Far From The Madding Crowd

24 Jul

As I would enter the house, seeking refuge from the madding crowd, one of the first things that I would see would be pretty bunch of flowers on a vase and then there was her sweet smiling face. The flowers would either be sitting on the coffee or the dining table.

She would then proceed to make a cup of tea for me while I would sit and quietly watch the flowers and feel the craggy world receding away.

Now at 88 years of age, mother, having to face cognitive challenges  still manages to bring delight and cheer to this self by her simple acts.

Flirting With The Stars

16 Jul

It was here, now,

Whence has it gone.

O there it is

a million miles away-

flirting with the stars

Beautiful Mind

come here and now

Let me feel the embrace of the

cold wind on this land

and the fingers feel ,

the warmth of the cuppa in my hand,

On this cold winter night.

 

Promises To Keep

18 Aug

Once a poet had stopped in the middle of the dark woods on a wintry evening.
He was so entranced by the moment that he was only able to come back to reality
by the shake of harness bell of his horse.
Then he says, ” The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep,But i have promises to keep, And Many Miles to go before i sleep, And many miles to go before i sleep…”

The promises that we have to keep brings us back to Reality.

Thoughts

14 Aug

Whence they come
and where they go!

How so Real the feel,
when they stayed.

Thoughts-
whence they come
and where they go.

The Bhagvadgita

15 Jan

Called,
The Bhagvadgita,
It is a song about “The Truth.”

With It’s varied notes,
of subtle hues,
The Eternal Qestions find answers true –
How man should work;
or why he must.

In lilting voice,
It sings of the Love of God
and the Love for God.

It crescendoes to carry,
the Message Ideal –
“No country, no name,
no birth, no death, for the Self that Is.

Like gentle waves lapping
the shores for ages,
It ends with an assurance sweet and clear-
” I shall take care if you but surrender!”

High Fidelity

29 Apr

It is cool, sunlit, autumn morning. I am doing  some work in the backyard, behind the garden shed. A bird sound makes me lift my head and I see two gorgeous looking parrots on the old plum tree.

The tree is laden with small young plums and the parrots are hopping from branch to branch, helping themselves to the fruits. They are never too far apart from each other. Often, one would find a plum and the other would just go near it. They would then eat from the same fruit. I watch with great intent and delight as the sunlight falls upon their vibrant plumage. One of them breaks a small pink plum with its beak, holds it in one of the claws and begins to eat. The other comes near and  they both eat together. It looks so selfless on the part of the one holding the fruit for both of them. I feel a strange sensation fill my heart. How loving a sight! In that peace and calm i sense Nature speaking to me.

Amongst all creatures in Nature parrots possess a high sense of fidelity to their mates. They remain inseparable from each other throughout their lives. When they do get separated they feel a great sense of loss and pain. Perhaps, in some cases the pain of separation is spread over many lives – until they meet again.

These couple seem  truly  wedded to each other. I am so happy for them.  May they never feel the pain of separation. May they complete their journey of life together.

11:00am Sunday 21 April 2013.

i Listen

31 Aug

I listened to the elderly gentleman.

He spoke about the Gods and Goddesses. He told me about the ones that were superior and the ones who were less superior.

I listened.

I could have told him that God and Goddesses do not exist but for Brahman. He would have vehemently refuted that and perhaps become upset as a result of it. In response, I could have stated that Gods and Goddesses exists up to a point,  beyond which it is only Brahman. I did not say anything as he continued  his ramblings.

I listened and listened and felt humbled by the listening.

He continued telling me about the many arguments that the Gods and Goddesses had among themselves. Then, with flourish and aplomb  he declared who was the greatest of them all.

I felt happy about his preference and  declaration.

On my way back I reflected on That which has no name and form. That which does not belong to a country , race or religion. That which the Ancients called Brahman.

I listened. All I heard – the Sounds of Silence.

Imagine and Lenon

28 Apr

Imagine was sung  by John Lenon who had belonged to a British music band called the Beatles. The band consisted of four young men, including John Lenon, from the city of Liverpool in England. They formed into a group about the beginning of nineteen sixties and broke up in 1971. During the sixties they attained huge fame and commercial success.

Initially John Lenon and Paul Mccartney came together followed by George Harrison and Ringo Star.They played Rock music. In the beginning their music catered to the pop culture made up of high school teeny boppers. Later they felt constrained, by commercial demand, to play music of a thematic nature.

