Monday, April 30, 2012

WAITING


Waiting

In the other room,
The old man lies,
Waiting to expire,
And here we sit,
Laugh and shout,
Till we perspire.

And the old man is deaf.
The shadows in the room lengthen,
And blind his vision,
And he groans to feel
He is still alive.

                  * * * *
“Leave me alone, let me be”,
Cried the old man, in his agony.
Time has marked his eyes and face.
He said, ” all my life,
I have run this race,
Now just let me have my space”

Friday, April 27, 2012

MOKSH - MY SALVATION


MOKSH – MY SALVATION

From the quietness of my daughter’s apartment in Saint Louis, back to the heat, and once again the hustle and bustle in Chennai. I am back on my walks now, along the Tiruvanmiyur beach. I had ended my last posting on Salvation which was written nearly five months ago when I went to the US to see and be with my grandson, I had said ‘Maybe Moksh is my salvation’. Moksh is the name of my grandson. Today as I was walking along the beach listening to the strains of MS chanting the Vishnu Sahasranamam, I thought about my grandson and how much I missed the child. My daughters tell me that despite my claims of becoming more detached and moving away, when it comes to them, I can never let go. That is true and now my grandson.

As I open my laptop in the morning I  look at him staring at me through the collage of the photos I have taken of him during my stay there. I have seen him growing up from a month old baby through to his seventh month. It is perhaps the most fascinating period of growth of a child when it slowly feels its way into this world, with each of his senses developing one by one. I have begun to believe that when we are born, it is only with the sixth sense and as the five senses start to manifest themselves, the sixth sense is pushed into the background. It is only when the five senses are brought under control does the sixth sense start emerging once again.

They say that only when a baby starts grabbing at something that it has started understanding this world. Till then it is only hunger that it feels and its mother’s warmth and cries only when hungry or feels pain.

During the six months it was fascinating to see the subtle changes occurring. A day by day change in the face, his attempts to topple over, his attempts to crawl and most of all the smile of recognition and the laughter that would emanate. I have never seen so closely these changes taking place even when my daughters were growing. May be it was because I had all the time in the world now to look after my grandson. I relished the bonding that took place when in an attempt to make him sleep I would put him on my shoulder and would look on with pride, when he did sleep on my shoulders. I guess every grandparent experiences these feelings.

I was happy that I could partake in this phase of life, one seeing the child grow and me growing as a grandparent. When I write, I speak for my wife as well. I could see the same joy in her eyes. She is someone who does not come out openly with what she feels, but I can sense it.

I do not know whether he will remember us the next time we go. The bonding has to start afresh. But I am looking forward to it.

Ramana Maharishi says “A child and a Sage are similar in a way. Incidents interest a child only so long as it lasts. It ceases to think after they have passed away. So then, it is apparent that they do not leave any impression on the child and it is not affected by them mentally. So it is with the Sage.”

So now I can say Moksh is my Salvation.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A LETTER TO GOD -2 continued


A LETTER TO GOD – contd.

Dear God,

Sometime ago I wrote to you and in the process purged myself of all the those thoughts that had risen within me regarding the fallibility of all the beliefs that we have subjected ourselves to in the course of leading our lives. I even went to the extent of questioning whether you existed and if so why you have been a silent spectator to the events that were occurring and which seemed independent of your existence. I even said that your miracles happened only if they were destined to happen and that you yourself were bound by destiny. I had raised serious doubts as to Karma and how it is supposed to rule our present living. For me I am unable to accept the fact that our actions in our past life are affecting us now and the fruit of our actions in the present life will be realised in the next life. For me I do not know my past nor can I envisage the future, so the only reality I experience its the present life. My concern has been regarding the ethical disparities that exist. We are held responsible for a life that we do not remember to have lived. Unless we reap the benefits of our actions in this life itself, there is no meaning to the life we live now. The present life, where I can still remember the past and correct my actions where I have gone wrong before, and to avoid repeating the same mistakes which had brought me pain and sorrow. The only thing you have given me is hope and that is why I had said that you were my friend, philosopher, guide and God. That is the present situation and it continues.

I know you received my last letter as I had received an acknowledgement saying that I have your blessings. You have given me hope again and only hope. I did not expect anything else. So I do not have anything to complain about.

But God, I shall continue to trouble you as I need answers to the various questions that keep cropping up in my mind from time to time. After all to whom else can I turn to, to be my friend, to be by my side and to lead me on towards understanding the life I am living now. Even though everyone sees the world from his point of view that is the world as he sees it, and in such a case there should be as many views of this world as there are living beings, you have made laws, universal laws that are not affected by any of these views. These are truths on which each of these subjective views have been built on. The world exists, oblivious of the way it is looked at. It exists till eternity I guess, because it will still be there when I am gone. You may ask as to how is it that I have arrived at the conclusion that the world will continue till eternity, when for the individual it would have ended and he will not even be aware of it. I can only say that it is a subjective comprehension, for I see things carry on even after the individual has vanished  bodily from this world. That brings me back to the basic question as to what is the purpose of living if ultimately there will be only nothingness. Why do you make us experience the pains and pleasures, joys and sorrows in the course of living? I know you will say that it is the body and the mind that experiences and that there is a soul beyond all this that does not vanish. That it is deathless and is part of an undivided whole. You will ask me whether I have read your Gita and that I shall find answers to my questions. I have tried and shall try again. It did give me hope, like you have done so far, but still a lot of it is beyond my comprehension. 

