Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NO SIGHT MORE CHARMING ON GOD'S PLANET THAN A WOMAN IN LOVE

"Better irrational love than rational hate, to say nothing about irrational hate. Better the soft glow of sweet love than the harsh tones of bitterness."
TO A DEAR SOUL
FOR PUTTING DESTINY ABOVE FATE ,
(and refusing to take the hint from God’s stubborn-ness)

"A woman’s surrender to love proclaims her triumph and the triumph of the one she loves. There is no sight better than a woman in love. She is ecstasy incarnate, a poem lifted to the level of a scripture. Hers is the supremest show and it needs no audience. And it does not require an audience because it is divine. Divine is nothing but love rising to perfection and finding expression in surrender, in service. But there is no loss of pride in such surrender, no loss of dignity in service like this. Watch the silent, subterranean ecstasy in the total surrender of a woman in love, surrender not to the man she loves -- make no mistake -- nor to any outside authority ( love knows no authority any way) nor to any moralistic commitment to loyalty or some such inane stuff. But surrender to the flood of her own feelings of love, to the sublimity and intensity of her passion. No woman ever surrenders to the man she loves, for that would not be a surrender to love but a pathetic serfdom to an object of desire. She and all of us always surrender to the glory of the love that exults within us. And when we don’t do that, when we indeed surrender to the person we love, we only belittle love. But when we surrender to love, love itself renders the very need for surrender anywhere else unnecessary, irrelevant."

4.00 AM , Dec 31, 2009

Dearest,
You should be the first one to admit that the sole force driving me to do what I am trying to do is the belief you have chosen to place in me. Its a gamble you have taken and I want to do as well as I can to see you winning -- almost single-handed in this as you are against the collective judgment of the world on me. What a world of difference in what you insist on -- have always insisted on -- and what others have chosen to see in me. Frankly, I am beginning to be won over by your faith in me, and -- my lack of modesty be pardoned ! -- I am also coming round to agree with you that I have been wasting my time trying to win the approval of many of those I loved and respected all my life. Not that I shouldn’t have loved and respected them, for that would have been putting a lie in nature's mouth. I couldn't have done without loving and respecting them, because my soul needed and still needs to be always in love as desperately as my lungs need to breathe oxygen. My soul, my life would have been suffocated to death without being in love. So, I couldn't have done without loving and respecting them, and this did not depend on how they behaved towards me. But I could have done without trying to win their approval for my love. Their approval I should never have needed, never did need. Naturally, all that effort didn't prove worth its while except that it has kept me from dying of bitterness. Better irrational love than rational hate, to say nothing about irrational hate. Better the soft glow of sweet love than the harsh tones of bitterness. And, there must been a reason why I didn’t succumb to the other extreme. A reason also to all those provocations towards that. I have never been the one to regret my mistakes and experiences even when I know them to be mistakes, though I am deeply pained by the savagery of the damage which the whole thing appeared to have inflicted on me. Pained I was but regret I didn’t, and still don't. Nothing was ever achieved through regrets and in any case; life can not be lived backwards. All that our mistakes and experiences have to contribute to our progress is contributed without any effort on our part. That is the way nature works. However, only this evening, I was feeling that perhaps I have frittered away a major portion of my talent on concerns that should never have been mine to begin with, engaging my high intellect (!!!) on lowly issues. A great generalissimo using his talents in winning street-brawls, and not winning there too because his skills were meant for other battles. ( How humble even the humblest can be, eh? ) A lot of energy was dissipated using this mind for tasks that it was never meant to perform. That it did not succeed is a huge shame but no surprise. That was how I felt for a few minutes this evening-- or a few seconds perhaps. But up came a voice declaring ::: everything chooses its time to happen. That time was for that kind of life and experiences and this time is for this. Said a relatively younger John Milton on his 42nd birthday: " Things will happen in the strictest measure even, late though it may be."(He said something like that. I am sure the words were different. But Does that matter? This is what he meant. Or if he didn't, he should have ! Or if he shouldn't have, I should, and I do.) Keep the audience alive so that the show may go on. There is no show -- except the playful merriment in God's works -- which can survive without an audience. May be, in due course, I will attain to God's unmindful ways and enjoy the play for its own sake. As a sportsperson in my early days, I have seen that it is not only possible but even most uniquely enjoyable to play the sport – any sport - for the sheer fun of it, regardless of the audience or its absence. After a certain level of involvement and skill, everything we do rises to the level of divine ecstasy. Like the inexpressible bliss in a mother unmindfully doing little odd things for her child, like the ecstasy of a mystic who doesn't require even a God as an audience ( in his sublime hour, a mystic is always greater and larger than any God he is devoted to, and he knows it. In his humility, though, he stops at calling himself the Son of God, or equal to Him created in His own image with His own hands! Saints and mystics are mischievous with words in thei love for God, as all of us are in any form of love.) But watch the silent, subterranean ecstasy in the total surrender of a woman in love, surrender not to the man she loves, not to any outside authority ( love knows no authority any way) nor to any moralistic commitment to loyalty or some such inane stuff. But surrender to the flood of her own feelings of love, to the sublimity and intensity of her passion, surrender, in short, to the truth of her situation and to the reality of her own being and her feelings. No woman ever surrenders to the man she loves, for that would not be a surrender to love but a pathetic serfdom to an object of desire. No one would and should know it better than you do. A woman in love and all of us always surrender to the force of love within us. And when we don’t do that, when we indeed surrender to the person we love, we belittle love. But when we surrender to love, love itself renders the very need for surrender anywhere else unnecessary irrelevant. A woman’s surrender to love proclaims her triumph and the triumph of the one she loves. There is no sight better than a woman in love. She is ecstasy incarnate, a poem lifted to the level of a scripture. Hers is the supremest show and it needs no audience. And it does not require an audience because it is divine. Divine is nothing but love rising to perfection and finding expression in surrender, in service. But there is no loss of pride in such surrender, no loss of dignity in service like this. But I am still some distance away from that, and it is good for me that I have audience when the child in me needs one. Please be around to watch how the show ends or till the play and the artist reach a level of perfection which requires no audience. Requires no audience yet will be glad to entertain and be entertained. Quite simply, stay on till I attain sainthood – or adulthood, which is the same. Till then, look after this child who must have someone admire his rolling in dust as much as his dressing in white uniform for going to school of sacred heart. Love.

