When a leaf fell

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

Significance of a religious life.

In Vedās, a religious life is prescribed for all those who have :

a. Absence of Ātma Brahman Aikya jñanam.
b. Who have rāga-dveśa.

Absence of knowledge that the real nature of oneself- Ātma, is in fact, Brahman – the vast. Popularly referred to as Self-knowledge. The Self here is Ātma as oneself, and not the notion that I am an individual. This absence is referred to as Self-ignorance or simply ignorance. Ignorance is not referring to absence of any objective knowledge, like that of Physics, Economics etc. But it is stating the ignorance regarding Self-knowledge.

In the absence of Self -knowledge, the obvious outcome is “I am an individual”. And in such a notion of individuality, obvious is the presence of rāga-dveśa, likes and dislikes.

Man is afflicted by his Self ignorance primarily. It is the root cause of “ALL” the sorrows. Sprouting from it, man then gets afflicted by the likes-dislikes. In essence, the Vedās point out that a human being, irrespective of his gender, race, colour etc. spends away his life being constantly disturbed. Sorrow is encompassing all the felt disturbances.

But, an human being, again irrespective of his gender, race, colour etc. also has the equipped faculties, to gain this Self-knowledge. In the presence of which the root of Self -ignorance gets uprooted, there is then no locus for the individuality, and thus, no likes and dislikes get formed. The person of Self-knowledge, Such a human is referred to as “liberated”. Having fulfilled his human birth potential.

To uproot Self-ignorance, a lot of internal preparation is required. Just as to sow a seed, the soil is tilled; so too, for Self-knowledge, the human mind needs tilling.

This tilling is the job of a religious life.

Does every religion then take one to Self-knowledge?

No. Though ALL religions, when followed, cultivate the soil.

Vedic vision held the performance of the Vedic Karmas as religious. This was the karma-kanda, portion of Vedās detailing the knowledge regarding Karmas to be performed as per your notions of individuality. Abiding in the performance of the prescribed Karmās was being religious.

What was the advantage of this vision? The uniqueness of the vision of the Vedas? To the extent a person abided in his ordained karma, to that an extent indirectly his internal preparation took place. The source of sorrow coming from likes-dislikes got managed. And as one got prepared, the Vedās effortlessly revealed Ātma-jñana, through the Vedānta part, also called the Upanishads. Knowing which the final source of sorrow was destroyed. The one with Self-knowledge, now is the One. Where there is no sorrow. For sorrow to be, there has to be duality. But, for the Ātma-jñani, where is the other?

Thus, Vedic Karmās relevance as a religious life. And as with any knowledge, the chances of it being understood is relative, so too with Vedic knowledge. And the non-understanding leading to misunderstanding gets compounded when the knowledge is regarding the very Subject, the person, who has to re-know himself. This leads to layers and layers of deep-rooted superstitions, fanaticism, blind beliefs, rigid adherences, which more often destroy the very purpose of knowledge. And moreover, destroy the very potential of a human existence.

By the Ghats

By the Ghats

By the ghat, standing I,

saw the river flow by.

Telling me tales of many a times

forlorn by us,

She remembers it all.

I turn to look at the people behind me,

busy, hustling, bustling…

in need to get somewhere,

go somewhere,

get something,

achieve something,

a rush!

Then, I took the plunge!

One last thing I did;

took the boat

to the other shore.

I stand here,

where I hear the tales from the river,

been eternally there,

of the same ceaseless hustles,

been eternally there,

I see on the other shore!

only, from the other end!

 

© Deepti Vishwanath

Love

Love

Love is an enigma to mankind. As much as God is. Whereas God is still easy to dismiss as non-existent, when some want to; the inherent need for love is difficult to dismiss by the same people. The ‘love-need’ is as perceptible, and equally impossible to dismiss voluntarily, as breathing is to life.

The love-need is universally seen. Spanning all life forms. It is the same urge running through the zillions. The bird, the fish, the goat, the donkey, the pig, the dog. Even the plants, science now says, respond to love. An artist, poet, musician, sculptor, writer, all try to depict it. The thinker, the philosopher, even the scientist, the mathematician! Or the deeply religious, or the atheist…. who has not dabbled with love? The mathematician says, “I Love the figures.” The artist tries to capture it in his figures!  The religious say, “Love God”, the atheist say, “Love Mankind first!”

