Mind

Shubhasya Shighram – A Pocket Sized Mantra

Philosophy

Nature too believes in this mantra.
[Source – Pixabay]

शुभस्य शीघ्रम अशुभस्य कालहरणम।

Shubhasya shighram, ashubhasya kaalharnam.

Translation – Do not delay when planning to do something good, but when inclining towards the opposite, think twice.


Contemplation is good and needed. Action is better and a must.

Plans in a potli-mind take time to come out, yes, for they are grand ones, created meticulously, weaved with love.

Inspired thoughts build this glass minar with intricate designs, colours of hope and success and appreciation and a little bit of all that is magical in this universe. We fly high when planning in a potli-mind.

Now how to fabricate such a tall glass minar in reality? Where to start from? How do we know if the time is right?

And what about all the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’? Oh, and our dominating ‘know-it-all self’ that loves to put a stamp on every new thought, issuing summons, calling the poor thought a fraud, out-of-our-league or an impossibility, come what may?

Or worse, comparing it with the giant called the OTHERS?

Maybe this is the moment to tell yourself, shubhasya shighram, why wait to do something good.

Maybe this is the time to take the first step towards that glass minar, an overwhelming act it may feel at the beginning, but by the end, whatever the result is, we get enriched, we understand the rotating world and our bumbling selves a little better.

What a brilliant mantra then, a pocket sized mantra!

So, my friend, go ahead with that plan… because shubhasya shighram, shighram shighram.


Potli – bag, bundle, parcel, packet.

Minar – a tower or turret.


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Avicenna and the Turning Wheel

Spinning starry time wheel. [Image from Pixabay]

Thinking… the activity of using our mind to consider something; the process of using our mind to understand matters, make judgments and solve problems… that is what the dictionary says and says more and then sites many lovely examples:

“I had to do some quick thinking.”

“She explained the thinking behind the campaign.”

“Thinking, for me, is hard work!”

Our mind, coloured by a plethora of this and that, happy and sad, a sea of information, thinks in isolation, yet always a part of the collective unconscious. And how wonderful is it that this tinted mind, nevertheless, is fully capable to create something novel.

The thinking mind turns the wheel, knitting the society tighter. The juggernaut of sociocultural norms, in turn, fabricates the yarn for such a mind.


Avicenna or Ibn Sina (980 AD – 1037) was a physician, philosopher, astronomer, theologian, poet – a polymath – who greatly contributed to the Islamic Golden age. His book Al Qanun fi al Tibb or The Canon of Medicine, a medical encyclopedia, was studied as a textbook for medical education in many universities, also in Europe, up till the 17th Century.

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1950 “Avicenna” stamp of Iran. [Source – Wikimedia Commons]

Philosophical encyclopedias like Kitab al Shifa or The Book Healing and Kitab al-Isharat wa al Tanbihat or The Book of Directive and Remarks presented Avicenna’s take on the Aristotelian and Platonian philosophy through the lens of an Islamic theologian.

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Avicenna’s The Canon of Medicine, Latin translation, dated 1484 CE. [Source – Wikimedia Commons]

A well-known physician, Avicenna got support from most of the rulers of his time – some made him a vizir or an advisor in their court – and the opportunity to access the royal library. Highly influenced by Aristotle, Avicenna also disagreed with the Greek polymath on many points.

That the soul is not just ‘body’s form’ (Aristotle says that a soul is the actuality of a body that has life) but it has an existence, he came up with a thought experiment, famously known as the floating/ flying man thought experiment. He argues –

One of us must suppose that he was just created at a stroke, fully developed and perfectly formed but with his vision shrouded from perceiving all external objects – created floating in the air or in the space, not buffeted by any perceptible current of the air that supports him, his limbs separated and kept out of contact with one another, so that they do not feel each other. Then let the subject consider whether he would affirm the existence of his self. There is no doubt that he would affirm his own existence, although not affirming the reality of any of his limbs or inner organs, his bowels, or heart or brain or any external thing. Indeed he would affirm the existence of this self of his while not affirming that it had any length, breadth or depth. And if it were possible for him in such a state to imagine a hand or any other organ, he would not imagine it to be a part of himself or a condition of his existence.

Avicenna

While this blogger will definitely take a lot of time to grasp these theories in entirety, she would like to appreciate the art of thinking that moulds the world in such a steady and grandiose manner.

The art of thinking, in which we participate daily and, most importantly, in the times of despair, is running the show as we then stand face to face our true being and raise questions, refute the botched theory and create a new one.

Avicenna wrote the floating/ flying man argument when imprisoned for around four months as a result of a political debacle – an argument that was later termed weak by the other thinkers.

But this is how the thinking mind works, it continues to question, argue and turn the wheel.


