Why is it difficult to define a Hindu and Hinduism?

Man’s attempts to figure out his existence has been ceaseless since time immemorial. This has resulted in the formation and dissolution of various ideologies and religions around the globe. These ideologies and religions have also majorly determined the systems of societal habits and shaped pursuits which can accommodate the struggle for survival. Many devastating wars have been fought and conquests claimed to establish dominance by usurping the existing systems. Sometimes in the name of religion and sometimes in the name of advancement; the common force has been to dominate. And the need to dominate, psychology suggests, springs from insecurity. Insecurity has direct relevance to existence. It implies a fear of losing one’s existence.

The oldest known literary compilation in the world is The Veda. Wherever Veda got transmitted, there it influenced human thinking so deeply that it shaped the identity, culture and ways of living for those people. The knowledge therein remained irrefutable even to the wisest. And it’s content ever attractive, since it spoke on life. This made it popular in society as it spread through word of mouth. But, as humans, people also want quick, easy solutions and applications. They do not have time, leisure or inclinations to engage in growing the understanding first, which should propel the life direction. They are left with the choice to accept what is told and fall risk to becoming rigid, and prey to blind faith. Or another choice remains, is to just reject it, and keep searching for different ways and methods, untried before, fuelling newer ideologies with an attempt to restructure society.

A society which had embraced the Veda’s way of life, over time, shows all the three firmly established. Currently seen as well there are people who have the availability of the correct knowledge and understanding of the Veda with which they lead their life.  Then there are people who have blind faith on prevailing systems with which they lead their lives. And then there are the new systems emerging every now and then with a defying vision to direct lives. There are people who understand what their roots uphold, and they are happy to abide in it. There are people who have no understanding what their customs and rituals or festivals truly meant but they blindly follow it, and there are people who are rebellious about it and try to restructure their life with a recent or experimental ideology. It is this amalgamation which makes it difficult to define Hindu and Hinduism.  For all of them come under the vast canopy of The Veda.

Geography was not concretely laid out when The Veda ruled the thought. As time advanced, and man globally continued to find meaning to his existence, intermingling with other regions became accessible. The ‘force of domination’ on geography became essential. For once you travelled to another land, your survival and insecurities had to play up and find their ground! Geographies tried to become distinct and people started to group to preserve their ideologies which sustained their predecessors.

Bhārata was the name of the area where the Veda ruled the life. And in the knowledge of the Veda, is the knowledge of one’s existence. Thus, these sets of people had a very low sense of insecurity, almost none. And hence they did not feel any need to dominate. To the extent that they did not even feel the need to travel to another land except to trade! Worse still, so lacking the sense of insecurity was, that even the need to defend when attacked was sparse! But, Bhārata was advanced due to the liberal way in which Vedās had educated man. This became a focus of many invasions. Every invasion brought with it new diverse ideological thoughts, customs, habits to be integrated in the mainstream. The fallout was that the method which educated the correct understanding of The Veda got intercepted by diverting energies to giving explanations to the non conformers. This added layers of contextual reasoning and integrated it to the main body of knowledge. Making it more and more difficult for the blind believer to get educated. The distance between the three sections, knowledge based, faith based and defiance based kept growing. And in the present, the latest invasion of Britishers almost broke the link of transmission of correct understanding of the Veda! Making it very difficult to define or even explain who is a Hindu and what is Hinduism especially to the one who have been integrated to this land by their ancestors but were not rooted here in the times when knowledge prevailed life!

Our ancestors in the form of great visionaries struggled hard to uphold and teach the correct understanding of The Veda. Only because it is that system of thinking, following which one knows the Truth of one’s existence, which alone ends all insecurities and miseries. There is death of the urge for violence and birth of compassion. This is Hinduism and the knower of it, A Hindu!

Wishing everyone a Happy Sankranti! Invoking the grace of Surya Devata to shine once again upon Bharata! Only this time, the lands have merged! Sarvebhya sukhino bhavantu! May wisdom prevail in all the beings! OM.

© Deepti Vishwanath. 🙏

15.1.2020

Pic courtesy – google.com

Life and me

I wake up in the morning,

Wondering what do I want from life!

I go to sleep,

Wondering,

What does life want from me?

The circular existence cannot be

The soul of life!

The trenches of pain,

Or the floating high happiness!

The comfort of company,

Or the irreconcilable separation!

