Sunday, January 31, 2010




"I speak from the vantage point of a couple of large scotches on the rocks and apologise for nothing that ensues.I just finished watching David Dimbleby’s ‘Seven Ages of Britain’. Being an Anglophile, I could only marvel at and admire the brilliance of David’s mind and admire his congeniality and lack of airs. This is one of the many admirations that one need not apologise for. I read your blog and sometimes it provokes me out of my indolence which, I reckon, is a condition of acceptance and surrender- without an emotion attached to either. But you incite me only to a perpetual intellectual masturbation without the prospect of a climatic orgasm. Harcharan, what in us seeks salvation, if that is what we indeed seek.? Move beyond the treachery of words. This is not a contest of wills or that whore who parades herself as intellect. It is the hunger of the soul, way beyond the etiquette of rectitude, way beyond the purist ignominy of joie de vivre. Where does our peripatetic mind lead? Do we seek and kneel in the temple of Love? But then what is love but an evocation of Beauty? Beauty indeed has to be the absolute truth. Is it?Beauty owes its existence to its unattainabilty. How can such a feeble thing as familiarity kill divine Beauty? Can you imagine the wonder, the awe, the unspeakable, overwhelming sight of a sunset to eyes that have never beheld it before? My God, it would blow your spirit away. Do you know how we see it through the car windscreen? “Look at the colours in the sky.” “Yeah. Where shall we have dinner?” It’s Prufrock measuring our lives every day of our lives. Harcharan, I have known the tremors of love. I have been where my whole being was but a trembling leaf to a single moment of eye contact with the women I loved. I have known the pain of abstinence where to touch the woman I loved was to defile her purity and beauty. Where I withdrew my hand even though the women I loved craved for it. I could not defile them. ‘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!’Can you imagine being married to a woman that you loved with everything inside your chest? Can you imagine where three months of sex with her bring you to? Your nerve ends would have withered as you turned your back and felt irritated by her need to cling on. Is there a more gruesome murder of something so divine? That such an insignificant thing as familiarity should have the power to demolish the divinity of celestial beauty is our curse.Therefore, Harcharan, the womb of death which contains the primordial seed of eternal life. Not the chicanery of words, not the perfidy of the strumpet intellect but the peace of the sanctum sanctorum which launches the storms and captures them as they return spent. Activity is not turbulence. In space there is no movement except the imperceptible movement of rotating universes. The rotation is not efferent, it is concentric moving to the still centre of the singular point which contains the ever expanding universes.‘Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd, Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone’The truth is absolute in its transience. One does not disprove another. We just acknowledge and surrender to the truths as they manifest themselves. Acceptance is acknowledgement- no more no less. Nothing more or less is required because the acceptance of a contrary truth in another moment does neither violate nor disprove the one which preceded it. EASE is a mundane but de profundis state of a mind which has known the pain of beauty one cannot blemish by laying a finger, but can let you gaze at its alluring face forever and feel the claws gripping your heart which a lifetime of familiarity cannot wane.Pray that I never approach a keyboard after a couple of scotches- for your sake and mine."

January 31, 2010 4:37


"Do we need those props like the elixir and the rocks to move away from the need to apologize and explain? The obstinate shrinking away from the eternal orgasm has been the curse of all those who always seek a wooden permanence in these orgasms, refusing to accept their movement from one climax to another as the only form of eternity nature permitted us ( for our own good!) For those who accept every moment as eternity ( as I do, for example) life is -- has always been, will always be -- an eternal orgasm, even if masturbation, intellectual or otherwise, may be the only way to reach it. I have nothing against anything for everything in the end is a child of nature, even the windscreens of Prufrock's car. (Oh, how often have I enjoyed wonderful rains or gorgeous rainbows or the awesome rising and setting of suns through the closed windows of a moving car or a bus! Recall the days when we first travelled from our college to the roots of the Himalyan foothills which take you to the valley in Kashmir! Recall the river that stretched itself into the heart of infinity at the point we enter Pathankot! And that was more than thirty five years ago! And the sight is mine to behold every time I indulge in what Wordsworth called the bliss of solitude. In fact, any time I want to indulge in the sight, I am transported to that bliss of solitude. With me, means have always followed ends!)

But I understand your acting difficult with the infinite peace and joys that spread around you and your anxiety to reduce even acceptance to a pursuit. And your description of the notes of music as mere grammar ( "play of words!") For me though, the melodies are the only truth that exist, and I do not -- and must not --look at the details of what must appear to you as the architecture of music. In this, as in many other things, we are, have always been and will always be different from each other. And thank God for this. Nature can not afford two idiots as identical twins in the same age. But I celebrate my idiocy and leave you to pine and writhe in your self-erected chambers of analysis. I do not care if love cannot bear the touch of reality, if I can not get up from the bed of a woman with the same passion that I had gone into it with. A woman is under no obligation to sustain my orgasm for ever if that's my idea of endless love! I have to pass through moments of boredom as much as through delirious zones with her and be happy that one is not the other. But nature has given man -- and woman -- the ability to live life as an endless series of orgasms and treat the whole life ( rather than a sliced moment of it ) as an act of implosion, turning themselves into fire-balls of pure self-created, self-destructive ecstasy. I am no piper of John Keats' Grecain Urn, and do not seek to freeze a single moment into eternity! That moment is one orgasm and there is no need to mourn its passing away because there will be another ( There will always be; their always has been in my life. ) I do not know if you will ever get rid of this punishing habit of intellect to mock the passage of orgasmic ecstasies from peak to peak. While I jump the peaks, you are stuck moaning their intransience, their limitedness. Like Walt Whitman, I do not care to look a moment in the eye and judge it mortal because I know the same moment will be born afresh and that these constant rebirths of a given moment are the only form in which eternity exists. I do not love one peak more than the other because I know that these are one woman in dressed in different bridal attires. Jump with me into the florid intransience of moments, jump with me into the waters which are for ever flooding our momentary streams. Do this, or sit there in Prufrock's car " with a closed window at four", cursing both the car and the rainbow that dances outside it. To me, the car is as beautiful as the rainbow is, and both are "magic casements opening on the floors of perilous seas." Its yours to be cursed with insistence on accepting reality and life on your terms and to treat each magic casement as one view-point only. While I celebrate and exult in the "contemprarneity" of each moment, each orgasm, each ecstasy, you mourn the in transience or "temporaneity" of these peaks of existence. You look at the given views as temporary; I look at each one of them as "contemporary." Hence you remain stuck as I move; to you , this life will always remain a movement from one paralysis to another, with health held eternally out only as a Muslim's promise for future. I bound from peak to peak, loving the blessed athletes and kissing the parlaytic souls along the way, for both the blessed athletes as well as the paralytic souls have faces that mirror mine. I love my dreams; you distrust your visions. (And something in you tells you that no dreams are trustworthy because they are all transient; they shall pass. Something in me loves their passing away and coming back again. Something in me loves the rapidly shifting patterns of sunlight on a rain-washed landscape. Something in me celebrates that all truths are transitory and that for each truth that passes away, a million more will be born. I see in transitoriness of patterns nature renewing itself for ever; you insist that there is a permanence, an immortality beyond this dance of moments. You insist that orgasm with your woman must last beyond the first six months of marriage. I do not pine like the piper on the Grecian Urn.

And God be thanked that we are the way we are, two Gods that inhabit the same planet, totally in love with each other and each utterly distrustful of the other's reality.
And God be thanked that I will never need those limpid glasses and dancing rocks in a glass to move beyond the need for apologizing. ( Not that I would mind a shot, but that will only be to move to another level of insanity once I am done with the one I live in.
Besides, if I join the party, you will run away from it, as you of course know ! I thank these two glasses of scotch that have so released you from your prison walls. Have two more and celebrate me!


Saturday, January 30, 2010




















(A light hearted detour into the world of the high and mighty Mughals of the Media, all in good fun)


Media Musketeers:
Oracles of Untruth ?

"Editor: a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed."
- Elbert Hubbard

People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news. - A. J. Liebling

Should the Media give up what some see as its illiterate obsession with cynicism and arrogant self righteousness, just because it can afford neither? No, because no one should give up his or her sole access to bread and butter. This, and how would you feel as a mother if your son was Tanvir Ahmad, the former Pakistani Air Chief Marshall, whose picture in a Government of India ad about female foeticide has the Indian media 'up in a horrendous cry / Such as women make when their husbands or their lap dogs die."

These are some of the inane issues I have been thinking about ever since my friends in newspapers and television decided that Tanvir Ahmad ad was the worst thing to have hit the national security since the Chinese invasion of 1962. Some of my greatest friends are from the world of journalism, all of them gentlemen and ladies, despite their profession.