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Raga Pranayama

When the Music is Good by Dr. Kirell Benzi.

Playing the Raga Pranayama in my heart and soul I am sitting inside this quiet room for so many days now and slowly this world has stopped reeling.

The shrivelled old self shed off its glories and achievements and regrets all at once, it was painful and I did die a little. Then all I did was to look up and breathe, close my eyes and breathe again.  

Now brighter, with no desire to compete with light or a sharper mind or the maestro musician, I sit simply playing the Raga Pranayama.

Yes, often my memory makes me feel overwhelmed, and yet something allows me to accept it all that too with a smile.  

And softly the wind brings a message from the meadows that the dandelions are gushing with joy and beaming for one and all; that the butterflies are coming carrying colours for you and me; that the stream is singing, sparkling sibilantly, shy at first, vibrant then. Oh it is lovely!

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It is a new beginning, I am sitting in my room and everything has changed as I play the Raga Pranayama.

Dispelling the emaciated fears that had spread and frolicked in my mind, dispelling with the truth of this life force running lightly within and without… the fears just succumbed in the end and this I will remember, always, so that I too can share and struck a happy peaceful note.  

Voices together, singing this happy note, playing the Raga Pranayama will eventually rise above the gloomy cry of this malady.

Together we will rise and break that wall which was once built greedily by us. Hold on, hold on for it will pass.  

Play with me the Raga Pranayama in your heart and soul and let the life energy guide you.

That hazy glow you see when you close your eyes and breathe, that dot, it is the one that surmounts, it has and it will, sometimes with and sometimes without the shell.    


Raga (Sanskrit for “colour” or “passion”) is a melodic framework for improvisation and composition in Indian classical music. Read more here.

Pranayama (prana, Sanskrit for “life force” or “vital energy” and yama, Sanskrit for “restraint” or “control”), is a set of meditative practices designed to control pranawithin the human body by means of various breathing techniques. Read more here.


Also, listen to the magnificent Ragas that inspired me to write this post –  Raga Rasia by Pandit Ravi Shankar

Raga Brindabani Sarang by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia


Learn more about Data Art by the fantastic Dr. Kirell Benzi, click here.

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Unpack Your Destiny

The journey within…
[Image by Victoria Borodinova from Pixabay]

In a green velvety suitcase inside a wooden trunk she packed it nicely, neatly, firmly forever.  

“I want it to be safe.” While the world rises and falls without any knowledge of it, she feels positive and shielded; her destiny is properly packed and locked.

Sitting cross legged she awaits the change, for the destiny to operate from underneath her crisp, fine, obvious thoughts, packed and placed in a corner.  

“I keep in touch of course, why are you being so sarcastic?” She laughs loudly for she is confident of her victory and rightly so, what will stand in her way when she remembers to keep a check on the package, clean the dust off the wooden trunk and pray that the suitcase does not vanish away magically.  

“Yes I remember, it is my destiny, I know…” She knows it all, yet she is afraid and waits for others’ approval and appreciation. Calculating the possibilities, probabilities, time and years she takes a step forward.  

She did pack a piece of the truth in that suitcase, what is wrong in it?

She forgot to unpack it, she forgot that the truth evolves, our understanding evolves. What is destined for someone is destined and yet it changes, that is the rule.  

The truth, the destiny unfolds when a mind lets it.  


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The Second Track

Rebecca!
Image by design. meliora from Pixabay

Like a record player Rebecca’s mind plays umpteenth tunes, ceaselessly, shifting and slowing as per her mood. A second track plays all the time in her head.

Ha ha now is the time to laugh and sway in joy, oh no it is the moment to exclaim in surprise, my love let us dance hand in hand, shush stay focused life is in a rush.

The second track requires a different set of shoes feels Rebecca very strongly. A pair that can match the track’s rhythm, can dance, tip toe, jump and even fly.

Yes fly! For walking on the second track is dull and usual, but dreaming high, high, high requires tools. Tools like the right pair of shoes, a chirpy, gritty soul that eats butter-jam dreams, a soul that drinks milky-milky creams.

Also, being little absurd guides.

Rebecca always acts absurdly, but at times just a little bit because she does not want to lose the touch of reality. If she loses it, how will she attempt the paper?

Oh no! It is the moment to exclaim in surprise, Rebecca is in the examination room and the fresh ink on her question paper is making her dizzy.

Captain, captain mayday! Switch off the second track for three hours and be in the present moment, I repeat, be in the present moment. Over and out!

Attempt the question paper, start with the ones you know, and relax, and calm down and breathe.


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The Broken Nest and Other Stories by Rabindranath Tagore

Coverage

A painting by Rabindranath Tagore.
[Source- V&A Museum]

The Broken Nest  

Charu and Amal didn’t understand their heart’s secret, but how could it be that their own heart hid something from them, well it did. Maybe, Charu’s binoculars didn’t work properly.