The frantic search

For fulfilment,

Or the subtle joy of the moment!

Varied and variegated outlooks,

Broken, struggling to mend.

To whom does all this serve?

Or to whom does it belong?

All I have understood so far,

My vision is incomplete, fragmented

In which, is how

O life, you show yourself!

I go to sleep, wondering

Will I get an answer,

When I am awake?

Or will the answer

Awaken me from an eternal sleep!

©️Deepti Vishwanath

Hooked on the wall.

Like an old painting

Covered with dust

I stand. Hooked on the walls of

False beliefs, misunderstandings, superstitions;

Years overs years, dust drapes me

Fading my beauty, once joyed by all.

And I,

Trying my best to unhook myself,

Shake the dust off.

Am unable to do so….

Helpless on the walls, I am hooked.

Dust shadows me;

an outline only visible

Marking my existence!

©Deepti Vishwanath.

An old poem. Written on 12th June, 1986, resurfaced in an attic box. What surprises me, Existence was my query even then. Still at it! 🙂

राही बन, मंज़िल जान, रास्ता चुन! / Know the destination, choose the road and then walk!

Not sure if I can do a justifying translation to this Hindi poem. It’s Gist being –

Roads never decide the destination nor who walks on them.

Remaining content to one’s limitations also does not make one a traveller.

And though many choose to travel, they remain unknown about the destinations and even the roads to take. They gamble their guesses, hoping it will take them somewhere!

Who really knows what they wish to live for and know the direct way which leads them to it!

Everyone here seems to be on the roads; aimlessly, unknowingly, they just walk on whichever road seems ahead.

The end of life is also a journey, which is the same as lived so far. Ignorant one came, immature one remained. And kept walking towards darkness. Are in fact searching light, this also remained misunderstood!

रास्तों ने कब तय की मंज़िल

या फिर मुसाफ़िर चुने ।

घर बैठा भी तो राही नहीं बनता ।

चलते भी तो बहुत है,

न ख़बर राह की न मंज़िल की,

भटकने को भी चलना माना ।

कौन जानता है मंज़िल,

और चुन सकता है,

सीधा रास्ता उस तक ।

यहाँ तो सब मुसाफ़िर है,

बेवजह के, बेख़बर रहें

अन्त भी वही यात्रा है

जो जी ली अब तक,

अन्जान ही आए, नादान ही रहे,

और चलते रहे

बस अन्धेरे में

रोशनी को ढूँढ रहें है

यह भी न समझे ।

©️दीप्ति विश्वनाथ

भीड़ चाल / Walking with crowds

भीड़ में चलने वाले

भीड़ में रह जाते हैं

जगत तो विस्तार है

पर जो हटे भीड़ से

वही यह जाने ।

Those who walk in crowds

Remain with crowds

That the world offers a vast

Expanse of experience

Gets known

Only to those

Who dare to walk

Away from the crowds.

~ Deepti Vishwanath

She is a will!

‘Tis the simple joys

That warmed her heart

For no reason

A wave

Of air or water or hand

Are caresses she cared.

She jewelled with the smiles,

From all the known, unknown.

She wore an eternal spring on her.

Her shoes of fluid clear waters

Making her gait swift, definite,

Also delicate.

Bright, effervescent, yet sensitive

The rose of her demeanour.

Untouched by the swift moods

When in clouds,

She rarely became pale

her inner sight transparent.

They say, she is a dream!

I say, she is a will!

©️Deepti Vishwanath

Awake

Wild is her nature,

Not willing to be tamed.

She travels everywhere,

Without any aim.

Restless is she,

To live it all.

No care for future,

Nor a clinging past.

Carries no remorse,

Nor ambition in her.

Bright she wears always,

an ever smiling face.

Her ensemble, her virtues.

A Generosity bag in her hand.

Spring in her gait,

on her way

She befriends all.

No malice, no ego.

She stands very tall.

She lives a dream,

With a light.

Awakening within herself!

©️Deepti Vishwanath. January 2019

Destiny

You choose your destiny

With the choice you make today

I chose my destiny

By letting you choose for me!

You be responsible for your choice

I be, for my fate.

My friend!

What is there to grieve now?

For life,

Flows only forwards

Leaving us with the reap

Of our own cultivation!

©️Deepti Vishwanath. January 2019

Beyond a name

Beyond a name

Is a face.

Beyond a face

Is an identity. I know.