Writing is much as love is: it binds you to your inner truth by connecting you to the outside world.

Writing is as your sweet heart is who would be loved without being understood. Only mediocre writing is totally understandable.

Consistency is a mediocre virtue and does not measure up to the astounding paradoxes of nature.It is a virtue in a moralist but a vice in a genius. There is no such thing as a consistent genius just as there is no such thing as an inconsistent moralist. Great writing is as God is in the act of his Creation: it always contradicts itself, and in doing so it looks at all the contradictions of life and reality.

Across the thin, vaporous boundaries of language sits Truth - inviting, tempting but always receding as your mind advances. And it denies you access not because it means you to know it the less but because it wants you to enjoy it the more.

A writer and his reader are in a secret pact always to enjoy the vague intimations of Truth, but never to reveal or know Truth itself.

A writer is nothing if not God and, like God, must always remain knowable but indefinable, palpable but not expressible. Like the God-experience, the experience of writing -- and reading --- must be for ever enjoyable and for ever unknowable; forever knowable and for ever untranslatable. A writer and his reader are in a secret pact always to enjoy the vague intimations of Truth, but never Truth itself. A writer's words end up saying less than he means to convey and a reader reads more than the meaning unexpressed. And yet, across the thin, vaporous boundaries of language sits Truth, inviting, tempting but always receding as your mind advances towards it. And it denies access not because it means you to know it the less but because it wants you enjoy it the more. If Truth stood where it first appeared, the horizons of your mind would never widen, nor your experience of joy touch the limitless.
Never belittle anything by trying to know it fully, to describe its whole truth. Everything in this universe is a God unto itself and will not yield to you the the core of its secrets. Its under no obligation to feed your petty curiosity. In that sense alone, God resides in every atom and every atom in the universe is a universe by itself, every little soul at once a part of the whole and the whole itself. The moment you focus on any single atom, it slips away and looks askance at you, reflecting the vast universe.
Writing -- like reading -- is much as love is: it binds you to your inner truth by connecting you to the outside world. Writing --like reading -- is as your sweet heart is: she would be loved without being understood. Only mediocre writing is totally understandable from only one angle. And by only one generation. Each new generation rediscovers the classics of the generations gone by. Great writing lends itself to new meanings for new generations. And thus every generation finds something entirely new in an old classic. This is how classics attain immortality.

Great writing is as spring is: it renews itself every year, bringing newer flowers of newer shades . Truth is always fresh; and it always refreshes those who receive it.
Great writing is as God is: it always contradicts itself, and in doing so it looks at all the contradictions of life and reality. Consistency is a mediocre virtue and does not measure up to the astounding paradoxes of nature. It is a virtue in a moralist but a vice in a genius. There is no such thing as a consistent genius just as they is no such thing as an inconsistent moralist. Consistency comes in handy where goals are narrow and targets low. But a genius rises to dizzy, unseeable heights as much as he plummets to shocking depths. His inconsistencies are inexplicable as the contradictions of God and nature are. A great writer has no use for pedestrian virtues like consistency for he has to traverse vast zones full of extreme opposites, travelling through continents of scorching summers and freezings colds.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A prophet is a poet who has come to believe in the truth of his own poetry. A poet is a prophet who distrusts his own prophecy.

God! Where did all this infinite empty space come from in which this vast universe is housed and into which it is expanding every second at speeds that even light can not achieve !!

The greatest truth about miracles is that they happen, that they wouldn't be miracles if they did not happen.
We don't see miralces as miracles becasue some wise man or the other has imposed an explanation on them. And for us, unfortunately, a miracle ceases to be a miracle for us if it can be explained. Nowhere is the perversity of human mind more manifest than it is in the belief that a miracle is a miracle only if it cannot happen or, having happened, it cannot be explained. A prophet is a person who sees a miracle in what we take for granted. To a child, as to a prophet, the opening of a bud into a flower, a seed breaking forth into a bunyan tree are miracles most fascinating. As is the flying of an aeroplane with its burden of hundreds of passengers, borne aloft by nothing more than thin air, . To a child, as to a prophet, a rainbow is a miralce most exquisite. So is the prism of life, its interplay of colours. And so is life itself . So also is this universe. O God! Where did all this infinite empty space come from in which this vast universe is housed and into which it is expanding every second at speeds that even light can not achieve. A prophet offers no explanations for miracles because for him everything that happens in life becomes a miracle by the very act of its happening. Since everything in nature is a miralce, there is nothing unnatural about miralces. Divine melodies flowing out a piece of bamboo wood merely through an arrangment of stops on it; a man willingly casting away for a woman the very life for which he wants her; a mother falling fatally in love with a complete stranger the moment he is born to her. All nature is a miracle and therefor all miracles are natural. Strangely, miracles are miracles only for those who do not believe in them. And to one who does, almost nothing is . Miracles are the poetry of nature. A prophet is a poet who has come to believe in the truth of his own poetry. A poet is a prophet who distrusts his own prophecy.

The transparent veil of words : Preparing for the Ultimate Nakedness

Words are a barrier, a veil between you and your truth. Make them as transparent as you can. Even as tenuous bridges, as between lovers, words merely confirm the pesence of a chasm which only silence can fill. But bridges and barriers are necessary because you can not stand direct exposure to truth. Words, by providing us a thin clothing, prepare us for the ultimate nakedness. But keep them transparent so that they do not block your view of truth , but keep them around anyway or you will die of sudden exposure.

