternity. 

In his works, Camus shows the Western mind in the order that prevails. He does not strive to create an illusion of reality, for it is precisely the real which is being questioned. His strange protagonist is tweaked to reflect the bizarre gulf between the inner self and outward acts. His work gives the sensation of fragmentation, the incoherence of a world which has lost its nuts and bolts… with just a hint of the answer that will later be arrived at in several treatises.

But not everyone is an artist or an intellectual; in fact very few are. How do the rest cope ? By chasing dreams where few succeed, mostly by creating opportunities by hook or crook. It doesn’t really work though : there are 42 – 45 milion poor people in the USA, the land of opportunities ! The West has the best of medical cures but few can afford some of that state of art . The UK is on the way to dismantling its National Health System. And EU will soon find it hard to sustain its mandatory welfare programs. 

Since chaos and uncertainty is forever upon us, insecurity and anxiety is our base human condition. How would the man in psychological exile, without anchor and deeply alienated, handle it ? And that isn’t the end of it, too. God is dead and the world is unforgiving. It is legal to hoard and go for the kill : everybody has the right to make the most of opportunities. It’s a free market. Every cure, pain alleviating advance, or scientific research comes with a mountain of “opportunity” cost or royalty, to people who need them the most but have the least capacity to pay. Typically, cancer treatment drugs in the West cost 50 to 100 times of that which prevails in India. 

A life led by truth, even while striving, is markedly different from a mind lit up to facts. Truth, in its universally inclusive meaning and indescribable form, infinitely deepens the mystery and magnifies the wonder. Facts, the ‘information or knowledge about,’ seek to quench the wonder and kill the mystery.

” It’s a wonder ! It’s a wonder !! It’s a wonder !!! ” says the enlightened one in Chandigya Upanishad. The culture nurtured for the path of enlightenment is quite apart in their values, concerns and behaviour, from one that is restricted to rationality.

“Concepts create idols; only wonder comprehends anything. People kill one another over idols. Wonder makes us fall to our knees,” explains St. Gregory of Nyssa. 

Camus’ narrator has lost the key to his own secret : he has become a stranger to his own life. He holds only facts, and facts are nothing. Therefore, he cannot give his existence a meaning which would establish its unity. Having neither past nor future, he has only a present which is crumbling away and does not become memory. Time, until the final revolt, is nothing for him but a succession of distinct moments, which no Cartesian God pieces together, which no vital impulse spans, which no remembrance transfigures. Camus has rendered admirably this fall of the present into insignificance through a paradoxical use of the first person narrative. 

We would be ascetics though if, I believe, our alienation was complete. A stranger to ourself and others, we forever have a homeland in sensation. Finding nothing within to engage ourself, we still have the body to ourself. We indulge then to find and have our bagful moments of happy sensation, in food and porn. Its excessive pursuit in the West is not only a protest against the false seriousness of pulpit morality but also a proof of the victory of the values – system that the Church, even the catholic one, dare not speak against.

Thus is the injustice of having been cast rootless in spirit, mind and body, addressed. Nothing is sacred anymore before the meaning that sensations offer. It is I and my sensations, my indulgence … take it or leave it. Cultism is preferable, family could be discarded or corrupted, and marriages annuled, but I must have it and you got to take it. In the age of freedom, the world must order itself among feminists, misogynists, sadists and masochists, leaving the middle ground to be ordered by the shrink ! Abuse, violence and arbitrary cruelty is never far away and an unspeakabe slavery, formed of freedom all about it, prevails. 

Individual freedoms anywhere tend to prompt either getting carried away or being rooted in indifference. It gets exacerbated in the West in the absence of something greater than the individual to moderate it, or to urge him to step up. The family makes it clear that it is not going to provide or take care of anybody beyond a point. One needs to do that for himself; others might chip in then, not before.

To that extent, the family in the West is also not heeded to, beyond a point. As to community and society … the less said the better; it’s wholly optional. There are laws but they, as everywhere, would almost always kick in after the horse has bolted. The United States police and FBI do have the vision of preempting the excess, but getting organised and empowered to that extent also brings in the spectre of a Police State. As some will vouch, it already does. 

