zindagi ke mod par hum tum mile aur kho gaye

ज़िन्दगी के मोड़ पर हम तुम मिले और खो गए,
अजनबी थे और फिर हम अजनबी से हो गए.
ज़िन्दगी के मोड़ पर…

पल दो पल जज़्बात की, लहरों में कितना जोश था,
एक ज़रा सी देर में तूफाँ के धारे सो गए.
ज़िन्दगी के मोड़ पर हम तुम मिले और खो गए,
ज़िन्दगी के मोड़ पर…

दिल के हर एक तार में, क्या जानिये क्या सोज़ है,
साज़ छेड़ा और सभी नगमे परेशाँ हो गए,
ज़िन्दगी के मोड़ पर हम तुम मिले और खो गए,
ज़िन्दगी के मोड़ पर…

जिस कदर नज़दीक आये, फासले बढ़ते गए,
दो मुसाफिर अपनी मंजिल पर पहुँच कर खो गए,

ज़िन्दगी के मोड़ पर हम तुम मिले और खो गए,
अजनबी थे और फिर हम अजनबी से हो गए.
ज़िन्दगी के मोड़ पर…

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Imtihaan

दर पे खड़े हैं अज़ल से बा-सब्र हम,
लेंगे कितना तिश्नगी का इम्तिहाँ.

(अज़ल – Time immemorial, बा-सब्र – With patience, तिश्नगी – Thirst)

बस इनायत की नज़र इक चाहिए,
इसके बदले दिल ही लेंगे या कि जाँ.

जब भी उठे मेरे दुआ में हाथ हैं,
दिल ने कहा ज़न्नत नहीं इश्क-ए-बुताँ.

तदबीर हम सारी उमर की क्या करें ,
क्या खबर किस वक़्त हो जाएँ फ़ना .

रगबत रही न अब कोई बहार से ,
हो गया है आशना कहरे-खिजाँ.

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The Man of Tao

The man of Tao acts without impediment,
He harms no other being by his actions,
Yet he does not know himself
to be kind and gentle.

He does not struggle to make money
And he does not make a virtue of poverty.

He goes without relying on others,
And does not pride himself
on walking alone.

The man of Tao remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
No Self is True Self.
And the greatest man is nobody.

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The good and the bad…

I have almost always been of the view that it is very difficult to decide what is absolute good or what is absolute bad. In my view, it is we who decide what is good and what is bad; we label them according to our own needs and understanding.

In reality, things are as they are, and will be as they will be; they are neither good, nor bad.

The germination of this post started today when a friend of mine sent me a message, “Hope everything will be alright in the end”.

I am in a peculiar situation these days. I am in trouble, but don’t know what kind of end to these troubles I really want, or which ends would be better for me. So yes, I can only say that whatever is the end will be alright irrespective of what I want. And do my wishes really matter in the grand scheme of the things? I think not. They might matter to me very much, but do they really matter overall? I might wish from all my heart to stop a particular day turning into the night, but as my wish would be in conflict with the overall scheme of things it won’t matter at all and the day would turn into the night at its appointed time. I would be pained, I would be hurt, but that is my problem, isn’t it?

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Just an update…

10:05 PM

Tonight is going to be extremely difficult. The signs are not good in the least. I have planned a very important session of meditation with three friends, but the sense of dread I have today for my own personal reasons will make it very difficult for me.

Let us see if I can rise above the emotional turmoil I am facing today since the last one hour. Let us see if I am able to calm myself enough for the task I have assigned to myself. After the session, if during the period the unspeakable hasn’t occurred, I will try Bardo suggestions.

Let peace prevail all around.

======================

11:30 PM

The session was wonderful. I was able to calm myself within the first five minutes or so; and then it went on uninterrupted for the designated period. Now I know that nothing untoward is going to happen on my personal front. I also know now that the session has been successful. It is just a gut feeling sort of thing.

The session I am talking about was a sort of “faith healing”, which I take part in as an experiment. I don’t know if it really helped or will help in healing the person it was intended for, but the calmness which descended on me is certainly a big bonus for my being.

Whether faith healing works, or can work, can be answered only if the issue of “mind over matter” can be settled either way scientifically. I have explored this issue in some depth, but haven’t been able to make up my mind either way. The skeptic in me rubbishes such ideas for lack of evidence, but the agnostic in me doesn’t discard the idea completely.

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Spiritual growth..

How many times have you heard the phrase “spiritual growth” and wondered about it? Don’t you get confused every time you try to read and learn about it?

The problem is that there are many concepts about which we have only vague ideas, and many a time these concepts are vague themselves. So no matter how hard you try to understand them, they always seem to elude you. I think “spiritual growth” is one of such concepts.

I have been interested in the occult, spiritual practices, meditation and what not since long. I have explored many branches, and got disillusioned with most of them pretty soon. While trying to explore these ideas, one question kept nagging my mind all the time: how do I know if what I am reading, or what I am being taught, is valid and/or correct? The simple answer would be: try it and then see for yourself. But there is a problem with this advice too: who has enough time to go on trying out thousands of ideas, following hundreds of Gurus, and then see? I, then decided to use the critical and logical faculties of my mind to examine anything before I proceeded to try it out.

