Category Archives: Thoughts

Some of the thoughts from daily life or from the book, which may interest you or not…

From ‘Songs of the Mist – Part II’

LOST IN EMPTINESS
_______________

Lost in Emptiness
Lost in Emptiness

Entangled, wet and submerged
In crashing waves, the ocean scent
The sea waves
Think, play, sifting sun and sand
Like the fingers of my hand
Pressed against the darkness
That was long time ago – a sunset
I sieve the destiny off my inner self
Trying to find, where I am going
In which fabric of cosmic design,
I color the threads
And reality dawns;

The whole life is nothing
Just a preparation of death.

Extricating my self
Off the foams that froth the listless beach
I got up and walked, leaving footprints
To fend for themselves.
I walked, and walked
All along the sea
Looking for the promised emptiness of light
Wondering all the way,
If it was also looking for me…?
Life in living is more of driftwood
Than a flowering plant
Knowing no roots
Belonging no one
Nowhere

Just
Lost in the emptiness

As memories lose their meaning
In becoming words, turning
My pain into poetic shell
A darkness to hide within
Where windows do crack open sometimes
To another darkness
Of knowing nothing else than questions
Don’t ask
Have nothing to say
Know nothing
Said nothing

Where you come from?
Where you are going?

Stay – Live – and be the Dead

_____
shashi@2013

The Language has the Power to Change You…

As I started speaking in public forums, after my first book Songs of the Mist’s publication, I realise how hard it is to speak from the podium. I never had a problem talking to my team members across office table and in annual meetings, where the gathering used to be large as well, but you were quite sure that you will be received well as after all they are colleagues. But believe me, talking to people who have just come to listen to you, leaving their far more important work at home or office. They do expect you to give them something to think, make it worth their while as you come up on stage…. 

Haiku Workshop in Delhi University

I have had heard many public speakers, politicians, business and religious leaders speaking from stage and some of them impressed me. Over a period of time, I realised that most of the speakers were there for a purpose. They had something to talk about, to share, to make people understand where they are coming from. Behind each great performance there was a purpose, a thought or an idea that needed to be conveyed to the audience and it took me some time to realise that the reason, I published the book for, is essentially my purpose to talk about, share with young generation. And that’s when I started speaking without the accompanying hesitation that comes with public speaking. Now I had a reason to get my message across.

Chief Guest Address at Tata’s High Range School in Munnar

The Message: The Language alone will change you…
As I was finishing my book, I had dwelled deeper within our ancient scriptures, specially Bhagwat Gita, as its essence ‘Karma Yoga’ was the underlying flow of the lives my protagonists like Ashutosh, Ayan, Anishka etc. More and more people, specially youngsters I talked to more I realised that they are not reading these books. In our childhood, Amar Chitra Katha, Pancha Tantra, Chanda Mama, Stories of Mahabharata, Ramayana, Jatak Katha’s were the stable diet of growing up. Now with the advent of smart phone, What’s App groups, Texting, Memes etc. these stories were taking a back seat and reading was becoming confined to small little screens of smart phones. 

Click here to read an excerpt

So I wrote a love story, where through all the heart break and pain. The Deccan Chronicle headlined when talking about my book as “Bitter Pill with Sugar Coating”, which is exactly how I shared the essence of Bhagwat Gita for the young generation. And I continue to talk to the young generation about the need to go back to our ancient Heritage and culture and read those amazing work of arts and literature as I believe that even if the deep thought process hidden behind seemingly obscure ancient language does not make any sense to them at this stage of life, the language alone has the power to make a difference in their lives. So I keep talking about it in almost all my workshops, presentation and lectures. 
Writing Workshop at High Range School – Munnar

Slowly I started conducting workshops in Chennai, Delhi University as well as in schools like Tata’s High Range school in Munnar Kerala. With just one purpose, to inspire young generation to reach out to these books, Bible, Koran or Bhagwat Gita and get benefitted from it.

But over the period of almost a year after my book was published, I have realised another important aspect of language… 

It changes you as well…
The brain is like, to give you a mordern example, is CPU of the human form. And it works on two operating software – The Logic and the Language. So for me, writing and its essence, the language has the power to slowly work on ‘within’ and make you perform better. The more you practice, the more perfectly the software works. For me, it creates an awareness as in meditation.  I keep telling my audience, students that Haiku writing has become a kind of Mantra Chanting practice for me over the years. 