Meaning always races ahead of words; that is why words never catch him completely.

In all great writing, meaning always races a few steps ahead of words, leading them into the zone of wordlessness, tempting them to carry on for just that one step extra to their final demise . Words are like little boats: they must take us to the shore so that we may abandon them. The better the words are, the quicker they will transport us uncomplainingly to the point of their own irrelevance and abandonment. Boats can't help us beyond the shores where they bring us. No mid-wife must stay beyond the child-birth. Words are sweet mid-wives. They help us get past the labours of truth.

Tailing Destiny as a favourite pet in a corner of your house

My search for mysel has ended. I have found the rascal and found him quite a loveable rogue, and I am glad to allow him to graze whichever magic pastures he chosses to graze in. The search for any high reality is not my concern now; it is his. I will only tail him for pleasure, as I used to tail my dearest calf in the village in my childhood, enjoying her wayward and rakish forays into the neighbour's fields. For some reason, the rascal would always run off into those fields even though my own had enough to offer. It was her destiny to enjoy another's crop. Destiny is such a darling pet it keeps licking you all over even if you refuse to feed her. Your search for your self ends the moment you realise that self has better things to do than being discovered.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In love with dreams as dreams

"YOU CAN ENJOY YOUR DREAMS AS REAL FOR EVER; ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS MAKE SURE YOU NEVER WAKE UP."

When you dig deep enough, you will find that the foundations of the edifice of happiness are often laid on expectations the fulilment of which would quickly tire us. But some childish obstinacy drives us to madness in pursuit of dreams which we already know cannot open the doors to abiding happiness. I have learn to cherish dreams and learn also never to seek their fulfilment.The beauty of a dream lies in its being only a dream and its being too delicate to survive the touch of reality. If you want to enjoy a dream for ever, make sure you never wake up. The ability to be in love and happy with a dream as a dream only is a rare virtue, given only to those who are never prejudiced against reality. Hold you citadles. You are already moving towards where you should be heading. Yes, there will be set backs and there will be pain and even humiliation along the way, but keep you feet steady. And do not dread nightmares. Your nightmares are only as real as your dreams.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Love, gratitude and happiness are the only prayers there ever were

God or Universe patronsingly gives us everything we ask for. It keeps smiling, patiently waiting for the day when we would say, "This is enough. And all I want now is a heart full of love for all those I have met or happen to meet in life, gratitude towards those who have been the source of a life so full of feelings, so crowded with varied experiences, for all the different days and nights I have spent here so lit up with the glow of love -my own and that others, for me and for others. And seek forgiveness from all those I have, with or without a motive, hurt with my actions, thoughts and feelings.

"And, finally, I seek the power and the opportunity to spread to the four corners of the universe the incense of the limitless love that is in my heart because no pain is greater than that of love confined and imprisoned in a heart. And no happiness is greater and more fulfilling than that born of showering love unconditionally and unhestitatingly on everything and everyone who comes across our path. Love free from the painful constrictions of attachment, love that is grateful for being accepted, love that sings songs of worship and gratitude because it knows no other language, love that wants simply to be allowed to live on without seeking any recompense.
Love keeps quietly reaching up to your door every dawn, asking you to look out of your window when morning walks upon the hills, love urges you to behold the new born sun , the secretly smiling flowers, the dew upon leaves who are yawning and stretching still half asleep, the trees that have waited patiently all night long for a fresh dawn to break the chill, trees that now tip-toe towards the bright sky with joyous hope to welcome another day --- none of them waits for a reason to be happy. Why do we? And all of them -- the flowers, the leaves, the dew and the trees -- rejoice even when they know they may have to face rough weather all day for many days. They are ready and don't complain and neither do they forget to spread fresh air and fragrance to fill the whole atmosphere. In giving fragrance, they give all of themselves.

"And watch the eternally innocent stray dogs, playfully chasing one another, so completely and sublimely unmindul of another unpitying day of hunger and humiliation that they may have to fight again. They neither pity themselves nor are they ungrateful to the happiness that this hour brings to them. Why are we? Nothing is more divine, deifying and uplifting than the sight of Nature playing little games with itself. This is life at work, enjoying itself."

God or Universe keeps waiting pateintly for us to sing these songs. And happiness is the language through which it understands our music. Be happy. And you will not need to thank God or Universe in any other way. Love, gratitude and happiness are the only prayers there are, or were.

Look forward to a great life. You have done nothing to deserve anything less.

Monday, December 14, 2009

SELF AS A FLIRT

"THE MOST DIFFICULT PERSON FOR YOU TO KNOW IS YOU"

The toughest person to meet and completely understand in your life is you. The most difficult thing to do in life is to stand away from one "self" and have a clear, full view of its shades and contours. It has the nature of a parallel line which runs closest to you and never goes away but nor comes closer. Like a true flirt, it is always tantalisingly near and yet safely away - never close enough for you to touch. And no one possesses the power to allure you through deception more than this wily coquet has. It feeds you with all the reasons to justify its actions, never allowing you to look at it as it is, except through the prejudiced eye of subjectivity. It is there in the way when you want to fall completely in love with anyone other than this flirt. And yet, if you tear its veil apart, you will find this flirt suddenly transformed into the only source from where all your love flows. That is why no love is possible without self love. But guard against greed posing as self love. Self love and selfishness are two different things -- often two extreme opposites. Self lends itself to transfromation into an enobling surrender to something outside. Even selflessness is a form of self love, which selfishness is not. The ability to meet these two and distinguish the fake from the real is given to saints -- and one can be a saint without being religious.

