Mind

Morning Sunlight Carrier

Poem

Shiki zokuze ku ku zokuze shiki.”

“Form is emptiness, emptiness is form itself.”

– Heart Sutra, Shingon Buddhism

Karate-do Kyohan – the Master Text by Gichin Funakoshi

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Dawn… an old answer.
(Image by Joe from Pixabay)

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Morning Sunlight Carrier

When the road is lonely, sans the dirt, the thorns, the lightning and

Sans even the enemy’s fiery glare, the roaring army and

The check-mate, in such a land how do you walk without falling

Twice, thrice as if you are papier mache made, a smattering

Of vague profoundness, uniqueness, an idea of truth,

But unsure yet conforming like an uncouth.

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Then, at last, thank god, it becomes foggy, and you stop

Keen-eyed you look, broadening the vision, reaching atop

A cliff overlooking a valley, smoky where it rests.

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This journey afresh, towards a calling, arrests

Your mind and soul; finally, meeting the master, humbly you bow,

And that is lesson one, just so you know.

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Practise patiently, practise patience, and o warrior

Gently turn your karate hands into morning sunlight carrier,

For those who live in the dark wake up late

With a grudge against the sun and zero tolerance to wait

For an old answer.


Gichin Funakoshi, founder of the Shotokan style of Karate, presented a martial arts philosophy that focused on perfecting the character of an individual. He believed that the karate practitioner should –

“purge oneself of selfish and evil thoughts… for only with a clear mind and conscience can the practitioner understand the knowledge which he receives. Funakoshi did not consider it unusual for a devotee to use Karate in a real physical confrontation no more than perhaps once in a lifetime. He stated that Karate practitioners must never be easily drawn into a fight.”

Karate-do Kyohan – The Master Text by Gichin Funakoshi

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Karate then is a fine practice to live by, a practice that gives us clarity to turn the lost papier mache mind into a strong sunlight carrier.


Read more about our magical sun in the following short posts –

Sun – A Flambeau Hi-Fi

Amla Pickle


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A Telltale Heart’s Secret

Short Review
Secret keeper’s lantern.
[Source – Pixabay]

True! – NERVOUS – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been – and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses – not destroyed – not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! And observe how healthily – how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

– The opening paragraph of The Tell-Tale Heart, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe

A secret that punctures a heart, a heart that still beats, alive, yet unsure how, in a delirium reveals the secret to all. In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, such a secret is shared with us.

Such a secret troubles the main character in the story and he begins simply by narrating it, gripping us first by raising our curiosity and later by force.

That is, a psychological force… for we are always free to get up and leave the old man’s dark room, but oh, we don’t. We hear and fear it as scene after scene unfolds.

Tension rises, our noble heart beats, not only because we suspect something horrible, truly tragic, but also because we recognise it…

We recognise the inexplicable rage, the feverish mind, the parched bond and the morbid thought that although residing in the backdrop knows well how to make itself heard.

Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry and prose often create a fantastical mysterious world where distinctly, incessantly the human mind tries to rein in something, something… where failure leads to a twist and success to a debacle.

His characters mock the world and oneself with equal fervour, pretending nothing at all, confessing the truth blatantly and leaving the readers with a secret.


I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture – a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees – very gradually – I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever.

An excerpt from The Tell-Tale Heart, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe.

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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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Enlightenment Pocketed

Lotus Koan.
Image by Marek Studzinski from Pixabay.

“The enjoyment of art is an act of recreation, or rather of creation in the reverse direction, towards the source of intuition, i.e., an act of absorption, in which we lose our small self in the creative experience of a greater universe.”

Anagarika B. Govinda

I happen to have a small sweet book titled Art & Meditation (actually a few years back I took it from my brother), written by Lama Anagarika B. Govinda – an artist, a Buddhist monk, traveller and writer.

Sharing his paintings, poems and thoughts with us, he talks about the ineffaceable, elusive yet real, sublimely beautiful link between art and meditation; how true art merges with true religion and vice-versa.

It is not digressive or sluggishly cumbersome, this thought, rather it is stimulating for the one who is not in a hurry.

The author wishes his essays and artwork to serve as koans i.e. ‘meditative problems’ for his readers that churn our thoughts and act as an impetus for continuing the search.

I have gone through this insightful book twice now. What struck me this time was its size, how come Lama Anagarika Govinda’s lectures on art and meditation along with his artwork were capsuled in such a tiny book?

Of course, there must be other collections of his essays and pictures, surely in not-so-tiny a book.

But here I would intentionally turn this coincidence into a grand undertaking and happily say something ambitious.

This beautiful book holds, yes-yes it does, the secret to enlightenment and simply because of its humble, calm and forgiving nature, affordable price, elucidations of the artwork and colour schemes given and the profound ideas shared.

With these balmy thoughts, I will read this book again in the near future for then it will reveal a new secret to me.

Leaving you with an edifying thought –

“Art in itself is a sort of a paradox, a Koan in the deepest sense of the word, and that is why the followers of Zen prefer it to all other mediums of expression. For only the paradox escapes the dilemma of logical limitation, of partiality and one-sidedness. It cannot be bound down to principles or conceptual definitions, because it exaggerates or abstracts intentionally in such a way that it is impossible to take it literally: its meaning is beyond the incongruity of the words.”

Anagarika B. Govinda

Enlightenment, Pocketed-

Calm mind beams

Together with the heart.

Haiku – Jagriti Rumi

Also read other posts on art and meditation –

Buddhahood

I wish to SEE Tibet

Thunderous Applause… And the Warli Drama Unfolds

कलाकार/ Artist

Transient Permanence


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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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Zigzag Lines

Flash Fiction
Thai Mural
(Source – samforkner.org)

Running lines, zigzag running lines fuel the mind often. Like lost in a busy city, burning with shiny lights, where no one knows whether it is day or night, I am lost walking, running, gliding on a zigzag path.

Neither snow white wintry nor swoony soft summery winds can be heard here, who knows why.

All I can hear is the hub-dub of my heart.

Trapped in this maze, facing dead ends and memory monsters, I solemnly walk ahead. And after an endless time passes by, I walk out of the maze. Exhausted, yes, but hopeful, why, for I kept walking.

Looking back from the mountain top I can see a cloud of zigzag lines, an imprint of time, a link between battles and victories, between a structured confusion and a messy exuberance. Ah! It goes on and on.

My heart is eager and my mind alert for the future to reveal itself.

I am not afraid anymore for the zigzag lines are transparent and always in a rush.


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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 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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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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