This said, the media breast-beating over Tanvir's picture on a Government of India ad makes my jaw quiver on the edges of vomiting. The reaction of the nation's, indeed humanity's conscience keeper (for that's what our media likes to believe and proclaim about itself) would have been ridiculous – even hilarious -- were it not nauseating and had it not touched an issue of the profoundest import for the whole mankind. But of course, the media can , as is its wont, pat itself on its back for its 'impact', - what with the Government of India also agreeing to play ball by discovering that female foeticide is strictly a parochial issue from which the Pakistani mothers can, and indeed must be excluded.

What is the media trying to suggest? That it is alright for a female foetus to be killed in the womb if the progeny of that foetus later is going to grow up to be your enemy? Or that female foeticide would have been justified – even desirable and necessary – if we knew in advance that the female in the womb would in due course give birth to a Hitler or even a terrorist? In that case also, you end up killing Hitler's mother to save Hitler from being born! That’s really living up to the great reputation for "Indian mentality." Chor ko nahi , chor ki maan ko maaro.( Don't kill the thief; kill his mother instead, so she doesn't give birth to more thieves.) Are the ethics of the "sacred campaign against an outrage against humanity "(words of a famous journalist to describe the social scourge) limited to ensuring the birth of 'good children, guaranteed never to be our enemy'. And is the media even slightly sensitive to what the mother of the Pakistani Air Chief would be going through, reading about the moral indignation of the Indian 'intellectuals' – howling that it would have been okay from the purely human standpoint to have killed through female foeticide so that she couldn't give birth to a future Chief of Staff of an Air Force of a country inimical to India?

And who shall decide whether the girls who are eliminated before birth would become mothers of future terrorists, traitors, criminals, serial killers, corrupt government officials or politicians, or prophets of communal hatred? Or may be, despite their nationalities, an Einstein, a Lincoln or a Mother Teresa? Can a Gandhi never be born in our enemy's land?

That the Tanvir picture on an official Indian ad could have been turned into an opportunity for show-casing the country's global stature, broad vision and even moral courage and magnanimity on matters humane is no one's concern. Attributing the "Himalayan blunder" to something so unexciting as a mere official's oversight would rob the media of a great shot at cantankerous nationalism. And because it wouldn't be cantankerous, it wouldn't even be news. No one –but no one – anywhere in the media has risen up to speak the obvious: that female foeticide is not a provincial, racial or nationalist issue, not even an Asian or a global one: it is a profoundly human question, one that cuts –must cut – across geographical boundaries. It is humanity's one common agenda, other than environment. And therefore, while one may perhaps be justified in holding that Tanvir's picture could have been replaced with that of ,say, legendary Air Chief Marshall Arjun Singh, there is no justification for whipping a national(istic) storm.

But then, Pakistan is an enemy, and to be concerned about their future mothers as a part of our "human obligation" is unforgivable -- and probably not 'saleable'. Humanity begins at home and at home must it end too. I can already hear growls and see naked canine teeth of self-declared watchdogs at the mere thought of my words ever making it to the pages of a newspaper or to the "BREAKING NEWS" on some cleanly professional television channel, forcing me to resign my post and giving the media another "kill" in its proud Roll of Honour further establishing its credentials as a moral vigilante. (Some of the headlines could run like this : PAK SYMPATHISER IS BADAL'S ADVISOR - GOVERNMENT MEIN GADDAAR "BAINS KI BE-HIYAEE: ADVISOR OR A PAK SPY?" – ADVISOR KI ANHONEE BATEIN – "STANDING UP FOR THE ENEMY" – AKALI SYMPATHIES WITH KHALISTANI SPONSORS OUT IN THE OPEN: ADVISOR'S MEDIA BASHING FOR OPPOSING PAK GLORIFICATION)

Well, since I am not a professional journalist, I can not even get anywhere near thGe precision of the modern day Shakespeares. We live in an age when television is glad to translate itself literally into "doordarshan" (how close they are to reality!) And the radio till recently was the other electronic Oracle of Delphi – 'Akashvani.' But compared with the massacre of truth we watch and read everyday now, we are already nostalgic about those innocent good old days of All India Radio. We have moved into an era of the newscaster as an actor, of the reporter as a script writer (not for nothing do they call a report a 'story'!) and of the editor as a philosopher-psychiatrist-economist-physicist-professor all rolled into. It’s an age in which television reporters must look and speak like criminals, and astrology, not astronomy, must explain the events of the universe to the viewers. Astrology, palmistry, even occult, Tantrik practices and beliefs are the flavour of the season. But to be fair to the TV channels, their colleagues elsewhere follow occultism and Tantrik vision of other and more ludicrous varieties.

Tanvir Ahmad's case of course is not the only instance of the media "hounds" (how they love this expression!) performing their sacred duty towards the nation. (That's the sole reason why they are in the profession of course!) They would keep you abreast of "developments" by carrying their OB vans right inside the bed-rooms of a family whose daughter has been brutally murdered, to show you 'gory details of reality' by lingering their cameras ( or pens or laptops) for hours and days and weeks on a servant suspected of killing his aged keeper; or showing you ' every angle of truth' in a rape 'item' or by giving close ups of a murdered ninety year old lady lying in a pool of blood and , if they can find it, gore.

Meanwhile, the families, relatives and friends of the victims as well as the doctors and the police must clear the way for media musketeers for "miles of footage" of broken ribs, slashed throats, or of a stray dog eating human flesh. That's someone's idea of "feel good factor for a nation." The reporter must get at the truth and be the first one to do so and beat the rival channel by that extra fraction of an extra fraction of an extra fraction of a second. And he must make the story "exhaustive, in-depth and realistic" by getting all the neighborhood to comment on the 'character and background' of every one who could remotely feature in the "news story at this hour". And in cases involving rape or murder, he must, if unnecessary(!) "reconstruct and re-enact" the "episode."Plus, how can the viewer be allowed to remain ignorant about the fraction of a second by which one channel beats the other to the story? ("Yeh poora khualsa hai kewal "Kal Tak" ke paas") And in case the viewer has forgotten that our channel is always the first to break news, it is our duty to keep reminding him of his ignorance every five to seven minutes - even if he forgets the actual story by that time." And keep Breaking News, till it is completely broken - to pieces- and can no longer be recognized.

And as for educated reporting on sensitive issues, I am reminded of a story titled "Sikh intellectuals guided by emotion" in a highly respected national daily in January 1985. I was one of the speakers at a seminar in which former Prime Minister I.K.Gujral, Late Lt Gen J.S.Arora and journalist Kuldip Nayyar were the other participants. This was in Khalsa College, Amritsar, during the tense and frightful days following the Operation Blue star. I believed – and said – that the army's handling of the situation had been a disaster which should worry us about the professionalism of our elite units (92 army personnel had died in a single day of an operation conducted on an extremely limited and focused area, well mapped out months in advance.) I had lambasted the Government of India for allowing the situation to drift towards this calamity and using the army option much ahead of the more advisable security and political options. I had voiced the Sikh anguish and anger against the Congress Government and said that a government that rolled tanks and armoured vehicles into the holiest of the holy places of the Sikhs was never likely to have much credibility with the Sikh masses, unless it apologized unconditionally. The apology, I emphasized, SHOULD NOT BE FOR TRYING TO ELIMINATE TERRORISM AND EXTREMISSM BUT FOR DOING IT IN THE MOST DISASTROUS WAY POSSIBLE, A WAY THAT WAS BOUND TO BE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE. I said that the Operation Blue star was a "cure more killing than the desease". Events post Operation Bluestar saw militancy rising to a pitch never seen in Punjab even during Bhinderanwale days.

These observations were trashed as "militant slogans eulogizing Bhinderanwale". Wrote a seasoned reporter of a highly respected English daily for its readers: "It was not a statesman like I K Gujral or an enlightened journalist like Kuldip Nayyar who carried the day at the seminar. It was a young lecturer from the Department of Languages and Journalism in the Punjab Agricultural University who stole the thunder and swept the audience and carried the day. Taking resort to a highly militant idiom, Mr. Bains used the language of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale, questioned the Indian state's standing with his community and justified the anger of the Sikh youth indulging in killing of innocents." The reporter had forgotten to mention that I had vehemently pleaded for Hindu-Sikh unity, out rightly condemned violence, spoken with pride about Sikh patriotism, asked the community to remember that even in the political cameos, all parties except the Congress had stood by them, and that if every vote cast in favour of Rajiv Gandhi was to be seen as a vote against the Sikhs, then the votes against Rajiv must count as pro-Sikh – and by this yardstick, the country was still at the back of the Sikh community.' Despite this, almost all the English and Hindi newspapers lynched me for taking "an anti-national stand", and that too when I had repeatedly said that I am "Proud to be Indian, Proud to be Sikh" (Later I wrote an article with that title in the Tribune of Chandigarh). And I had said all this at the peak of militancy in the heart of militancy, the border belt of Punjab. (My whole speech had been tape recorded by the organizers, so I had something to back my objections against the media.)

