Monday, March 20, 2006

through the viewfinder..

i was rummaging though my drawer yesterday looking for something when i happened to look at a letter, an old inland letter, and it took me on a trip down memory december 94 we had gone to laksar, a small town in the sugar belt near dehradoon to attend the wedding of my cousin. two days before we left my brother in law gave me his camera, which also became my first slr camera (minolta x3oo...really beautiful), and fell in love instantly. most of the train journey was spent sitting near the open door of the train compartment. i would sit near the door looking excitedly at the passing landscape, constantly on the lookout for something to photograph, for some reason things looked diferent in a different way through the viewfinder of the camera, they still do...i don't know how to describe it...just different...and i just loved the whole process of photography, the sound of the shutter release, the sound of the film advance lever, composing the frame, eye quickly flying to all corners of the viewfinder just before releasing the shutter, even when i was not taking photographs i was spending quite a lot of time just looking through the viewfinder, which caused much amusement to the two train attendents who were there, whose job was to provide blankets and pillows to the passengers, their small cabin was also next to one of the compartment doors, where they used to sit and we would chat a bit, they would somtimes point out something that they thought interesting to photograph. we were to get off at delhi, and before that i took a photograph of them, i told them if the print came out i will send it to them, it was the first time i was using an slr manual camera and so i really had no idea how the prints were gonna come out...we came back, i got all the films processed and found that their photograph had come out, a wee bit shaky but it was there. i put it in an envelope, wrote down the address they had given, a place in kashmir, posted it and forgot all about it...after a couple of weeks i guess i got a letter from them, which shook me well and proper, the way they had written it, thanking me profusely as if i had given them a million rupees...i couldn't figure it out, all i had done was send a photograph, as i had said i would, but just that i had done as i had said was enough for them...and for me it was a lesson in human nature, one never knows in what way one can touch someone's life, what is small for you can mean much to someone else...and the camera was the medium through which i got this experience, little did i know at that time how many more things it was going to teach me, that i was also going to learn humility... and it was these two guys who had provided me with one of the lessons. i don't have photographs from that time because when i went through my depression in 2001, in my search to disconnect myself from my past i had burnt all my diaries and photographs...but this letter is still there, all worn out and yellowed and cello taped, but its there... i'm grateful for that.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

... anyone who read the poetry i had posted in the previous post, did you happen to find elements of sikhi in it, guru gobind singhji had said....if thou wish to play the game of love, place your head in your hand and enter upon my path...

Monday, March 13, 2006

some poetry...not mine.

...then said almitra," speak to us of love"
and he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. and then with a great voic he said:
when love beckons to you follow him, though his ways are hard and steep.
and when his wings enfold you yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
and when he speaks to you believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
for even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. even as he is for your growth, so is he for your pruning.
even as he ascends to your heights and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
he threshes you to make you naked.
he sifts you to free you from your husks.
he grinds you to whiteness.
he kneads you until you are pliant.
and then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for gods sacred feast.
all these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of life's heart.
but if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing floor,
into the seasonless world where you may laugh, but not all of your laughter, and cry, but not all of your tears.
love gives not but itself and takes nought but from itself.
love possesses not nor would it be possessed,
for love is sufficient unto love.
when you love you should not say, "god is in my heart", but rather, "i am in the heart of god".
and think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs you course.
love has no desire but to fulfil itself.
but if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires.
to melt and be like the running brook that sings its melody to the night.
to know the pain of too much tenderness.
to be wounded by your understanding of love, and to bleed willingly and joyfully.
to wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving,
to rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstacy.
to return home at eventide with gratitude,
and then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Friday, March 10, 2006

filmi fever...

rang de basanti...the flavor of the season...have seen it five times and it was only after the third time that i could breathe easy, as an aspiring film maker this film scared the living daylights out of did you make it??...hats off to the one or the ones who came up with the concept and the ones who made it into what can only be called a superb cinematic experience. this kind of a film is extremely difficult to make, about three years went into developing the script...its not easy to work on a project for three years without knowing what might happen. film making is a strange business anyway, for the amount it takes to make a film, one can buy a building somewhere which will stand for a long time, while your film can be history with two days of its release. anyways, a beautiful film, good performances, nice music, scenes seamlessly blending into each other.....but then.... a few objections over some glitches for which the director is responsible. first the scene where the heros of the film are introduced, opening beer bottles with kara, and then the mother of the hero, shown as an amritdhari, wearing a black thread on her fingers, for the well being of her son. the cfilm unit had stayed almost a month in amritsar for filming certain sequences, a little bit of fact finding could have rectified these things and the scenes could have been given a different treatment. "its only a film".....i know, but no no, the director should have taken the trouble and done some research, which wouldn't have taken more than 15 minutes....but still, a wonderful film, superbly crafted, this is just the third or fourth film i have seen in the past two years, and i am happy that i did...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

meditation, going deep, higher self and all that jazz...