The Vedas affirm that God is neither accessible to words nor to mind.  It is said that you cannot be comprehended with the human mind alone, even if one spends all his life trying!  Given this infinite nature of yours and who is not governed or constrained by any of the physical laws as we know them, how am I to realise and understand you as I have only a human mind.

I have taken the following stanzas from the Gita and have been meditating upon them:

 It (the self) is not born, and It does not die; nor is it ever that this One having been nonexistent becomes existent again. This One is birthless, eternal, undecaying, ancient; It is not killed when the body is killed.
-Gita Ch.2 Verse 20

Of the unreal there is no being; the real has no nonexistence.
The nature of both of them, indeed, has been realised by the seers of Truth.
-Gita Ch.2, Shloka 16

As after rejecting (discarding) worn out clothes a man takes up other new ones (clothes), likewise after rejecting worn out bodies the embodied one (soul) duly attains new ones.
-Gita Ch.2 Verse 22

Since death of anyone born is certain, and of the dead (re-)birth is a certainty, therefore you ought not to grieve over an inevitable fact.
-Gita Ch. 2 Verse 27

It is very comforting I agree, I can understand that death is a certainty because I see it, but of rebirth, even though you have told me time and again that reincarnation takes place I have not seen it happening, only been told of it.

What is it that I look forward to from you? Just listen to me and take me through this process of self enquiry because asking you to perform a miracle so that I start believing in you I guess is not in the scheme of things, as I have come to believe that things will happen as destined and you will not interfere.

I shall be writing to you time and again whether you acknowledge or not. I am sure you will be listening to me. Maybe smiling?

Yours truly, I shall always remain,

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

LIFE – AN ENQUIRY PART- 2


LIFE – AN ENQUIRY  PART- 2
I had ended my last posting on ‘Life-An Enquiry Part-1, The Holographic Universe’ Stating that my enquiry starts with the fundamental idea that has been arrived at by one of the world’s eminent scientists, that “beyond the visible, tangible world there lies a deeper, implicate order of undivided wholeness”. This was David Bohm.
Bohm called the world of sensory experience the “explicate order” and its underlying reality the “implicate order.” According to his theory, the universe is a dynamic series of movements—folding into, and unfolding out of, the implicate order.

Karl Pribram in an interview has said, “if indeed we're right that these quantum-like phenomena, or the rules of quantum mechanics, apply all the way through to our psychological processes, to what's going on in the nervous system -- then we have an explanation perhaps, certainly we have a parallel, to the kind of experiences that people have called spiritual experiences. Because the descriptions you get with spiritual experiences seem to parallel the descriptions of quantum physics. Now what do I mean by spiritual experience? You talked about mental activity, calling it the mind. That aspect of mental activity, which is very human -- it may be true of other species as well, but we don't know -- but in human endeavour many of us at least seem to need to get in contact with larger issues, whether they're cosmology, or some kind of biological larger issue, or a social one, or it's formalized in some kind of religious activity. But we want to belong. And that is what I define as the spiritual aspects of man's nature.

The holographic model, taken to its logical conclusion, could explain a wide range of phenomena such as precognition, telepathy, poltergeists, lucid dreaming, and near death experiences, to say nothing of religious and mystical experiences. The theory is that our brains habitually unfold the implicate order in predictable ways, but as we can change the frequency or angle of a laser beam, perhaps we can experience other places, times, and knowledge—all equally present everywhere in the holomovement—given the right circumstances. This was the major thrust of The Holographic Universe.

Fritz Capra wrote ‘The Tao of Physics’ where he explores the parallels between the findings of modern physics and eastern mysticism. In the epilogue he writes “Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science, but man needs both.”

For Carl Jung, “My thesis then, is as follows: in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, , which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.”.

Jung linked the collective unconscious to  mental forms whose presence cannot be explained by anything in the individual's own life and which seem to be aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind”.

So where does this get us to – David Bohm’s ‘a deeper, implicate order of undivided wholeness’, Karl Pribram’s ‘the descriptions you get with spiritual experiences seem to parallel the descriptions of quantum physicS’ and Carl Jung’s theory of the ‘Collective Unconscious’. Is this the all pervading Brahman of Hindu thought? My enquiry on life will continue.

IF YOU LOVE


If you love

If you love your children,
Give them love,
Lest you become the toy,
A plaything,
To be discarded,
Ultimately.