I protested (I was young and very idealistic about the media at that time) but barring an innocuously published "clarification" in the "Letters to the editor" columns, the newspaper in question chose not to be embarrassed by the mountain of evidence against its massive – and at the time, extremely hurtful for the nation – untruths. Other papers fared only slightly less ignobly.

There was a piece I once wrote about the media atrocities during the days of terrorism. I sent it to one of the leading English dailies. It was rejected of course. Freedom of press mmust not be used agains the press, said a senior editor of the paper after reading my piece. he said he was shocked that I wrote the piece. Sensing that he was very upset, I said its okay and that I will be fine even its not published. He gave me a look of utter disbelief , " Publish it ? Of course it will NEVER be published. IT SHOULD N-E-V-E-R HAVE BEEN WRITTEN !"

(For More , visit this space space next week.)



Chehak uthe jab nannha suraj mann ke surmai aangan main,
Neem khwab se uth uth panchhi khailein soone se mann mein,
Mann umang yoon haath phailaaye, jaise sehmi shaakh koi
Aasmaan se barse pal pal, pawan nirmal raakh koi;
Mann hai ya koi peer bairagi, rahe na ban ke apna sa,
Door gagan mein pankh phailaye, khulee aankh ka sapna sa.
Ye main hoon, ya tu hai sajni, ya dono ka mail hai ye,
Kahoon phrebe-nazar isse ya kaayanaat ka khel hai ye. Idhar, udhar, har soo , har pal mein, aks tera ya tu hai ye,
Rooh Ka har kona mehakaati, awaara khushboo hai ye.
Tu bhi , main bhi, ye bhi, woh bhi , or ye sara ambar bhi,
Sagar bhi, darya bhi, galiyaan, kooche or mera ghar bhi;
Aankh ka sapna aur tarap bhi teri meri baahon ki
Hai kashsih yeh ek unkahi, bus un-dekhi raahon ki.
Tu bhi chal aakash chal raha, aur chal rahi dharti bhi,
Ik azaad sailaab sa hai tu, aur zara sa darti bhi.
Chal uth likhein naam gagan pe, tera bhi aur mera bhi.
Ek anant safar jeevan hai, par jogi ka phera bhi.
Tujh main mujh main, sabh main bikhra anjaana sa noor koi,
Har soo bikhhare roshan pal se kaise jaaye door koi

Friday, January 29, 2010


I am very happy that you have left your
teachers,undersigned included,far behind in understanding and unfolding meanings of life and living in your own wonderful way.My use of capital letters in the beginning is my acknowledgement of and tribute to your superior being.

Acceptance is ripeness and I quote Shakespeare:
'Men must endure their going hence
Even as their coming hither;
Ripeness is all'



Sir, this is unfair and makes me feel small. No student must ever be made to hear this, although every student in his early arrogance does like to hear precisely this. Long years repalce arrogance with acknowledgement of one's humble truth. And the torrent that you call a roar , you would recall, is nothing but the legacy of those years of Destiny when I was your student, when you first picked me out to pat me on my back. That day has never gone from my mind, and I have spent the rest of my life trying to build upon the love that a stranger of a teacher had showered on me on the very first day of my meeting him. Not everyone is as lucky as I was in having a teacher who insisted with me that I was good. ( And you are still doing the same thing with me, sir; neither have you given up being my teacher nor have I being your disciple. Take me in again, and teach me like you first did.Only I know how invaluable a wealth being a student of a Master is. Breaking rules and loving turbulence is what you had sowed in me; you can perhaps say that I have not allowed the plant to wither.(Or at least I have tried to keep it green and flourishing. That graduation student is still alive.) But how could I do otherwise! A superior gardner had shaped my years of learning. I am right what I was when you first told me what I had to be. - Harcharan

Acceptance and Comfort?

I know more about what comfort is not, and i love that. Turbulence of the mind- blowing kind, turbulence that leaves you shaking all over, turbulence that will smash all your long-held beliefs and attitudes, and lead you pitilessly, inexorably, irrevocably to the maelstrom of rapidly shifting patterns of events, thoughts, feelings and suck them all in at the center like a black hole sucks in light so it can never escape . by this have i existed and i invite you to taste the fatal but immortalising discomforts of living. and to know comfort for the first time.

Monday, January 25, 2010


" Acceptance does not lie in doing nothing. Acceptance is doing what comes naturally. To a bud, its gentle opening; to us, our voicing of our being. I open silently like a bud and I roar violently like a Storm -- both states are natural to me. And I accept and enjoy and celebrate both."- H. B.


Light and revelation, discovery of lands new and revisited, flashes of inspiration in the moments which defy Time, wire in the blood- all defy the serenity of what is. An all pervasive dark soothes the homogeneous Spirit. Gentle fragrance of the half open bud does not even whisper a claim to beauty, much less clamour it. It does not seek attention or admiration. It just is- an un-embellished affirmation of existence unconscious of its own beauty or attraction. This, I believe is the natural state of beings- at one with the whole, more in acceptance than in curiosity. Is it our upstart ego which craves revelations and blinding flashes of light, questions and seeks answers, asserts itself and, in the act of assertion, becomes the bubble which seeks to understand the ocean it rose from? Bright light violates the soothing pall. There is music to be felt when you close your eyes and merge the dark on either side of this body, which is but a thin layer of the darkness itself.

Rajiv Mudgil, London
25 Jan, 2010


Gentle fragrance of the half open bud". That's what our thoughts, our curiosity, our desire to clamour and our pursuit of something are. We do not exhale fragrance. We exhale our being - in a way, the bud also does the same by allowing itself to open , howsoever gently -- and our urge to give voice to whatever goes on within us is the form our exhaling takes . Therefore, I celebrate ( not that you and I have any choice) the clamour of my being as much as I celebrate " the Gentle fragrance of the half open bud." Fragrance and clamour are states of being, and neither is better than the other, nor can be. Acceptance does not lie in doing nothing. Acceptance is doing what comes naturally. To a bud, its gentle opening; to us, our voicing of our being. I open silently like a bud and I roar violently like a storm -- both states are natural to me. And I accept and enjoy and celebrate both.
JANUARY 26, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010


(To a friend whose sunshine occasionally lits up my caves)

I sing odes to immortality - immortality that will die with me. I do not want immortality to outlast me.


Truth is transient and always and only yours to keep or wear it on your sleeve. And yes, the caves are ancient, the darker the farther you go into them. Thats what caverns are all about. They are made sunny under the fleeting flashlight of experience of the moment. Thus it has been and thus shall it ever be.

I retain in me the curiosity I first felt when I glanced at this world as an infant. There is nothing in this world that you and I , and all the others we know, do not know already. And yet, I choose to travel back blindfold on trodden paths so I may feel the thrill of discovering what I already know. This world is a make-believe, I have always held, and as a make-believe, it is as exciting, as painful, as graceful and as degrading as it would be were it real. And since we have known it only as a make believe, we do not even know how it would be different were it real.

I flirt with the flashy and changing patterns of this make-believe - in the absence of anything more real. I romance its untruth and glorify its transience. For me, immortality is nothing but the pouring of the whole spacetime into a single moment- this moment.

I sing odes to immortality - immortality that will die with me. I do not want immortality to outlast me. It is mine to keep.
And what I do in the caves is self-love and self-play. There can indeed be no ove without self-love, and all the play we lose ourselves in is a self-play. Remove the self, and the stage collapses. No illusions there, except that for me, since there is nothing more tangible that exists in this world, illusions are the only reality there is.
And thanks for your wonderful insigths -- wonderful for me. I am a child and relish the play of shadows. All castles are built of sand, and as castles of sand , they are lovable.

Do not look for concrete except if you want to remain stuck in time.



Hazel's son then embarked on his long journey which would take him to the shores of oceans seen only in a half-dream. He had one last look at the trees that had been his friends in childhood and in youth, the flowers he had laughed and played with, and for whom he had sung songs of love, life and mirth; the thorns that loved his tender flesh, the birds, the winds, the mighty river and the snow-capped mountains.

He gave them all a half smile, as much as to say, "A sweet time it has been watching the million colours of the rising and the setting suns in your enchanting world. But lonely spaces and hungry voids await me. I must rise and go now on my journey beyong the speeding horizons. Every silent and still midnight, my love for you will travel towards ths world on quivering tendrils of light. There is pain in my heart at this unhappy parting but no bitterness. I have been punished for my sins and there is no more burden of debt on my soul. I depart as I came - with love in my heart."
The wind tugged at his fluttering ears and he was reminded of his journey again. Slowly, he trudged out of the little corner of the forest that had been his village. Thoughts of future perturbed him, but something within him said, "Future is nothing but your present revealed."

And he was gone
, disapperaing into crimson dust rising against the setting sun across the forest boundaries.



Said the Mother elephant to her son at last.

