journeyman keep your rewards in your pocket

Don’t be in haste, don’t run too fast, for in running too fast, always looking at the destination ahead in future, you lose the real charm of your journey. You forget yourself and identify yourself with what you are not. You snap your ties with your real self, and with broken ties with your true self, you hardly stand a chance to grow firm roots in the personal and professional domain around you.

As a speedster you miss the real fruits that were placed solely for you along the path. You hardly realize the real profits and boons coming across your path. You miss your present, the real you who can exist in the present only, the rest is just a mere jumblement of ideas about incomprehensible future and regretful past. The unreal you has no tangible existence except as a bunch of insubstantial, phantom thoughts. Unfortunately this phantom idea takes precedence over the real you, deriving a chasm between what you think yourself to be and what you are in reality.

So under the fallacy of identification with the unreal, you forget yourself, you overlook the present impregnated with countless things around waiting to be defined just by your look, your insight, your observation. Every phenomenon is incomplete without you as an aware observer. So by forgetting yourself, you ignore your role in the process of creation.

Forgetting yourself, eyes peeping into the hazy distances, leaving all the multi-hues of things and phenomena waiting to be defined by your aware look, you stumble so many times. And the blame game starts. You target destiny, you point out unfair forces against you, you crib about injustices and system failures. All these are but the projections of your unreal self on external circumstances. The things outside are simply the screens where you play the disharmonic drama driven by the wrong protagonist impostoring as you.

So you run very hard with all your might, your eyes mechanically glued to the so called target. But is it, in any way, better than a blind run? And mind you, no destination is defined in isolation, just in itself, something lying at a distance in abstract. Every destination is the sum total of the experiences coming across the way. The so called ‘reach home’ is just one more milestone like any other along the way.

The runner is always more important than the act of running and the so called finish line. So cool down. Take a pause. And move restfully with equipoise and respectful awareness. The things that light up your awareness at each step are as important as the goal to which you are dying to reach. The ever-giving trees, singing birds, cotton soft clouds floating as spectators, gentle breeze applauding your march, motherly soothing sunshine, restful ponds, naughty rivers, gracious people, charming conversations, and what not. The list is endless. Not that there aren’t grey shades to the things around. There are, but they are mere appendages to the basketful of bounties. As they say, change your outlook and the world changes. Grey has just two factors of white and black. Multicolored possibility on the other hand has a big rainbow of possibilities. But it’s never complete without the participation of your prism, your heart.

The little wayside flowers have no meaning if you don’t pause to reciprocate their smile. An atom of reality has an observer and the observed. Nature has played its part; now play yours by being a keen onlooker. These small milestones coming with each watchful step have their rewards and satisfaction, provided you don’t belittle them as mere steps to the so called final trophy. Each step is a destination itself. I hardly see any final destination apart from dying without too many grudges from life. The rest are just mere steps following one another. To avoid the final judgmental hammer-strike at the fag end of the journey, it is simply required to be just a journeyman. The journey itself is a reward. It’s an end in itself. Pain arises when we take it as the means to something. There is just one journey, life. There is just one destination, a regretless ending of the show.

Your each step carries the prospects of the pearls of happiness provided you slow down your time. The time which is yours, defined by you, not by the clock’s clicking hands or other’s expectations and your imitation of the conventionally safe pursuits. The latter give you a fake sense of security but leave your soul thirsty, depriving it of the adventurous nectar that could have been sipped from the flowering of your own self by gracefully picking up the pollen lying for you.

There is no absolute time, just relative fixations of it to serve tiny human purposes. That doesn’t mean it should become the master of your destiny, casting you in its cement mold, making you a caricature of your true self. Your time ought to obey you, not the vice versa. You can slow it down with your increased awareness. Stretch each second on the enlightened curve of awareness. Time then serves you, giving you more in seconds than you ever observed and experienced in whole days.

Do you think a journey is accomplished by the running force you propel into? Think again if you say yes. It’s not possible to run forever. A run has to depend on rest and pause to sustain itself. Do you think the accelerator paddle in your car takes you to the destination? Not at all! It’s the brakes intervening to give restful pauses for safety to give meaning and control to your speed, to make it an organized run instead of a mad rush ever accelerating and crashing into some fatality.