meditation...what is it? as per my understanding, meditation is not something that can be done, it is not doing, it is a state of being, of being here and now, and either one is in that state or one is not. whatever one does, breath control, japa, mantra, whatever, it is not meditation itself, it is an effort one makes to get to meditation..
...two most commmon phrases i have come across..."meditating and going deeper within the self"....and "connecting to or trying to connect to the higher self"...if someone can explain, please do, what depth is being spoken of, god, consciousness, waheguru whatever name one calls it with is all there is, here there everywhere, where can one go? where can one go from where one is right now, and if god is right here right now, what is the need of going deep or anywhere, god is right here right now, kabir says, "where are you looking my friend, i am right here with you, your shoulder is against mine"
"connecting with the higher self", another something that makes no sense. there is only one self which is the self of all, where did this higher self come from...
and where does one get to hear this mumbo jumbo the most? my expereince is that 9 times out of 10(actually 10 out of 10, but then...) these are words used by people who sooner or later(sooner) will hit upon you for money, and they are out there in numbers, self styled gurus, preachers, propagators of religion, so called yoga msters, especially the kundalini ones, feng shui experts, aura cleansers...the list can go on and on...have met so many of them, most of them high profile ones, the kind who have their shows on television and their columns in newspapers and magazines, the kind film and t.v personalities, politicians and the so called elite class goes to....the most recent case bing this guy i met at a studio i had gone to for a shoot. he introduced himself as master xyz,(master, nothing less ever does), master of such and such branch of feng shui, direct disciple of master abc, one of the greatest masters of our times. he very reverently unwrapped a beautiful frame, in which there were plenty of things written in chinese, as he hung it up on a wall, i asked him what it was, he said it was part of some most ancient chinese scriptures, and these verses were very effective for getting rid of negetive energy, the clalligraphy was indeed very beautiful. but my next question got him all worked up, i asked him what do theverses say, his answer was the same, " for removing negetive energy", i said fine, but what does it say. he tried to avoid answering and i kept asking and after a short verbal exchange it was plain evident to everyone around that he did not know, though he claimed that he did. he said there was no point explaining as none of us understood chinese anyway. i said we dont, but you do, so at least translate it for us, but no, he just lost his temper and said i was being disrespectful to religious scriptures. i said no, i am in no way irreverent, i am only trying to find out what they say....and then i also lost it a bit and said that he calls himself a master in this art and yet has no clue as to what is written in that frame, for which he is charging a bomb, the basic idea must be to make a fast buck. he got offended and left after sometime...i did in a way apologise to him for whatever reasons before he left....but the fact is that he has been advising the studio owner for the past three years, made so many changes, so many wind chimes, a huge yellow red carpet inside the studio, three fish tanks, red colored buckets and some crystals in the loos, so many dragons, frogs, birds, bamboos and whatnot placed all over and not a single change for the better has ever been seen. the only person who has benifitted is himself. each time he comes, claiming to have gained some new knowledge, installs something, takes his money and scoots.
all this does not mean that i have not met genuine teachers and masters, i have, something about that later, but most of them do not have knowledge enough and are only in it for money. its really sad the way they prey upon insecure and vulnerable people who come to them hoping to better their lives. i also dont mean to say that these arts and sciences are invalid, they are valid and can be used to help people, all this also does not mean that these arts and sciences should not be commercial...make your money, but don't exploit people by pretending to be what you are not.
just today i was reading manvir singh's blog in which he has described his experience under the title 'money money money', i also know many people, who have had similar experiences, of sewadars, jathedars trying to extract money from there any solution...i don't know..

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

free will...or fate?

another one of those topics that can be debated endlessly. do we have anything in our we have any choice in this existence or we are going through life as per the will of someone else...mere puppets whose strings are being controlled by someone else..
here is something from japji sahib, with which the guru granth sahib begins..
aakhan jor chupai nah jor jor na mangan den na jor..
it is not within man's power to talk or to be quiet
man has no power or choice to beg or give..
jor na jivan maran na jor, jor na raj maal man sor..
man hasno power to live or die, it is not within his power to acquire kingdoms and riches, which disturb the mind..
jor na surti gyan vichar, jor na jugti chhutai sansar..
it is not within man's power to gain understanding of knowledge of god's meditation, man has no power to find the method of freedom from world's bondage..
jis hath jor kar vekhai soe, nanak utam neech na koe..
god, in whose hands the power is, exercises it as he chooses, and beholds it, nanak(says) there is nothing good and nothing bad..
do we actually need anything more...either one accepts or one does not, eitherwe trust guru's words or we don't, maybe there is a middle ground, i don't know...the most common thing people say, "yes yes of course its all god's will but god has also given us abrain to think, to act, if we just say that everything is in god's hands then we all will be sitting idle", no one buys the fact(sometimes even i don't) that the thoughts also are given by god...don't know how much time it will take, but it is possible that we may have some kind of proof in years to come. there are some dedicated physicists who are working on it, one of them is prof. amit goswami, whose works i have read, some experiments have already been done and the results are quite positive...will post something on that later, but it is very much a possibility that science will get to Om, and agree with all that the mystics have been telling us for centuries...

Thursday, March 02, 2006


another subject i love, the principle of non duality, simply put it means "not two", as everything within the field of maya has its opposite, everything, for every positive there exists a negative, for every day there exists a night, for every good a bad, for every action there is an equal and opposite if it said that god is one, even this "one" stands in opposition to something, so advaita, instead of saying that it is all one, says "it is not two", here is a sampler...
god is all there is, there is nothing else. god alone is the seeker and the doer of all that happens, he is seeking spirituality through some, money or power through some. what you seek is not in your hands, you are merely playing the role god has ordained...
god is within each and every body mind organism he has created. you did not create the ego, god with has created it, he alone can get rid of it...
things and situations are never in your control, you just think they are, human being can be enormously intelligent, but he has no free will...
understanding or enlightenment cannot produce perfection, understanding cannot change destiny, it cannot console, you cannot use it..
do what you will, the ego cannot be annihilated unless it is god's will..
it is god within who brings about all actions, you are like the shadow having no independent existence..
you have no choice in being born to specific parents, you have no choice over your genes, you are not the source of your thoughts, though getting identified with the ego makes you think so, you have no control over what you see or hear, you have no control over how your brain reacts. yet the most prized possession of the thinking mind is that it has free will...