The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche
A beautiful poem on Love by Hafiz
I know the way you can get
When you have not had a drink of Love:
Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
And call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
To help your mind and soul.
Even angels fear that brand of madness
That arrays itself against the world
And throws sharp stones and spears into
And into one’s self.
O I know the way you can get
If you have not been drinking Love:
You might rip apart
Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
Looking for hidden clauses.
You might weigh every word on a scale
Like a dead fish.
You might pull out a ruler to measure
From every angle in your darkness
The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once
I know the way you can get
If you have not had a drink from Love’s
That is why all the Great Ones speak of
The vital need
To keep remembering God,
So you will come to know and see Him
As being so Playful
Just Wanting to help.
That is why Hafiz says:
Bring your cup near me.
For all I care about
Is quenching your thirst for freedom!
All a Sane man can ever care about
Is giving Love!
No Single Thing Abides – by Lucretius (c. 99-55 B.C.) – translated by W.H. Mallock
No single thing abides; but all things flow.
Fragment to fragment clings–the things thus grow
Until we know and name them. By degrees
They melt, and are no more the things we know.
Globed from the atoms falling slow or swift
I see the suns, I see the systems lift
Their forms; and even the systems and the suns
Shall go back slowly to the eternal drift.
Thou soo, oh earth–thine empires, lands, and seas–
Least, with thy stars, of all the galaxies,
Globed from the drift like these, like these thou too
Shalt go. Thou art going, hour by hour, like these.
Nothing abides. The seas in delicate haze
Go off; those moonéd sands forsake their place;
And where they are, shall other seas in turn
Mow with their scythes of whiteness other bays.
Lo, how the terraced towers, and monstrous round
Of league-long ramparts rise from out the ground,
With gardens in the clouds. Then all is gone,
And Babylon is a memory and a mound.
Observe this dew-drenched rose of Tyrian grain–
A rose today. But you will ask in vain
Tomorrow what it is; and yesterday
It was the dust, the sunshine and the rain.
This bowl of milk, the pitch on yonder jar,
Are strange and far-bound travelers come from far
This is a snow-flake that was once a flame–
The flame was once the fragment of a star.
Round, angular, soft, brittle, dry, cold, warm,
Things are their qualities: things are their form–
And these in combination, even as bees,
Not singly but combined, make up the swarm:
And when the qualities like bees on wing,
Having a moment clustered, cease to cling,
As the thing dies without its qualities,
So die the qualities without the thing.
Where is the coolness when no cool winds blow?
Where is the music when the lute lies low?
Are not the redness and the red rose one,
And the snow’s whiteness one thing with the snow?
Even so, now mark me, here we reach the goal
Of Science, and in little have the whole–
Even as the redness and the rose are one,
So with the body one thing is the soul.
For, as our limbs and organs all unite
to make our sum of suffering and delight,
And without eyes and ears and touch and tongue,
Were no such things as taste and sound and sight.
So without these we all in vain shall try
To find the things that gives them unity–
The thing to which each whispers, “Thou art thou”–
The soul which answers each, “And I am I.”
What! shall the dateless worlds in dust be blown
Back to the unremembered and unknown,
And this frail Thou–this flame of yesterday–
Burn on, forlorn, immortal, and alone?
Did Nature, in the nurseries of the night
Tend it for this–Nature whose heedless might,
Casts, like some shipwrecked sailor, the poor babe,
Naked and bleating on the shores of light?
What is it there? A cry is all it is.
It knows not if its limbs be yours or his.
Less than that cry the babe was yesterday.
The man tomorrow shall be less than this.
Tissue by tissue to a soul he grows,
As leaf by leaf the rose becomes the rose.
Tissue from tissue rots; and, as the Sun
Goes from the bubbles when they burst, he goes.
Ah, mark those pearls of Sunrise! Fast and free
Upon the waves they are dancing. Souls shall be
Things that outlast their bodies, when each spark
Outlasts its wave, each wave outlasts the sea.
The seeds that once were we take flight and fly,
Winnowed to earth, or whirled along the sky,
Not lost but disunited. Life lives on.
It is the lives, the lives, the lives, that die.
They go beyond recapture and recall,
Lost in the all-indissoluble All:–
Gone like the rainbow from the fountain’s foam,
Gone like the spindrift shuddering down the squall.
Flakes of the water, on the waters cease!
Soul of the body, melt and sleep like these.
Atoms to atoms–weariness to rest–
Ashes to ashes–hopes and fears to peace!
Oh Science, lift aloud thy voice that stills
The pulse of fear, and through the conscience thrills–
Thrills through the conscience the news of peace–
How beautiful thy feet are on the hills!
Moksha or Nirvana or Enlightenment, is known to many as the state of perfection and a condition of absolute stillness, stagnation and death.