You and everything you want are inseparable

BARTERING AWAY YOUR SELF FOR YOUR HAPPINESS:
HARDLY A BARGAIN

This universe – just its known part -- spreads across zillions and zillions of fathomless light-years. Considering that the speed of light is roughly 300,000 kilometers per second, these are distances that Humans are never likely to traverse, even accounting for the likely advancements in science and technology in foreseeable future. And millions of times more are the events that take place every millionth of a second in this yet expanding universe. For us to be able to experience even a part of these events, we would need instruments and machines that travel many, many times faster than the speed of light. And scientists hold no hope of our putting together such instruments.

And yet, the experience of the vastness of this universe is not something entirely unknown to us. For you and me, there is only one instrument on which these experiences are recorded, felt and lived through. That tiny instrument is the five feet something – a few inches more, or less – of human body and an even tinier mind placed therein. But such is the range and power of that mind that it can encompass the entire boundless universe in an infinitely small fraction of a second, making the speed of light appear a creature of stone-age shot in slow motion. Universes upon universes and ages upon ages race past our eye with a smoothness unknown to us in any form of travel invented by us.

Respect this instrument, and don’t let anyone belittle or humiliate it. Your mind or your “self” is the only thread you have to connect you to life. We barter away this ‘self’ in very cheap bargains in exchange for attention from those whose love we wish to secure for this very ‘self’, or the possessions we wish to place at the feet of this self to keep it happy. It is a poor bargain, totally unacceptable, because we get the ‘self’ pass through insults in pursuit of respect and happiness that we seek for it. It is only for this ‘self’ that you want , desire or pursue everything. The irony is that we sell out this self in exchange for the things we want to buy for it. Nowhere is this more evident than in our pursuit of love of those who do not value it.

This instrument, this mind, this ‘self’ deserves better. Learn to love and respect it, and you will find love everywhere. And you will love everything. Because everything is contained in this self, this mind, this you. And out of this realization will be born boundless love and endless humility. Everything will be yours then because everything and yourself are inseparable, the seeming partition caused by the mind’s eye tightly shut.
Mind alone is God, mind alone is the whole universe – nothing exists outside it. Mann se bada na koi …….. Mann he devta, mann he ishwar. Mann ujjiara jab jab phelai, jag ujjiara hoi, said Sahir.

PRAYERS AS SONGS OF LOVE

PRAYER IS A PROCLAMATION OF LOVE; BEGGING AN INVOCATION TO PITY
A prayer is nothing but our way assuring ourselves that we are not completely alone and helpless on this planet. The whole universe rises to back us if our cause is noble, which is another name for respecting the laws of the universe. Anything that runs against these laws is irreligious and therefore painful.
The term God is only an abbreviation for the general order of design of the universe and the energy that moves through it. There is nothing supernatural about it, and those who we think have found God have said that much. Budhha said it through his loud silence on the question of God. Jesus described the acknowledgement of the overwhelming Law of the order of universe as Acceptance. Nanak called it “being happy living in accordance with Hukam or Bhaana, or the Will of God, or the Will of Nature. Islam is full of references to "razaa', or Will of the Unknown. Surrender to this Law is the essence of the Gita.
Pain is the direct consequence of trying to run against the current of the Law of the Universe, or the Will of God. Desire for Immortality of form is an act of defiance of the law of change, and hence any pursuit of this desire is an invitation to pain.

A prayer is a return to sanity, the acknowledgement of the need to flow in the direction of the current of Law. Defiance of Law is an attempt to distort the picture of the universe or a small part of it, and a prayer is an attempt to rectify that distortion. Humility is nothing more than an acceptance of the reality that we are mere cogs, however important, in a large wheel to further the march of Evolution.
A prayer is an expression of this humility. A prayer is addressed always and only to oneself. That is why we generally pray alone, or close our eyes while praying in a congregation. It is a pilgrimage into the boundless yet unknown reservoirs of life force that resides within us and which alone has the power to lift us beyond the bounds of the possible. It is nature's way of reconciling the paradox that while the Whole contains its parts, each part also contains the Whole, as both religion and science have shown us. Every atom in the universe is full of mysteries which are as innumerable, incomperensible and fascinating as the mysteries of the universe at large.

A prayer is also an attempt of an atom to display its ability to reflect the whole universe, holding "infinity in the palm of his hand and eternity in an hour." Its also a proof that the vast universe and its tiniest part converse in a common language. The atom and the universe, the part and the whole, the Atma and the Parmatma are inseparable and indistinguishable, and a prayer is the common language in which they converse. Begging is not praying because begging is devoid of love, while prayer is born of infinite love. Begging is a proclamation of insecurity; a prayer is a song of faith, trust and assurance. Prayer invokes love; begging invokes pity.
The worst form of begging is the one addressed to the Almighty Universe or God. It is like asking a mighty emperor to feed the dog at your farm house, a dog whose responsibility is only yours to share. Neither the dog nor the emperor will be too pleased with your act.
Turn your prayers into songs of love, and they shall be answered -- with love.

Only the Humble can be Strong

The weak can never be humble. They need pride, vanity, arrogance and such stuff as this to hide their weaknesses and insecurities behind. Only those with self belief, only those who are sure of themselves can aford to be humble. Humility is not for the weak and the faint hearted. Only the strong can be humble. And only the humble are strong. Not the forced humility of slaves but humility of the all powerful saints.

