experiencing my self

There is a me who lives with me
A very loyal companion
Very kind and often quiet
This me I can depend on

to always be with me however
I may feel, I may behave
It will quietly sit with me
No matter what is going on

It will never separate from me
This is totally for sure
The very nature of this me
is such – this I can bet on

It was with me in Mumma’s womb
It saw me come into this world
It sat beside as I was locked
In infant coma that had come on

As I grew up and spent those hours
Drinking the joy of sunset skies
Along with me atop the roof
This me too daily marveled on

Teenage years and growing fears
This path or that, the choices made
This me it walked with me whichever
path I chose to walk on

Illness and the angst of love
Bitter feelings in the heart
Through it all I did not know
This me was my companion

No I have not split in two
To talk of a me inside of me
I have become aware of this
kind presence I can rely on

~ vani murarka

Can A Poem Be Lonely?

A poem can be about loneliness but can a poem be lonely?

Yes. A poem is lonely if it is not read. A poem is lonely if it is not acknowledged. A poem is lonely if it wants to be read but does not give of itself to be read.

Poems are often introverts. To ask, ‘did you like my poem?’ is to do disservice to the introvert poem.
For a poem to hold itself back, to not give itself to the world, to its intended reader is to do disservice to the world, to its reader.

But poems born of vulnerability tend to be scared. Poems are often born from a center of vulnerability.

Poems are concentrated emotion, raw yet refined. For an emotion to not be received, having given itself, is an emotion’s biggest dread.

But the emotion needs to acquire wisdom too. The recipient may not have the bandwidth and tuning to receive. At such times, the emotion must patiently wait without letting it’s tenderness shrivel up.

Whatever the emotion, when held with tender love, is a poem. Anger, when held in the palms of tender love, is also anger but also becomes a poem.

For love is beauty. And whatever the ras, a poem has to be beautiful. A poem of vibhats ras must also be beautiful, while remaining vibhats. Without intrinsic beauty, a poem is a malformed poem. A poem expressing bitterness, to be a poem, must be beautiful, refined in its expression of bitterness.

This does not mean that to be refined a poem should be oblique and aristocratic in form and language. No. But a poem needs to carry self respect without indignation. A poem can be direct, simple, matter of fact, in the true language of the poet (not a pretentious acquired language) – but standing with self-respect the poem will be refined.

And that is how it should be presented to the world. Not in a snobbish manner. Not in a grovelling manner beseeching acknowledgement. Just matter of fact self-respect. This is me. Then if the poem is acknowledged or not, does not matter, for the poem would have acknowledged itself.

Born for One Reason

Often when I encounter you
It seems to me that I was born
For one reason – to love you …

Often when I encounter you
It seems to me that I was born
For one reason – to love you

So many twists and turns
Have occurred between us two
Even then love continues

You talk to me, for this reason.
This is why I talk to you.
Withdrawn though as we are
Into shells of hurt, we two.

I was born,
for one reason –
To love you

As I detect the universe
in my heart, in its dust
I find you

I was born,
for one reason –
To love you

I speak my mind and my heart
In a poem I don’t send to you
So you’re not inconvenienced
By a tug that pulls at you

I was born,
for one reason –
To love you.

Experiencing Durga in Others

It is easy to be judgmental of the world and people around us. Often we have strong opinions – this is what he/she should do/think. Well then, so here we are. another very fertile opportunity.

reachingforthesky[1]

In the last post, I talked of an opportunity to experience the force and movement of Durga within ourselves. Here is a wonderful opportunity to experience Durga in others.

There is a line in the “yaa devee sarvabhooteshu …” Devee Stotra

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु भ्रान्तिरूपेण संस्थिता।
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥
(yaa devee sarva bhooteshu bhraanti roopeNa sansthitaa
namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namo nama(h))

To that devi who is present in all beings in the form of ‘bhraanti’
salutations again and again.

भ्रान्ति (bhraanti) means misguidedness, misunderstanding, delusion.

This mental state exists, at some time or the other, in all of us. However, by the very definition of it, we are unable to see it in ourself. At least until we come out of the delusion, and even then we may not realize and accept that earlier we were deluded.

However, it is easy to be judgmental of the world and people around us. Often we have strong opinions – this is what he/she should do/think. At times, it is to the extent of feeling exasperated – “This guy has lost it!”. We experience it in personal relationships, professional interactions, national policies, religious behaviors, social mindsets …

Well then, so here we are. another very fertile opportunity.

Whenever we perceive delusion, misunderstanding, misguidedness, in our fellow being or society at large, it is an opportunity to know that we are perceiving Durga and experience it in its fullness. The dance of Durga. The play of Durga. The power of Durga. Anytime you see delusion, it is just Durga in one of Her myriad hues.

That same Durga who is the embodiment of power and energry of all of the Universe, who is all that is beautiful, divine, comforting – nurturing love, compassion, prosperity, fulfillment. That supreme feminine force is present in all beings in the form of delusion too.

Seeing delusion in someone as the force of Durga at play, enables us to pause a moment and perhaps reconsider the person. We may still not agree with his/her mindset, but we can consider the person at least with a tad bit of softness, a hint of compassion, knowing that it is a force that is at play within us too. At the very least our mind can acquire a tinge of curiosity towards all that is going inside that person.

We, and the people around us, we all have the nurturing motherly instinct, compassion, awareness (all things nice, positive, desirable too) but we tend to focus on the negative more. The negative too is a form of the divine and we can turn our tendency to focus on the negative into an asset.