* * * 

In a direct head on, historically and especially from the Hindu’s perspective, Christianity is hardly a religion – it has a political agenda in spiritual guise. Its end is subjugation of non-Christians, in common with the other Semitic derivative, Islam. To achieve that end, it has relied on propagation of lies and falsification of history – not to mention manipulation of our very notion of what is right and wrong. 

For instance, Judeo-Christian religions cannot get over the idea that Hindus worship the male organ, as the Shiv Ling idol is perceived. The vertical cylindrical form is in fact placed over the Yoni ( vulva ) of Shakti, and the two together symbolise the transcendent Matter-Intelligence power, of which all being is manifest. The symbol connects the individual with the wonder of creation, in very everyday terms, and calls upon each to regard all life as sacred. 

I believe, even Christians and Muslims are exhorted to have the same value; so, why is the most characteristic feature of life, the act of progenition, any the less sacred ? Why do they, in practice, consider it to be sin, dirty and unclean ?

It is not only the act of sex in focus here but the union of vast and qualitatively different energies, male and female, of which the Shiv Ling is a symbol. It acknowledges and celebrates the fact that mankind has two genders, each with its unique attributes and qualities; and, that, when they come together, they create MORE life of their own kind, becoming in the process more than the sum of their individual parts. 

Many ancient civilisations recognised this wonder of creation. The Chinese represent it somewhat abstractly in their symbols of Yin and Yang. Such transcendent and sacred wonderment set in our awareness the idea of something pervasive, with which we can relate to through what we each are and have.

The perspective of someone with such extended consciousness beyond his individual idea of exclusive self, based on biology and not on creed or community affiliation, is wholly different from a faith limited to religious fantasies of a personal God or historical Prophet walking upon water or miraculously curing a cripple or a blind. The former lends to us a unity with faraway cosmos in our very being; the latter wrenches us away from close-at-hand life and baptises us into this belief in fiction. 

Let us consider the assumptions that cause us to think of sex as something “unclean”? Why is a joke about sex or pictures of the naked human body labeled as “dirty” ? Because we have since been conditioned into thinking of it as something wrong and impermissible, by the pervasive manipulations of this nature-abhorring “ethics” imposed by western clerics and brain-washed laity. Islamists, of course, were simply barbaric during their 500 year rule in Indian subcontinent : they destroyed every institution or temple arm remotely connected with education.

However, the British occupiers and Christian missionaries more than made up with their sophisticated cultural onslaught. They started schools, not to teach but to school the unsuspecting young ones into their lies which, among others, included their cardinal belief that sex was evil, unclean and inherently immoral, in and of itself – perhaps their oldest lie of all. And like all of its lies, it was meant to serve a “control” agenda in spiritual guise. 

India since antiquity has always had a central place for Mother Goddess. Hindus know her as Shakti and, in her manifestations, as Durga / Kali / Parvati. Akkadians worshipped Gingira. Sumerians had Inanna. North-eastern Semites knew her as Astarte. In Assyria, Babylon and Egypt, as Ishtar. In ancient Greece, as Hecate or Demeter, and later as Anaitis or Aphrodite. In Persian culture, which widely prevailed before the rise of absurdly puritanical Islam, people knew the Goddess Mother as Anahita. In Rome, as Vesta. Even in the New World, American civilisations of that era had temples and representations of Mother Goddess. 

Israelites seem to be quite the odd tribe there, back then. They had a different kind of god altogether : a male god, with a Capital G. They called him Yahweh, and he is the direct antecedent of the ” Lord Our God ” of the Christians, and Allah of the Muslims. He was not about fertility or caring at all. He was wrathful, vengeful, jealous and angry god, full of violence, hatred and intolerance. He spoke out of a “burning bush” and instructed Moses that his followers must not worship false gods, that HE was the One True God, and then asked Moses to go with his staff and smite another people who believed in false gods.

It was their belief, stronger than any other, that the non-believer is a lesser human being than one of them … a belief that was later copied by Christians and Islamist. This signified a political agenda that was truly unprecedented untill then, exhorting, ” Go forth, multiply, and kill whatever stands in your way, because I Am That I Am and I am on Your Side.” 