And Mr. Bhupati, a lost editor, busy sketching the details of a busy world, had no time for keeping secrets.

Why did they give their secrets to Time for safekeeping?

Time always travels light, thus, it naturally left their secrets behind, visible for them all to see, casting a spell. The spell didn’t kill, it broke hearts.  


The Ghat’s Tale  

Vasant… Grishm… Varsha… Sharad… Hemant… Shishir…   Six seasons talked to the Ghat near the Ganga River. The seasons brought green moss at times and dry leaves at others, dipping the Ghat into sunlight and rain shower with love, the seasons spoke less, but heard sincerely.

What did the Ghat tell them? It shared stories… yours and mine.  


Notebook  

Let her be, why torment her, why read her notebook without her consent? She is little, just a girl, a child bride, she has left her world behind, she has carried some in her notebook.  


Postmaster  

Love is all-powerful and yet it blooms slowly in every soul, taking time for the realisation to sink in and sync with it completely.

A shade of love wrote a letter to the Postmaster who, tricked by mind, read it too late. Oh! That feeling…  


A happy poet.
[Source- Poetry Foundation]

The Broken Nest is a novella, while the other three are short stories; each one holds a complete universe and touches you deeply.

Rabindranath Tagore beautifully writes in the language of love, his characters always express something which stays usually hidden within a heart, sidelined by the talkative world.

Every story of his is like a time machine, it unfolds the past keeping it alive and magical at the same time.

The birds sing sweetest of songs in his stories, the earth dances the best to his tunes, the colour red blushes flamboyantly in his paintings and tears take time to dry up when he narrates.

Know his work and you will know.


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Trance

Eyes could see that the mind was dreaming, yet it stayed attuned. The soft, glowing place might be the reason. And colours, crayon colours, water colours flowing smoothly. Glory ruled the place.

Such were the wonderfully true sights that my eyes beamed with pleasure. I then was beyond time and space, happy in the present.

Breathing deeply, quietly, I knew it all and I knew nothing. Bliss!

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I woke up and with a quick, strong rush, lively sounds reached me all at once. It was time to live another true dream… it was time to be.

Ah life!

In Slo-mo Towards the Moon

Poem

A tide of thoughts.
[Source – Pixabay]

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Walking towards the moon

In slo-mo and riding,

Hiding behind a tide of thoughts

In slo-mo, unaware, unconcerned

About the change that is happening

In slo-mo, now and always,

Carrying in bits the old me, turning

In slo-mo, hoping to see

Something better. Living the life

In slo-mo and looking into the future

Where things are picture-perfect, but moving

In slo-mo. Cracks in the present

For it isn’t that dear, until

In slo-mo I sit with patience and

Breathe, see, feel and realise

That everything is beautiful,

That our mind knows the tricks,

That reality simply is, just like the moon,

Towards which I am walking

In slo-mo, beaming quietly. 

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The Answer Is Blowin’ In The Wind – Bob Dylan

The Living Legend. [Source – Wikimedia Commons]

It was her version of the truth and she tried to separate it from mere meanderings of the mind.

She walked ahead unsure if she had succeeded or not. Autumn winds brought along something that made her cry.

Alone, sitting on that bench, she asked herself about right and wrong. Pendulum like, silly, brusque thoughts!

Why did she participate in the parade? For letting the confusion rise and fall? For the questions to disturb and the answers to convey…  

She stopped and listened…       

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Bob Dylan Blowin’ In The Wind

How many roads must a man walk down

Before you call him a man ?

How many seas must a white dove sail

Before she sleeps in the sand ?

Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly

Before they’re forever banned ?

The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.  

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Yes, ‘n’ how many years can a mountain exist

Before it’s washed to the sea ?

Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist

Before they’re allowed to be free ?

Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head

Pretending that he just doesn’t see ?

The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.  

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Yes, ‘n’ how many times must a man look up

Before he can see the sky ?

Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have

Before he can hear people cry ?

Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows

That too many people have died ?

The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

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Blowin’ In The Wind, the song.

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Opposite the Nadir

The igneous surface, I am walking on, has a tremendous sound stored in it, but in a dense state, so that the land appears dead. The colour is thick black; it stains me anew with every step that I take, entering breath by breath within. Smog heavy mood, like heavy chains, has made me hunchbacked. Hollow quietude stays along, walking next to my faint shadow. I utter nothing, nothing at all, all noise is of the wind; the wind ruffles around greasily, overwhelming me with dullness. The mind is whimsical I tell myself after some days journey; I continue ahead. Where to, I ask, am I going?

That was the last I heard from myself. But I am still walking, walking towards what lies opposite the nadir.