Same divinity in everything…Says the Lord (Aranya Kanda)

Ek baar prabhu such aaseena/ Lachiman bachan kahe chalheena//

Sur nar muni sacharachar sayim/ Mai poochavu nij prabhu ki nayim//

Once the Lord was seated graciously on his seat. Then his brother Lakshman spoke simple, heartfelt words: ‘Lord of the devas, humans, sages and all living and non-living things! May I ask you something…?’

**

Mohi samuchayi kahahu soyi deva/ Sab taji karamu charan raj seva//

Kahahu gyan birag aru maya/ Kahahu so bhagati karahu jehim daya//

‘Dear Lord! Kindly make me understand the ways in which I can relinquish everything and devote myself only to the dust of your feet. Tell me about wisdom, detachment and illusion. Also elucidate about the bhakti which makes you so compassionate.’

**

Eswar jeev bhed prabhu sakal kahau samuchayi/

Jatem hoyi charan rati sok moh bhram jayi//

‘Dear Lord! Do explain the difference between godliness and the mortal life. May my devotion to your lotus feet increase; so that my misery, desire and worldly confusion might end.’

**

Dhorehi mah sab kahavu buchayi/ Sunahu that mati mann chit layi//

Mai aru mor tor taim maya/ Jehim bas keenhe jeev nikaya//

(Sri Ramji said) ‘Dear brother, I shall explain everything. Listen with your intelligence, mind and heart. ‘I and mine’, ‘You and yours’ : that is Maya or illusion which has enfolded everything in its grip.’

**

Go gochar jah lagi mann jayi/ So sab maya janehu bhayi//

Tehi kar bhed sunahu tumh sovu/ Bidya apar abidya dovu//

‘My brother, know this: wherever your senses take you, and when the mind gets entranced -all that is part of illusion. Now listen to the difference between Vidya and Avidya. (Wisdom and ignorance).’

**

Ek dusht atisay dukhroopa/ Ja bas jeev para bhavkoopa//

Ek rachayi jag guna bas jakem/ Prabhu prerit nahim nij bal takem//

One is defective and causes unhappiness (Avidya) and mortals tumble into the well of worldly sufferings due to it. The other (Vidya) creates the universe and draws its inspiration from the Lord and has no strength of its own.

**

Gyan mann jah ekavu nahim/ Dekh brahma saman sab mahim//

Kahia taat so param biraagi/ Trin sam siddhi teeni guna tyaagi//

Wisdom is that which is devoid of ego (or pride) and which sees the same divinity in everything. (Sees Brahma in everything-living and nonliving- equitably).

Brother, consider that person as the supremely detached (vairaagi): the one who takes no time in ignoring (sacrificing) all his elevated achievements ( siddhis) and all three gunas (rajas, tamas, satvik) like a speck of dust.

**

Maya Ees na aapu kahu jaan kahia so jeev/

Bandh mochh prad sarbapar maya prerak seev//

The one who does not know Maya (illusion), God or himself is a mortal (living being caught in bhavasagar).

The One who grants salvation from further bonds (based on karma), is out of reach, and causes the play of Maya, is God.

**

Dharm tem birati jog tem gyana/ Gyan mocchprad bed bakhana//

Jaatem begi dravau mai bhai/ So mam bhagati bhagat sukhdayi//

From the practice of Dharma detachment ensues; from yoga comes wisdom; and wisdom leads to salvation (moksha): these are the teachings of the Vedas.

My brother, what pleases me quickly is a deep devotion to me, (bhakti) which in turn ensures joy and peace to my devotees.

**

So sutrantra avalamb na aana/ Tehi aadheen gyan bigyana//

Bhagati that anupam sukhmula/ Milayi jo sant hoyi anukula//

Bhakti  is  independent and free ; and does not need the support of wisdom or knowledge. Indeed, those are already servile to bhakti. Devotion triggers incomparable happiness; and one can obtain it when the good souls (sages, mentors) are pleased.

**

Bhagati ki sadhan kahavu bakhani/ Sugam pandh mohi pavahim prani//

Pradhamahim bipra charan ati preethi/ Nij nij karma nirat shruti reethi//

Now I shall narrate the ways of bhakti. For any living being, that path is the easiest way for attaining me. Be devoted to elevated souls. As per Vedas, do your assigned tasks sincerely.