What is this deepest, consistent need in all life forms? Why is it always felt lacking, wanting? And for the human, who is blessed with free-will, it is always a seeking. Seeking outside of him. In some person, relation, or even a pet. A career graph or some material acquisitions. But, the ‘seeking love outside’ is a thrust to all our passions, engagements. In fact, it is the direction we take, continuously. Where ‘love’is expected, anticipated, we turn towards it, where it is not, we turn away, naturally!

Love is a pointer, that shows the direction, on the path of self development. Love is not something you meet outside, but you find it within.

Enclosed and identified with her / his body alone, a  person, is aware of only her / his wants, needs, desires, hopes, aspirations, expectations etc. She / He  is individual-centric. With this default notion, she looks at other life forms, who can fulfill her. If someone does feed some aspect of her, she reciprocates, but, only as much as she is is being met with or has capacity. And, it is largely left unmet, or compromised, in the entire of one’s life. Such a view and approach, is missing the opportunity that Love unfolds.

The felt – want of love, is a way of telling, to be that person. To be the love you expect. Love, pushes one to encompass the other. The other gets folded, as if, within the individual-centric field. Looking from other stand point, the individual -centric circle has expanded. Is this then, the purpose of Love? To show the direction of self growth. From individual -centric default mode of living, to the universal-encompassing conscious living.

Love has many names. It has many forms. It has many expressions depending on the roles and relations. It is called by respect, regard, devotion. It shapes as fondness, like, adoration, pride. It has expressions as care, share, give, receive. But, all in all, it points to the direction we need to grow towards. Love is only a North Pole star! Walking towards it is developing the love. When it gets developed enough, it shapes as  compassion. Compassion, the highest point of inner development and the greatest expression of love, culminates in knowing oneself as the non-dual! Where all beings are embraced within, who is now the centre of expansion, so vast, that everything falls in it. The individual -centric notions now have fallen off, like petals for the fruit.

Few embark on this beautiful journey, for it means to give up on the individual, which, for most, is fraught with fear. A ‘loving person’ is ‘the happy, peaceful person’. A ‘wanting to be loved person’ is ‘the ever distrubed person’. If man seeks  peace, he needs to develop himself, to love.

Turn the Valentine day as a reminder, do I grow towards the Pole star called Love, or do I wait for the star light to shine upon me!

© Deepti Vishwanath

14th February, 2017

The Bud

The Bud

The bud seeing the flowers around

said to herself,

“I am also blooming!

Like all, I will also grow!

I may even be really beautiful.

For I know I belong to the “lovely flowers”

But, when I look at others’

I do wonder,

If this was all I was meant to be?

Can I not be ….”

 

And just then,

the flower looks at the bud and thinks,

“Ah! Those were the days!

Now I wait, only to wither,

My petals away.

But as a bud, I was so happy.

All I have now is wait.. and some fear!”

 

And the plant said,

“have i not survived many a buds and roses,

and thorns?

Each being a part of me!

And they never recognised,

all that I go through

for them to grow!

Ah! I also get noticed because of them!

But, they are that part of me

which blooms and withers.

And there is that part of me, which is to protect them while they grow.

I hold them both equally, for them to bloom!”

 

And the soil said,

“in me all exists.

what you see on the surface is,

because I exist.

All the many plants, the trees…

are all me!

Yet this plant does not recognise me?

But, I protect it while it grows

by holding strong its roots.”

 

And the water said,

“Oh soil!

you do not recognise me.

Where I soak you, there you let the plant thrive.”

 

And the fire said,

“Oh water!

If I do not

collect you from the oceans,

you would not soak the soil?”

 

And the space said,

“Oh fire! I accommodate you.

So you are able to collect water high up in the skies.

 

And the water said,

“wait, I let you collect me,

I surrender,

when you come to collect me.”

 

And the soils said to the water,

“wait water! I surrender when you come to soak me, drench me.”

 

And the plant said,

“wait soil,

I surrender my seed and exert to grow upwards;

propelled by the rays, perhaps of the Sun, I am told.”

 

And the bud said,

“I can only surrender to what fate has for me!

I wait to grow like the flower next to me, I see.”

And the flower said,

“but I wait only to wither…

or wait in fear!”

 

And they all sat and thought and discussed openly,

and wondered, “for whom does all this happen?

whose will is it, that we express?”

 

And as the discussion was escalating,

A child came and plucked the flower which

was then talking.

And all went silent!

Wondering now, what this child will do with the flower?

Was this the end of the journey for all?

 

© Deepti Vishwanath

(Photo from web)