The break, the pause, the rest, these are the basic ingredients to turn any random movement into a meaningful, assured, safe journey taking us to some point further in the journey. Miles and miles of mindless dash without breaking, restful pauses are meaningless crazy pursuits in a desert ending in painful mirages.

As you run without pause, rest and awareness, and with heedless hurry, you stress yourself out. This stress and tension kills the imagery. All tensed up and stressed, looking anxiously at the destination far-far away, you lose that dreamy imagery which makes each step a victory in itself. Do you think life is meaningful without restful reflections and creative imagination? It simply isn’t. If not now, you realize it later when unfortunately it is too late.

So guys watch your step. And look around you. Countless things and phenomena are waiting to enrich you. These are the things which make your journey fruitful and meaningful in the true sense. The destination stands defined only in terms of the process of journeying and the experiences gained alongside. And when you reach your destination as a victorious king, it’s only the experiences before the final goalpost which have turned the scale in your favor.

The nutshell is: Enjoy the journey fella! Don’t just close your eyes to the surroundings thinking about the destination where you assume to become happy some day in future. Forget it. No destination can give you happiness if you haven’t been happy while journeying.

Happy journey! Carry on! All the best!

The Inconsiderate Indian Elephant

It makes me terribly sad. We Indians basically behave like a group of tiny animals crammed in a little cage having lesser grains and more hungry mouths. It’s basically a fight, a noisy wrangle for mere existence, a squeaking pandemonium for survival. It makes us one of the most inconsiderate, immodest people on earth. On the other hand, we have the most ancient scriptures talking of love, care, share and brotherhood. Everything vanishes in practice though.

Why do you need medicines? Simply because there are diseases. Similarly, the endless holy talks of scriptures only prove a diseased society plagued with hate, selfishness, lies, conceit, crime and malice. In a healthy society you don’t need tomes of holy talk in religious books. No wonder, ours has been a terribly unkind, unhealthy society. Need a proof. You try to come in anyone’s way in any form at whatever level. You will get a slap, an abuse, a glare. There is more possibility of a fight than a smile all the time at all places. There is an air of antagonism. The probability of a mishap lurks at every nook corner. You have to be extremely cautious. God forbid, if you just, involuntarily, happen to raise anyone ire!

Forget about the rules of civility. There seems to be mass frustration. People have a frown on their faces as they stampede on the survival stage. You drop your guard and you will not get a chance to offer apologies. Justice will be dispensed on spot. It’s basically about one-upmanship. Courtesy is taken as the inevitable final resort of the coward. Civility and chick-heartedness are synonymous. So no wonder everyone is out there to prove his/her bravery. You have to hold your position, however ill-conceived is your idea of the fight.

Mass conscience seems to have been bruised too deeply. Try it any level, from beggars to billionaires, you will find courtesy, civility and consideration exist just in books. I was parking in front of a railway station. Now I am least prone to disturb anyone’s sovereignty. However, the congestion necessitated me honking twice to attract a man’s attention who was standing in the way. It resulted in the puny man to shout an abuse. It was bigger than his size, but luckily I was found not ready to take the abuse. I simply parked my car and approached him. Now, even with my modest stature, I looked over and above him in size. But then as an offended Indian he had to hold his guard. He mustered up his body language to show courage, expecting a fight. I approached him and with folded hands said, “Sorry O King of this land! O Angad ji, I ask forgiveness for making your foot budge from the ground!” There was no way except acknowledge my apology. With a sheepish grin, he said, “Koi baat nahi!” And there I came out absolved of my crime.  

As we stamp and stomp around, we simply grab the opportunity to spit anywhere, urinate everywhere, park our vehicles anywhere, flout every rule, shout louder and louder to have our say, molest anyone, take every shortcut to make our ends meet. Ofs, the list is endless!