As I keep working on inspiring some aspiring authors in these school and colleges, I am learning as well. The young generation provides me with the spark that is essential to keep my ageing mind to break free from the shackles of time as well. Seeing those young, enthusiastic and confident youngsters, interacting with them opens up grey folds of my brain and look at the world differently. As I cajole and push them across to write good works of fiction which will stand the test of times, I am pushing my limits too. Each day, I have a blank sheet of paper that needs my reverence and respects in well formed thoughts and ideas and new awareness. As I grapple with words in my mind, the blank spaces needs and demands the most precise and aesthetically formed words following each other in a sentence, concise paragraphs and fully fleshed out characters in the most realistic back ground and that my friend is a meditation. It has changed me over the year and I am sure it will change you as well. 

At Delhi College of Arts & Commerce

Different layers of Songs of the Mist’s existence…

“At the very basic level “Songs of the Mist” is a love story… it has got heart break and pain… but it also has underlying layer, which I would like readers to get to and understand.” from Book Reading organised by Apparao Galleries


In the session, I have shared some of the lines from the book, I have liked from my book at the event organised by Apparao Galleries at The Leela Palace Hotels on 14th May, 2015.

The Big Bang and eternal sound ‘OM’

THE CREATION OF UNIVERSE: TWO STORIES
In the first one, Roman Catholic priest and physicist- Georges Lemaître was following the recession of Nebulae in the night sky. After long and lengthy vigil over time, he came up with the idea that the recession was due to the expansion of the universe. In 1931 Lemaître took another bold step and inferred since the universe is expanding, it is quite possible that if we retrace universe back in time, at some specific moment all the mass of the universe would be concentrated into a single point, which he termed as a “primeval atom“. That particular moment and the place where the fabric of time and space came into existence, he believed to be the beginning of our Universe, as we know it now.

He then proposed a theory, which was later developed by George Gamow as the point when the universe started with a big bang. However it was Hoyle who coined “The Big Bang” as a popular phrase in March 1949 BBC Radio broadcast. In the year 1965, the discovery and confirmation of the cosmic microwave background radiation finally made the Big Bang as the best theory for the origin and evolution of the universe, which was confirmed in 1968 and 1970, by Roger Penrose, Stephen Hawking, and George F. R. Ellis by showing that mathematical singularities were an inevitable initial condition of general relativistic models of the Big Bang.

Stephen Hawking holding a public lecture at the Stockholm Waterfront
congress center, 24 August 2015.(IMG:Curtsy Wikipedia)
Now here is the second story. Sages (read priests) and scholars (read astronomers, cosmologists, mathematicians etc.) who wrote Vedas, Upanishads, Purana’s etc. who for centuries wondered about the Universe, Stars, heavenly bodies and searching answers for eternal questions like ‘what is the purpose of life, Who am I and what is the cosmos and who is the creator etc.’ Over many generations, they pondered over the questions and revealed their thoughts about it all, in their teachings, in their compositions of Sanskrit Shlokas which were handed down the generation by verbal memory – by way of shurtis etc. These were later collated in the form of numerous ancient manuscripts of Vedic culture.

Shankaracharya by Raja Ravi Varma
(Curtsy Wikipedia)
Here are some of those inferences and ancient ideas which talk about the process of creation.

MāndūkyaUpanishad starts with solemn proposition with the following…  
 
“OM! This imperishable word is the whole of this visible universe.”

It was probably for the first time, the sacred Primordial sound ‘OM’ (Read Pranava Naad, which literally means deep sound or The Big Bang!) was referred to as it is. It is believed that in the early Vedas, the word was omitted since it was considered too sacred a sound of immense power and potency to be mentioned by itself.

ChandogyaUpanishad explains the origin of the universe as…

“Space, said he. Verily, all things here arise out of space. They disappear back into space, for space alone is greater than these, space is the final goal. This is the most excellent Udgitha. This is endless. The most excellent is his, the most excellent worlds does he win, who, knowing it thus, reveres the most excellent Udgitha [Om, ].”Verse 1.9.1-1.9.2


“There was nothing whatsoever here in the beginning. It was covered only by Death (read dark space) or Hirayagarbha – A golden womb”Verse 1.2.1