"Often will the unpitying violence of truth judge you in all your nakedness . Every morning will you run away from the heartless gaze of the mirror . Every day will you find it hard to look your own child in the eye because you erected an effigy where he sought an icon . And you decked that effigy to cheat your son. But children know ropes from snakes . Your voice that to an infant's ear should music have been will for ever sound like a thud of a corpse falling from heights . That is the sound of falsehood imploding. You will not be forgiven for never have you known what it means to forgive, though your vengeance always had the colors of courtesy. And your desire roamed the streets of this town in love's clothing. You learnt to spin colorful yarns and those yarns pleased you and pleased others. Do you expect that in return for a life time of rolling in the muck, you will receive even a whiff of fragrance ? The stink of carcasses fills thy soul . You will beat your breast but instead of music of melancholy, only the hollow sounds will fill the empty skies ."
But having thus spoken the truth to her dearest child, Hazel became somber and quiet . Then she spoke softly again. "And yet, " said she in almost inaudible murmur, "though you deserve none of this, you will yet be loved and forgiven because this universe knows no language other than love and forgiveness . But that love and that forgiveness will forever your crosses be till you bathe in the fountains of love that break forth from your soul ."

After this, Hazel stood there silent and pensive for a long long while . She was sad for her child whom she could not save from himself .

Sunday, January 17, 2010


The pangs of love are the pangs of childbirth, always creative and rewarding; the pain of desire is like your struggle in the throes of death, life-sapping and disastrous.


People often wonder why a sentiment as noble as love should almost always leave such a heavy baggage of pain as it does. Pain is the direct consequence of anything done against the nature of things, of any attempt to run against the course of nature. A tree hit by a force that it was not created to withstand, a tsunami of passion resisted by its object, a stone thrown upwards to fly for ever, forgetting the laws of physics and gravity.It will fall back and disintegrate. In short, anything that goes against the laws of nature. And love is in the very nature of things. So why should it cause pain?

Pain is the emotional recording of a distortion caused in the quiet environs of a mindspace. That distortion is caused by the insistence of one object – one person – to occupy a space already occupied by another object – another person--, not necessarily by displacing it but by merging with it. That is not permitted by the laws of nature – or of physics for that matter. An accident and the pain that follows it is nothing but the attempt of two objects to be in the same space at the same time. Not done. So one or both of them will have to smash and suffer. In what generally passes for love, we tend to place the “self” where some body’s else self already is, and submerge that altogether. That is immediately resisted and rejected by the other “self”, leading to what we call “clash of egos”. It is strange that such a clash should occur at all in a sentiment that takes pride in surrendering ego. But more of that later.

Even an object moving in on an empty space causes a distortion in that space. Pain is the name we give to that distortion. But in laws of nature, as in the laws of physics, the distortion caused by the object results in gravity or pull or, in human affairs, desire or ‘love’. This distortion –and the pain thus caused – creates a vacuum around itself, and nature does not permit any vacuums. No sooner is a vacuum created than something or the other .rushes in to fill it. The rushing-in is caused by what appears to be gravity or attraction towards the object where it is in fact a fulfillment of nature’s urge to fill the vacuum. All attraction –gravity --is caused by the distortion in mindspace which the forceful presence of a magnetic persona creates around itself. Objects tend to fly in to fill that distortion – or are sucked in by the vacuum caused by that distortion.

The fact is that love never leads to pain as we know it, because love is never an attempt to submerge the other (the beloved) or occupy the other’s place in the universe by displacing or submerging it. Love is endless yielding, an infinite surrender -- the only one known in nature. Love is never the result of attraction, though it may initially appear to have been caused by it. That is where love is so different from desire even while the outer accoutrements of the two look identical.

Pain is an off spring of desire, never of love - because while love is a movement towards endless giving, desire is an equally endless and shameless movement towards ‘taking’. Love is ever pleased to be possessed; desire is nothing but a hunger for possession. Desiring a woman is no different from desiring a kingdom or a treasure of gold – well even desiring another’s clothes. Loving her is the first step towards giving up that Kingdom and the treasure of ego. ‘Giving’ never leads to pain, but giving with an expectation for a return always will. That is there is no pain greater than that of unrequited love – except if it be the death of a loved one. Love only prays for its object to be. It inspires sentiments of the noblest kind: “Khilaao phool kissi ke, kissi chaman mein raho – Jo dil ki raahon se guzri hai who bahaar ho tum.” Desire always wants its object in its grip and cries aloud when that slips out of grasp. Love needs no reciprocity; desire always does. Therefore, while love will always be happy to spread happiness, desire will always be seeking it. Love is always fulfilled because it is self-fulfilling ; desire is never fulfilled. Love is a self-assured emperor: desire is a beggar and a shameless thief. It will steal where begging won’t do. Love is the radiation of the sun – needing no excuse to illuminate its surroundings. Desire is a black-hole - sucking in everything in its range and yet craving for more. A black hole will never be filled even if the whole universe were to fall into its ravenous stomach, because it is in from one end, and out the other. Love’s bliss lies always and only in the act of loving – and begins and ends with that. The joys of desire are always a slave and begin and end with the whims of circumstance.

When you experience pain the next time you are in a relationship, put yourself through a simple test. See if that relationship is an ode to bliss , or does it resemble an outcry of pain. If it is only pain you experience in a relationship, never befool yourself that it is the pain of love. It would always be the pain of your wanting love to answer your description of it. It would always be the pain of a desire thwarted. It would always be the result of a failure of desire to masquerade as love.

But be careful. Desire is a clever impostor ; it would cry out like a child outraged, an innocence raped. That is why your desire would often resemble love – and resemble it very closely.

That said, love is no stranger to pain. The difference between the pain which love experiences and the pain which is a progeny of desire is simply this: love is content and even proud to pass through pain and transcend it, lending it meaning to enrich itself and everything else around it. Desire always rolls in its own filth, kicking its legs in vacant space and always pressing its hands against the bottomless pit that is its belly.

The pain of desire can never have any meaning. Desire is a dyspeptic cobra, fuming even at itself for its failures; love is a nightingale, happy with itself and with filling the valleys with endless songs. If its only pain you experience in a relationship, and that pain refuses to cleanse you, consider your feelings carefully and look for vipers hiding somewhere in your lap. But if it is a pain that constantly leading you towards and understanding of both pain and happiness, accept it both hands, for in the end, it will fill you with peace and enrich your soul. Others have accepted that pain before you – uncomplainingly. Some names come to mind; Jesus, Buddha, Nanak, Meera, Kabir, Mansoor. Loving is endless enriching; desire is deathless impoverishment, feeding on itself and on everything it surveys.

The pangs of love are the pangs of childbirth, always creative and fulfilling; the pain of desire is like your struggle in the throes of death, life-sapping and disastrous.



It is easier to change your past than your future. In fact, you can only change your past. How can you change something that has not even happened yet ? Napolean changed the past of France but was powerless against its future. Gandhi changed India's past, Lincoln America's, Bismark Germany's and Lenin and a few others Russia's. The past of these countires no longer reads as it had done before these great men ( and women in some other cases) did what they did.

But future? They were all defeated . Bismark's Germany disintergrated and so did Lenin's Soviet Union. Is India today what Gandhi would have been proud of ? Racism is still an issue in Lincoln's America -- despite an Obama who won as much inspite of his being a non-White as because of it.

And Jinnah gave Pakistan a past it never had before him. But the Qaid-e-Azam may be turning in his grave looking at how his state has surrendered to obscurantism. And neither Gandhi nor Jinnah could even influence their personal future. Jinnah -- having started out as a genuine ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity -- ended up being the founder of a theocratic nation. Gandhi insisted on starting his morning discourses with Hindu prayers -- unitelligible to his Muslim admirers -- and yet is called the father of a (secular) nation.

Future is your dicey damsel who, no matter how attractive she be and how profoundly you love her, refuses to surrender to your grasp; your past is like your mother -- always there and always willing to change for your sake. Future is not even there to answer either your prayers or your commands. Past is always hanging there , available for reconstruction, reinterpretation and reinventing. Look what Shiv Batalvi did to Luna, changing her postion in our past . All great men have changed the past of their people, and only this change in the past has in some way been able to win the favours of future, persuading it change itself to fit more naturally into its past. If you succeed in life, you would also change the past of this country -- and may be the future of the planet, hopefully.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bijliaan hain ya chanchal Titliaan

Pawn deewani ren ka ghoongat ode ke,
man kiranon se karti aankh micholian;
Bijiliaan girteen bun chanchal titliaan,
kiranain jaise khelain mun sung Holiaan.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


"To the flames of holy fire was Meena consigned. "

A short story

(Written on return from Mukatsar Janaury 13, 2010, after a telephonic conversartion with Meera.
Today the world celebrates Lohri , the festival of flames. Lohri, Chritsmas or Diwali -- a nightingale sings herself to death every holy day.