I like to think of myself as a logical, rational and critical human being. I have been to many international fora, and have locked horns with many people from all over the world. I have seen how the believers behave with those who try to question their beliefs logically. I have also seen that the so called rationalists behave exactly in the same manner as the believers when their beliefs(?) are questioned :). This statement would appear irrational, as the rationalists are supposed to be against all kinds of beliefs. But trust me, they are not! Most of the self-avowed rationalists are as touchy as any other die-hard believer about their own beliefs. For example, there is a popular page on the Facebook named “The pain of Reason”. It is actually a book written by one Trevor Karsdale who has create a page for his book on facebook. TK is an atheist (I am one too, by the way), and his book ridicules believers mercilessly. When I joined facebook, I came across his page, and “liked” it which allowed me to post comments on that page. Within a few days I found myself arguing against some of the so called rationalists and atheists on that page. It seems that the atheists “believe” in atheism as much, and as irrationally, as the believers believe in the heaven, hell and the afterlife. Funny, isn’t it? You would expect a rational human being to be willing to explore any new ideas, and change his if found incompatible with logic. In my humble opinion, a true rationalist would always be ready to change his ideas, and would be always in “explorer” mode. The Science has progressed so much because of such rational scientists; no one, including Newton or Einstein is beyond examination or questioning. No theory is considered as sacred. No proof beyond re-validation!

Anyway, a few days after I became active on Trevor Karsdale’s page, I was banned from posting any comments on it. Banned? Yes! Why? Probably because, they found me a bit difficult to handle! They don’t generally ban believers as they enjoy punching them to their hearts’ content. Many of the believers generally lack the knowledge of “Logic” or logical fallacies, and hence they are easy meat for the so called atheists or rationalists. But that was not the case with me. I am well aware of logical fallacies, and I know how to spot them in others’ arguments, and also how to avoid them. Trevor Karsdale probably got worried about the sale of his book, and hence banned me from his page.

I find it so hilarious that sometimes I have found myself arguing against both the sides in the same forum in the same thread (not at TK’s page, but other fora), and that people from the both the sides of the fence have used my arguments against each other in the same very thread!! LOL. Can you imagine my predicament?

I would give another example. I am an astrologer myself. I know enough astrology to hold my own against many astrologers. I have been, and still do, offer astrological advice to a very select few of my friends, all the time reminding them not to believe too much in those advices. And yet, I don’t fully believe in Astrology as a subject or Science. I have argued against many astrologers, and I have also argued against the people who don’t believe in it. On this very website, I have written an article which argues against those who don’t believe in Astrology. But, I don’t have any problems in accepting that there are many missing links in the subject of Astrology, and that there exists (at least to my knowledge) no astrologer worth his name who can predict anything with guarantee. Moreover, various statistical and scientific studies debunk the claims that Astrology works.

Let us come back to the topic of “Spiritual Growth”. I am a skeptic on this topic too. I don’t really know if any “spirit” exists within us, so how can I be sure of any “spiritual growth”? I am not saying that there is no ESP, or Spirits, or anything like that; I am just saying that I don’t know. All I know for sure is that we humans have thoughts (psychology), and emotions. Do we have any spirit, or soul? I don’t really know. So, IMHO, there can surely be a psychological growth. And so far I think, that the so called “spiritual growth” is nothing but a psychological and/or emotional growth . And Meditation is probably one of the best ways devised for such a growth.

I would like to make it clear that when I talk of meditation, I don’t mean “concentrating” your attention on something. What I am talking about is exactly the opposite: diffusion of our attention or awareness. One tries to become aware of everything that happens around him simultaneously. The attention is not focussed, as focus implies a choice. This form of meditation is what J. Krishnamurti called “Choiceless Awareness”.

I will expand upon this topic in the days to come.

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Pretensions…

How adept I am becoming in pretending these days! It must be the result of the practice of last ten months or so! I have been sending jokes to my friends, cringing every time I sent those jokes even at the risk of offending some of them.

It has been a pretty poor attempt of mine to keep pretending that I have been feeling humourous. I do have a little sense of humour, but I can be really humourous only when I feel happy. But, such happy occasions have been extremely rare during last one year. I have stated a few times during the period that I was passing through some kind of hell, but I didn’t know then that hell could be even worse! I am now afraid of naming what I am going through presently.

I have always considered “trust” as one of my strong virtues. I have always trusted the better side of people by default, and have always been rewarded by being trusted back in return. In fact, I have always felt proud of how trustworthy I come across to people around me. And it has been not because of my ability to pretend, but my ability to trust and my penchant to be truthful and honest even at the risk of sounding unpalatable to most of the people around me.

Exactly a month back, I received the shock of my life; one of my closest friends, V, implied that I was not trustworthy and that I had been trying to take advantage of him! Trying to take advantage? What the hell were you talking about, V? Were you in your senses at that time? Would you please show some guts by defining in what way I had been trying to take advantage of you?