We know the bloodshed that followed from Old Testament times, from pages of history after Christ, and upon Mohammed’s proclamation in Mecca. The Jews did not go about converting people with the rabid fervour of Christians, but they had the same political agenda. They reviled other people in neighbouring civilisations of Egypt and Babylon, especially by discrediting their principal deity – the Mother Goddess.

In practice, they brought in their male dominated values and made it popular to despise and subjugate women, than treat them with respect as equals. The culture put an end to worship of any Goddess in societies where Jews and Christians, and Muslims, became predominant. They denounced fertility and procreation itself, declaring it as not miraculous but sinful affair. For them, the male – female intimacy, and sex, was the Original Sin; the human body in its natural state was dirty and unclean. 

The world had not seen a fanatic until the Judeo-Christian paradigm had set in. Slowly but with unmatched doggedness, the anti-female script was enacted … It began with the murder of Queen Jezebel, described in Old Testament. The Temple of Astarte in Jerusalem was razed to ground, and one for Yahweh was raised by King David in its place.

The conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine I to Christianity in AD ca. 300 was a great advance to the cause. He led codification of the Bible as we know it today. However, recent finds have thrown up alternate forms of the gospels included in it and a few that were found as not appropriate.

The fall of Rome in 480 AD was followed by the Dark Ages, rise of Papacy and the blood-soaked Crusade centuries, degrading Colonialism and murderous Inquisition eras. The faith that had sprung from the Israelites spread like a metastizing cancer over the face of the earth and holds its sway even today, despite the feminist movement through the 20th Century … now more particularly in the Islamic world, where a monotheistic intolerant God descended from Yahweh sits high up yonder in his most perverse caricature.

We know how women are treated in Muslim countries : the recent Malala incident is symbolic and the Saudi order, which informs husbands every time the woman leaves or enters the country, is a telling symptom. 

The world knew of the Mother Goddess once. The dharmic tradition in India alone continues with it today. It is the only one that has survived since antiquity. The civilisations of Persia, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Americas, have all fallen to Judeo-Christian uniformity…Later, parts of Asia fell to the Islamic monstrosity.

All those cultures that have disappeared were marked with the same tolerance that makes the Hindu standout today. While the Western and Islamic worlds are today looking to cook up a humanism by the rivers of blood they have caused to flow, the true heirs of the tolerant, accepting and inclusive ways of yore are preserved in India, among the native Hindus who the world knows as “being different.” 

* * * 

And we in India, who follow the dharmic tradition, must never forget this : we are different. We are hiers of this spiritual legacy of the most ancient civilised era, of which we are the last surviving inheritors.

One day, Christianity’s mighty edifice will fall under the weight of its own contradictions, just as Islam is falling today. Till then, we must bear the torch of the legacy of pagan humanism that will ultimately prevail.

From Moses to Jesus to Mohammed to Marx is a logical – and inevitable – progression on the road to tyranny. India and Japan are the only major cultures that have successfully resisted this onslaught.

 *   *   * 

Some Of The Ways We Are Different : 

  • The Dharmic tradition is derived from Truth anchored at once in the cosmos and the humanity at large, in the pre-historic and the pre-mundane man !

  • We are a secure, sharing, tolerant, accepting and inclusive people !

Extending between the ephemeral and the eternal, the Dharmic tradition occupying the Indian mind not only permits but encourages a joyous acceptance of contradictions between potential truths and manifest facts. It has no qualms about setting in our awareness mutating facts, as truths of the moment, and immutable truths, being the facts for eternity. 

The dharmic tradition declares : There is not an iota of diversity, not even the least trace, in the ultimate substratum of all being. And, equally, there is no truth without abundant and unending diversity in the manifest world.

We is free to be calm in truth, with peace deep in our heart, while dancing in step with the rapid transience about us or pacing to moves in an engaging combat with the enemy before us. 

As a consequence, the Hindu is incomparable : there is no soldier like him, none more forebearing under occupation, more gracefully vigourous a dancer or a more completely immersed singer gliding over the scales with restrained speed for hours.

Each one of us are informally skilled at playing with raging waves while being anchored to the depths of the sea. That is the unacknowledged secret behind the unusual success of Indian managers and entrepreneurs globally. On the other extreme, it explains why the Indian remains unmoved despite the ugliness he has and has had to put up with. 