If you love yourself so much,
Look in the mirror,
See your wrinkles grow.
Give that love to someone,
Who needs it more than you,
Your face will start to glow

If you love me so much,
Do not tell me what to do,
I am who I am,
You are who you are,
So let me be as I am,
I shall leave you, as you are.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

HAIKU 4


The dawn of the day,
The smile of the child,
Shades of the sublime.

Monday, April 2, 2012

MUSIC – A TRIBUTE TO BEETHOVEN (Contd.)


MUSIC – BEETHOVEN (Contd.)

An interesting observation has been made in the comment to my earlier posting on ‘A Tribute to Beethoven’, by Sotto Voce, which I guess is the name by which his blog is known. I reproduce below a relevant portion of that comment here:

“when I see a painting in my dream, do I see through my eyes? when I hear a lovely music in my dream, do I hear through my ear? Why should absence of "hearing" stop him from hearing music in all its nuances? I would have "wondered" about his composing abilities, if he had been born deaf and had no opportunity at all to hear music from birth. But that is not the case here.”

This is interesting because it raises the question of what do I dream of. I have written in a previous posting on ‘Dreams’ that I see things that I have never seen before, be it persons or places, apart from dream of people I know and places I have visited. I have wondered whether I am living in an alternate world and experiencing an alternate reality.

As far as I have experienced the only sense perception that gets activated in a dream is the sense of seeing. I have never smelt, never tasted or for that matter never heard anything. This is as far as dreams go for me. I know not whether there are those who have felt all their senses activated in a dream.

I have also wondered as to whether any person who has been deprived of the faculty of one of his senses ever experiences or perceives that part of the external world which is there in front of him. As per Empiricism and David Hume, the only knowledge of the world we have of the world is through our sense perceptions. In which case is the view of the world for such a person incomplete? Rationalism and Descartes view the world as a product of our reason alone independent of sense experience

“The dispute between rationalism and empiricism concerns the extent to which we are dependent upon sense experience in our effort to gain knowledge. Rationalists claim that there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience. Empiricists claim that sense experience is the ultimate source of all our concepts and knowledge.”

Kant tried to resolve the issue by bringing about a synthesis between modern rationalism and empiricism

So where does this bring us to? Is a person who has been deprived of the comfort of even one of the five senses is deprived of a complete view of the world. Coming to view of the world again it is a subjective experience ‘the world as I see it’. What is the type of subjective experience does such a person have? We do not know. Can a person who is born blind create a painting? Can a person born deaf create music? What is going on in his inner world we do not know, we can only wonder. A person born deaf is able to admire a beautiful painting he could be a great painter himself, a person born blind can be a great musician.

We always say ‘look inside’ or ‘listen to your inner voice’ when we want to understand the meaning of life. The search is always inwards. The world as I see it is internalised to see the world inside and that is where we believe the reality is. How do we manifest externally what we experience internally? That is where great works of art, great music come in. Our only mode of externalisation of inner world is through one our senses. That is how I see it.

Coming to Beethoven himself I have wondered as to how he could continue  composing music, though the sense which was instrumental in helping him create great music, had failed him. Like it has been pointed out he had the comfort of internalising all the music he had created, but my only point was how could he externalise it when the mode through which he could have done that had failed him. His victory lay in the fact that he could do that despite this.

Kierkegaard in his book ‘Either/Or’ writes “Music exists only in the moment of its performance, for however skilful one may be at reading notes and however lively one’s imagination, it cannot be denied that it is only in an unreal sense that the music exists when read. It exists only when performed. This might seem to be an imperfection in this art as compared with the others, whose works constantly endure because they have their existence in the sensual. Yet that is not so. Rather it is a proof that music is a higher , a more spiritual art.”

Sunday, April 1, 2012

CONSTRUCTIVE NEUTRALITY


CONSTRUCTIVE  NEUTRALITY

Why did I pick up this word to talk about. It is defined in the Webster’s Dictionary as the quality or state of being neutral or a refusal to take part in a war between two powers. 

But is this true when it comes down to personal relationships? It is very easy to say “I am neutral so do not pull me into your conflict. I do not want to take sides”. Is this desirable? Are we backing out since we do not want to spoil relationships with either party. It appears so. Each one to his judgement. However is this not a form of cowardice? Being neutral does not mean standing aside and watching both the parties fight. It takes a lot of courage to understand both points of view and speak your mind out, in an effort to make them understand the unreasonability of their stand and bring about a rapproachment. You tell them where their stand is reasonable and where it is not. I would call this Constructive Neutrality.

Why poke your nose into others business. Yes if you are not really concerned. But if you have shown concern throughout your relationship with either of them, you are bound to feel as to their well being, and it requires a point of view from outside, in any conflict, for any resolution. It requires a lot of courage to do some soul searching and speak ones mind out. Do we have it? If yes, a number of conflicts can be brought to an end. Mind you, this is not interference, it is only concern. That is what I call Constructive Neutrality. Whether you agree or not, I have spoken my mind out.