**

Ehi kar phal puni bishay biraga/ Tab mam dharma upaj anuraga//

Shravanadik nav bhakti dridahim/ Mam leela rati ati man mahim//

Such efforts shall lead to detachment from sensory pleasures. Becoming detached, a deep devotion to me shall arise in the devotee. Then nine forms of prayerful devotion, including listening to my stories, shall become a practice. The narrations of my lila (Play of the Lord) shall fascinate my bhakta.

**

Sant charan pankaj ati prema/ Mann kram bachan bhajan dridh nema//

Guru pitu matu bandhu pati deva/ Sab mohi kah janai dridh seva//

My devotee shall have deep devotion to the ways of the saints (faithful to their lotus feet). In his mind, words and deeds he shall be firm on the ways of devotion.

For such a devotee, everything seems to be me: guru, father, mother, brother, spouse, and god. He or she is always walking the path of prayerful worship.(Everything done is an act of prayer)

**

Mam guna gaavat pulak sareera/ Gadgad gira nayan bah neera//

Kaam aadi mad dambh na jaakem/ Tath nirantar bas mai takem//

The devotee whose body becomes electrified while singing praises of Me, his voice breaking into sobs and his eyes welling with tears of devotion, such a one is free from desires, arrogance and pride.

I remain enslaved to such a devotee!

**

Bachan karma mann mori gati bhajanu karahim ni kama/

Tinh ke hriday kamal mahu karavu sada bishram//

The devotee who follows Me through his thoughts, words and deeds; adopting a nishkama attitude when he prays (doesn’t seek any results), I reside in the lotus of his heart.

**

Bhagati jog suni ati such pava/ Lacchiman prabhu charanahi siru nava//

Ehi bidhi gaye  kachhuk  din beeti/ Kahat birag gyan guna neeti//

Lakshman felt extremely blessed on listening to the ways of Bhakti Yoga. He bowed reverently before the Lord’s feet. Some days passed by in this manner, when they had discourses on detachment, wisdom, good qualities and rules of proper governance.


Beauty and Serenity

V.J.James’ Anticlock (DC Books, Third edition 2019) is a masterpiece of literature. A novel of compassion, beauty, and wisdom. Through the story of Henry the coffin maker, we travel through the vistas of crushing pain, and evolve during the journey.

It is a powerful testimony of vernacular writing…we need to get such books across the boundaries of language and reach an international audience.

At 336 pages, the author weaves a tale which can soothe, delight and hurt in equal measures. Beauty and serenity in your grasp. Do not miss it.

***

At an exorbitant price,Satan Loppo purchased the front row of the cemetery for his family’s stone graves. He bargained for prominence both in the cemetery and the church. After accumulating the coffers of sins, he and his heirs shall sleep there.

I often wonder about whom the Lord shall prefer on his right side on Judgment Day: the souls of the wealthy who slept in stone graves or those of the meek and poor who were received by the earth?

Dear Lord, who bestowed Hell fire for the Rich man and Redemption for the beggar Lazarus: whatever be the laws of your divine justice, please let my poor Appan and Beatrice be on your right! Let my innocent children stand next to them.

My fate is something I am not sure of.

If I go to the Lord’s presence with the stain of having violated the Fifth Commandment, the Lord will have no other option but to condemn me to stand on his left. He shall sentence this sinner to Hell fire. Even then His eyes would be overflowing with tears and His body would be sweating blood.

“I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.”

Lord, I am waiting still, not having opened my body. Appan will surely arrive one day to unlock the inner secret of the alluring box. On that day, dear Lord, bless me with the vision of your dwelling place.

Glory to my father, the maker of coffins.

**

Seeing me stand there brooding, Pundit asked me to take a seat.

Then I noticed that Pundit was closely examining the internal organs of a clock on his worktable. It looked as if the heart had been removed from a body! Some clock wheels, tiny springs, metal pieces and their attachments were scattered on the table.

Seeing my doubting look, Pundit quipped, ‘The heart and liver of an old clock…! I am trying to see if the heart might beat again. Just for curiosity’s sake!’