Any emotion, any feeling, it is She. Positive or negative is irrelevant. All change, it is She.


Image credit: Reaching for the Sky by Carol Herzer

Experiencing Durga Within

So here is an opportunity. Here is a way to actually experience Durga within. It is an opportunity specially because this feeling is so intensely personal and because when it occurs we experience it as a distinct sharp tinge. …

There is a line in the “yaa devee sarvabhooteshu …” Devee Stotra

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु लज्जारूपेण संस्थिता|
(yaa devee sarva bhooteshu lajjaa roopena sansthitaa)
That devi who is present in all beings in the form of ‘lajjaa’.

Lajjaa? Now that is interesting!

So what is Lajjaa?

Lajjaa seems to get associated with “लाज”, “नारी की लाज” (naaree kee laaj) – a woman’s honor that supposedly gets taken away say when she is raped, or feminine modesty, mostly associated just with her physical parts and her social reputation. Or it may be conventionally viewed as sweet bashfulness, shyness, blushing of a woman, often in a romantic sense. However, that is just a tiny tiny part of lajjaa.

Lajjaa essentially conveys a sense of shame, disrepute, disgrace – in any context. Bashfulness, reserve, modesty, these are also words used to translate the sense of lajjaa, because they are attempts to avoid shame, disrepute, disgrace. So when something undesirable occurs, people exclaim, “tumne aisaa kiyaa? kitnee lajjaa kee baat hai!”.

To me, the best explanation of the word lajjaa is – feeling embarrassed.

That feeling of embarrassment can be anywhere in a whole range of intensities. The mild: feeling somewhat silly. The stronger: feeling stupid. The very intense: feeling shame.

And it is in sarv bhooteshu (all beings) – i.e. all of us, all humans – man, woman and all other gender variations possible. In fact all beings, not just humans. So it has nothing to do specifically with women. Embarrassment is a feeling that we have all experienced and would prefer to avoid. It is because we want to avoid this feeling that we are hesitant to ask questions for example.

At times it is mild, and depending on our level of awareness, we do not explicitly recognize it as such but just feel a sense of discomfort. There is a slight internal squirming. At times it is so strong, it feels like a stab in the chest. We are unable to ignore it and are distressed.

That feeling, that stab of embarrassment, mild or forceful, is She. The supreme feminine force. And She exists in everyone. Sarv bhooteshu.

So here is an opportunity. Here is a way to actually experience Durga within. It is an opportunity specially because this feeling is so intensely personal and because when it occurs we experience it as a distinct sharp tinge. Also, we tend to be better at focusing on the negative within us than positive, so might as well use that tendency.

The next time you experience any tinge of embarrassment, experience it fully. Feel it completely, in all its textures. How it invades and gradually unwillingly departs. You will be directly experiencing Durga inside you!

Durga, that is, Shakti – power, energy, force. Emotional energy is the core driving force of our actions and there is energy, power, force in our so-called negative emotions too, if we connect to it. It can be a powerful exhilarating experience.


Image credit: Inner Eye Moon by Carol Herzer.

But The Colors Could Not See The Grand Picture

It is out of its inherent throbbing joy that white burst into a myriad colors. It is out of its inherent throbbing joy that the land danced and there were highs and lows. As the land was high and low, the colors flowed. And so a grand picture was formed.

And the colors loved themselves. The green was proud of itself, and rightly so, for it was beautiful. The blue was proud of itself, and rightly so, for it was beautiful. And the colors flowed. Little particles of joy were embedded into the colors which made them move ahead.

But the colors could not see the grand picture. As one color flowed into the other, the other felt threatened. Its identity was threatened. Its territory was threatened. The deep flaming red would turn into a milder orange if the yellow flowed into it. That was not acceptable. And the yellow did not like it at all either, that its natural flow was being inhibited. The whole land was his to explore after all. Its inner joy particles were asking it to move forward.

So some colors flowed, some did not. And there was a muddy pool. For the colors could not see the grand picture. They could not see the big orchestrated dance and be in awe at what they were creating together.

But the force that was there in the colors, was there in the colors, whether they liked it or not. So they continued to dance and flow, albeit reluctantly. Their reluctance made them heavy. And as as they danced and flowed, they mixed together and turned into black. A deep velvety never-ending black.

And white was filled with amazement. This is also a form of me? A reverse side of me? For white had seen the whole dance, the beauty and the resistance. It knew the black emerged from its own self. There was a deep wisdom that seemed to emanate from the quiet all-absorbing black, that white found so beautiful.

And it felt a kind-of peace, resting in its own black reverse self. And it rested there for long. It felt good. The black held the same power that white had. As white rested, black kept nourishing it, black kept nourishing its own reverse self. That felt good. A smile spread on the lips of the sleeping white. As it was nourished more, it was energized. The smile converted into a fountain of joy. Then out of its inherent throbbing joy white burst into a myriad colors.

right, wrong and neither

this is right and this is wrong
so you get four out of ten
try harder, come try again …

IMG_20160510_070912

this is right and this is wrong
so you get four out of ten
try harder, come try again

if there is something in there
that is pulsating for you
then yes, try again, yes do

the subject you do not dig
do not let it pull you down
many ways go to the crown

heed you not the screaming voice
every kind of skill has place
this our world is filled with grace

bunch of fear as wisdom words
elders and we ourselves give
spirit gnawing way to live!

may your song be gay and free
whatever tune it may take
have no fear, nothing’s at stake.