The air is full of insecurity, suspicion, anxiety, jealousy, negative complexes: as many negative shades of human behavior as can be expected in a situation defined by decreasing morsels and increasing hungry souls. Thanks to the universal applicability of the concepts of marriage and siring a male heir for moksha, India is full: overpopulated to the extent that the core of individual philosophy is solely defined by the fight to survive. It’s always about ‘fight or flight syndrome’. The norms of jungle! It makes us self-seeking and beyond the consideration of anything above our own little self. Do we qualify above the so called animals in the jungle?

We cannot see beyond the basics of life. And with so many hands grabbing the same morsels in the same little plate what else one can expect? We just identify themselves with our lower selves, the ego, defined by fears, insecurities, complexes and jealousies. The stage is so small that one doesn’t possess the opportunity, or the will, and consequently the ability, to get connected to the higher self, the stage of consciousness about one’s role, responsibility and duties as a considerate, contributing entity of the collective environment. This attachment to the lower self makes us terribly self-centered.

There is mass apathy. As long as we get the survival crumbs to pamper our lower selves, we care a damn about anything else. Self-responsibility. The compound word doesn’t exist in our vocabulary. We allow ourselves and others to violate any socio-legal norm. It’s a mischievous hush-hush pandering of the collective evil. A simple give and take. I will take my ill-gotten liberty, you take yours. The offshoots of such behavior include spitting anywhere, defecating almost everywhere, flouting traffic rules, tendency to take short-cuts to reach our little journey to meet the same puny destinations, grease palms of government employees, take bribes whenever possible, etc., etc., and etc.

You name anything, and we Indians will not disappoint you in flouting the norms. All because we inherently and instinctively connect with the lower self. Out of all these huge mass of self-seekers, the most potent ones become the politicians. They are the best self-seekers who have hardly any restrictions, moral or legal, to stop them from meeting their desires and destinations. No surprise small self-seekers deserve only bigger self-seekers to lead them.

There is no need to comment about our politicians and their oft-used tools of dividing society on caste, communal, regional and class basis. Indian democracy functions on divisiveness. Individually we Indians are very low on self-esteem, creativity, guts, courage and enthusiasm, so we identify ourselves with collective identities in the form of caste, creed, religion and region. This tendency is smartly used by the traders of divisiveness, the politicians. And there moves the great juggernaut, the inconsiderate Indian elephant.

Vultureless Skies

Dead vultures and well-ground meat

There were times when we had vultures in north India. Beyond their metaphorical abusive usage in language, they flew very high. They roamed freely in the bluish depths of undisturbed skies. Floating, their wings sprawled out, in utter peace and calm. They were too far and safe. They were detached, but as an earthling, you cannot ignore earth however high you can fly. Away from man’s reach—save some incidences when they crashed into man-made metallic birds—they floated free and landed only when there was something lying on ground with no more life, no more play in the hustle and bustle of things; something beyond the survival matrix of sweat and blood; something totally passive to the mucous throngs of life. And they swooped down, the scavengers from the skies.

They descended matter-of-factly. Cutting air with their sun-parched wings, coming to the world of we humans, to play their part in the natural scheme of things allocated to them. Beyond the bloody, brutal and sordid pulls of their pointed, hooked bills into the dead innards, they appeared self-effacing, modest scavengers going on their duty to help clean up the system. Even saintly with their sad, drooping eyes! I remember a whole fat, lifeless cattle turn into a skeleton in some odd hours, leaving no scrape of flesh around any bone, and no foul, rottening odor later on. The dogs took onto the bones, lost in the mirage of pacifying hunger from the deepest depth of a well where there might not be any water.

Then Diclofenac, a cattle medicine, came. The more the vulture did their duty for the dead, the more death did its duty on them. The vultures lost their skies. They got sick and fell from the sovereignty of their skies. One more entry to the increasing list of extinct birds. A very casual occurrence. So the skies became clear. Only mankind’s steel birds have a right to fly that high. So we don’t have vultures now. Only airplanes can go so high. The ethereal blue is calm and steeped in history. Of course the dead cattle need to be disposed off. The farmers bury these in shallow sand-pits. The dogs pick up the trail, dig out and chew on the sandy rot. And a huge cumbersome cloud of foulest odor clumsily reaches human nostrils to remind them of the species which is extinct now. Not too many mind though.