* * * 

Asked what he thought of freedom, Camus said : “What freedom can there be in the fullest sense without assurance of eternity ?” Hence, Camus built up a sense of freedom that lies in an assumed one : as if it were; as if it were already there. 

In contrast, the Hindu’s freedom is for real. The Indian dharmic tradition comes in the wake of infinite – existence, knowledge and bliss – and ushers an unending karmic journey.

It situates the individual in an entire tri-ply scheme : That (mental) is infinite. This (material) is infinite. The Infinite derived of Infinite leaves the Infinite (spiritual). It needs mere observation of the cosmos, and a discovery in oneself, to experience the reality of absolute freedom. 

Of course, the karmic laws are incontrovertible in material space : we are free to act but not free to choose the immutable consequence it invites.

Our freedom in mental space is more liberal : we are free to know and outgrow the limitations that circumscribe our current station.

And, finally, we are free to shed this individuated awareness of our self and cease to be, as we were, for ever. There is nothing anymore, as we ever knew – not the material world of beings and things; not the mental world of sensation, will, meaning and knowledge; and no longer the ego-I-sense dilating through sleep, dream and wakeful being. There is nothing anymore animal, human or divine.

It’s truth itself, alone, without a second. 

This spirit to outgrow is natural to the Indian dharmic tradition. It occurs along various generic attributes. First, in human goal over a lifetime : dharma, artha, kama and moksha … loosely translated as Right Knowledge, Thought and Conduct; Income and Wealth; Sensuous and Sexual Fulness; and, Supreme Yoga and Liberation Absolute … in that general order. The process allows for endless variations of the same theme, because the outgrowing process itself is not strictly compartmentalised in practice. 

The stepping up is more obvious in relief when viewed against the age – axis and values system respective to each :

0 – 7 years, with parents in an atmosphere of love and tender care;

7 – 25 years, celibate life with the teacher, away from parents, in utter simplicity, given to study and service to others, without any priviledge or exceptional treatment over others;

25 – 50 years, leading a vigorous householder’s life, living by right knowledge, honing skills and applying effort to become a useful citizen in the community, with moderated but full-blooded sensuousness, marraige and raising a family in the light traditional morals and exemplary ethics, excelling at one’s chosen profession in accord with aptitude;

50 – 75 years, gradual withdrawal from worldly pursuits and possessions, handing over all to next generation, disengaging from sensuous calls or sexual acts and generally from householder’s duty, engaging in spiritual company, education and practice; and,

75 – 100 years, complete withdrawal from worldly and household affairs, given over entirely to reclusive life, engaged pointedly in prayer, thankfulness and at inviting spiritual fulness, in ever – prepared state of readiness to shed the body and depart for the next. 

The sense of outgrowing pervades a Hindu’s lifetime, even in other ways. It is common for to hear of outgrowing the ways of physical animality and take to mindful human values and pursuits, and then to preparations for inviting the divinity upon one’s heart and mind.

It is common worldwide to see the eagerness to evolve through one’s age while we are young or our worldly stations in adult life. In India, however, sages are on record advising people to outgrow external signs of identity in favour of internal ones; from rituals or audible chant to their mental equivalent; from godhead with form to the truth formless; from religion itself to the a-religious perspective. 

But to outgrow means to give and take anew; and for that to happen, we need to turn away from merely deepening our anchor in history and, rather, to rescue ourself from it and restore ourself to ethics arising from our morals, not merely from the law in our statute books.

That would place us precisely in the otherwise non-linear dharmic tradition, with which the Hindu has remained connected through the millennia after Ice Age,

the Bronze Revolution,

the Great Bharata War,

the end of urban Sarasvati Civilisation,

the rural Arya resurgence, the Iron Age,

Buddhism and Jainism religious reform movements,

transformation of democracies into monarchy,

the great Maurya and golden Gupta eras,

the reign of mighty Harshavardhan and his extreme generosity at Kumbha gathering at Prayag,

the brilliance of pure monism of Adi Shankara,

the centuries of Islamic onslaught and Muslim rule,

the Age of Devotion and poetics,

the British occupation and long period of Christian upmanship,

and the chaos of post-independent India. 