Temple of Pain and Truth

Love, Pain and Humility at the Temple of Truth
There is only one virtue that all our experience of happiness and pain, all our triumphs and defeats, all the wealth of love and the extreme and shattering poverty of lovelessness give us. And that virtue is the Goddess of all virtues for only through that can we reach the ultimate understanding of self and love and everything that is important to our living. That virtue is also the essence of all loving and all happiness. That virtue, simply put, is humility, boundless, pure and totally spontaneous. Humility -- not submissiveness, not feigned modesty or smoodge - but humility born of complete self-belief and assurance --- this virtue alone is the path of saints, and saints alone live in eternal peace and happiness. And only a person truly at peace with himself and the world around him can be really happy And only a happy person can be genuinely good and loving, kind and eternally forgiving of himsel and others.Humility at the Temple of Truth is the only religion there is. Truth can be --and generally is and will be -- inconvenient to us and to our beliefs about who we are, because we have grown up feeding on alluring myths: myths like 'We deserve better than we get' from life and the world, or that our suffering is the doing of others or that the only reason we suffer is our innocnence, purity and goodness of heart.At The temple of Truth, we discover the only source of the kind of life we get -- and that source is our conduct, our beliefs, our desires, our dreams, our expectations of life and the diference between these expectations and the emotional and material investments we are willing to make towards the fulfilment of these dreams and expectations.If love has chosen you to receive its harvest of pain, you are lucky, especially if life has also given you the vision and wisdom to gain from this pain , to learn from it, to make it the doorway to abiding peace and happiness. Never let pain be its own cause and effect, but transform it into a means for you to grow as a person. A time will come when you will look this pain in the eye, smile at it and at yourself and laugh loudly at your association with this pain. Then you will thank this pain in all sincerity for having come your way just when and how and why it did. You will then move on to be always in the service of the world that houses you. Then - and then alone - will you discover the true meaning of pain and of love. Then will you fully experience its rich, lofty and ennobling influence. Then alone will you bathe in the cool glow of love and will always and always want to give more and more of yourself to anyone who values it. Love and giving have never been parted nor ever will be.
Posted by harcharan bains at 10:34 AM
Labels: Humility at the Temple o truth is the only religion there is.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

SONNETS TO THE MOON FROM A PRISON CELL

{ People other than Shiny Ahuja should read it too}

(This extract from Oscar Wilde’s classic De Profundis was the favourite of the greatest teacher I have ever come across in life. Those were my graduation days. By sheer co-incidence later, I also taught it to a class full of most brilliant boys and girls, many of whom have it etched on their hearts for life. An amazingly versatile girl with profoundly aesthetic and mystical leanings, who later majored in bio-chemistry, said this at the end of one my lectures: “I feel like a little stream pouring into a boundless ocean.” From that day, I withdrew from the podium and asked her to teach the class for the rest of the session. She did that with √©lan, doing a much better job of it than I would have done. My students lovingly nicknamed her the “pretty priestly professor – she WAS extremely good looking. Her boy-friend, himself a genius, though an erratic one, once asked me to immortalize these beauteous moments through a book. One day I might. - Harcharan Bains)

THOUGHTS FROM PRISON


“To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.”- Wilde

“I have lain in prison for nearly two years. Out of my nature has come wild despair, an abandonment to grief that was piteous even to look at; terrible and impotent rage; bitterness and scorn; anguish that wept aloud; misery that could find no voice; sorrow that was dumb. I have passed through every possible mood of suffering. Better than Wordsworth himself I know what Wordsworth meant when he said—
Suffering is permanent, obscure, and dark,
And has the nature of infinity.

But while there were times when I rejoiced in the idea that my sufferings were to be endless, I could not bear them to be without meaning. Now I find hidden somewhere away in my nature something that tells me that nothing in the whole world is meaningless, and suffering least of all. That something hidden away in my nature, like a treasure in a field, is humility.
It is the last thing left in me, and the best: the ultimate discovery at which I have arrived, the starting-point for a fresh development. It has come to me right out of myself, so I know that it has come at the proper time. It could not have come before, nor later. Had any one told me of it, I would have rejected it. Had it been brought to me, I would have refused it. As I found it, I want to keep it. I must do so. It is the one thing that has in it the elements of life, of a new life, a Vita Nuova for me. Of all things it is the strangest; one cannot give it away and another may not give it to one. One cannot acquire it except by surrendering everything that one has. It is only when one has lost all things, that one knows that one possesses it.
Now I have realized that it is in me, I see quite clearly what I ought to do; in fact, must do. And when I use such a phrase as that, I need not say that I am not alluding to any external sanction or command. I admit none. I am far more of an individualist than I ever was. Nothing seems to me of the smallest value except what one gets out of oneself. My nature is seeking a fresh mode of self-realisation. That is all I am concerned with. And the first thing that I have got to do is to free myself from any possible bitterness of feeling against the world. I would gladly and readily beg my bread from door to door. If I got nothing from the house of the rich, I would get something at the house of the poor. Those who have much are often greedy; those who have little always share. I would not a bit mind sleeping in the cool grass in summer, and when winter came on, sheltering myself by the warm close-thatched rick, or under the pent-house of a great barn, provided I had love in my heart. The external things of life seem to me now of no importance at all. You can see to what intensity of individualism I have arrived - or am arriving rather, for the journey is long, and ‘where I walk there are thorns’.
Of course, I know that to ask alms on the highway is not to be my lot, and that if ever I lie in the cool grass at night-time it will be to write sonnets to the moon. When I go out of prison, Robbie will be waiting for me on the other side of the big iron-studded gate, and he is the symbol, not merely of his own affection, but of the affection of many others besides. I believe I am to have enough to live on for about eighteen months at any rate, so that if I may not write beautiful books, I may at least read beautiful books; and what joy can be greater? After that, I hope to be able to recreate my creative faculty.
But were things different; had I not a friend left in the world; were there not a single house open to me {even} in pity; had I to accept the wallet and ragged cloak of sheer penury: still as long as I am free from all resentment, hardness, and scorn, I would be able to face life with much more calm and confidence than I would were my body in purple and fine linen, and the soul within me sick with hate.
…. When you really want love you will find it waiting for you.
I need not say that my task does not end there. It would comparatively be easy if it did. There is much more before me. I have hills for steeper to climb, valleys much darker to pass through. And I have to get it all out of myself. Neither religion, morality, nor reason can help me at all.
Morality does not help me. I am a born antinomian. I am one of those who are made for exceptions, not for laws. But while I see that there is nothing wrong in what one does, I see that there is something wrong in what one becomes. It is well to have learned that.
Religion does not help me. The faith that others give to what is unseen, I give to what one can touch, and look at. My gods dwell in temples made with hands; and within the circle of actual experience is my creed made perfect and complete: too complete, it may be, for like many or all of those who have placed their heaven in this earth, I have found in it not merely the beauty of heaven, but the horror of hell also. When I think about religion at all, I feel as if I would like to found an order for those who cannot believe -- “the Confraternity of the Faithless” one might call it, where on an altar, on which no taper burned, a priest, in whose heart peace had no dwelling, might celebrate with unblessed bread and a chalice empty of wine. Everything to be true must become a religion. And agnosticism should have its ritual no less than faith. It has sown its martyrs; it should reap its saints, and praise God daily for having hidden Himself from man. But whether it be faith or agnosticism, it must be nothing external to me. Its symbols must be of my own creating. Only that is spiritual which makes its own form. If I may not find its secret within myself, I shall never find it: if I have not got it already, it will never come to me.
Reason does not help me. It tells me that the laws under which I am convicted are wrong and unjust laws, and the system under which I have suffered a wrong and unjust system. But, somehow, I have got to make both of these things just and right to me. And exactly as in Art one is only concerned with what a particular thing is at a particular moment to oneself, so it is also in the ethical evolution of one’s character. I have got to make everything that has happened to me good for me. The plank bed, the loath-some food, the hard ropes shredded into oakum till one’s finger-tips grow dull with pain, the menial offices with which each day begins and finishes, the harsh orders that routine seems to necessitate, the dreadful dress that makes sorrow grotesque to look at, the silence, the solitude, the shame - - each and all of these things I have to transform into a spiritual experience. There is not a single degradation of the body which I must not try and make into a spiritualising of the soul.
I want to get to the point when I shall be able to say quite simply, and without affectation, that the two great turning-points in my life were when my father sent me to Oxford, and when Society sent me to prison. I will not say that prison is the best thing that could have happened to me; for that phrase would savour of too great bitterness towards myself. I would sooner say, or hear it said of me, that I was so typical a child of my age, that in my perversity, and for that perversity’s sake, I turned the good things of my life to evil, and the evil things of my life to good.
What is said, however, by myself or by others, matters little. The important things, the thing that lies before me, the thing that I have to do, if the brief remainder of my days is not to be maimed, marred, and incomplete, is to absorb into my nature all that has been done to me, to make it part of me, to accept it without complaint, fear, or reluctance. The supreme vice is shallowness. Whatever is realized is right.
When first, I was put into prison some people advised me to try and forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realizing what I am that I have found comfort of any kind. Now I am advised by others to try on my release to forget that I have ever been in a prison at all. I know that would be equally fatal. It would mean that I would be always haunted by an intolerable sense of disgrace, and that those things that are meant for me as much as for anybody else- the beauty of the sun and moon, the pageant of the seasons, the music of daybreak and the silence of great nights, the rain falling through the leaves, or the dew creeping over the grass and making it silver—would all be tainted for me, and lose their healing power and their power of communicating joy.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TEACHERS AND LOVERS