Now if you compare these two stories, our sages have said almost the same thing as the Roman Catholic Priest Lemaitre did in early 20th century, 4000 to 5000 years ago. The insightful verses above and many more were based on pure thought experiments. Generation upon generation Vedic scholars, pundits and Gurus meditated upon the cosmos, developed theories about how the Universe was created, who we are, what is the purpose of life etc. But now these thoughts of ancient sages are branded as something obscure and unintelligent mythological babble of primitive idlers. Though here I would like to remind the readers that they were the same people who gave the world, numerical “0”, trigonometry, calculus, Pythagoras theorem etc.
This kind of belittling of our ancient philosophy and thoughts started with the infiltration of Indian culture and heritage by ancient as well as modern invaders. The final nail in the coffin of obscurity for Indian philosophy happened with Aryan invasion theories as well as biased opinions of some European writers and thinkers, who translated these ancient text out of context. Some, in the absence of written history or documentation, even went beyond the usual rhetoric and dismissed it all as heresy, myths or bizarre fairy tales.

Now we all know that Vedic teachers, philosophers did not write their thoughts down on some kind of primitive tablets or on the walls of obscure caves, because they relied on the most enduring tool of the mankind – the mind and the cultivated discipline of Guru – Shishya parampara (Teacher and disciple custom) relationship based Gurukul system of Vedic culture. Vedic culture believed in shruti i.e. learning sholokas and its meaning by heart through listening, through out the ancient time.

Yes, there is no mention of the sacred eternal sound OM (which was later mentioned in the Upanishads) in the early Rg Vedas. But to understand this absence of the pranava naad ‘Om’, we must put it in the proper context. In Vedic culture of ancient India, the primordial sound ‘OM’ was considered the most sacred and holy sound with immense potential energy to be mentioned by itself anywhere. The teacher alone passed it on to the disciple by way of whispering it into his ear. Even today this custom of transferring sacred knowledge is found in many current Vedic rituals like the sacred thread ceremony, or in the ritual of becoming a shishya (disciple) through Guru Mantra, whispered into the disciple’s ear by the Guru.

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer,
impressed by the Upanishads, called the texts
“the production of the highest human wisdom”.
(IMG: Curtsy Wikipedia)
It can be argued whether the ancient Vedic philosophy was a scientific endeavor or just a flight of fancy of ancient Indian student or teacher? But in my opinion, during the times of Vedic culture the young scholar of the gurukul system of learning, learned everything under the sun and continued learning their whole life, thinking and practicing what he / she had learned, refining and consolidating it with every step of knowledge gained. And they shared this knowledge with their disciples through their teachings in various forms of Shruti and slowly it grew to be the Vedic tree of knowledge with the branches of Upanishads, Puranas, and its root firmly planted in ancient Vedas.

Over a period of time, our great sages also realised that the reality of the whole universe is also an interaction between Purush (man) and the Prakriti (Nature) and in this interaction, the duality of the universal consciousness is manifested through spandan (vibration) or prana (light) which act as the eternal energy within every single particle existing the universe.
And this is exactly what the modern world, scientific community as of now, is fighting hard to come to terms with. It was all right for the scientists till the time, Newtonian mechanics had its hold over the progressive world. But as the mankind slowly dug deeper into the depths of elements, quantum particles stared back with its weird quantum phenomenon and stumped the scientific community.

But this duality never had any problems for the Vedic thinkers of 5000 years ago…
Science Vs Spirituality in 
Songs of the Mist…
“Now that light which shines above this heaven, higher than all, higher than everything, in the highest world, beyond which there are no other worlds, that is the same light which is within man”Chandogya Upanishad 3.13.7

“The soul cannot be created or destroyed,” says Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita and this is exactly what most of the scientists of the world say about ‘energy’ too” says Ayan the scientist in my book – Songs of the Mist (Page – 25)

In the end, I would like to say that for a very long time, we have denied the rightful place of our rich heritage, culture and ancient knowledge base. The books like Bhagwad Gita have provided the perfect road map to live the prefect life, even in modern times – A life which is meaningful and is in equilibrium with the nature all around us as well as within our own intrinsic nature. But it is unfortunate that not only others, we ourselves don’t take them seriously, specifically the young Indian generation. The young India does not like to read these amazing books, as they are considered to be archaic, impractical and ancient in thoughts, a position for which we have ourselves to blame. We ourselves have turned the immensely practical treasure trove of our rich heritage of culture and knowledge into a straightjacketed ritualistic customs and practices, hidden behind the closed and crumbling temple walls across the country, through our fanatic religious shortsightedness.