The Indian has seen too much with a surfiet of extreme stupidity and barbarism, of utter beauty and complete harmony. He stands balanced with his wealth and secure in his poverty, patient with peace and hopeful of growth in chaos.

The cosmos is stil there… how wrong can things go ?

Bhimbhetka 2

Journal : The River Sarasvati And Its People

Part I : The Saga Of The Quest

http://www.slideshare.net/jannap/vedic-river-sarasvati

The Saga of the Quest for the River Sarasvati :

M.A. Jayashree, M.A. Narasimhan and Haribhau Vaze

There has been many a saga in the history of mankind that has captured the imagination of generations of humanity. In our millennium we speak of adventures of Marco Polo, Columbus’ discovery of the shores of America, Amundsen’s expedition to the North Pole, Vasco da Gama reaching the shores of Bharata and many more. All these look dramatic and fascinating when we realise they were undertaken more with courage and determination than in the security of reliable information. Yet they succeeded in obtaining for posterity enormous benefits in terms of the perspective about the world that we lived in.

One such saga of recent times is the quest for river Sarasvati. Looking back, we see the formidable obstacles that one faced in trying to investigate the history of a river that was non-existent and believed to be a myth : Was there was a real physical river called Sarasvati or was it just a myth, a poetic creation of the Aryans ? If such a river existed where did it flow ? How are we to trace its source, course and termination ? If it did exist : why, how and when did the river disappear ? If it was an ancient river with claims as the cradle of an ancient civilization, is there any archaeological evidence of the its banks ?

Louis Renous 1947 map of the Sarasvati basin

Added to the confusion was the reverential and emotive association Bharatiyas had with the River Sarasvati, that made them identify every other river, big or small, with the divine river Sarasvati itself. They still have the same inclusive approach and attitude towards the rive Ganga. Thus the Haradvati that flows in the north-west region was also Sarasvati. It was the third (invisble) river at Sangam, the confluence of Ganaga and Yamuna at Prayag. A branch of Ganga near Calcutta, a river flowing from Abu to Khambayat in Gujarat, the river that joins the ocean at the Prabhasa Kshetra … all are called Sarasvati. Under such a condition, in the hostile atmosphere of the world of historians monopolised by western scholars who were bent upon proving that the existence of river Sarasvati was a myth, that all literary evidence were figments of imagination and who, demanding material evidence for proof, declared that the quest and the search for it was an exercise in futility, there were bravehearts who proceeded undeterred.

The “Quest For River Sarasvati” scholars came together under the banner of Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Samiti. Yes, we call them brave because they staked their international academic reputation to chase a myth and to prove that the seeming mirage was in fact a reality. The academic world scoffed at them and laughed at the venture. Well, it did last for more than a decade. Most of them are no longer with us now to celebrate the fruition of their foundational quest. This post is to honour and pay homage to them.

Our deepest appreciation and gratitude goes to pioneer Sri Sridhara Vaman Wakanker and his team Sarasvati Samshodhana Mandal. At the same time we recall that the quest for river Sarasvati has a long history, spanning nearly two centuries. All scholars and lovers of Bharata and its heritage fell under the spell of this mysterious river Sarasvati, after going through the vast Vedic literature. They did their best to verify the physical existence of the river with tools then available. The voluntary attempts of Oldham (1893), Wadia (1938), Amal Ghosh(1960), H.S. Parikh (1965), WilHelmi (1969), Alwin, Goudse, and Dr. Hegde(1978) merit our scholarly attention.

Extensive studies to survey the invisible course of Sarasvati in 1942 by Gen Cunningham, Arthur A. Macdonnel, A.B. Keith and Aurel Stein were well publicized. In 1963, Dr Narasimha Narayana Godbole surveyed the route of the Sarasvati in Rajasthan. Dr. M.A. Krishnan gives us in detail the course of the river in his work, Geology of India and Burma, published in 1968. Dr M.N. Godbole’s monumental work, Rgvedic Sarasvati, based on geological research throws more light on many of the ticklish problems associated with the quest.

