One simple chapter

Amidst the cacophony, her voice would reach me every morning, in those days of childhood. Care, that was abundant, was coupled with strict regime of do’s and don’ts which made up my childhood life. Stores of epics built up my days and nights, in those days where I played at the huge mansion where my mother had grown up.

 

It was a scary night, when I snuggled close to her, seeking protection and love. Strong that she was herself, she held my hands and made me speak out the holy mantras, gently- softly, adding a flowery tenderness to each name she uttered. Her fingers guided me to perform that which I later understood as ‘Japam’. Thus, without a notice or a dictation, she led me in the first path of spiritual life, – teaching me independence, strength and building in faith in the Supreme.

 

Years passed by, and I marvelled at her glow. Not that years favoured her more, yet the unfading beauty of those eyes captured my senses every time I visited her. Snuggling close to her, I smelt her fragrance, the fragrance of freshly lit incense, right after her worship. Meditate- meditate – meditate! That was her guideline, almost always. Be in the world, never run away, but know He alone is True. Keep your focus at the Truth while you perform your assigned roles, she mentioned – innumerable times.

 

It was just a few months back that I visited her. A nonagenarian by now, she outlived almost every one of her generation. Settled in herself, yet another time I marvelled at her. Hardly talking, quite engaged in herself, yet she was alert to the environment around. In her love, I noted the comforting detachment that she has mastered over the years. Placing herself at the feet of her Guru, she looked at every one with love yet with fond detachment. ‘Have you eaten’ she asked? That was her nature! But beyond that she contained in herself as she gently went on reciting the name of the lord – within herself. I looked at her, I admired her and knew somewhere that this was the last time I was seeing her.

 

Yes, she moved on, in the realm beyond time, beyond human limitations. That is my grandmother- the woman who taught surrender, who taught freedom and strength without cribbing of those tiny gaps of life. Despite all odds, she portrayed fulfilment.

 

A chapter of my life ended on the 1st of Jan!

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Just another day …

Philosophy or wisdom- I do not know what is the name given to the experiences that one gathers in various stages of life. As I sit to write after some time, thoughts fill up from all sides. The head is packed with feelings and emotions of all kinds.

But …but …but ..all these thoughts are ‘mine’ and I alone pay importance to these thoughts and make them real. Yesterday for some 4 / 5 hours I was at the burning ghat at Lodhi road. The entry itself makes one step back a bit…is it necessary to enter I ask myself. Crying and mourning sets of people enter in various groups. One body covered from head to toe, brought in by each set of people, with a tears in their eyes. How easily one person living till a few minutes back becomes ‘a body’ …matter of minutes … the name is lost…

One after another all rituals get done …the close family have tears …some break down and the priest who guides through the procedures is so untouched ….he is doing this every day …day after day. How methodical ….

Standing beneath the Neem tree I look around me …some 5/6 pyres lit …no one around since they have been burning for more than an hour now…they are being looked after by the keeper …to see that the ‘body’ burns off … Crude facts of life ! And those who came to leave the body have to attend to other works of life …life moves on…

Why then do we make such big issues of ‘mine’ ….or ‘what I feel’ …’ why me’ and the like ? As I close my eyes…..how does it matter what I feel /felt? What I went through in life, the injustice or justice, fair play or unfair play? Is being judgmental so necessary? Or is life a journey …and the mere identification with the body as me and there by leading a life based on this incomplete knowledge itself so baseless? How inconsequential  feelings are ….yet they alone make up so much of us !

The body born of the elements was going back to the elements …. She who left back memories in the heart …is of love… and that alone is what she carried with her ….Love !

Is there anything else that we carry from this world to the next ?????

All the words of Masters came back to me ….”Remain untouched”…Swamiji said just a day before… It is a mantra that is to be implemented …and lived in life ……

Growing up—growing Old

Every new person visiting me leaves back a part of him/her in the learning that I get, and this is the biggest gift of working for me.

This lady came to me some years back. Fragile and small built, she could be ignored if one were not captivated by the glow in her eyes. She was like a budding flower, enthusiastic, bright and full of life. Gently she sat and looked around, observing me, and I wondered what would I talk about, to this lady who has seen life more than I have, and whose understanding  could be a learning for me.

She fumbled with the glass of water, ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so jittery. My hands do not seem to be in my control’. And her question to me was, ‘will I complete my graduation this year?’. I asked her what motivated her to get to college and study. She smiled, she said, ‘I always dreamt of college education, and now I am getting one’.

At eighty seven? I wondered! What would I speak? I was fumbling for words. She started talking on the latest cricket match being telecast with all the statistical details of all the current players. I laughed, and she went on, (I quote her words…)

“We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are a nineteen year old and lie in bed for full one year, and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn 20. If I am 87, stay in bed for a year, and never do anything, I will turn 88. Anybody can grow older, that does not need a talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunities to change. Have no regrets. The elders do not have regrets for what they did, but for what they did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”.  She was sipping the tea with a happy smile on her, enjoying every sip with contentment.

This was an incident that made me sit up and look at life from another angle.

Just last night I received the news of her passing away in sleep. In that one visit some five years back, she taught me to live life… she taught me..Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional

 

From this Love

Mystic marriage are born
the poets’ songs, inner knowledge,
the language of the heart,

ways of living,
and the fair child Beauty.

And the Great Love

gives to man as dowry
the hidden glory of the world.

 

my guru

You took my life in your own hands;
You thrashed me clean
On savage rocks of eternal mind;

How its colors bled; until it turned white;
You looked and smiled, you sat back
You left me to dry, in the scorch of the sun

The sea boils in its love for you
The clouds hold pearls to shower at your feet
A lightening from your love pierced the earth
Its smoke curled up to touch the sky

From the dull green, you turned me golden
The sea terrified me; I learnt to drown
Squat on the earth, you unfolded my wing
You made me start, all over again

You hid me in your cloak of nothingness
You covered my ignorance in your smile
I am nothing; yet appear as a transparent dream
Where only eternity remains, the colors are no more seen …