His voice had no ailments attributable to a hundred and two-year-old man. I sat quietly without replying.

‘These are the internal organs of a grand father clock!’ Pundit continued.

‘As ancient as that?’

Pundit laughed on hearing my silly question.

‘Anything above six feet, such a clock is called a grand father clock. Anything between four feet and six would be referred as a grand mother clock. There is also a grand daughter clock. Its height will be less than four feet. I am trying to give life to this grandfather. I am not sure if it will work. The brains are a total mess. Clocks are like humans. Once the brain is affected, it loses the sense of time. Still I feel a stubbornness…’

Seeing me look intently at the clock, Pundit resumed his speech.
‘It is as intricate and complicated as the interior of a human body. One cannot help admiring the white men, the Sayyips of yore! I am trying to do some transplants with whatever I have!’

I grinned. The interactions of laconic people are bound to be short. Else, I should attempt to prolong the conversation.

I liked the simile which Pundit used: every human being was like a clock!  Each clock was a dead body hanging on a nail.  It had slipped away from the noose of time when the heart stopped beating. The way they ticked together was a cadence which resonated at intervals: Body, be not proud! Life be not proud!

I tried to read the labels.

SETH THOMAS, USA.

I managed to unravel the yellowing English letters on the clock nearby.

‘That one is older than me,’ Pundit said, ‘the other one was purchased by my  grandfather from Madras. He bought it from Khalid Yusuf Brothers. It has a history attached to it! It made me the Keeper of Time! It has a mechanical arrangement which indicates 31 days. Every night sharp at twelve, it will change. It is not as easy as the digital clock. My uncle inherited the clock purchased by my grandfather. His sons discarded it as scrap when it became faulty. Since it was associated with my grandfather’s precious memory, I assumed ownership. The small needle was stuck between 9 and 10, while the big one was at 7 when it came to me. A moment in time- which could never be recovered- frozen in memory. I wished to retrieve my grandfather’s memories from it, since I loved him very much. I became a Time Doctor by rectifying that clock! Did you see its numbers? I, II, III, IV: in that Roman letter pattern, instead of IV, it is inscribed IIII. There are more oldies here: Japanese Seikosha, American Ansonia and such…’

(Translated from Malayalam)

****

 

 


മാർജിനിലിൽ കൊള്ളാത്തത് …

Fermat’s Theorem എല്ലാ കണക്കു/എഞ്ചിനീയറിംഗ് /ശാസ്ത്ര സാഹിത്യ കുതുകികൾക്കു പരിചയമുള്ള വിഷയമാണല്ലോ. കണക്കിന്റെ സൗന്ദര്യത്തെ പറ്റി പ്രകീർത്തിക്കുന്ന ഒരു പുസ്‌തകം കണക്കു/ഫിസിക്സ് ആരാധികയായ മകൾ അയച്ചു തന്നു. ‘ലവ് ആൻഡ് മാത്ത് ‘, എഴുതിയത് EDWARD VLADIMIROVICH FRENKEL എന്ന റഷ്യൻ -അമേരിക്കൻ ഗണിത ശാസ്ത്രജ്ഞൻ.
‘അമ്മാ, ഞാൻ പറഞ്ഞാൽ കേൾക്കില്ലല്ലോ! എന്റെ താത്പര്യം മനസ്സിലാക്കാൻ ഈ പുസ്‌തകം വായിക്കൂ! പ്രപഞ്ചത്തിന്റെ, ദൈവത്തിന്റെ ഭംഗി കണക്കിലാണ് അമ്മ!”

മൊബൈലിൽ മകളുടെ സുന്ദരമായ കണ്ണുകൾ കാണുമ്പോൾ എനിക്ക് അഷിതയുടെ വരികളാണ് ഓർമ്മ വരുക…പണ്ട് വായിച്ചതാണ്….മതവൈരാഗ്യം കൂടിയ ഒരു ദിവസത്തിന്റെ ബാക്ക്ഗ്രൗണ്ടിൽ എഴുതിയ കഥയിലെ ഒരു വരി ..
”അമ്മ ദൈവത്തെ കണ്ടിട്ടുണ്ടോ ?”
അവളുടെ കണ്ണുകൾ നോക്കി ഞാൻ പറഞ്ഞു : ” അമ്മ ദൈവത്തെ മാത്രമേ കാണുന്നുള്ളൂ…”

