अगर सुनो तो

in the silence - michael z tyree

तारे जड़े हैं ज़िन्दगी में
अंधियारे बिछे हैं ज़िन्दगी में
और साँसों की लहर
सहला जाती है …
अगर सुनो तो

~ वाणी मुरारका

इस कविता का अंग्रेज़ी में अनुवाद (मेरे ही द्वारा):

stars are studded
in our life
darkness laid out
in our life

and the gentle flow
of breath,
ever soothing…
if you hear it

Image Credit: In The Silence – pastel painting by Michael Z Tyree. You can view the full painting and purchase prints here.

Synthesis, Devotion, Attitude and Waiting

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I share with you first, two tiny excerpts from the introduction to the book Eating God. Beautiful sentences that made me write this post.

There can be no knowing without love and no love without logic. In a world that splinters idea and emotion, mind and body, faith and reason, into easy binaries, this essential synthesis is often forgotten.
~ Arundhati Subramanian in Eating God introduction.
No experience of separation, however arid, they say, is ever devoid of presence or grace. Waiting is not mere passivity; it can be a state of dynamic receptivity, a radical and alive responsiveness.
~ Arundhati Subramanian in Eating God introduction.

Eating God is a collection of bhakti poetry translations from several different local Indian languages of several different saints of India. Bhakti, meaning the path of devotion. The translation into English has also been done by several different people. Arundhati Subramanian has arranged these emotions and dynamics of devotion together into the bouquet, this book.

I had the good fortune to attend a poetry writing workshop by Arundhati one day in Manipal. That is where I got to know of this book. She read out a poem to demonstrate that a poem should have a certain distinctive tone to it. Without a distinctive tone, a poem would be just a heap of decorated words and images. Sometimes the distinctive tone may become downright attitudinal – like this one, made more beautiful by the way she had read it out –

He’s the master. What can I say
when he says I’m better than the others?

I don’t even have to ask.
He takes whatever I say as a command.
Why should I brag?
My husband is under my thumb.

    He’s the master.

Who am I to serve him, when he
takes joy in serving me?
How can I tell you the thousand ways
he’s with me?
He knows everything, just like god,
and he praises me.

    He’s the master.

I’m always in his arms.
He’s always laughing with me.
He’s the god on the hill
and I’m Alamelumanga.
Do I have to make a statement?
He’s my slave.

    He’s the master.

~ original by Annamacharya, translated by V. Narayan Rao and David Shulman.

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The Lotus Cannot Be Condescending

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Lotuses are found in white and pink colors in general and they grow in shallow and murky waters. ~ theflowerexpert.com

The lotus cannot have a condescending attitude towards the waters it grows in. If it does that, it will not be able to grow and bloom. It won’t be any fun either.

Lotus – called by many names in Hindi/Sanskrit is considered to be kind of an ideal to aspire to. One of the words for the lotus is “pankaj” – that which is born of muck. Pank means keechad, muck. The “j” in pankaj means “born of”. That which can grow, bloom, be beautiful even in the midst of murky waters, that whose leaves are such that the water rolls off it without wetting the leaves (i.e., it does not absorb stuff from this world) – sure, sounds like a nice ideal.

But the lotus, the pankaj, cannot look upon its murky waters as muck. If the lotus is feeling happy (which, going by the fact that it is blooming and smiling with the wind, it must be feeling) it must be feeling only gratitude towards the waters it is growing in – it cannot look at it as muck. It must be surely realizing and acknowledging that the water and muck is holding it in place, giving it a place to grow, bloom and share its beauty with the world.

It is aware that it draws crucial nourishment from the murky waters to feed its stem, leaves, petals. It is aware that a lot beyond the murky waters also sustains it. The winds, the sun, the night and that which powers all of this, powers the lotus too. Even then, even though its true source is something more than the minerals from the murky waters, it can only feel gratitude towards the waters it grows in.

It cannot be a Lotus and be condescending of, nor contemptuous of where it grows.


P.S.: Blue and purple lotuses exist too. Our world is beautiful and wondrous.

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I had saved the white lotus pic as a wallpaper from the internet many days back. The purple/blue lotus is thanks to a friend, from his visit to Thailand.