And every holy day, a song emerges from the heart of her flames to make the day holy.)

" Assee kachchi umrai sara dard handhaa baithe,
Saade Joban de layee dard kunwara hor dio" - Shiv Batalvi

(In my tender age, did I exhaust all my share of pain,
For my youth now, let more virgin blood rain.) - Shiv Batalvi


Meena, the nightingale, had once flown over a nearby city and felt sad that it had a desert for its heart. The denizens of the city could neither sing nor smile nor dance nor love nor give. She decided to fly out of the jungle at night to fill the heart of the city with music and joy. Hardly had she flown out of the forest when she was lost, some said for ever.
The city hit her with a thousand shrieks of speeding cars and other vehicles, confused and confusing. She could not understand why everyone seemed in such great hurry, why the city was so impatient, restless and running in all directions in search of it knew not what. She saw little boxes that blared out sounds to the beat of drums with some folks billowing breath into split reeds. Some young boys and girls even seemed to be dancing to these sounds. Could these sounds be the music of the city? She wondered, and felt a little guilty that she could not understand or enjoy the music of the learned. It seemed so different from the music she had heard the winds and the river sing. The river and the winds never went to school, she thought, and nor had she. Could her song and the songs of the river and the winds and the moon have been more pleasing if they had gone school? She wondered, but then decided not to think any more about it. Something inside her said that though the sounds of the city were indeed music, it was music she could not enjoy. “May be, this is because I have not been taught to enjoy music,” she thought, but something inside her continued to say that music could not be taught, that it was like the winds that blew, the river that flowed, the flowers that blossomed without the need of learning.

The nightingale fell in love with young and old in the city. She loved children in particular because she thought they were like her – happy and illiterate. But they could sing. And they could smile and they could share the little they had. But they didn’t know the difference between a scorpion and a cockroach, not even the difference between a scorpion and a wild flower. To one totally unaware of the wisdom of the city, there was something vaguely similar in every sound that nature produced, in every form that one could see.

But the city was run on the learning of its wise - - cities always are -- wisdom which children and birds and flowers, animals, lovers and saints are not destined to see.
The Nightingale loved chrysanthemum and roses and lilies and lilacs. There was not a flower that blossomed in the flower-beds in the backyards of the city houses that she did not fall in love with. By night, she was in love with moonlight as much as she was in love with the glorious sun during the day. She loved the season when trees laden with fruit filled every garden and she loved fruit which had replaced delicate and beauteous flowers of spring.

Soon, flowerbeds in the city began to dislike her forays into the wild forest that stretched to the east. And they began to talk. And the city flowers began to deride her for her love for fruit. Before long, almost every soul in the city and the forest that lay nearby began to accuse her of being an opportunist, a selfish and greedy seeker of pleasures of the palette, eye and ear. She was dubbed a rake, and charged with seducing tender daisies of the town, daisies for whom she had sung lullabies at night.

In a huddle at midnight, the city decided to call the nightingale to a dark corner and subject her to judgment of city’s wisdom. During the trial, she was charged with misusing her songs to seduce the children of her hosts – city roses, city chrysanthemums, lilies, daisies, lilacs and sunflowers all. She was charged with seducing flowers of tender age, misusing her show of friendship with their parent plants.
In particular, said the city elders, she had driven a young passion flower to insanity by misleading him into believing she loved him whereas she was out merely to exploit his passions.
The nightingale remained quiet during the trial. She knew what she was being punished for. And she believed that she had been led into the city by a destiny she could not understand but a destiny that always knew what it was doing.

In less than ten minutes, she found herself pronounced guilty of all the charges brought against her. She was sentenced to be burnt alive while in song. The city papers ran front-page stories on how justice had been done and how the city’s moral life had been saved by the city’s elders. They hailed it as "media impact", each newspaper prefixing the word impact with its own name: Times Impact, Timeless Impact, City Times Impact, Vernacular Impact, Me Impact, Us Impact etc.
The city – and everyone in it – had reason to sit round the fire to warm their hands as the day was the day of the holy fires.

To the flames of this holy fire was Meena consigned. No one saw her fluttering her wings or making any effort to escape. They said she was too ashamed to live or to try to escape.
Meena closed her eyes as flames of the holy fire crackled round her wings. In less than a minute, she was gone, a flame with other flames.

The city rejoiced that its religion and its morality had been saved from a diabolical danger. The elders told everyone to learn from the example of the sinful Meena.

Only the children were not convinced. Children can not distinguish between a scorpion and a flower. But every afternoon, a flame is seen going up into the skies from the heart of the city. Some say the flame resembles a song, while others say it’s like a prayer of a mad seer.
The city elders know, as only they can, that the flame is a hallucination of sick childish minds.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Neither the cozy warmth of a lap
nor the honeyed suckle of a
love ripened lip
nor some innocent daughter's
trusting silken arms,
But a thousand
stealthy snakes
filled my night
with the hiss of death.

but at dawn, honey droplets from a dewy voice
come from heavens, sucking
venom from my throat
commanding the onset
of a new dawn, a new day
a new dream, a new life.

I shall obey...............

where sun goes bounding like a tennis ball

(One more)

OCTOBER 20, 2005


I have rolled my sun
towards you to wish you good morning
as the day here begins to wrap its
cloak to give way to another night.
The sun looks longingly at the footprints
it will leave to retrace its journey
next morning.
My West is his new East, and yours.
And your West will be his new East again, and mine.
So will this plaything amuse us kids
bounding like a tennis ball
from one East to another West, and
turn that West into his East.
So is the sun always rising
at some point or place, which is forever East.

I sit here on the parapetts
satisfied that like the sun,
I have not paused even a second
in my march forward
and how lovely that
my sweet weariness will melt
into thy sweeter freshness.......



George said...
Hey shobhaa im forced to ask you one question.Who is ur favorite actor/actress at the end of the day.???who according to u is a hero and if u would make any film what would the theme be based on???
January 13, 2010 12:38 AM

harcharan bains said...
what innocent questions! if our poor ms. de knew anything about films, would she be writing about them ? writers, such as ms. de, know as little about films as journalists do about politics, psychologists about loving or geographers about travelling. as the saying goes, those who can, do: those who can not , criticise. i know i am slightly misquoting the saying but i am not missing the meaning in doing so.
January 13, 2010 12:49 AM

George said...
Its sometimes stupid when a good movie is forced to be called bad because of our so called comments on it.



novmber 9,200y

Good morning, gentle one!

And like a
cloud lifting wind,
all the remnants of nights’ tyranny
revealing a rainbow of love
faith and truth
take me back on a pilgrimage
to forgotten zones,
where beauty walks
with steps coy but firm in faith
and love walks free from fear
of daggers and of cloak.

Take me
where lilacs are in full bloom,
and where fragrance mocks
fear, pain and pangs of doubt
and where mornings pray all day,
mocking the night and its nightmares ......



november 9, 2005


Good morning, because
dawn like my hopes has waited
all night at your door -
Like a soul pregnant with fragrance
of fresh toiled fields
in forgotten, far-off childhood lands
The dawn, with a sparkle in her eye
reflected in the dew on her lip ,
or on the
white rose petals in a distant garden,
has stood at your door ,
afraid to knock, not because
you may not answer, but
because you certainly will.
there is so much peace
in standing at the door when you know
the knock will always be answered.

And those fragments of a dream that lay bleeding
in dingy lanes yesterday,
now form a pattern and a lyric
of love that lost, and of love that,
through losing, won.......

Monday, January 11, 2010

To home and everywhereness............


November 9,2005

( Written for one who shed her blood to turn nightmares into dreams)
good morning to you because you have altered the daily cycle of the sun to make it morning
everywhere and always...

I m on my way already
and streching far and wide
on either side.....
the dew on the grass awaits
the maiden kiss of dawn
to melt and be lost in the
golden shower from the skies!
This is your hour o princess of hearts
for your love and prayer
are pregnant with faith and feeling,
with one soft stroke
devouring shadows of death.
The bells around the bullocks necks merge
with the stream of divine
melodies from His abode
and run playfully towards a horizon
that lifts it arms to let them pass
to home and everywhereness............

Days pile up like stinking carcasses

NOVEMBER 5, 2005
Days pile up like stinking caracasses
one upon the other,
Filling a palid sky with death's odour.
There was a time when
These days had come rushing like
Playful children eager to greet
My moments with streamers and kites
My days then had dreams for wings
And hopes for wheels.
Then suddenly I found
The God of this valley lay dead
His limbs cut and sold
And bought and cooked
And then
Served on the table
For strangers to eat


but i must go now and
cry till every morsel of flesh
wakes up to become a giggling child,
and their babble drowns out
the noise of hymns
and the vale is overflowing with
of child kingdom
where no commandments
stifle the songs of nightingale!