എന്തായാലും അവളുടെ നിർബന്ധത്താൽ ഞാനും വായിക്കാൻ തുടങ്ങി  ‘സ്നേഹവും കണക്കും.’ പരിഭാഷപ്പെടുത്താൻ പറ്റിയ പുസ്‌തകം ! കുടുംബം മൊത്തം കണക്കുപിള്ളമാർ നിറഞ്ഞിരിക്കുന്നതിനാൽ , റെഡി RECKONER തേടി ദൂരെ പോകണ്ട.

‘മാർജിനിലിൽ സ്ഥലമില്ലാത്തതിനാൽ എഴുതുന്നില്ല’ എന്ന് വിട്ട FERMAT THEOREM ഇന്റെ പ്രൂഫ് പത്തു മുന്നൂറാണ്ട് കഴിഞ്ഞു , ലോകമെമ്പാടുമുള്ള ഗണിത ശാസ്ത്രജ്ഞരുടെ വിയർപ്പിന്റെ അടിസ്ഥാനത്തിൽ, ഒടുവിൽ ANDREW WILES കണ്ടു പിടിച്ച കഥയും മറ്റും വായിച്ചു …

BETTI നമ്പറും, RIEMANNS surfaces, ഒക്കെ ഒരു സാധാരണ വായനക്കാരിയായി രസത്തോടെ വായിച്ചപ്പോൾ, പണ്ട് എഞ്ചിനീറിങ്ങ് ക്ലാസ്സിൽ ഒട്ടും താത്പര്യമില്ലാതെ കണക്കു ചെയ്ത സമയത്തെ കുറിച്ച് ചിന്തിച്ചു.
‘കണക്കിന്റെ സൗന്ദര്യം പഠിപ്പിക്കാൻ കഴിയുന്ന അദ്ധ്യാപകർ കൂടുതൽ ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നെങ്കിൽ!’

നമുക്ക് ജന്മനാ പഥ്യമായ ചില വഴികൾ കാണും …കലയോ, സാഹിത്യമോ, ചരിത്രമോ ഒക്കെ ആവാം..പക്ഷെ ലോകത്തിലെ പ്രശസ്തരായ പല ശാസ്ത്രജ്ഞരും സംഗീത സാഹിത്യ ലോകങ്ങളിൽ അഭിരുചി പുലർത്തുന്നവരാണ് എന്നത് എന്നെ ഇരുത്തി ചിന്തിപ്പിച്ചു!
‘Quarks’ എന്ന നാമകരണം ( ന്യൂട്രോണും പ്രോട്ടോണും മറ്റും ഉണ്ടാക്കുന്ന ബിൽഡിംഗ് ബ്ലോക്‌സ്) ചെയ്തത് Murray Gell-Mann , James Joyce ഇൻറെ – ‘Finnigan’s Wake’ വായിച്ചതിനു ശേഷമാണത്രെ!

Dr. Robert Langlands എന്ന ശാസ്ത്ര പ്രതിഭ (Grand unified mathematical theory ) ആറ്‌ ഭാഷകൾ സംസാരിക്കുന്നു. എല്ലാ ഭാഷകളിലും സാഹിത്യം വായിക്കുന്നു…
***

അമ്മൂമ്മയും കൊച്ചുമകളും വാശി വച്ചാണ് സംസ്‌കൃതം പഠിക്കുന്നത്. ആർക്കാണ് മാർക്ക് കൂടുതൽ എന്നാണ് ഇരുവരുടേയും നോട്ടം!

ശുദ്ധമായ ഹിന്ദി, മലയാളം , സംസ്‌കൃതം ഇതൊക്കെ കണക്കും ഭൗതിക ശാസ്ത്രവും പോലെ ഒരേ അന്തർധാരയിൽ നിന്നും പ്രവഹിക്കുന്നു…

**

‘ഉപദേശോ ഹി മൂർഖാണാം പ്രകോപായ ന ശാന്തയേ
പയഃ പാനം ഭുജംഗാനാം കേവലം വിഷ വർദ്ധനം.’

