A while ago I had taken a break from any form of publishing of my works (written, visual, etc.) as I wanted to meditate on something that had struck me with all its love and ferocity. I am still working on it but recently I had this urge to compact what runs in my head into 18 verses which would serve as summary and hint to what I am working on. These 18 verses are structured into 36 questions (in 108 lines. Funny isn’t it? 18 * 6 = 108 i.e. the original multiplicand with nothing (zero, 0 ) in between!) which might help an interested person to meditate and ponder further on the intricacies of life. These 18 verses cannot and will not claim to be the one-stop-shop for a glimpse at truth. There is no right answer to these questions, so commenters might do well to refrain from trying to check their answers!
Today is the day spent in worshipping Goddess Saraswathi. Think about it, were it not for her what is it that would have been passed down the ages? Where would all the great works of literature, drama and poetry be? Would we know the gods and goddesses in Her absence (she is also the goddess of speech, hence the Vedas would never have reached us!)?
Not that this is worth Her attention. Not that this is to Her refined tastes. Not that this is the best that can be offered to Her, but this is what I can. This post is offered to Her.
Isn’t it an attempt at magic,
When we cast life’s rainbow
With half-done words, black and red?
In the infinitely finite desert
Slashed by the winds of time
Do hawks and snakes, like paths tread?
Sitting in the benevolent shade
Biting the juicy fruit, do you recall
What you had once called rotten has grown thus?
When the lifetime of goodness is but
A day in the life of Truth, what is
Good, bad and this duality to us?
Like the swan exclaiming “I am alive”
By gazing into the stagnant lake
Why, in mirrors, search for yourself?
If the “why”s and “how”s matter not
And the beheld is all of truth
Isn’t life a well-stacked shelf?
After listening to the villagers’ words
Did any crow powder itself and
Which donkey sipped honey tea?
Having lost it in the woods
Why gather a dozen strong men
And search it in a well-lit monastery?
Though meats for lions, grains for doves
Fish for seals, and salvation for a sage
Don’t they all want the very same?
While the stolen lasts four nights
And the arrogated, a while longer
What’s time to an untainted gain?
What’s thought to a hungry stomach,
Or God to a bereaved mother
Or reason to whom in love swoons?
Why measure truth in pounds
Or mountains in thumb-lengths,
Or wide oceans in full teaspoons?
With all your bags packed
Shouldn’t you know where you are
Before you start to get there?
Why, like dark autumn clouds
Without a drop of wetness within,
Do you rush to thunder and flare?
Without knowing why water is wet
Or why the flame glows warm,
How could you ever know honesty?
When in no storm, does gold leaden,
And no grief makes coal of diamond
Why trade virtue in adversity?
Why does it astonish you that
No sword can bleed the air,
And a feather, no cudgel maims?
In the cold, lonely winter night
Doesn’t every red coal need
Fresh breath to blush with flames?
Does the creeper weep tears,
Because the rusted pole
Broke in half and tore it too?
If every joy and grief were like
A sip of water, can an unbinding
Memory, brew unrest in you?
Why enter the marketplace
And walk amidst baskets of goods
Without knowing what you want?
To a river clearly flowing its course
On to the chosen sea, do shunned
Green meadows and deserts haunt?
When one knows what is, is
How can one ever discriminate,
And how can one not do so?
Though boiled rice by a grain is told,
Would you buy a jewel chest
Going by a single ruby’s glow?
Like an overflowing cup of tea
How can the chatter of the mind,
Allow the Divine to take its seat?
Ever wonder why fishermen, old,
Teach you to tackle and bait, but
Silently bite into the carp’s meat?
In this world of unending action
Who can be happier than the
Dispassionately passionate worker?
When every act of love and labour
Is touched by the deepest flame
How can this man ever ail or suffer?
Have you watched two lovers dance
Stumbling and twirling and tripping
But laughing in their togetherness?
When there are no words, no ideas
No honour, no status, no point to prove
Can there be fear in Truth’s soft caress?
In a haste to understand it all
Why do you cast him in your shadow
When the Divine casts no reflection?
What use is any alien resolve to call
All the Divine and live in a haze
When deep down lies a trembling scission?
Having saved your son from seven deaths
With seven sacrifices and seven fasts
Should you now cry at his grave?
Ever know from where desire comes;
Where borne the effort and ease or,
The fate you fear and fortune, crave?
When there is none to make you think
And none to make you feel or realize,
Why make a God of a wordy ploy?
Although these eighteen known shall
Breathe life and joy, would a soul
Ignorant, not live and enjoy?
Yadakshara padh brashtam maathra heenantu yad bhaveth
Tat sarvam kshamyathaam deva, Narayana namostute
Visarga bindu maathraanee, padh paadhaaksharaanee cha
Nyoonaani cha atirikthaanee, kshamsva Purushottama.