The current quest had its origin in 1981, when Babasaheb Apte Smarak Samiti, Nagpur, was celebrating the District History Day at Kurukshetra, in the presence of Sri M.N. Pingale, the Working President of Babasaheb Apte Smarak Samiti, who drew the attention of the audience to the need and relevance of a research work on the lost Vedic river Sarasvati and the possible consequences of that research on the ancient history of Bharata. Dr. Vishnu Sridhar Wakankar, the senior most archaeologist of the country then, explained with great fervor the archaeological importance of the issue. Immediately there was a vociferous demand from the audience for setting up of a Samiti for such a “Quest.” Thus, the All India Project of Sarasvati Shodhan was born.

It took nearly four years to investigate, consolidate, plan and recruit eminent scholars to form a team to launch the Sarasvati Shodhan project. It was termed as Quest Mandal Expedition and was inaugurated on Tuesday, the 19th Nov. 1985 by the steersman of the Quest, Sri M.N. Pingale. The Quest Mandal headed by Padmashri Dr. V.S. Wakankar, with a team of scholars belonging to all branches of knowledge, set out for Adi Badri in Himachal Pradesh, the presumed source of river Sarasvati. Points of fact were jotted down meticulously as and when they emerged during the visits. Photographs were taken wherever they were considered relevant. Audio tapes, about 19, were effectively put to use to collect more important information related to the river. The notes thus prepared covered a wide canvas including literary sources, art, history, poetry, archaeological remains, oral observations, traditional references, etc.

The Quest team also recorded age-old stories and songs which were full of reverential references to the Sarasvati River from the Charans who reside in Palloo, Bikaner and Karani Devi of Rajasthan. The Charans, as is well known, make their living by singing folk-songs with stories of past heroes and legends.

The Quest got a fortunate filip when the team was provided with clinching evidence about the dried-up river Sarasvati. The Arid Zone Research Institute gave authentic data that literally broke through the great haze of obstruction holding up the quest. A NASA satellite launched in 1972 had taken pictures of a dried-up huge river which ran from the Himalayas to the Rann of Kachchh. The images had been analysed by many scientists associated with scientific institutions of India but none had recognised its historic worth. The compiled information handed over by Dr. Agarwal consisted of studies done on this dried-up river bed by Bimal Ghose et al. (1979), Ramasamy, Bakliwal and Verma (1991), Yash Pal et al. (1980).

The accurate scientific data regarding the course of the river and the time when it went dry gave a powerful impetus to the Quest. The images sent by LandSat disclosed the following : The width of the Ghaggar Sarasvati bed was on an average between 6 and 8 km from its entry in Punjab to present-day Marot in Pakistan; the course of Markanda River got diverted to north-east of Kshatrana and even today the river Sarasvati flows through this route during rainy seasons; the dried-up Y-2 route indicated the width of the present day Choutang River and its confluence with Ghaggar near Suratgarh.

It was clear from the received images that the ancient Ghaggar River got bifurcated near Anupgarh, with one branch getting lost near Marot and the other losing itself at Baireena. It meant that during that period the banks of Sarasvati River had spread to these two places. Incidentally, these details point to a possibility of the Vinashana Tirthin Sarasvati, where Balaram of the Mahabharata offered his reverence to his late father, and that it could be situated near about these two places. The Quest team therefore decided to search for :

1. Information about the course of the river from Adi Badri

through the plains and regions close to Sindhusagar.

2. Traces and collections of the remains and reminiscences

in the environment.

But the search route as indicated by the LandSat was a stupendous, as the dried-up bed was expansive. Dr. Wakankar studied the dried-up bed of Sarasvati with his fellow researchers from archaeological point of view. He was thus able to concentrate their month-long quest only on select spots. The Quest team went though Adi Badri, Ambala District, where the Sarasvati slides into the plains after crossing the mountainous area through Kanthghar, and then to the Shivalik mountain ranges starting from Jagadhari(Yugandhara), beyond which stands the mountain Manu, where the Sarasvati, icy and hidden, flows as an undercurrent through the cracks, crevices and cleavages of the mountains.