‘Understanding Moksha’, is an attempt to explore and understand the meaning of Moksha. Through a documentary, a group of students intend to explore the different paths people have been taking to attain that state of perfection, of absolute peace.
For example, it is believed by many Hindus, that a person who dies in the city of Varanasi (also known as Benaras) shall attain Moksha or Salvation. In Varanasi, lined along the banks of a holy river Ganga, there are many salvation spaces, one of them famously known as Mumukshu Bhavan, where people check-in with the objective of having a peaceful death and attaining Moksha. The documentary intends to study these spaces, understand the meaning from the many people living there waiting to die.
The documentary also wishes to explore the path Aghoris take to attain the same state. The Aghoris are ascetic Shaiva sadhus. The Aghori are known to engage in post-mortem rituals. They often dwell in charnel grounds, have been witnessed smearing cremation ashes on their bodies, and have been known to use bones from human corpses for crafting kapalas (skullcups) and jewelry. Because of their practices that are contradictory to orthodox Hinduism, they are generally opposed by other Hindus.
The combined and cumulative effort aims to unravel the mystery of human pursuit and create a new interest on the subject.
In Director’s own words –
“I believe that god, if he exists, would never have created a rule saying, “You will attain Moksha if you die in Varanasi”. I am intrigued by how such a belief came into being and intend to understand the reasons why our ancestors must have initiated such rituals.
I want to explore and understand the reason behind why we do what we do. Is it silence and being with oneself that helps one to introspect about karma or is it a dip in the river Ganga that helps one purify a soul?”
This is a not for profit initiative by a team of students from AISFM. The team is mainly looking forward to people’s support to help create this documentary. You could read more about the project here – www.indiegogo.com/projects/understanding-moksha. In case of any queries please feel free to write to the Director, Sameer Kumar here – email@example.com. Any kind of support would be most appreciated.
How poor we are?
One day a father and his rich family took his son to a trip to the country with the firm purpose to show him how poor people can be. They spent a day and a night in the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”
“Very good Dad!”
“Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked.
“And what did you learn?”
The son answered, “I saw that we have a dog at home, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden, they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lamps in the garden, they have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard, they have a whole horizon.” When the little boy was finishing, his father was speechless.
His son added, “Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are!”
Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great river. The current of the river swept silently over them all – young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way. Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks at the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.
But one creature said at last, ‘I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.’ The other creatures laughed and said, ‘Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you shall die quicker than boredom!’
But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks. Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, ‘See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!’. And the one carried in the current said, ‘I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.’
But they cried the more, ‘Saviour!’ all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Saviour.
— Richard Bach, from “Illusions”
The poem, ‘Goodbye, Mrs Boa’ was written by Nazrul Haque, a poet from Guwahati.
Boa Sr, an 85-year-old woman was the last member of the Bo tribe, one of the ten tribes that comprise the Great Andamanese People . She was the last speaker of Bo language for at least 30 years. The old woman was very lonely in the last few years of her life as she was the only surviving member of one of the oldest human cultures on earth which lived in the Andaman Islands for as long as sixty-five thousand years. She had no one to converse with as she was the lone speaker of Bo. Her death may go unnoticed but it is a bleak reminder to all of us. She died on 26th January 2010.
Goodbye, Mrs. Boa!
We shall miss you.
The last of a tribe,
a lost language,
and those memories
for the last 65,000 years.
Aren’t you happy, Mrs. Boa?
In death you are reborn.
Just after crossing the bridge,
You shall meet them all.
Won’t you laugh again?
Will you joke about us-
Goodbye, Mrs. Boa!
We shall depart too,
Just like you,
Lost and lonely.
Civilization is a great burden.
So is being human!
On Happiness by none other than Henry David Thoreau 🙂
(taken from Zen pencils)
Along a dusty road in India there sat a beggar who sold cocoons. A young boy watched him day after day, and the beggar finally beckoned to him. “Do you know what beauty lies within this chrysalis? I will give you one so you might see for yourself. But you must be careful not to handle the cocoon until the butterfly comes out.”
The boy was enchanted with the gift and hurried home to await the butterfly. He laid the cocoon on the floor and became aware of a curious thing. The butterfly was beating its fragile wings against the hard wall of the chrysalis until it appeared it would surely perish, before it could break the unyielding prison.
Wanting only to help, the boy swiftly pried the cocoon open. Out flopped a wet, brown, ugly thing which quickly died. When the beggar discovered what had happened, he explained to the boy “In order for the butterfly’s wings to grow strong enough to support him, it is necessary that he beat them against the walls of his cocoon. Only by this struggle can his wings become beautiful and durable. When you denied him that struggle, you took away from him his only chance of survival.”