The “fabulous four” basked in fame and frenzied adulation from their fans. Much to the chagrin of the authorities, the crowd would run amok screaming hysterically at the Beatles concerts. A Tsunami of Beatlemania swept through the England and overseas. In 1966, John Lennon said in an interview that they were more famous than Jesus Christ, which caused a backlash from certain areas of USA and a few other countries. The Catholic Church banned their music; only lifting it in 2008. The Vatican Daily said that it was, “ a boast by a young working class Englishman faced with unexpected success…” John said, then, that his statement was taken out of context. He apologised; only to pacify the offended people.

After their tour of USA, in 1966,  they stopped performing concerts. They were then able to tap into their creativity and came up with music of thematic content. They probably took hallucinogens and experimented with different types of music. About that time they also met a spiritual mentor from India and spent some time at his ashram in Rishikesh, India. They did not stay the whole length of their intended stay. However,  they came out with a more sober attitude towards life.  In June 1967,  they created a master piece of music album called Sgt. Peppers which was highly acclaimed by the music critics. It is on the top of the list of 1000 pop music albums. The album testifies  that the Beatles had flowered as real musicians. The album contained many genres of music and tried to capture the varied aspirations of human life. It has the song “ Within You; Without You” sung by George Harrison, about our mystical experiences. On the other hand the song, “She is Leaving Home” by Paul McCartney, about a young girl who leaves her home with a note for her parents.

John Lenon and Paul McCartney were the heart and soul of the group. With time their relationship hit a dissonant note. The famous group finally ended in 1971. They all pursued their own paths and became successful in their own ways.

John Winston Lenon was born in Liverpool, England, in 1940. His father was in the Merchant Navy and therefore away from home. By the time his father finally returned home the mother was carrying another man’s child. The parents separated and the father tried to leave England with John. The mother caught up with them at a departure platform. There was a confrontation and the five-year old John was made to choose between either of the two. Twice John chose his father but when the mother walked away he ran after her. This incidence would have grievously affected his young mind. John lived with his mother’s elder sister. He was rebellious, witty and smart but had dropped out of High School and expelled from the Arts School. His mother died of an accident when he was seventeen. He was not at peace with himself. It was not uncommon for him to get into fights with others. I believe that his traumatic experience at the age of five had to do with his petulance. He married Cynthia Powell, an art student, and had a son. John used to get enraged with his wife and has admitted that he was a “woman hitter.” He only came to give up his male chauvinism after meeting Yoko Ono, an artist from Japan. They got married in 1969.

John and Yoko went to live in New York America in 1971. There, they involved themselves in peace activism. They became in the forefront for the Peace Movement in USA which was against the Vietnam War. About that time they sang the very popular song, “Give Peace A Chance.” The song galvanised the people of the peace movement to protest strongly about the USA involvement in Vietnam. That was followed by the song, “Imagine”  in 1971.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace
You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people sharing all the world
You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

From pop music point of view the song received numerous awards. It is in Rock and Roll’s hall of fame’s 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll. In Australia, in 2006, it was selected by one of Channel Nine’s TV shows, as the greatest pop song ever. From a musical point of view it has done very well in every way. It probably played a part in persuading the USA government to end its war in Vietnam.

The message of the song is in need of a greater conviction from John Lenon, the artist. Of  his religious views, it is recorded that he did not follow any particular creed. It  would mean that like so many of us, he pursued peace on his terms. Of the song he said, “that it was anti nationalistic, anti capitalistic, anti religion, anti conventional, but because it was sugar-coated it was accepted by the people.”  These words are not in congruence with  the real message of Peace. Peace requires a deeper search within the human heart.

The song, perhaps for the sake of music, is still being sung by artists at events to signify the importance of Peace. I feel that Cee Lo Green did a great justice to the song when he sang at Times Square to usher in a New Year. Instead of concurring with John Lenon, he sang, “Nothing to Kill or die for and all religions true.

When we accept all religions as true and that it leads to one Truth, then we realise the philosophy of, “No Country; No name.”

John Lenon was shot dead, in 1980, by a  young men who had deranged ideas mixed with religious fervour.  It is said, that earlier in the day,  Lenon had signed an autograph by the  man who shot him. After  signing the autograph, he asked the assassin, “Is this all you want.”

The Lady From Peru

22 Mar

His magnetic personality attracted all kinds of people to his presence. It was not unusual for hundreds of thousands of people to gather around him and listen to him speak or simply gaze at him. Many believe that he was the Avatar of the present age and many others felt he was the Messiah. Whatever the day or the occasion, he would always be surrounded by people.