Seducing a daisy in a Godless heaven

Nov 5, 2005
Only moments ago
I saw a lily white innocence
turn into a blazing sword
to send swarms of green vipers
to their godless heaven!
and i saw a cool shaft of moonlight
mow down demons of stinking darkness
for seducing a daisy........

Killing the man to reverence his memory

January 11. Today was the 44th death anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri, the man who died embracing peace in Tashket after he had won the war at Icchogil, Khemkaran, Chhamb Jorhian and Akhnoor. The man who gave the country the slogan Jai Jawan Jai Kisan. There is not a single line in the media to remind us of his anniversary. This is the media that wouldn't forgive me if I forgot to send the Chief Minister's message of homage to Sant Longowal or even a lesser leader on their anniversaries. Is Lal Bahadur Shastri -- the "common man's hero whose memory will always continue to inspire us", as a newspaper editorial had commented a year after his death -- finally dead and gone with that memory.

To love or to like ?-- that is the question !


Ms. De, if you could only explain to us what you believe is the difference between "loved" and "liked"! Anyone who is unduly concerned about being unable to "love" a movie which he or she "likes" perhaps needs to know that movies or stuff such as that is never meant to be loved -- except if you happen to belong to a yuppy class who "simply loves" a certain brand of perfume or a pizza or a pepsi or a motion picture. To us Godforsaken folks, Ms. De, it is obvious why we would like your or anybody's writing without having to love it -- and yet mean no offence.
As for three idiots -- which i haven't seen as I haven't many other movies which may be "likeable or lovable" -- all I can hope is it continues to divide our country as all trivial things do, providing chatters and pen-pushers opportunity to show case their occult art of splitting non-existing hair. And I pray that between a Chetan Bhagat and an Amir Khan falls a shadow(shadow-boxing?)which may be infinitely more engaging than the movie itself - at least for those who insist that a movie is good only if they are able to 'love' it; simply liking wouldn't do. And forget that one can immensely like Shakespeare and Tagore and a film called Guide without having to love anyone of them in order to invest them with greatness. Is there a word in the English language spelt as " w a f f l e"? And what does it mean ?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Said the sun to the traveller

There is anguish in your voice and there are dark shadows around your eyes. This voice was given to you to sing songs of love and of joy. These eyes were your windows to boundless glory. There is deadwood where your heart was meant to be. These are the left overs of a life fatigued in chasing a mirage. Your legs are weary taking old mirages for new and endlessly chasing the vanishing panorama. Come, sit in thy own shade. There is no tree here but one that in your own heart has begun to sprout. There is no shade but thine own. With your own sacred blood will the plant of your life be watered. You chase love and think that you are falling in it. All chasing ceases once you fall in love - fall in love; do not fall to desire. But your eyes are tired and your head is heavy. It is, you feel, the begining of a long night. But do not despair. There is a season of flowers that waits for your soul to become a bed. Lilacs will bloom where the carcass of your empty dreams now lie. And light from the dawn of a fresh daring will fill the darkling crevices in your soul's valley. Plant a little sapling of a love reborn - of love that grows on the other's happiness, and of love that is happy to be. On your bosom will blossom a million chrysanthemum. And each flower will blossom into a million dreams. Each dream will free you from the desert chase. Put your trust in your dreams. Dreams are the only stuff worth living for; there is nothing to life except dreams -- dreams fulfilled and dreams unfulfilled. Anyone who shirks his dreams shirks his life.

Snake and the nightingale

Said a nightingale to a snake: "There is a little poison in my heart. When its pain stings sharp, I sing and feel light as a feather. Why do you never sing?"
A cuckoo heard the nightingale, smiled and said, "Snakes have no ears and he can't hear your words."
The nightingale became pensive and said to hersel,"How sad he can't hear my songs. There is no music in his life." And she wondered if that was why the the snake had to live with so much poison in his soul. "I must find some way to help him sing," she said, and the melancholy in her song filled the valley.
The snake slithered into a dark hole. This saddened the nightingale even more. The valley reverberated with her pain all night. In the morning, the sun searched every branch, but the nightingale had disappeared. Said a little flower to the sun,"She has gone to some unknown valleys to get some music for the snake who lives here."
"Amen !" said the sun, and went about his work.




Never will a foot-hill stone experience the glory of lofty peaks

MEERA: I am amazed at how you accept pain! ... So easily.. so welcoming... as if you wait for it to make you go beyond yourself ..Pain, like you said, is the doorway ... and "Don't get stuck in the doorway, though, " you had said.
ME: Yes, pain purifies, but having purified, it must leave our spirit feeling lighter. Pain is a welcome guest who must always be loved with an open heart and be welcome with open arms. As a good guest, pain must inspire us to do up our home and then leave us without overstaying its welcome. I already find that you have discovered new depths in your pain and that is why your love has become an incense using up your blood to burn longer to lit up brighter the darkest corners of your soul, your life and your whole universe
MEERA: Yes, you are right. I talked to that man yesterday… that was after several months. He was exceptionally rude … .... For the first few minutes, after I put the phone down, I had a very strong urge to kill myself. .. Then, I don’t know from where I heard a voice telling me that this is not something I am hearing for the first time. All that he said I had already known… He has merely given it words .. I also heard myself telling me that my love had nothing to do with the behaviour of this person .. and that I am only being “threshed” like Rumi said we are threshed….. I have sent what I think are some good, positive messages …I do not care how he receives those. I think I am on the path which will make my love totally independent of him
ME: I am saddened but not at all surprised at what you tell me.. One shouldn’t have to reach happiness through so much pain. But that’s how it is and that’s how it must always remain. Your love is all yours; it has nothing to do with whom you love. Its object is a mere accident of time or history in your life. You have so much love in your heart you were never going to carry it back with you to another world . It had to lose itself on some lucky son of God or the other here. And you are no one to decide who that son was or is going to be. It happens to be this one and you think it is because of something about him ; it might as well have been someone else, someone just the opposite of him. And that would have made no difference to the intensity of your love. The clouds have to unburden their bosom; the landscape that receives the rain is a mere accidental beneficiary. Your love , I repeat, is all yours and its object a mere accident.. The object is always much smaller than the range and sweep of love that gives it relevance. That pitiable fool will never get you because he is merely a stone you have chosen to step on to reach sublime and dizzy heights within yourself. These are heights he is destined never to see, much less climb; and never will he regret his loss because never will the foot-hill stone experience the glory which belongs only to lofty peaks. We love the stones – you and I – and we should. But march on you will towards the peaks that playfully beckon you from afar. Do not tarry. Shed a tear for the stone because you could not take it with you to the peaks. You were never meant to take a stone , however beautiful , to the peaks, because it will only be a burden and will slow down your journey to your destined heights. Reach the peaks and then turn to cast a glance at the stone. From those heights, it will look so tiny and petty . And you will pity it for it knows not what it feels like to tire one's body to experience heights. You will pity the stone, but you will thank it for being a stepping stone in your pilgrimage. This gratitude is the fruit of the love that sprouted in your bosom. Now it has become a fruit. You can not reject the fruit just becasue you loved the flower. To bear fruit, a tree must sacrifice even the most charming flower it proudly brings forth . And a fruit is a mere shell for a seed. They all go so that the cycle of life is not halted. Said Shakespeare : 'Ripeness is all.'

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


"I was busy living all the while, and living with a fire in my heart and in my belly that roared unabashedly in broad daylight in public parks and squares-- a fire that lit up my whole horizon. It is still there though the red flames are now turning blue and even white, an indication perhaps that the fire in me has reached the extremes of temperatures and can only transform into a superior form of energy from here."

EXTRACTS FROM A CHAT WITH AN OLD INTELLECTUAL FRIEND (Name of the friend changed to hide his identity as this is being posted here without seeking his prior consent)
11:16amS. P. G.
It is such a pleasent surprise to see your name on my screen board!!
11:16am Harcharan
I thought i was there for sometime now. good to see you here.
I never expected you to be approaching me for any corrections as between us whatever we do is always correct !!~
11:18am Harcharan
just that i wanted to make sure you do visit the blog. but what do you do these days, apart from your profession?
Any way, after gaps for long, there are ways of finding excuses to reconnect !
some reading, some thinking, and less writing !!
11:19am Harcharan
Gaps never divide good souls and no excuses ever unite bad ones.
11:20amS. P. G.
very wellsaid !
11:21am Harcharan
I am excited about this thinking stuff. how do you manage to do this. i have tried and failed for nearly fifty years.
11:21amS. P. G.
still the gaps in time and space have to be managed !!
I never tried ! That is one reason that I co0uld never fail;
You got into using your thinking skills in the public domain, you did it very well ! I have always respected you for doing it so well.
11:24am Harcharan
I must say you are lucky that you did not try. I tried because i was never satisfied with the thoughts that came to my mind. Finally I gave up. and found that feelings and instinct are more reliable as friends than thoughts could ever be.
11:26amS. P. G.
I was always in the public domain in a manner of speaking, but remained an individual, maintaining a distance. I think that worked well for me.
11:28amS.P. G.
You are very right, instincts and feelings precede thought and survive thought, the only trouble is that all articulation and sharing takes place in thought !!
11:30amS.P. G.
For example, we are together because of the feelings that we have shared and sought to bring us together for long, in many ways unspoken and unsaid any where !
May be I am getting nostalgic about the moments that we spent together !
Are you around ?
11:32am Harcharan
I have enjoyed being in the public domain because it never involved any thinking or giving even one percent of me to the job. It is so hollow and meaningless that any class ten student can do it with eyes shut, and i did that too. and enjoyed it because it left nearly ninety percent of me alone to myself. And I used that as I wanted to. I always believed that no one had a right over my sanctum sanctorum, my spirit and my free-wheeling persona. And I was never willing to surrender my right to think freely even if I knew that my ability in that direction was not worth much. Thinking was never important to me but right to think always was. As for articulation, who really cares as long as one can afford to live through instinct. i have never laid much store by things like intellect, thoughts or their articulation. They come a dime a dozen in the market. There are sellers and there are buyers of that stuff all over. But feelings and instinct are not up for sale.