But,

I say,

I hope. I fear. I love. I wish. I do. I seek.

I hear. I laugh. I cry. I sigh! I want. I like.

List endless and keeps me alive.

You say. You too,

Hope. Fear. Love. Wish. Do. Seek. Hear. Laugh. Cry. Sigh!

“I want”. “I like”.

For you also! List seems endless.

Keeps you alive and kicking!

But, We say we have different identities!

Because the objects we wish to unite with are different?!

But,

My eyes see. Your eyes see.

Our eyes see colour and form. Period.

Is this enough a difference,

that you like blue and I like green?

But we both don’t like to see violence!

My ears hear. Your ears hears.

Our ears hear. Period.

Is it enough a difference, I like classical and you like fusion!

But we both don’t like to hear being abused.

My tongue tastes. Your tongue tastes.

Is it enough a difference,

I like spicy, you, sweet.

But we both don’t like food

served with humiliation.

I want happiness. You want happiness.

I don’t want pain. You also don’t want pain!

I suspect now.

We all, are cloned.

Fooled to believe

To be The individual!

©️ Deepti Vishwanath. January 2019

Travel

Ridges in the mind

We take a walk in

Bridges of the objects

With the subject

Through the rough roads

Unpaved, bumpy etches

Of memories.

Some smooth pavements,

But far and few.

The pleasant experiences,

We run among them,

Finding a way out.

And all the roads

Seem so twined.

With fruits seen hanging

Here and there,

Always in reach

But, an inch away.

The maze woven. More intricate

With the carriage ride

Reaching nowhere.

Ending with the starting point.

Travelling in the ridges

Tired now, then refreshed again

Hope adding the fuel.

To reach a dead end again!

Traversed for eons now.

Hither. Where is the exit?

©️Deepti Vishwanath (Jan 2019)

Gamble

Aha! So. Many roads you see?

From this point onwards,

And each with many lanes

and by-lanes,

Not knowing which goes where,

What turn to take.

No sign boards ahead or

From above.

How do you know

Where to go?

Midway the highway

Stop you cannot.

Not rest by the side.

For how long after all!

Oh! The push and speed from behind.

The honk and the crank.

The noise from all!

They know where they go?

Follow who then I?

Is life then, only a gamble?

Mind. Such are your lanes.

©️Deepti Vishwanath

वापिस – Return

Describing in minimum words, the rarity of the culmination of a spiritual pursuit. Home referring to one’s starting point. Destination is reaching Home again. Pointing to the search of happiness which begins with a journey of searching outward of oneself and culminating it in discovery within one’s self as one’s very nature .

क्या है यह इत्तिफ़ाक़

कि मन्ज़िल आ पहुँचे

वरना घर से तो सब निकले थे !

A difficult translation this is!

What chance is this

That destination is reached

Else,

Everyone left a home!

©️Deepti Vishwanath

Empty slate

An empty slate,

To write each one

Their own fate.

Crayons of hands and feet,

Scribbling as they please.

Figuring out the sheet;

Maximise they squeeze.

To evoke that probable;

To avoid the disdain.

To try every possible,

To achieve the gain.

Empty slate the universe gave.

Gave the tools, to efforts save.

To feel, to plan, to change, to create.

Nature grant one to sate.

But, hid it subtle,

To allow us play.

Now each is trying;

To write something,

That unveils the pleasures.

To discover the treasures.

Success is the only measure;

Before the final D- day!

Alas! Then.

Empty thou comes and thy returns!

©️Deepti Vishwanath. 2019

Time and Mind

Time only moves forward

Why then dear mind

Do You go backwards

Getting stuck in by lanes gone

Getting off, ever so often

To visit events forlorn

To reminisce, what charm you find

In plodding dead troughs behind

Hacking your way over and over

To dig chambers which are now blur

Time only moves forward

Liberating every done undone

Unfolding a new in every Sun

Why then O Mind!

Do you move backwards?

©️Deepti Vishwanath

Life

Life, as I mystify on your existence
You rule over me.
Chain me, anchor me.
Deep down in the soil under the water.
As much I want to float – like a lotus.
You encage me in a body,
as much I want to set free and fly past.
©️Deepti Vishwanath.
A poem scribbled on 10.5.1985.

From the balcony

Overlooking. From the balcony.

One sees

The hustle, the bustle,

The juggle, the struggles,

For a meaningful existence!

And I sit there,

Wondering!

If this is all it was!