I don’t know what about me was, or has been, bugging you. But it was an unpardonable accusation from you. It broke my heart to pieces, and it would take some time for me to get over this earthquake. It is true that I have been a tad touchy for various reasons in my personal life. I might have behaved in some unreasonable ways too, but you were well aware of the reasons, weren’t you? However, I am not aware of what made you feel like that. I would very much like to know, but I doubt if I would ever be able to make myself confront and ask you about it. I feel shattered, angry and broken. And it has come to pass only because I considered you as one of my best friends. I opened myself completely before you. I have been a strong votary of openness; but I now have some doubts about it. Is it really worth it to open yourself to some other human being completely?

I could have pretended to be a person different from what I am. I could have pretended to not being bothered by certain acts of omission or commission by you. I could have pretended to be a person having a larger heart than I really have. I could have probably fooled you, but would it have been worth it? Would I have derived any pleasure from those pretensions? I know that I wouldn’t have. How would have I faced myself in moments of solitude then?

It’s been a month since I took leave of you. There was a faint hope in my heart that you would perhaps realise your folly, and make amends for it. But you didn’t.

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Experience….

One of my mails to a friend of mine:

What I experience is not actually a trance. A person in a trance like state becomes oblivious to his surroundings and himself. I, on the other hand, become much more aware of my surroundings and myself. I become aware of my heart beats, my breathing, slightest disturbances in the surroundings, and whatever is happening, or is, around me in those moments, and a peace beyond words.

It is easier to work yourself in a state of trance. That is why you will find many people either faking or actually being in a trance. The oblivion Ramakrishna used to experience as Gajadhar was something much higher than a trance. That happens when the body is not able to withstand the bliss one feels, so it balks and loses consciousness. Apparently it looks like a trance like state, but it is not.

What you experienced in the monastery, I experienced in the Elephanta caves in front of the Shiva’s Trimoorti in the year 1979 when I was thirteen. It is difficult to describe what I felt as I didn’t have enough awareness to put that experience in words then. I can only say this much that I suddenly felt all alone in that cave and was mesmerized by that sculpture. I had the experience once again when I revisited that cave in 1996 with my family. I told them to wait outside for me, and I sat there facing Shiva for around 10-15 minutes. This time I was able to recognise that I was feeling the familiar peace which I first experienced in 1993, and which can’t be disturbed by anything from outside. I think that the sculptors of those statues must have been meditators themselves, otherwise it is not possible to create something with mystical touch.

Sea beaches and jungles (if you can manage to not feel afraid) are places which can give glimpses of such experiences more easily. Sunrises and sunsets are events which can do the same. That is why they were called “Sandhya Kaal”, and meditators practice during such times. You have surely had the glimpses, but need to have more to concretise them, and prepare yourself for the descent of peace in your being. Once it starts crystallising, you will find that there are many things which can trigger the experience. Your heart will open up more and more, but you will also become more and more susceptible and vulnerable.

Trust doesn’t come easily.

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Ban Kar…

नहीं थी बेवजह ग़फ़लत मेरे यारों मेरे दिल की,
कि लूटा है चमन मेरा किसी ने बागबाँ बनकर.

हमें कुछ यूँ सताया वक्त ने तेरे फिराक में,
हर लम्हा रह गया है गोया वाकया बनकर.

(फिराक = Separation)

रही कुछ यूँ इसे उम्मीद सौगात-ए-मुहब्बत की,
सहे तेरे सितम भी दिल ने अकसर बेज़ुबां बनकर.

यही थी आरजू जागे मेरी तकदीर-ए-खाविदा,
जियें दो चार दिन हम भी तुम्हारे आशना बन कर.

(तकदीर-ए-खाविदा = Sleeping luck)

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Breaking free…

Life can be so beautiful, so fulfilling and so enriching that no one would need any heaven after death. It can be in the here and now. No wonder, freedom is cherished so much.

Each of us is trussed with so many invisible chains. Most of us can’t even see them. And among those who can see, only a few are able to break free; it needs so great a courage that almost all of them decide to continue living enchained.

There are two ways to approach the problem. One is to start, and then go on, breaking chains one by one consciously. The other way is to work upon yourself without bothering about them. The first way is painful. The second one is painful too, but it makes those chains fall by on their own accord. On the second path, you become free even while remaining tied up. Unfortunately, how you have to walk on the second path can’t properly be described in words. It is a trick, and once you learn it, it can be the key to all the locks holding you back.

The trick can only be taught person to a person non-verbally. No one has taught me this trick. I got it while reading some words; but I know that it was not the words which did it. In my case, it simply happened when I was reading the relevant words from a master. But that occurs very rarely, and hence the need of some Guru at least initially. Then you might need a Guru after you have traveled some distance on the path; but that comes much later. I am in need of a Guru right now, but don’t know if I will be blessed with one in this life time. Since I am like that proverbial Bengali wife (Keno? Kothay jacchho? etc, :)), I would probably shoo that Guru away by my skepticism.

Don’t make any hasty decision about breaking free, unless you are sure that you want freedom. Freedom comes at a cost we might find too steep to pay. It all depends how you look at your life. If you prefer to stay in your comfort zone, even if painful, freedom is not for you.

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