The team also visited YamunaNagar, Sarasvata Nagar (Mustafabad), and then on to Kurukshetra where the seed of the whole quest had been sown. At Kurukshetra, under the guidance of Pandit Sthanudatta Sharma, the team went to the actual site of the river Sarasvati in the celebrated city. Remnants and reports related to the site gave the team enough information, motivating them to study in depth the city of Kurukshetra in the context of the course of the lost river. Stone implements of the Prehistoric period were collected in a large quantities from all places visited by the team : painted mud-pots of pre-Harappan period, which are also available in the valleys of Sarasvati (Ghaggar) and Drshadvati (Choutang) at Bhagvanpur, Banavali, Sirisha, Mitthal, Raja Karn ka Keela, Doulatpur, Mirjapur, Sudha, Balu, Kudal, Agroha and nearby places. The team also did a close study of 20 to 30 metres long sand-dunes of Bikaner. In Gujarat, the team visited Ambaji mountains, where Bhel trees are in abundance, and then on to Koteshvar where one stream of the Sarasvati flows underneath.

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The river, after playing hide and seek, finally emerges on the surface at Siddapur to meet the Nala Sarovar. This mountain range, part of Ambaji, is known as Mainaka, the source of Gurjar Sarasvati. Kunwar, on the banks of Nanuran (Nanukaccha), where the Sarasvati enters the ocean in sevenfolds (saptadha), was the next destination of study. Now Nanu is a sandy desert. Near one of the seven streams, Dr. V.S. Wakankar found pieces of an egg of a Shakha Mrga that helped him to conclude the period of Kunwar could be at least 25-50 thousand years BC. Later, the team came across an old ocean coast harbour called Lothal, which was an ancient city of Nanukaccha. A dockyard specially meant for repair of ships was discovered there. Now there has been an in depth study of Lothal showing the maritime capabilities of our ancestors.

Travelling eastward, on the banks of the Gurjar Sarasvati of ancient times, the team came to the vicinity of the holy Somnath mandir at the junction of rivers Gautami, Hiranmayi and Sarasvati. Thus, the Quest pilgrimage covering a distance of about 4000 km came to an end. Curiously, this Quest did not come up with just a report on the course, date and the civilization that prospered on the banks of the fabled river, as it happens with almost all historical expeditions. It also indicated the possible sites on the banks of Sarasvati for archaeological excavation, the study of which would meet the challenge of proving whether this water mass, which was still flowing underground in most of the places, was really the same river that had its source in Himalayan glaciers.

That seeming impossibility evoked worldwide interest. Many teams of scientists came and did their own investigations and confirmed the existence of the river Sarasvati, proving that most of the narrative history of Bharat, be it folk or of the Vedas, was factual. The spin-off of this information was the opening of another avenue which has never been the forte of history : to resurrect the lost river and bring the hidden Gupta Gamini Sarasvati onto the surface !

That was the task taken up, again, by the Akhil Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana under the title Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalpa. The Prakalpa is now engaged in enabling the waters of Sarasvati flow once again along its course, so that millions of hectares of parched land of this blessed country can become green and give life to over 200 million people. It also provides strength to the devout and vindicates their faith when he and she take a holy dip in their sacred river Sarasvati.

The Prakalpa plans to create National Water Grid in order to reach the Brahmaputra flood waters to Kanyakumari, making every river south of Vidhyas in India a perennial one (jeevanadi) and potentially adding 90 million acres of additional wetland, and enabling four-crop cultivation with availability of water round the year. This revolution would empower rural India consisting of more than half a million villages.

The revival of river Sarasvati is proceeding apace, as part of the National Water Grid : inter-linking of rivers, master plan drawn by National Water Development Agency. The waters of Manasarovar flowing through rivers Sutlej and Beas have already been brought to the Rajasthan Nahar (called Sarasvati Mahanadi Roop Nahar). The Sarasvati Nahar waters have now reached up to Gadhra Road in Barmer District, after traversing a distance of about 1000 km. Another 150 km extension of this Nahar will ensure that Sarasvati River waters will reach Rann of Kachchh and Gujarat.

It’s a miracle of gigantic proportion, my dear reader ! Especially when you consider that the desert of Rajasthan was threatening to extend up to Haryana and even Delhi, the capital city, barely a couple decades before.

The Saraswati Basin Civilisation

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 !