Unsatisfied

By the gains and loss.

The whole vast universe

Is this it – all?

©️Deepti Vishwanath

Empty thyself.

How much has been collected?

And the end so near!

To empty it all,

Is there time enough!?

At the thin brink

Between life and Death;

I will be checked,

For what all did I bring back.

All that is collected so far,

Belongs to heather world!

Surely, it is going to be rejected;

While I enter through the thin door.

On this side

it all seems mandatory.

On returning home,

It is all but nugatory!

Wait!

Let me carry what I can carry home.

For all I see

Only myself is allowed to be.

But alas!

the frivolities are too heavy a baggage!

Accumulating I did not see!

Empty where now will it be?

©️Deepti Vishwanath

Between no more.

Between life and death

Time is ours

No more no less.

To discover,

The undiscovered yet.

What objects and enjoyments are worth!

Now No more.

The Me is yet to be known!

 

Between two breaths,

Time is ours.

No more no less.

To turn over the chance,

To wilful choice.

Choosing the Ephemeral

Now no more!

 

Between sleep and sleep

The waking is ours.

No more no less.

To claim the eternal freedom.

A ‘Between’, when

NOW no more.

 

©️Deepti Vishwanath.

Masked

Every face is masked.

Oh! How many to each!

Yet, behind each, the many masks

Why is it the same in all?

The same insecurity, fear, anxiousness,

Attachment, aversions,

Greed, avarice, anger et all!

Amusing it is not. To hide

what is common to all,

We put on the mask.

Only hoping

To meet the one

who would see us

as we are!

Why must I put on the mask

When I am who you are!?

©Deepti Vishwanath

A rainbow life

Desiring a rainbow life,

With sunshine their companion

Dispelling clouds of doubts,

Darkness of ignorance, insecurity

Removing one from obscurity.

What one seeks is a rainbow life!

Temporary though it may seem

Vivid it ought to beam

With birds carrying the imaginations high

On to the clear skies

A rainbow life

Is all we seek..

We all seek

But,

And,

that is all we seek.

A rainbow life,

Is it not an illusion?

Is it not a delusion?

– Deepti Vishwanath

Photo credits – web

Inner Strength

The bloom, the gloom;

The whine, the dine;

Matters it not,

To the sublime.

The pomp, the show;

The shorn, the worn;

Worries it not,

To the refined.

The snout, the pout;

The hop and the shout;

Interests it not.

To those, wisely defined.

To fame, to shame;

To glory. to sorry;

Ignores its call.

The one,

Who shine with the light

Within it all.

– Deepti Vishwanath

Spectator

For one day at a time

In time

A day passed another

Like soldiers marching ahead

I stand as a spectator

Hearing the drums

The monotony, yet firm

The uniformity

Taking the orders

Restricting them…

Obedient.. Choiceless… Voiceless

Do I see hopeless as well?

Time… The great humbler

If one is marching along

As a spectator,

Free.

– Deepti Vishwanath

The spotless mirror

I stood in front of a mirror.

The mirror was spotless!

But why was my image so hazy? I gasped!

Seeing myself through the many eyes;

Where are mine?

Stopped have I?

Seeing through my eyes!

My own being!

The mother, sister, wife, grand..whoever!

The Doctor, Artist, Writer, philosopher…. however!

The gender, age, caste, race.. whatever!

Seeing myself in a mirror,

The glass is spotless.

But not the image!

Who am I??

Through my eyes?

Mirror is spotless, but why is the image not clear?

Removing the colors

I started to remove the colours
from my vision,

And all the colours flooded in!

I then, held on to a colour,

The colour darkened so much,

It was no more The colour.

Also, all other colours disappeared!

I learnt a lesson.

Delight is not exclusive.

 

I saw birds flying

Freely in the skies

Chirping, quirking,

I held one!

It lost its joyful garbling voice,

Spoke only when prompted

And as trained,

I learnt a lesson!

Delight cannot be held.

 

I saw the waters,

Clear, gurgling, dancing, when they hit the rocks,

Hitting their highs sportively

I held some in a jar,

To carry with me its pristine clarity and quality.

It went quiet.

I learnt a lesson!

Delight cannot be bound.

 

I went to the mountains,

Trying to be one with them,

Danced around them,

Spread my arms to embrace them..

Oh! How majestic and strong!

Talked loud to them,

They echoed myself back

I learnt a lesson!

