Thursday, September 27, 2012

Loony Saint

[On the vandalisation of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban...]

Seeing the Buddha statue plundered
The loony saint danced.
'Sever his head
Let smile on his fallen face
fly away – eyebrow, chin be blown,
Let lovely visage turn ugly, the eye turn blind
who’s it – the one bound in physical form,
break free.
Break that wall, which
Forbids us from light and air
Can it make the bedrock of some water source
Find out; (No, not for a shrine!)
The stone which stole our sky from us
Is not to be hailed as Guru.
The many bits of the statue,
Make them the path you tread on
Annihilate, humiliate
May the veiled Guru blossom at once.

- S Manjunath [Translated by Deepa Ganesh]

From Srinigannda: Contemporary Kannada Writings edited by Vivek Shanbhag

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jorge Luis Borges' insights into the relationship between 'I' and 'Me'

From Everything And Nothing, a short story about Shakespeare by Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986):

“There was no one in him… In London he found the profession to which he was predestined, that of the actor, who on a stage plays at being another before a gathering of people who play at taking him for that other person.”...

“His histrionic talents brought him a singular satisfaction… but once the last verse had been declaimed and the last dead man withdrawn from the stage, the hated flavour of unreality returned to him… Thus hounded, he took to imagining other heroes and other tragic fables… the soul that inhabited him was Caesar, who disregards the augur’s admonition, and Juliet, who abhors the lark, and Macbeth, who converses on the plain with the witches who are also Fates… For twenty years he persisted in that controlled hallucination, but one morning he was suddenly gripped by the tedium and the terror of being so many kings who die by the sword and so many suffering lovers who converge, diverge and melodiously expire. That very day he arranged to sell his theatre. Within a week he had returned to his native village, where he recovered the trees and rivers of his childhood… He had to become someone.”

Later in the story, when Shakespeare meets God, God tells him that indeed he was like Shakespeare, “many and no one.”

From the story ‘Borges and I’:

“The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to… It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live, let myself go on living, so that Borges may contrive his literature, and this literature justifies me… but I recognise myself less in his books than in many others… I do not know which of us has written this page.”

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why Angels can fly

Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.

- G.K. Chesterton

'My Whole Being Is An Eye'

Swami Hari Om explains to Swami Rama:

"The finest hours are the hours of night, but very few know how to utilize their worth and silence. Three categories of people remain awake at night: the yogi, the bhogi [sensualist], and the rogi [sick person]. The yogi enjoys bliss in meditation, the bhogi enjoys sensual pleasures, and the rogi keeps awake because of his pain and misery. All three remain awake, but benefitted is he who is in meditation. The bhogi experiences momentary joy – and with a desire to expand that moment, repeats the same experience. Alas, it can never be expanded this way. In meditation real joy expands into ever-lasting peace.

"Closing the eyes unconsciously, without having any content in the mind, is sleep. Closing the eyes consciously is a part of meditation. A yogi closes his eyes and withdraws his senses from the sense perceptions. He remains free from the pair of opposites of pain and pleasure. Closing the eyes is for him the opening of the inner eye. Ordinary people see the objects of the world with the help of two small eyes – but do you know that my whole being has become an eye?"

- from Swami Rama's Living With The Himalayan Masters

Swami Rama learns about Absolute Reality

When he was a youngster Swami Rama met Vishnu Maharaj, a great scholar of Vedanta.

Swami Rama asked him: "The Upanishads appear to be full of contradictions. In one place they say that Brahman is one without a second. Somewhere else they say that everything is Brahman. In a third place they say this world is false and Brahman alone is truth. And in a fourth place it is said that there is only one absolute Reality beneath all these diversities. How can one make sense out of these conflicting statements?"

Vishnu Maharaj explained: "When the student starts practicing, he realizes that this apparent world is changeable, while truth never changes. Then he knows that the world of forms and names which is full of changes is false, and that behind it there exists an absolute Reality that is unchanging. In the second step, when he has known the truth, he understands that there is only one truth and that truth is omnipresent, so there is really nothing like falsehood. In that stage he knows that reality which is one and the same in both the finite and infinite worlds. But there is another, higher, state in which the aspirant realizes that there is only one absolute Reality without second, and that that which is apparently false is in reality a manifestation of the absolute One."

- from Swami Rama's Living With The Himalayan Masters

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012


Go too far to the East and you will land up in the West.

- Lao Tzu

Monday, January 02, 2012

What can I offer YOU?!

My friend Vidyottama posted this wonderful aarti in Hindi sung by her father. The aarti is pure Advaita; every verse has clear pointers to the Truth. May be someday I shall translate this into English but for now here's the Hindi version:

Ajab hairaan hoon Bhagwan tumhein kyon kar rijhaoon main
Koi vastu nahin aisi jise seva mein laaoon main

Karein kis tarah aavhan ki tum maujood ho har jagah
Niradar hai bulane ko agar ghanti bajaoon main

Tumheen ho moorti mein bhi, tumheen vyapak ho phoolon mein
Bhala Bhagwan ko Bhagwan par kyon kar chadhaoon main

Lagana bhog kuchh tumko ye ik apmaan karna hai
Khilata hai jo sab jag ko use kyon kar khilaoon main

Tumhari jyoti se roshan hain sooraj, chand aur taare
Maha andher hai kaise tumhein Deepak dikhaoon main

Bhujayen hain na gardan hai na seena hai na peshani
Tum ho nirlep Narayan kahan chandan lagaoon main

Ajab hairaan hoon Bhagwan tumhein kaise rijhaaoon main