Archive for September, 2010

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Auroville, Tamil Nadu

Back to city after a rejuvenating week in the lap of nature…. the much-awaited workshop, which had been my focus for the year, at Auroville is over and done. I am back at my base station in the city, watching people speeding here and there in the endless pursuit of recognition, success, money,… Back there, at Auroville, life is slow, its pursuit simply that of living in symphony with nature.

Can all of us live that way? Can we learn when to put a stop to our mad material frenzy? Can we even accept that ultimately life is about being happy, about doing what makes us happy and in the process sustain life forces?

It will mean a lot of unlearning, of leaving behind the cultures of cut-throat competition and exploitation, and switch to collaboration and conservation. It will mean being conscious of what we do, taking on responsibility for all other life forms, acknowledging that we are a part of the grand design, not separate from it.

A small bit of land is all one needs, and I have started looking for one. I have a dream now – to change the track i have unconsciously moved on. I also have a dream to sell this dream to more people around…


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Carpe diem

Colours of joy

Sometimes days together pass and you feel time is running too fast. Sometimes time gets compressed and a short time seems like a long time…

We had been the weekend to a hillstation to celebrate mom’s birthday. All 17 of us packed into a day’s hectic activity. We went here, there, did this, that, spoke, ate, played (I rode a bicycle after a long time and was thrilled I stayed aloft!), walked, clicked, etc.

We saw (and spoke to) so many people – the busy family of three cooking meals on the roadside from early morning to late at night, the women fruit vendors, tourists of all hues and spirits,  monkeys (one had lost an arm but that did not deter him from standing tall and peeking into the car for eatables), pigs (running for dear life as their human prosecutors had pork on their mind), an Irish setter Teenu who had littered all of 9 pups and looked itchy and shaggy, loud cackling geese, worms of many-splendoured colours, whistling birds…

That’s quite a lot for a day. Every moment was packed with activity. Perhaps that was why 24 hours seemed like much more. We lived every moment to the hilt. The mind was tethered firmly to the moment. No yesterday or tomorrows intruded.

It was delightful meditation we practised this weekend.

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Words are clever but not wise. It never hit me as hard as when I was re-reading Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha.

When Siddhartha meets his friend Govinda in the last leg of his worldly journey, and they debate on reality and illusion, on what the Buddha preached, Siddhartha seems to take a different stand to that of the Illustrious One.

Love is the most important thing in the world, he proclaims, when he refers to the stone and the tree and the world around. ‘I think it is important to love the world, not despise it, not for us to hate each other but regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.’

Govinda objects and argues that the Buddha had forbade against being bound by earthly love, to which Siddhartha agrees that his words may seem in contradiction to what Gotama preached. ‘That is why I distrust words so much for I know that contradiction is an illusion… How indeed could he not love, he who recognised all humanity’s vanity and transitoriness, yet loves humanity so much that he has devoted a long life solely to help and teach people? His deeds and life are more important to me than the words…’

Almost goes without saying when you think about it – how could the compassionate one not have loved? Perhaps that is where our perceptions of love and detachment blur the words.

How often we tend to quibble over words when some things are better unsaid. How true that some of the best moments in life come when we are bereft of words.

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