Friday, October 30, 2009

BEING AND NOTHINGNESS

Mumbai is a city I hate as also love. This where I awakened 35 years ago. I have explored the city – it’s structures, it’s pulse, its depravity, its grandeur, it’s discipline,
it’s indifference and above all it’s soul. As Hermann Hesse says in the “The Glass Bead Game” – “ My awakening has a similar kind of intensified reality for me. That is why I have given it this name; at such times I really feel as if I had lain asleep or half asleep for a long time, but am now awake and clear headed and receptive in a way I never am ordinarily.”

It was sometime in the middle of February 1974 that a strange thing happened to me. Strange, because I never did understand at that moment what it was. It would be more accurate to say that something happened within me. It was perhaps the first glimpse of what I will term as my awakening, a partial awakening perhaps.

More than Sartre it was Mumbai that taught me my first lessons on ‘Being and Nothingness’. This was back in 1974 -
“There is a street lamp at the end of this road. Its neon light casts a ghostly glow around. There existed below it, once, an old woman. Now she is no more. She could have been a stone, it would have made no difference. Her disappearance from the spot has in no way affected the working of this world. But it had a curious effect on me. I have passed that way so many times before, without the slightest awareness as to what was it that existed below the neon lamp. Then one day she disappeared. There is nothing there now, only space.

That night I dreamt of the old woman:

Old woman what ails you?
I can’t see your face,
I can’t feel your pain.
You stay crouched,
Bent with age, your face down;
Your limbs don’t seem move:
But I know you too live.
I see yoy in the distance,
I move, but you stay;
I pass, but you still stay.
For a minute I feel you live,
Then I pass.
You remain, a stone.

Though she did not lift her head, I knew it was she who spoke,

“ I do wonder,
What ails him, that passes me so?
I can’t see his face
Nor can I feel his pain,
But I know he is there,
I hear him.
He comes from somewhere,
To somewhere does he go;
For a minute I know he feels ,
For his footsteps falter.
He lives.
Then he is gone, no more.”

Then she disappeared. An empty space stood there staring back at me. An eerie feeling crept into me as I reflected:

Old woman,
You have gone away.
Though a stone you were there yesterday.
I saw from distance,
There was only space.
My footsteps did’nt falter,
As I passed the place,
Where you had lived, lain,
Now Nothingness.

I still remember how as I stood looking at that emptiness below the lamp the full force of nothingness gripped me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

METAPHYSICAL MONOLOGUES

Tonight,
I discovered God,
In the coolness of the winter’s night,
In the brightness of the full moonlight,
In the gentle rustle of ghostly shadows.
And I found God,
In this silence that encircled me.

***********

Milestones,
When you pass,
They melt away, in the distance;
In succession,
Pinnacles of thought,
Recede,
Into obscure corners
Of a putrefying heart.
Sustenance is our problem,
Be it of a moment or a thought.
Prolongation
Is what we strive for,
And failure has been our lot.

*************

I shiver,
As I stand but a speck
In this wide open space,
For darkness in the distant horizon,
Is creeping in,
Slowly, stealthily and surely,
Threatening to digest me
In its folds.

No! I cannot allow this.
What would I be,
If in darkness I dissolve?
But where is the light,
That illumines and warms
And sets the darkness to flight?

***************

Saturday, October 24, 2009

ENCOUNTERS – WITH NIETSCHE

This song of my fervour would have gone on and on – it has happened to Andre’. But no after I had soared to a feverish height, I looked down and the next instant I had fallen once again on the sands of the desert. There was my Guide looking down at me, with a smile on his lips and a tender look in his eyes.

“ You are not hurt I know, only a trifle shaken I guess. But I am glad you are back so soon. Now you must have realised how unstable is that height. The higher you soar, greater is the fall and more painful. Now what was it that made you look down? When one looks down from these fervourish heights, he is bound to fall.

It was a voice and it came from below, that’s why I looked down. It said,” hear me oh wanderer in this desert. You have lost your way. You have been blinded by fervour. The path you seek is here down below and across this desert and not above.”

“Who are you?” I cried.

“I am Zarathustra, a wanderer in this desert for years and in search of genuine men. Genuine is what I call him who goes into godforsaken deserts and has broken his venerating heart.

In the yellow sand and burned by the sun perhaps he blinks thirstily at the islands filled with springs where living creatures rest beneath shady trees.

But his thirst does not persuade him to become like these comfortable creatures; for where there are oases there are also idols.

Hungered, violent, solitary, godless: that is how the lion will wants to be.
Free from the happiness of serfs, redeemed from Gods and worship, fearless and fearful, great and solitary: that is how the will of the genuine man is.

The genuine man, the free spirits, have always dwelt in the desert, as the lords of the desert; but in the towns dwell the well fed famous philosophers, the draught animals. For they always as asses pull the peoples cart”.

Friday, October 23, 2009

ENCOUNTERS - contd.