The dogs now go to the metalled road to meet their famous death, the much anointed dialogue, kutte ki maut, which is rarely natural. Death and its agent need not push themselves to grab their share on the road. It’s National Highway 334 B running through the densest rural and town settlements across central Haryana, starting from Western Uttar Pradesh, crossing Yamuna and going across Haryana from east to west. Till a year back it was just a district road. But then they suddenly changed it into a national highway without adding to its dimensions. It’s just a two-laned road without any lane divider. Heaviest to the lightest vehicles ply bumper to bumper day in and day out. And accidents happen rampantly.

The truckers have grabbed its link to Rajasthan and southern Haryana, with even more greed than a hungry vulture of decades. There is no toll tax on this link. It saves them 1200 rupees. This much money matters. Even the time it saves also matters. So human safely is lost in the smoke exhaust. Overloaded trawlers ply gleefully. It’s a journey of overs: overload, overspeed and overgreed. Transport companies put up rewards for the fastest drivers. In the mad rush, rules, regulations, care and concern take a back seat. And people die in road accidents. Almost daily there is a fatality. In a neighboring village, two brothers, one 17 and the other 19, going to their fields to prepare for physical tests for army recruitment, were crushed to death early one morning. The tragedy isn’t the odd one out. There are many. But they get buried into the tar under speeding, burning wheels.

The dogs too, knowing that there are no vultures, come under the heavy wheels to get crushed to a pulpy, well-ground meat. Even bones get ground easily; the vehicles are so heavy after all. Years back, when there were vultures, a dog hit by a vehicle, would be at least dragged to the roadside trench. Vehicles were sparse, wheels were smaller, and people had time to respect even a dog’s dead body and threw it into the roadside pit. Then the vultures would take up, efficiently, smoothly, surgically. Now right after the first hit, you cannot tell whether it was a dog, a cat or swine. Wheels are endless. It gets crushed within minutes, first to a juicy broth, then to dry sponge, the blood absorbed by the burning tar under hot wheels. It’s dry before you realize. The eddies of smoky wind let loose by tyres then puff away the last grains. It’s quicker than even the biggest horde of vultures. No man, possibly there is no need of vultures now. Metaphorically though vultures exist, thriving in fact, as we add to the haramzaadgi in us.

The point where everything is synonymous with nothing

Universe: The one song

Look at your body and think, whether it exists in abstraction, in exclusive totality. It doesn’t. It simply cannot. It’s simply a few kilograms of matter clinging to consciousness, chetna. Just like electricity is the link between a computer’s hardware and software to make it an operating unit, similarly, prana energy is the link between the matter, body, and consciousness, the seat of your real being. You occupy the chair of your existence as a dynamic unit operating under the infallible laws of reciprocal transformations of energy. 

This ecosystem, which supports you and countless other beings, is your extended body. You are just a point of existence within this larger body. These trees over there are your bigger lungs. These streams of water are the larger replica of the water in your body. Calcium, phosphorus, zinc and other elements of your body are just the tiny replica of the vast mountains and plains containing mammoth amount of this matter. You retain your identity in this sea of ecosystem like a drop of water does in an ocean. It exists, simply because the larger entity exists to define its existence. 

Moving up the hierarchy, this ecosystem also has an extended body. It is mother earth itself. Earth with dense metal in its core, its gravity, its spin and revolution, sets up the stage for the ecosystem to exist.

Further, the solar system is earth’s extended body. Earth cannot exist in exclusion from the solar system. Without it, it will just vanish like a tiny speck of dust and scatter its energy to be taken up by concurrent phenomena, God knows in what incidental, interesting way.

The Milky Way is the solar system’s extended self. Solar system will collapse without the vast surrounding balancing forces of the Milky Way. It’s just a tiny phenomenon cocooned in the huge galactic forces of matter and energy transformations prevalent in the Milky Way.