I was always overawed by your learning and intelligence and always thought it fit to place my offerings to your gifts without entering that awesome temple. One reason for this could have been my own lack of education and learning and the other my knowledge that sharp intelligence was not one my assets. Nature had endowed me with a heart that throbbed at the sight of every flower and I knew then that I was born to live my life out in the garden, drinking its fragrance, living in its stunning shades, walking through it to the eternal forests and to the inviting mountains, singing as I walked and walking as I sang. I did that to my heart's fill and cannot thank god or nature enough for the grand pulsating drama that life has always been to me. I had really no time for thinking and even less for articulation. I was busy living all the while, and living with a fire in my heart and in my belly that roared unabashedly in broad daylight in public parks and squares-- a fire that lit up my whole horizon. I am still there though the red flames are now turning blue, an indication perhaps that the fire in me has reached the extremes of temperatures and can only transform into a superior form of energy from here.
I believed with all my heart that it did not require much intelligence for anyone to pass for some sort of a success in this world, intelligence just enough to make both ends meet and satisfy the vanity of some of those I was destined to live with. I am glad that I have been able to do that and have still not lost the gift of laughter. I have laughed my way through life and cried through it. Unbearable pain has been as much mine to share as has been unspeakable happiness. But in both cases, I have felt blessed that I could travel the whole distance from extreme to extreme. And were I to die tomorrow and confront God on the side of the horizon, I would have no complaints, no regrets, no desires left unfulfilled; just plain gratitude and bliss. Gratitude because this world is so full of goodness and of wonderful people; and bliss because finally the journey has not left me tired and bored. I knew at the beginning of my career that politics was not my cup of tea, but I knew too that it would make no demands on whatever little talents I had. The very little that I had would suffice, and it did. I am grateful that it never insisted on being a jealous mistress. If it had, it would have been terribly disappointed, for like Einstein, I was never born to be horse for a single harness. Unlike Einstein, though, I did not have the firepower to change this world for better or worse. But then, I am not sure if he, with all his supernatural gifts, was a happy man in the end for having made the difference that he did. He spent the last years of life trying to undo much of the "change" he had himself earlier allowed his work to bring about on this planet. This is not to imply that Einstein was not a God, but I would rather be a happy human being than a distressed deity.

Words are the choreography of dreams


"The lover always knows best, always has more insight than the combined wisdom of the saint and the scientist because his knowledge is based neither on dead detail nor on mere perspective. But respect a saint whose religion is love -- a Meera, a Nanak, a Jesus , a Gautam , a Mansoor. They have known love as we have known love but, unlike us, they have also known what lies beyond love. Beyond love lies a bliss to which only love provides access."

Words always romance a dream and they dance to the choreography of mind of a writer and his reader alike. Words are like children, born of mother but playing their childhood out with father. You are as much a part of dance as the dancer is . And a hand, like the one that sent out un-ending reams of cloth to a Draupadi in distress, always sends out invisible commands on tendrils of light and energy to the dancer and the writer. The same tendrils connect a writer and his reader, and a dancer and his inspiration, a flute and its tune, a Meera and her muse. We are all little ponds of glow that have broken away from an ocean of shoreless light. And we have memories that we do not trust, memories of a mist that overhangs these shoreless oceans. Our breaking away from those oceans must been wrapped in some mysterious pain. The pain of breaking away or the sharper pain of internminable separation becomes an urge for re-uniting; that urge is the force of gravitation that pulls everything towards everything else, and everything to the centre of the universe. (Quite another matter though that no one knows where the center is, and also that the centre is where you happen to be standing at any point of time.) The whole universe is a mere play of that urge of fragments to reunite. Call it gravitation, energy or force, or what you will. That awesome urge can not contain itself and therfore keeps breaking itself up into parts, a full-glorious playboy at Brij Dham and a sublime Meera drunk on high romance being just two of those fragments. They yearn to merge back into each other and then together into the vast ocean of light from where they emerged, and then sink to its center, there to swim blissfully for ever, till another breaking up sends them out on a new sojourn of discovery of what they already know. Life and the whole existence, this whole universe that we see or the energy that we do not see --all this is a mere montage of yearning taking diferent forms , an endless yearning expressing itself in countless and countless forms. That gives the whole self-contained panorama an appearance of motion whereas , at the heart of this motion, is peace and stillness -- peace, not death-like but peace that is pulsating and happening -- because things are moving as much away from the centre of the universe as into it. Every scientist who has observed this universe will tell you this, and every saint who has had a vision of vastness of life will tell you this too. But anyone who has ever been in love needs no saint or scientist to come and tell him or her this. The lover always knows best, always has more insight than the combined wisdom of the saint and the scientist because his knowledge is based neither on dead detail nor on mere perspective. But respect a saint whose religion is love -- a Meera, a Nanak, a Jesus , a Gautam , a Mansoor. They have known love as we have known love but, unlike us, they have also known what lies beyond love. Beyond love lies a bliss to which only love provides access. The pangs of love are sacred; even more sacred is the bliss that flows from understanding which only love can bring. Blessed are the blind who can love without wanting to be loved back. Blessed are the blind because only they know that it is not necessary to know someone in order to fall in love; it is necessary to love someone in order to know someone. But even knowing someone is not the reason we fall in love. The only reason to fall in love is to fall in love -- as if there could indeed be any other reason for losing yourself into so noble and divine an experience of living as only love can give us ! Love is proud to be irrational, proud to smile at the petty vanity of reason. Love knows no reason, or needs to know none.
The dance and the divinity of words flow from the vision of one who is willing to be blind in love. Those who insist on seeing, on ‘checking it out’ can not be lovers; they can at best be traders who must have the value of their goods exceed or at least equal the price they pay for it. Love cares not for the price tag, for it is willing to stake all without wanting to take all. Love’s candle feeds on love; the more it burns the more it illumines, and the more it illumines, the more it renews itself. The candle of love feeds on its own light; more the burning, greater the light, and longer its life. A loveless heart knows neither light nor joy nor the dignity of pain, while a lover’s heart seeks out pain, and in doing so conquers pain. In conquering pain, it enters the realm of bliss which those afraid of pain dare not hope for. Do not enter the kingdom of love if you are not willing to pay its taxes – I said it before and say it again and will say a million times again – but do not pay love's taxes if you are seeking royal favours out of doing that. Pay taxes anyway, and you will have peace and you will have bliss.
The candle of love feeds on its own light; more the burning, greater the light, and longer its life.

Monday, January 4, 2010



As the rivulet danced down the reflective hills,
And soft breeze blew quietly through the love-lorn trees,
She bounded up the hill
A million prayers aching on her half-open mouth,
Her lips drenched in songs dropping from clouds,
A million dreams danced across her somnolent eyes,
Dreams that carry memories from far-off landscapes,
Mists of melodies round her waist weave a wreath.
She is the valley’s own daughter, reared on autumn’s early fruit,
Ripe, succulent, like her.

Expectations others have of us are a burden to the weak, but an impetus to the brave.

Love may not be God,
but it’s the only language He speaks.