I, then a young men from Fiji Islands, found myself amidst the huge mass of humanity who had come to see the Phenomenon. One day, kismet placed me in his immediate presence. I tried to speak to him but he spoke for me and about me. He put his hand on my forehead and tapped it more than once. While doing so he said, “I bless you. Be happy.” I knelt down low and touched his feet. Then, I knew that I had met my friend and Master. I knew I could count on his friendship even as he would shatter my ego and ignorance. I knew that Knowledge  would be vouchsafed to me.

Sometimes the master would freely move amongst the people seated in many rows in front of his abode. One day he came to a lady and asked her where she had come from. She replied, “Peru.”  The Master quietly said, “Ooru Ledu, Peru Ledu,” and walked away. That could have left the lady feeling puzzled. It was in the Telugu dialect of India. Telugu had been largely derived from Sanskrit which is one of the oldest language in the world. When translated into English, his words meant, “I have no country; I have no name.” The pun in the word Peru was used by the Master to make a very profound statement about Himself and the connection that exists between him and us.

In Indian Culture and Spirituality, the personality of Krishna looms large. He is often referred to as Lord Krishna for his Avatar-hood status. He walked in flesh and blood some five thousand years ago in India. He gave the Bhagvat Gita to humanity. It is a book of esoteric truths in the form of a dialogue between Lord Krishna and his friend Prince Arjuna.  At one point in the Bhagvat Gita, Lord Krishna impresses upoun his friend the idea that the Wisdom  he was teaching is an age-old  Truth. Krishna says that in the beginning, he taught the imperishable wisdom to the Sun and then through a succession of teacher and taught, that wisdom had come down to the common men. His friend, Arjuna, is perplexed at Krishna’s words and asks a question which seems child like in simplicity, “You say that you have taught this wisdom, that you are teaching me today, to the Sun who had existed eons before you did. How could that be possible.” Krishna grabs the opportunity to tell his friend that he should not mistake Krishna’s physical form with his supramundane form.  Krishna then says, “Many births of Mine have passed as well as yours; I know them all but you know them not, my friend.” (They had been chums for many years but that was the first time Krishna alluded to his Supreme Self)

I believe that the Master was saying the same thing in effect to the lady from Peru, when he said, “I have no country; No name.” It is documented that the Master had said on  another occasion, in proficient English :

“My Divinity is Patent; yours is Latent. My Descent is for your Ascent”

When the Master said to the lady from Peru that he had no country and that he had no name he was alluding to his Supreme Self. The take home lesson for the lady from Peru was that IT was equally divine. There was not anything to prevent her from asserting her divine heritage which was no less than that of the Master himself. The lady from Peru received the age-old wisdom; a wisdom as old as creation itself.

A discerning few did take the effort to ponder over the Master’s words. Recently, a gentleman published a small book called, “No Country; No Name” and subtitled it, “Ooru Ledu; Peru Ledu.” In it he relates his own experiences to find his identity. He was forced to do so as he moved from one country to another in his professional career. He likened the  name that we carry to the number plate of a car. The name that we carry is only a label attached to this body; nothing more nothing less. Every thought that we have is a superimposition on that one Reality which is sans a country, name and form.

The book came into my hands last year. One day I took my father to the hospital for check up. As we waited for his turn I started reading the book. He showed an interest in the book and we ended up discussing it. Father seemed enticed by the words, “Ooru Ledu; Peru Ledu,” since it was in his mother tongue. Although he knew a few words of his mother tongue he had never used it meaningfully until that moment in his life. It was a crucial moment, as we came to know later, for him to hear in his mother tongue, the profound words of wisdom. He recalled its meaning to his mind and delightfully gave utterance to it. I am glad that he did so because twenty-four hours later he passed way. I was told by the nurse who attended to him at the last moments that he held her hands, smiled broadly and said, “Time to go.”  The next moment he passed away.

I will never be able to fathom the effects that last conversation had on my father. The fact that the wisdom came to us in our native tongue remains a very meaningful experience to me. Since then I have uttered, “Ooru Ledu; Peru Ledu” many a times.

I am eternally grateful to the lady from Peru.

Mark Antony’s Speech

9 Mar

“ Friends, Romans and Countrymen, lend me your ears; I have come to bury Caesar and not to praise him,” says Mark Antony, Caesars lieutenant, after Caesar was assassinated by the conspirators, one of whom being Brutus, Caesar’s best friend.