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence ends." -- Henry Adams

BITS FROM AN INTERNET CHAT I ONCE HAD WITH A BRIGHT YOUNG JOURNALIST :
(The name of the journalist has been changed to cover her identity. The conversation took place some nine months ago)

12:00 PM Me: AND i find you exceedingly level headed and honest. That’s more than I can say about the whole generation of boys I have lived with as a teacher, though some of these students have certainly been gems of the rarest kind .

12.01PM Varindaa: Do you miss teaching?
12:01 PM me: Most certainly, although I strongly feel that all I have left is formal teaching. What else am I doing stealthily with you for the past half an hour so? Subterranean 'Operation Teaching'?
12:03 PM Varindaa:-) Well...let me add that if that was the case...I hope I have learnt my lesson
12:05 PM me: In all my teaching career, I remember three students, two boys and a girl, whom I loudly used to ask never to come to my class because, as I told them, there was nothing I had to teach them. It would be enough if I could learn something from them. They were so far ahead - and not just in terms of knowledge. They were on a different planet from mine in pure wisdom, mental stature, breadth of vision and poise in personality. I feel that if I ever had the opportunity of teaching you, I would have to put you down as fourth such.

Varindaa : Wow....that is quite a compliment...one which I am not sure I deserve. After all…you hardly know me
12:07 PM And I have not exactly done things to endear myself in a manner fitting of a good student.

12:10 PM me: If you had ever been a teacher, Varindaa, you would know how lovable all students are; they look at you with such trusting eyes, and mostly we teachers betray their trust. They put their lives in our hands Their hearts beat in our bosoms, their hands are stretched out like that of a little infant reaching out for his mother. They lovingly surrender all they have, even their minds and all -- and yet we keep treating the relationship as 'just a job'. When a student is wondering how wonderful a person her teacher is, all he is thinking about how small his pay packet or how long his promotion is.
Teaching, my dearest Varindaa, is an unlimited high romance. No one who is afraid to be called a romantic fool has any business to be a teacher. All but high romantics and prophets should barred from entering any place of learning. Education is not for the wise. They do not know what to do with it, except to use it an incense in a brothel. Education is only for the possessed. It is for the “God-intoxicated people”, for the deeply committed and the deeply sincere, “for those who can afford to make fools of themselves.”