This kind of response can only help one be aware of the vast gap between the expectations one's words can raise in others and the strength one needs to meet those expectations. But looked at differently, the expectations others have of us are a burden to the weak but an impetus to the brave and the gifted. The days to come will unfold which I category I belong to. For the moment though, I must confess to an experience of being equal to God ( which all of us are) and of being transported to heights from where even God can be smiled at patronizingly. I can not lay any claim to saintliness but, yes, I am Love - every bone, pore and breath of my being. And so is everyone I know, and everyone knows it, except that ( may be) love enacts its own playful and naughty games before it blesses you. Those who think there are things in life more important than love are yet to be blessed by the glow of life. Even a grave, if it could speak, would refuse to accept a man with a loveless heart for a grave a resting place only for those who have toiled, sweated and enjoyed the sweet labour of love. A grave is the final abode of the living, not of those who were always dead.
But then, there is no such thing as a loveless heart on earth; there are only those who are afraid to pay the wages of love. And they are afraid because they have not experienced the joys of endless giving, the greater joys of being able to make fools of themselves, of being cheated with willing consent. Do you think the saint who pretended to be asleep while his guest stole his only blanket at night was being foolish ? If yes, I pray to whatever power there is above us to grant me the courage to make a fool of mysel like this. Giving is the music that love produces at the merest touch; and love itself is the symphony of all creation. Love is God and his Creation lost in a duet. ( Okay, not love but energy, and not His creation but simply matter, if you prefer !) Love may not be God, but I do not anything else that is. And love may not be God, but it’s the only language he speaks. Love -- boundless, untrammeled, unconditional, unspoken yet sung aloud: that is the language He speaks. Said Guru Nanak :"Bhaakhia bhau apaar" (Only Love that transcends all limits is the language He speaks).
And do I need assistance to write a book? A book is the collective energy of the writer and everyone and everything he has known and experienced. A writer is like mother: his pregnancy is through someone else -- some "one" or many others. But if I produce a book at this mental age, wouldn't I be a child mother! Don't I need to grow before I can have a progeny clinging to my bosom for milk of life!


We are all greater than what we know, Chitleen, and those whom we consider great have merely proved it before us. But obviously , they did not do it to prove anything to anyone. They were perhaps trying to give an expression to the limitless volcanoes of love or life that their little bosoms could not contain and had to release. There is nothing to do in this life except love. Everything else is merely an infrastructure of lthis grand feeling; everything else is there to facilitate love to perform its eternal play which goes on every moment around and within us. But love for one man or one woman or one or even several children or things is merely a glimpse of the profound mystical surge experienced by the likes of Jesus, Nanak, Kabir, Meera, Buddha or Bulle Shah. And as for greatness, look at yourself. Or look at your comment posted here. Did this not require great courage to be saying this in public? Are you not committing yourself to something that others may mock at , at least at this juncture? But have you cared? That’s the whole thing about truthfulness. Truth -- or the way you feel about life -- always revolts against sanity or prudence or fear of public opinion. Truth is the only rebel there has ever been; and the beauty is that it has nothing to rebel against except itself. Truth is like a child --always transparent, naked and engaged in a mock battle, playing from both ends of battle-line. Sometimes, we also do the same thing, enact the same mock drama at a game of cards or in computer games, playing ourselves and our enemy at the same time. Did the man who drove that chariot in the fabled battle-fields of life say something like that. I think he did; but if he didn't, it needed to be said anyway.
That said, a million thanks for saying all those kind words which, coming from a person as talented and as much in pursuit of truth as anyone I have ever known, should be enough to inspire any man to heroic deeds. I promise to try. Stay in touch.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lord and Lover of Vrindavan and the Charioteer's Vision

Eternity is nothing but an hour after future, or a day before past.
I have gone beyond the need to wish you a happy new year, or happy anything else. For I know happiness resides in me, and in you, and it is there and will be there forever. The "aura of light" doesn't recognise the need for a calendar, as life does not keep a calendar; I am timeless as are you. Happiness is an age of eternity for it is an age of daring, of acceptance, of the knowledge that I am not larger than nature and God, nor smaller than either or even both of them put together. I am the life of God, the spirit that moves Him ( I wish there were a word for God which would be neither male nor female and yet living. But how does it matter if there is none so long as you and I understand what we mean by God, which is me whole and you whole. Do you think I am a male only? And do you look at yourself as a female only? May be you do some times, just to buy the luxury of harmless masochism .Why does one have to be a female only to have exclusive licence for Indulgence in self pity or even self laceration ? No sentiment is only and entirely male, nor could it be only and entirely female. I bestride all feelings, passions, thoughts, experiences which the entire human race has gone through. And not just human race; i have experienced the ignoble greed of a lizard, fox or a wild hyena ; and I carry in my bosom a thousand million fires that rage between earth and hell, the painful flames of female longings or hot saliva of the hunger that haunts a man's groins. And I have also nursed in my warm bosom the nobility of selfless love, love that seeks nothing but peace and happiness for the beloved. And I have experienced, and still experience the sublime dignity of a saint's all embracing love and kindness. And I have been a mother's heart to every suffering soul in the universe and a Father to all who need support, direction and shelter. I am the Lord Krishana of Varindavan and sit in the vision of the Charioteer in the blood soaked fields of Kurukshtra. Me too the anguished uncertainties of a soul riven between a vision he cannot deny - a vision that transcends human love as humans know it -- and a love and loyalty he cannot deny nor fail to rise to the peaks of his own vision. Do I need to remember dates, days, months or years? Is Mahabharta a a rainbow that appeared yesterday leaving no traces on the rain-washed sky? Is Mahabharta a story that is yet to be told but fragments of which have flashed across a half remembered dream ? Or is Mahabharta the rhythm of life that thumps against my chest each time I try to silence it in order to make peace with my dreams? Or is it a loop over locking itself into yesterday, today and tomorrow, all sucked in by something like a black hole to race forward to the past or back to the future. Images flit and fleet and flash before the broken memories that do not belong to the past. A vision is nothing but a memory of the things yet to happen, and memory is only past rolled forward into the present. You are the only synthesiser God has ever created to condense time into throbbing dot on a vast vacuum , the throbbing blob we call present. You and I and all those we know and do not know, all those who have ever lived - man, bird, fish or beast- or will ever live. They all spring from the blob which we call present. Which we call present because our eye is stuck too close to this dot of the present moment to see that the past and the future have no life beyond the present. Happy new year was yesterday, the day before and the day after the day after the day after today. And happy new year today, because the cycle of time has neither a beginning nor an an ending point. and the cycle of time is merely the present going round and round in endless circles. If you look ahead from where you stand, you look at the future but if you keep looking far enough over the cycle, its line will the starting point from behind and the future will end up joining the moment just passed. Just as you can reach a point placed half an inch behind you by travelling the entire planet in the opposite direction. If you merely look back, the farthest point of future would be where the the nearest point of the past is, and that the point of your most distant future would be the point of your immediate past. So you can reach the past by travelling the whole distance into the future, or you can reach future by travelling the whole distance into the past. I am the slain prophet who rose from his ashes to come back to the point in history which had thus crucified him. I am also the tyrant who persecuted the prophet because I could not see that the future already belonged to my past and there was nothing new i could do. We force events to happen because we believe that this is the only way to move time forward. No event, no movement, and therefore no future. Do you also think and feel this way? You don't because you have already looked far into the past , or enough for the past to join up with what looks like future if we only turned our face in the opposite direction. No you will not be tied in knots of past present and future because you already know the history of your future, which is nothing but your past a day after future.. Just as you can anticipate your past because anticipation is nothing but future seen a day before the past. You know that the only reality of time is love, and the only reality of love is timelessness. And no one has to be an enlightened visionary to see that there is no difference between time and timelessness. One only has to be in love to know that neither does time move nor does it stand still. It is, so to say, always moving into itself and thus going nowhere. Meera is one of your histories and Helen of Troy is another. And every woman to be born from this moment would be your other histories. You are the mother of the mad man from Nazareth in one direction and you will be his prostitute in times after the universe as we know it will have come to an end. The universe as it is never comes to an end just as it never could have begun. Changing shapes and changing forms, yes, but never beginning nor ending. How could it, how could it at all have begun? For it to have a beginning, there would have to be something before the beginning . What could that be if there was no universe before the beginning of the universe? For it to end, there will have to be something after the end. And what will that be if there is to be no universe after the end of the universe? Universe is like God --always present. Universe is like you, matter to mind, mind to matter, in rapid-fire and endless interplay of forms. Never going anywhere, never coming from anywhere. Never coming forth from a past, because for that it would have to have a beginning, for which again the universe would have to have a universe before its beginning. Nor going forth into the future because it can not have an end. To have an end, there will have to be no universe after the end of the universe, and that is not possible. So you don't get to fathom the full length of time, the full volume of space , the all measure of events. But there is one key: love. For if you are in love, you are one with the whole. You measure the whole with your being which is absolute. Only in love can you see the timelessness of time. Only in love can you spread your body across the length and breadth of space without end. Love is God because love neither ends nor does it know its beginning, because for love to begin, a heart will have to be loveless before falling in love. A loveless heart can never fall in love. And for love to end, the heart will have to turn into heartlessness. That is not the nature of heart. Yes, a desire can begin and a desire can end. But there is no such thing as "a love." There is only love. Love on. Every moment will be a happy moment. Even pain would be priceless for through pain alone will happiness be felt. --