Super-galaxy is Milky Way’s extended body, and so on so forth. Till you reach the roof of everything, till you reach the farthest expansion of the universe. Then it’s nothing. Simply because there the explosion is imploding, getting sucked into nothingness. To be blasted out again for another cycle. How is it possible with net zero energy? Visualize a pendulum. It swings left and right simply because of the energy transformations taking from kinetic energy to potential one and vice versa. When it’s moving up, its kinetic energy is turning to potential energy. When it’s going down its potential energy is turning to kinetic energy. Same is the case with this cosmic pendulum. At its two extremes it explodes and implodes, expands and gets sucked up, and on and on. Just a cosmic swing, moving on and on.   

Now, can you guess, what is the meaning of “universe”? It is “one song”. If you still didn’t get it, no need to waste time, carry on like before, but don’t forget to smile and have fun. This is just one harmonious, ever-evolving song to which you can definitely add your melody and composition by being in tune with the natural laws. There is no specific need to understand it. It can be very easily lived.  

Closely watch nature. You will see the miracles happening with such magical effortlessness that they appear more mundane than even the simple task of you lifting your hand. And one more thing, like you see around, it’s nothing but dynamic exchange and transformation of energy and matter. In any case, it’s basically energy, because matter is just the apparent state of energy at a particular frequency.

Your own purposes in life always fall short of the universal will unless you link them to the causes beyond your own self. So while you strive to be happy and successful, try to do it in a way that it gets in sweet concordance with the very same desires of not just human beings but whole of the ecosystem.

Even a genuine prayer for someone will do. Enlightenment doesn’t mean skies will shower flowers and earth will part and you will get a halo around your head. It happens when you become the commonest of the common and see you in the natural scheme around, as a part of the totality around. When you accept in all humility that there is hardly any individuality around! It’s all but a massive commonalty.

One seed contains the potential of a whole forest. The cosmic seed, the point, the Bindu of Hinduism, is just the point where explosion and implosion begin and end. At the highest hierarchy, this seed, this point, this vector of nothingness, contains limitless possibilities for the mutually interchanging interplays of energy. Look at the marvel of a tiny banyan seed. Look at the wonderful sprout of a huge tree with the lateral openings for birds, animals and humans. The cosmic seed, the point of nothingness, contains the seeds for everything. Quite stupendously, it’s nothing and everything at the same time.  

These little groups of words in this tiny sermon just try to take a picture of the infinite and its day-to-day reflection in our lives. It’s just a poor substitute for the ultimate reality. Just like a picture taken on your camera is a poor replacement for the lively panorama you wish to capture. With due regard to human limitations to express the infinite dimensions of reality, all our efforts through words, art and science are just indicative in nature. They just point to the largest reality far above the smaller planes of human-contrived smaller realities which make life easy and comfortable.

There is hardly any difference between ‘everything’ and ‘nothing’. This cosmic cycle, having a time-span of billions of years, is a blast from a point. The net energy is zero. You can have an endless interplay of energy, with nullifying factors at each step, like you go on adding and subtracting at all levels. Eternity then becomes possible. It’s possible to have ‘everything’ out of ‘nothing’. The so called Maya of Hinduism is nothing but the apparent reality, which involves the subject and the object. In quantum physics, they say that for the subatomic phenomena to exist, it’s necessary to have a perceiver.

Radiation is both wave and particle at the same time. How is it possible? Waves because it shows the properties of a wave like refraction. Particle because it can strike like a particle and get bounced off? Contradictions melt in probability. And that probability is never complete till you have the observer to define it. Electromagnetic radiation, the wave, has particles called photons. These photons have zero mass. Then how can these be particles? They are particles through the probability within a specified zone within the path where there is a possibility of their existence. They are a wave without an observer, and turn to particle status the moment the observer arrives on the scene to define a moment of existence at a particular point in the band of probability. Scriptures say that all this is an extension of your mind. The latest researches in quantum physics prove the same thing.   

Explore your own space within the infinitely dynamic exchange of energy in the singular stream of primordial energy shooting off in countless directions, carrying fixed laws and supported by infallible universal intelligence. And all this is defined by the last law of all the lesser laws, the ultimate law. Call it God, supreme intelligence or the ultimate being. All this but is the same thing.