12:12 PM Varindaa: But what is pitiable is that majority of our teachers are not like that
Especially the ones in Humanities...which I studied and which specially needs teachers who are passionate about what they teach.
12:16 PM me: I would rather not call them teachers. "pedogogic workers'? The greatest asset in a teacher is not the information in his skull but the love in his heart. No one can be teacher without first being a lover. Teaching beckons you to the hearts and minds of your students, and there you are welcome as a divine guest till you let them down. I have never seen a student letting a teacher down; and I know that ten thousand out of ten thousand and one teachers fail to match the trust and love of their students. May be that is a bit cruel, but just a bit.
12:19 PM ‘to me the only yardstick to measure the collapse of a society is the manner in which teachers treat their vocation and also, perhaps as a consequence, the way the society treats its teachers.
12:20 PM Varindaa, you may have not noticed it, but i have already tried to deserve my salary as a teacher even in this relationship with you, even though that is the last thing I would want our relationship to be.
12:24 PM me: Incidentally, I was exceedingly lucky with my teachers. They were all gems, and I had a crush on them ( especially on an extremely dignified and beautiful madam who used to teach me Punjabi. A better and more noble person I am yet to meet, although she never encouraged my crush which bordered on ( in fact, crossed the bounds of worship.) Now, I am talking as a student. And this is what I meant by the purity in a student’s heart.
12:25 PM Varindaa: ha ha

Monday, July 6, 2009

Universe and I !

Because this universe was not created by my grandfather (or yours!), therefore its laws are not tailor made for me ( or you). But I have been given the option of living by these laws andstaying happy and peaceful, or trying and creating my own laws and come eternally to grief. The universe does not ask me to accept its laws - laws like the inevitability of death, aging, betrayls alongwith unquestioning love and loyalty, failure and success in the same baggage, the two cheats. This universe does not ask me to accept her turths but neither does she offer me any guarantee against the perils of my non-accpetance. She leaves me free to make an ass of myself by strutting around as pivot of all that exists. But the universe also stays clear out of the way of my happiness if I choose honesty and humility above self-defeating hypocrisy and implosive arrogance.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

SONG OF THE FLAME

SONG OF THE FLAME

( Written about someone on her return from abroad when I was about twenty or so, and that was about half a century ago!

She said my arms burn,
My heart aches, my bosom burns, my palms burn/
My head is in a swim, and legs burn, my thighs burn/
My belly is a furnace, and my lungs burn, my eyes burn./
My ears and my nape and my cheeks burn/
The desert in my soul and my oozing peaks burn./
Burn, burn, burn, burn,/
She said I burn./
Flames from her mouth leapt forth and curled,/
Round my legs and my groins and my waste,/
And in through my lips, tasted as the oceans taste./
And into my bottomless stomach were hurled,/
There for long to dance a dance/
As saints do or madmen in a trance./
The fire in her embrace drowned us in velvet dark,/
Fire extinguished fire, and all was over./
And we descended into a deathless sleep,/
That smoothed her curves and cooled her cheeks,/
And kissed the desert in her stomach and her oozing peaks./
And as we returned,
The cold corpse of the roaring flame,
Lies between us, indifferent to glory or shame.
I said “farewell” as we readied to go,
She mocked the corpse, turning to the door,
Her non-concern was a pendant in her neck.
As I gave her cheek a half-repenting peck.
In an all enveloping dark.
But the sun shot through the chinks of the door,
Flooded the room but washed us ashore.
"Oh, there was too much light, too much light./
I hid my face in her darkening hair,/
For light is what I cannot bear,/
And darkness what I cannot fight."/

She said I burn

SONG OF THE FLAME
( Written about someone on her return from abroad when I was about twenty or so, and that was about half a century ago! If you find it okay, you may please share it with the world. Otherwise, just link it to "burning" in your piece)
She said my arms burn,
My heart aches, my bosom burns, my palms burn/
My head is in a swim, and legs burn, my thighs burn/
My belly is a furnace, and my lungs burn, my eyes burn./
My ears and my nape and my cheeks burn/
The desert in my soul and my oozing peaks burn./
Burn, burn, burn, burn,/
Burn, burn, burn,/
She said I burn./
Flames from her mouth leapt forth and curled,/
Round my legs and my groins and my waste,/
And in through my lips, tasted as the oceans taste./
And into my bottomless stomach were hurled,/
There for long to dance a dance/
As saints do or madmen in a trance./
The fire in her embrace drowned us in velvet dark,/
Fire extinguished fire, and all was over./
And we descended into a deathless sleep,/
That smoothed her curves and cooled her cheeks,/
And kissed the desert in her stomach and her oozing peaks./
And as we returned,
The cold corpse of the roaring flame,
Lay between us, indifferent to glory or shame.
I said “farewell” as we readied to go,
She mocked the corpse, turning to the door.
Her non-concern was a pendant in her neck.
As I gave her cheek a half-repenting peck.
In an all enveloping dark.
But the sun shot through the chinks of the door,
Flooded the room but washed us ashore.
."Oh, there was too much light, too much light./
I hid my face in her darkening hair,/
For light is what I cannot bear,/
And darkness is what I cannot fight."/

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

price of being born

My teacher wrote to me this once during my second year at college:

Life is hard and stiff -- all said; and the price of being born is existence. one does not always get what one wants in life and there is no way to be sure if what one wants is what would be in one's best interest in the end. But one has to accept what comes and be grateful that it is no worse. That said, this is no excuse for escapism or for always not trying hard enough to accomplish what one considers worth accomplishing. The only way to be happy and peaceful is to give off one's best, work through the long day and at the end of that, retire in the quietness of the evening to one's self, throw oneself on the bed, put one's arm under one's head and go to sleep with the satisfaction that the best that could be given had already been given, and there was nothing left to give and that therefore there is no reason or use or wisdom worrying what one's efforts would translate into- success or failure. This is as true of our efforts at preserving the sanctity and bliss in human relations as of the labour in the field.

Take Tagore Simply !