Delight is everywhere. Anywhere. Whenever I call it!

 

Sitting in my room, saw two flies

Playing with each other,

Oh! The joy!

And I said,

Why am I delighted?

It is they, who are playing!

And I learnt the most important lesson.

Delight is in Me! is Me!

It cannot be held!

It is not exclusive!

It cannot be bound!

It is everywhere, anywhere because of Me!

It is indeed, Me alone! 

 

 

© Deepti Vishwanath, Photo – Vishwanath Tekur

When a leaf fell

A yellow leaf on a branch

Saw the few yet green

Somehow did not see

The many that were yellow.

Knowing intuitively

and fearing,

It’s time has come –

For the Great Fall.

Wondered,

Am I ready for the call?

It looked only at the green leaves

envying their vibrancy

Why did I turn yellow at all?

The fall, is now inevitable,

It recognised.

The branch was thrusting it out.

The leaf so wanted to hold on,

But, alas!

The force was only from one side -the branch.

The yellow leaf pondered quickly,

Can I trust the air?

Will it take me to a place

Where I rest and be embraced

With warmth and no fear?

And it shuddered, when it wondered,

Should I surrender to the wind?

Or, Should I resist the wind?

A question it had no answer for.

Those already fallen could not reach the branch anymore,

and relate their tale of how it felt when they fell

And those on the tree, did not even suspect the fall.

And then,

It started falling…

And the yellow leaf suddenly realized,

The only resistance it could offer is the weight of its own self that it carried..

The wind was kind,

as the leaf dried up, weight gone..

It knew instantly..

it will survive, without the tree!

Merged with the soil, it will nourish the tree..

 

© Deepti Vishwanath.  Photo courtesy- Vishwanath Tekur

Weaving

A couple of years ago! Suddenly saw this.. Was still getting my hand at an amateur semi-auto canon camera.. But,  nevertheless, the weave has always remained one of my favorite captures.. Unedited #nofilter



All © Deepti Vishwanath

Samsāra – The vortex

I have a few days, to do nothing. So I decided to take a dip into my ocean of thoughts, and see if I emerge surfing or scathed!

I prefer to view life impersonally. For one simple reason, I see nothing happening to anyone which has not happened to someone else before, ever! Thus, personalising experiences, I have been a bit wary off. It certainly does not mean I do not recognise them. It just implies, I would rather see myself as one amongst the many out there having a similar experience. Just as my name is not my unique identity, so too, neither are my experiences. Yet, i too, as everyone else, would want to know what makes me unhappy? What do I truly want? What makes me insecure? Or have anxiety, of what? Why would I feel lonely? Or Depressed? And instead of wanting answers or a way out for myself, I choose a different route!

I want to know, yes but I want to know, Why do we as mankind experience more strife than joy, more hurts than cheer, more depressions, anxieties, fears, than more fun, happiness, peace, calm, love, caring, empathy. Are we individualised, or individually targeted to receive these? Or are these mere perceptions? Or are we somewhere missing out on something which can eliminate – the vortex?

These are two different ways. In the personal method, I quickly submerge myself, I drown faster. Feel lonely, helpless. Seeking and waiting mercy, since I feel individually targeted. I find reasons. Why am I going through the lows? What have I done to deserve it? Etc. This approach itself is the problem. Since it strengthens my vision of separation from the universe. The felt alienation is the source of a lot of human ills.

Whereas, when I see that firstly, I am not individually targeted to receive some unhappiness, on the contrary, there are always people who have gone through or are going through worse, I instantly prevent slipping into the vortex. Where is that one human who has never experienced unhappiness, dejection, fear, anxiety, loneliness etc. Would then the answer to freedom from these lie in an individual outlook?

These ‘real’ experiences which a human is susceptible to and experiences them as demons in and of his life, are all encompassed under one umbrella, called SAMSĀRA.    The term envelopes all the feelings which amount to saying, “My life sucks!” “I see no end to my struggles” etc. It is the vortex, which simply destroys the individual.

A factual understanding of human life as seen around, keeps one objective.

It is the very not knowing oneself, the human worth, the human potential, the ignorance of self worth and self potential begins the force, which ultimately becomes the vortex.

I dive into my ocean of thoughts and sail, if I remain objective. But, am instantly scathed, if I make my any expereince as exclusive to me!

May the dark force of samsāra be destroyed by the light of the One.

 

Deepti Vishwanath