I remember reading the speech to my father, after school hours. It was from Shakespeare’s drama, Julius Caesar, being my first introduction to English Literature, in high school. My father had not seen the portals of a high school but was keen to know the things we learnt there. He had an intelligent mind and was a keen observer. He used his talents well, to be able to speak, read and write a commendable level of English. He had a wish to master the language but would often lament that his rudimentary knowledge of grammar was a setback. I remember that from beginning he would urge me to master the English language and would mention to me names such as Churchill, Lincoln and others. It was through him that I came to know about Lincoln’s famous “ Gettysburg Speech,” when I was twelve years old.

My father’s intelligent face would light up with a smile when I would read out to him the speeches of Brutus and Caesar. He would be very attentive and I could read from his face that he was availing himself of the knowledge that he had missed out; a formal introduction to English literature. I can recollect that smile clearly and it was the same smile on his face when I had the last conversation with him the day before he died. That last smile was in response to a question regarding knowledge of the ultimate Truth.

Altogether I must have read out  to him the speeches from Julius Caesar only a couple of times. He had a thirst for right knowledge but he busied himself with ready facts which he could use to his advantage. He had served as a  Crime Investigator in the Fiji Police Force for the first twelve years of his working life. His mind was trained to look for facts and he applied that to his other ventures in life. He had a photographic memory. He would read the daily newspaper from front to back and later pin point where a particular article appeared in the paper.

I loved Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. In my childhood fancy, I would gather my two younger siblings and act the parts of the drama. I told them how the conspirators thought that Caesar was ambitious and wished to become a dictator. They where able to convince Brutus, who loved Caesar, that Caesar was ambitious for power. Brutus also joined the conspirators in murdering Caesar in the open daylight. Brutus was the last to stab Caesar who uttered the famous words, “ Et tu Brute, fall Caesar.” My siblings would listen to me in rapt attention. I felt a sense of pride in my acting. I would reenact that particular scene till I would see tears, for the fallen Caesar, rolling down their cheeks. At that point I would be satisfied with my theatrics and then close the scene without further ado.

We grew up and pursued our own lives. I was confronted with pursuing higher studies and making a career. I did not find either of them satisfying. I felt the thirst for deep  knowledge. Julius Caesar, Shakespeare and English literature were pushed somewhere back in the mind. I am glad, however, the interest in them did not die. I availed myself to Shakespeare quotes and pondered over them. It has helped me to maintain a link with English literature and the language.

Even to this day my younger siblings remind me how I used to make them cry by my theatrics. They still have a grouse that I have not told them the full story and hence they have not any idea how the story ended. Much time has passed since then but I feel obliged to do justice to Mark Antony’s speech.

After Caesar was murdered, his lieutenant, Mark Antony was able to convince Brutus that the conspirators had nothing to fear from him. He was even able to get permission from Brutus to speak at Caesar’s funeral. Brutus decided to speak first. He was a powerful orator but a straightforward one. He clearly explained his reasons, for killing Caesar, to the public:

“As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it;
As he was valiant, I honour him:
but, as he was ambitious, I slew him.”

He was able to convince the public that Caesar was ambitious and that for the good of Rome he had to kill his beloved Caesar. After that Brutus left the scene.

Mark Antony’s speech was filled with subterfuge. Every word he spoke had a double meaning to it. He would say:

” when the poor had cried, Caesar had wept;
ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus  says he was ambitious
And Brutus is an honorable man.”

He skillfully used the word “ambition” and “ honourable” until he made the people believe that Caesar was not ambitious and the killers were not honorable men. With such words he whipped the people into a frenzy and let them loose. He says to himself:

“Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot,
Take thou what course thou wilt!”

A civil war followed and Brutus and his men were defeated in the battle. The rest is history.

By the time I was forty years old I was able to appreciate the deep thoughts that make up philosophy. I yearned to share that experience with my father but that connectivity was not there. I felt that he expected me to spend my time to learn Computer Science and further my job prospects. There were moments when we spoke on the same wavelengths.He would be very enthusiastic when I would discuss the computer skills I picked up at work. The table in my room  had a beautiful quarto sized book entitled “ The Upanishads.” One day, at the dining table, he mentioned that book to me. He seemed much impressed by its content. I was surprised and delighted. I explained to him how our ancient Seers would express profound Truths in terse language. He listened with interest.

Years later ,on 14 July 2011, came the day when I had to speak at his funeral.  When I stood up to speak, Mark Antony’s speech came to mind. I could see the thought forms of, “ Friends, I have come to bury…” I quickly brushed that aside and spoke of the Truth that the ancient Seers had given us. There is a Reality, more real than the reality we experience. It is the Truth which stands the test of Time.