Take Truth Simply /////
Rabindra Nath Tagore///
Whatever may come, my dear, take truth simply. //
Though there can be some who can love you, there will be //
Others who never can, and if you must know the cause, //
It is as much in you as in them, and in all things around. //
Some doors are closed against your knocks, while //
Your doors are not open always and to all comers. //
Such has been and for evermore shall be, and yet //
If you must have peace, my heart, take truth simply. //
There is no need to be abusive, if your boat flounders by the shore //
Though it sailed through the storm. //
Keep yourself afloat by all means; but if it impossible to do so, //
Then be good enough to sink without a noise. / /
Things may or may not fit you – it is common; //
And events may happen without asking for your leave, //
Yet if you must have peace, my heart, take truth simply. //
You press and are pressed hard in the crowd, //
But space there is enough and to spare for all in this world, //
When you have counted your losses to your last farthing,//
Your sky still remains as blue and clear as ever. / /
You find, when suddenly tested, that to live is sweeter than to die, //
You may miss this or that and that and the other, but / /
If you must have peace, my heart, take truth simply. //

me? vane?

A man once spat in the ocean and spent the rest of his life measuring the consequent rise in the water level.

melodies unheard

Rajiv Mudgil to me show details 2:52 PM (1 hour ago) Reply
AND WHAT DOES ONE DO WITH A FRIEND WHO REACTS WITH SUCH ABUNDANCE OF FEELING AND THOUGHT!
What do I do with you? I read you and there is an ache in my heart - the dim aura of mortality. Regardless of which of us survives the other, the existing together in the melting world of welled up eyes will cease.If only one could stay forever in the place of your last paragraph. Why does beauty die prematurely to appear only in our half conscious, unremembered dreams? Condemned to never have that which shows itself in a moment of glory and then plunges us into a deeper darkness of despair.

(SAID KEATS - ODE ON A GRECIAN URN)

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,

Though winning near the goal -yet, do not grieve;

She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,

For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

For ever panting and for ever young

God bless your mother.

death is piteously powerless against moments already lived

the uncertainties of life, yes. but there is also the greater certainty of immortality of every moment we live, every breath we take, every beat that resonates in our heart. death is really so piteously helpless and weak against life for it cannot take away from us even a single moment we have already lived and it can not come a minute before life decides to leave. where life is, death is not. and life keeps throwing such abundant unexpected happiness at our feet at every turn we take as we hardly know what to do with or where to keep. the immeasurable and beautifully unexpected happiness that your words fill my day with, for instance. like saying, "koi sitaare luta raha tha, kissi ne daman bichha diya." never close your heart to the sky and keep your lap always open and waiting and the universe will never tire of pouring forth its soulful beauty to fill that lap. and what gratitude will ever equal the sheer undeserved and unexpected sunshine that your words fill the mind-caves here with. and how to repay the joy that equals the delight children have when they dance naked in the rain in village streets, madly pursuing the maiden rainbow at the end. how would you feel if i tell you that you are the first one to visit me here, and your words are the virgin dew that sparkles on the page. i started the blog only last night. we are never ready for the immortal wealth that universe always insists on our accepting. in the face of such pulsating moments, even the eternal darkness of death begins to melt. be happy always. death is only a reminder of how full of life each moment is.

love and fear

Every action taken by human beings is based in love or fear, not simply those dealing with relationships..... choices involving war, peace, attack, defence, aggression, submission; determinations to covet or give away, to save or to share, to unite or to divide - every single free choice you ever undertake arises out of one of the only two possible thoughts there are: a thought of love or a thought of fear.
FEAR IS THE ENERGY WHICH CONTRACTS, CLOSES DOWN, DRAWS IN, RUNS, HIDES, HOARDS, HARMS.
LOVE IS THE ENERGY WHICH EXPANDS, OPENS UP, SENDS OUT, STAYS, REVEALS, SHARES, HEALS."

FROM "CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD" - WALSCH

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

bonus years

My mother used to say that there is a day in everyone’s life when their past is re-enacted in the minds’ eye in a lightening flash, revealing in uncanny detail all the joys and jerks, beauties and blunders, lowliness and loftiness of character and conduct through all the long years of life. (Forgive the TV induced alliterations!) That moment descended upon me last week, climaxing months and months of internalized pain over a paradise laid waste by my own follies. I stood atop a hillock watching the last struggles of a setting sun against a landscape which had suddenly turned a debris of hopes and dreams. Snatches from my past spanning moments of divinity and base desires, mystical joys and boredom born of lowly pursuits of lowlier goals like worldly fame; intense loyalties and sordid betrayals ( by me and others) – all this went racing past my mind “in a fine frenzy”. A life that started out as a romance with beauty – human and divine –seemed to flounder on the wreckage of ambitions that answer nothing but mediocre vanity. I had once stood at the same spot with an exceptionally brilliant, and more importantly, good girl whom I so much loved and respected – still do – and the landscape had sung out like a mystic in trance then. In between, there was a montage of memories of acts inspired by nothing but a desire to love and help, and be of use to those I came across, regardless of their identity and worth. (We are no one to judge who deserves our love. Everyone and everything that deserves to exist deserves to be loved, said my mother.) The sublime bliss of these moments was enough to lift the despair. But all said, life still seemed to hang out there like a fractured vision, a tapestry of wasted years and shattered dreams. No longer. In a flash, the landscape has been sorted out, transformed – suffused with the glow of love, compassion and humility. I suddenly remember that in my golden adolescent years I had been consumed by a mixture of fear and fascination for sudden, premature death. There was no way I was going to live beyond thirty five. Suddenly now, I realize that I am well past that dead-line already. I should have been gone centuries ago! With that realization has dawned another. I regard every year, every month, week, day, hour, minute – in fact, every breath as a bonus, something which the economists perhaps call “consumer’s surplus.” I now realize that the universe keeps giving us everything we seek. It keeps smiling, patiently waiting for the day when we would say, “This is enough. And all I seek now is a heart full of love for everyone I meet, forgiveness from everyone I have hurt (knowingly or otherwise) and a freedom from the self that has so imprisoned me all these years. And above all, I may stop envying those who absolutely refuse to be embarrassed by the goodness of others. And I may wait for the hour when death will walk over me without malice. Till then, life is a long, beautiful prayer in gratitude."