But was’nt it my fervour that I was talking to you about ? It was in the desert that it reached its feverish heights, soon after my meeting with Andre’. My Guide had told me that it has to be overcome, but it overcame me and I was held in its grip for quite sometime before I could wriggle out. Now I can see that it was necessary for me to have attained those feverish heights, my Guide says yes. At that height life was to me poetry – simple , rhythmic and beautiful – it was a beautiful song . I shall sing my fervour to you:

When in these rapturous states I fall,
I hearken to every beauty’s call,
And in passion I embrace ,
All the gifts of nature’s grace.

When the green grass I do see,
I am filled with infinite glee,
And the song the chirping birds sing,
Makes my heart in resonance ring.

When I see the sun does shine,
I marvel at that power divine,
And in its warmth I fall asleep,
Into a world of dreams I creep.

There I see such wonderous sights,
They take me on fantastic flights,
A thousand visions dance around,
The air is filled with a melodious sound.

In the coolness of the moon,
In her embrace I did swoon,
My heart with love overflows,
In the dark my passion glows.

In the depths of every cave ,
I find these figures that make me rave,
Figures of stone many ages old,
They still stand firm and bold.

When I touch these cold stones,
They come to life, I feel their bones,
Through the ages hand in hand we walk,
Of Gods, Kings and Queens they talk.

There I see great battles fought,
The horror and glory that they brought,
All the blood that flood the field,
The victory markings on the shield.

There sat the glorious king in court,
With all his people in rapport,
As the dancing girls came marching on,
An era in its brilliance shone.

There I saw Lord Shiva’s dance,
I was drowned in divine trance,
And my head in veneration bow,
To that Lord who rules above..

I marvel at these men who mould,
Stones that speak of ages old,
All the fervour of their heart,
Has flown in through this supreme art.

In my rapture I had seen,
All that love that never had been,
Now as my heart in fervour sings,
I once again spread my wings.

Sometimes when to these heights I soar,
I feel this fever more and more,
And in delirium I do rant,
All this fervour’s magical chant.

I love everything on earth,
That has given rise to beauty’s birth,
Every joy, pity or pain,
In my heart a passion gains.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ENCOUNTERS - contd.

Was life an endless quest, always in search of something that does’nt exist? If it was so then was’nt Andre’ right in having stuck to his particular spot refusing to move further in any direction? He was satisfied in counting the stars. But I, I had broken through that barrier which held me because I had seen in the distance, very far away, a speck of blue and green; I had heard a note of a lilting tune. Now Andre’ had me all confused. Was it just an illusion, I asked myself, all that I had seen, all that I had heard. I gazed at the stars and for a moment I was transported to their heights; there I saw countless patterns until a hand tapped and woke me up from the trance into which I had fallen.

It was my guide. He beckoned me to follow him and when we were some distance away, he spoke to me, “ Andre’ is afflicted. He raves and his ravings have afflicted many. You yourself may have become a victim. Once when he was very close to death, he saw this desert and stepped into it. As he travelled through, he saw too many mirages and he chased after them. At last he grew too tired and hopeless to proceed further. But as he lies there now he reconstructs all that he has seen and all that he has not seen and revels in them. He talks of self denial as the most perfect self realization. But he has not denied himself of that passion for self denial. He came very close to the truth but he never attained it, because he says – I’ll teach you fervour”.

Was’nt it passion that drove me into the desert? Is’nt it passion which makes me speak to you thus? Are all human acts underlined by it? Is life a passion?

My Guide says that all passions come to die in the desert. One should be on guard to see that we are not overcome by it.

Oh! those raptures into which my passion has repeatedly pushed me into. In that state I become blind to everything except the object of my passion. I am transformed into that very object and live through the processes of its creation and growth. I shall talk more of my raptures later.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ENCOUNTERS WITH ANDRE'

This is how I met Andre'. I found him one day, lying on the sand and gazing at the stars and the moon. His eyes carried a satisfied look, but his face and body bore the scars of extreme suffering. I myself was on the brink of despair. For many a day I had drawn designs on the sand and now I was exhausted of illusions. I was hungry and thirsty.

He did not notice me until I spoke to him -

"Andre', why is it that you lie here? Though you suffer you seem satisfied ".

"Dear friend, you cannot understand unless you know fervour. Do you know fervour? Come I shall teach you fervour".

"But Andre' by denying yourself , aren't you depriving yourself of attaining that land beyond this desert. My guide says it is a land that knows no end."

" Dear friend that land only signifies an end. It marks the end of a quest. What would life be without a quest? Before long you will be back wading your way through this desert and back into those walls that held you. But dear friend, I shall lie here in an endless quest and I shall witness your endless to and fro motions."

I was confused, as he returned to his trance again. But I lay down beside him on the sand and tried to see what was it that charmed him so.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I spoke of Andre' Gide in my previous posting on the blog. Andre has had profound influence on me in my earlier years.

" I will teach you fervour", said Andre'.

"Thanks Andre'. I know fervour thats why I love you. I love you for your "Fruits of the earth".