സുമംഗലയുടെ സുന്ദര പരിഭാഷയാണ് ; പഞ്ച തന്ത്രം…എന്റെ ബാല്യത്തെ കോപ്പി …
മിത്രഭേദത്തിലെ പതിനെട്ടാം കഥ …സൂചിമുഖിയും കുരങ്ങനും..
” മൂർഖന്മാരെ /വിഡ്ഢികളെ ഗുണദോഷിച്ചാൽ അവർക്ക് ദേഷ്യം കൂടുകയേയുള്ളൂ..പാമ്പുകൾക്ക് പാൽ കൊടുത്താൽ വിഷം വർദ്ധിക്കുമല്ലോ!’

**
ശാസ്ത്രവും, കണക്കും, കഥയും, കവിതയും മനുഷ്യ രാശിയുടെ പൊതു സമ്പത്താണല്ലോ. ലോകമെമ്പാടും ജാതി മത ഭാഷ, ഭേദമന്യേ , ആൺപെൺ ഭേദമന്യേ , മനുഷ്യന് വേണ്ടി ഉണർന്നിരിക്കുന്ന നിധി തിളക്കം! പ്രപഞ്ചത്തിൽ , ഒരു ചെറിയ , പൊടി മാതിരി ഉള്ള ഈ ഭൂമിയിൽ , അഹങ്കാരം കാരണം അലറി വിളിക്കുന്ന മനുഷ്യരോട് പറയാം , “ഒരു നിമിഷം , ഇതാ കുറച്ചു കണക്കും , ശാസ്ത്രവും , ഭാഷയും പഠിച്ചാലും…പല ദേശങ്ങളിലെ, പല കാലങ്ങളിലെ, നല്ല മനുഷ്യർ ഉണ്ടാക്കി വെച്ച നന്മയാണ് …ഇത് വല്ലപ്പോഴും ശ്രദ്ധിച്ചാൽ ഗർവ് കുറഞ്ഞു കിട്ടും…കണ്ണ് തുറക്കും…”.

എങ്കിലും കേൾക്കുന്നവൻ മൂർഖനായാൽ ?

***


Wisdom Is An Elephant

So the Science Fiction aficionado goes ahead and wins a  student writing contest. She is also invited to attend the conference of all similarly inclined souls and read out her winning entry.

When I gape at the wonder of it all, my daughter laughs. Her heroine is called Sofia and she has a cat called Davetta. Sofia reads Werner Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy in the dead of night. And she hates authoritarian figures. By the way, her cat is bionic.

*

Her sister gifts her a  cute pink baby elephant- yeah, a stuffed toy. The elder one  takes it by the tail and twirls it around with amusement.

‘Why is it pink, eh? It creeps me out,’ she opines.

‘It is adorable and small and pink. You better treat it respectfully,’the little girl is firm.

‘It looks rather ominous,’ laughs the elder one.

‘What is ominous?’

‘This elephant.’

‘Meaning of ominous?’

‘Er, not very auspicious, let us say.’

The younger one casts a baleful glance at me. I am all for getting the elephant back from such an  irreverent  new owner.

But finally, the sisters strike a compromise. They christen the elephant Sofia.

As I wonder on its fate, the elder one says consolingly, ‘Amma, it means wisdom. I will make it befriend Electra, the startled cat toy. Besides, we will make them  unofficial mascots of our Physics lounge.’

*

With all the wise ones around, I ask one question. What are interstitial spaces?

Sofia’s leap of victory had been in the  sci-fiction writing contest with that  peculiar theme. Her  story title was ‘Knowledge beyond Logic’. Heisenberg was an adored Ancient in its weave.

Does a pink elephant befriend a cat?  Would such friendship occur in interstitial spaces? As my mind puzzles over the uncertainty of it all, I remember Heisenberg in a most  happy, weird way.

‘Revere those things beyond science which really matter and about which it is so difficult to speak.’

Sofia or Electra, pink or black, young or old, elephant or cat, Physics or Spirituality, we are bound by infinite reams of love and laughter. And my story, if I ever were to write on interstitial spaces would be on that. And two laughing sisters.

The Gods at the bottom of my glass always have their faces.

*