" You have read me then. Now throw the book away and go out. Go out from wherever you may be, from your town, from your family, from your room, from your thoughts. I should have led you , and soon - as soon as we were far from any town - I should have let go the hand I held and told you to forget me".

"Andre tell me about your fervour".

"Sometimes I speak of lands I have never visited, of perfumes I have never breathed, of actions I have never committed or of you. It is not hypocrisy on my part, and these things are no more false than the name I call you by not knowing what yours will be , yours , who have read me.

I have found in self denial the most perfect self realization, the highest exaction and the the most boundless permission of happiness".

"Life is precious Andre', it is precious to one who has been on the point of losing it. You know that better than anybody else. To me Andre' the fear of losing it before I have expressed on this earth all that was in me waiting to be expressed, was what drove me to fervour. I have actually lived through that moment of dying. At that moment I was reborn."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

RANDOM THOUGHTS - 2

I remember, that time when I was out in the rain with not a stitch of clothing on me, dancing to the rhythmic patter of those million drops. Mother caught me in the act and spanked me. I was only five years old then. I was dried, wrapped up in a blanket and made to sit in front of the fire, lest I catch cold and fall ill. Mother later said that it was God's grace, that I did not fall sick.

But Mother what about all those children playing on the street, they live on pavements and always get wet in the rain. Don't they ever catch cold?

********************

Andre Gide in his book " Fruits of the Earth " writes -

"I am afraid that every desire , every energy I have not satisfied in life may survive to torment me.I hope that after I have expressedon this earth all that was in me waiting to be expressed - I hope I may die satisfied and utterly hopeless."

Gide wrote Fruits of the Earth in 1897 while suffering from tuberculosis. Gide says "I will teach you fervour". The book is a hymn to the pleasures of life that Gide came so near to losing. He has had a profound impact on later writers like Albert Camus. Camus says about Gide " Certain men find, in their reflections, the secret of a serenitywhich is neither miserly nor facile. Gide's secret lies in the factthat never, in the midst of his doubts, did he lose the pride of being a man. I read the whole of Gide's work, and received, from Les Nourritures terrestres ( Fruits of the Earth ), in my turn, the upheaval of my whole being that has so often been described. But I received that on my second encounter, as can be seen, perhaps because when I read for the first time I was a young barbarian, but also because this revolution could not be, as far as I was concerned, in anyway concerned with the senses. The shock was decisive in quite a different way. I learned to read it as the gospel of self deprivation that I needed."

But why Gide? thats because " Fruits of the Earth", has had a similar a similar impact on me, this was long before I read Camus.

"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it."- André Gide

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

RANDOM THOUGHTS - 1
There lurks behind all this abundant cheer,
a perpetual growing fear,
of stagnation,
a paralysis of the mind:
a cessation of my thinking process.

When man stops thinking, he becomes like any four legged animal,
he ceases to be a human being,
A contented man should cease to live.

What had been the meaning of my life? Why had so many joys and sorrows passedover me?
Why had I suffered from that thirst for truth and beauty, which still remained unquenched?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Where is the Glue?

I sit among pieces of paper,

furniture and pieces of men:

there is no full human here.

But beyond the reaches of my ken,

is there someone whole and real?

I am a piece, I have seen

my other pieces too:

I wonder how I did disintegrate.

Now I wish to be whole again,

Where is the Glue?

WORDS
Now there is only one thing,
that gives me satisfaction:
the jotting of a thought,
unfolding itself,
on this sheet of white space,
crawling from left to right,
weaving patterns.

Words! alone they resemble
contingencies,
they cling toegether
to exist as forms.
Forms that rise
from turbulent depths,
spillover, to shatter
the peace of this spread.

Forms demoniacal
grow gruesome from left to right:
with these to contend
rise forms exquisite,
to still the turbulence
and to peace restore

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sublimation

Sublimation

Why sublimation ? How come this name for my blog? A long felt desire came true when I created this blog. My friends urged me and I finally did it. Thereafter I did’nt know how to proceed. Words failed when I needed them. Why sublimation ? I have always been fascinated by the word sublime. For me it meant merging with greatness, an expanse beyond compare, beyond beauty, transcendental. And Sublimation , the process of becoming sublime. So do I hope to achieve this through the expression of my thoughts, feelings, reactions and relationships? Is it going to be a mirror reflecting the distortions that I have failed to see, recognise and accept? Time will tell. How will I sustain the flow? These are too many questions for a start. There will be periods of silence.

Well I did start with Anonymity. I guess I lost it the minute I posted it on my blog. Well for a start cheers!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Anonymity

There is solace in this anonymity,

in the gentle hiss

of the summer breeze,

the rustling of leaves,

and the walk

through a dimly lit avenue.


As the darkness beyond beckons,

the spurts of sound

from speeding lights

on the distant highway,

move in and out

of my memory lanes.


And ones moves through this darkness,

through this silence,

oblivious of an earthly existence.


Nothing stops the soul,

its flight to freedom.


But the approaching lights

of an automobile,

makes me move to the side.