Archive for the ‘past life’ Category

Long years of working have now come to an end. 2015 heralds in my decision to break free of the past working patterns and to start a new one.

Starting afresh is like starting from the bottom again. It means you stand alone and you take your own decisions which will affect you in the long run. Comfort zone is safe but a sorry state to be in. It means that you did not challenge yourself enough.

I have been thrown into this state many times and have always done well. In a jungle I have found a path, indeed many paths, every time, but when you decide to leave the past with no real goal in mind, except a few ‘must dos’ on your New Year List, you must know that the path begins where you left and no matter what the territory you visualized it to be, the path has something to gift you at the end of the road – trust in yourself! When you went with a plan, but things emerged which were not in the plan and you had to embrace them, then, at the end of the journey you know that you might have taken a different route altogether, which you did not visualize at all! And you succeeded! And what’s more you are more confident than when you started off.

You made it!

The past always has fragments of your life, which you associate with, or did associate with. But time has flown, people have changed, you have changed yourself, so isn’t it time to put that bag down from the past and move on?

My decision to take my own road sprouted from the fact that if I did not do it, then the fire that burned inside me would die and I would not be what I recognize myself to be – a living, breathing animal with vibrant colours and moods.

I wanted to go home to myself! Me, the way I know my Self!

How about you? How long will it take you to come home?


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If your thought are deeply entrenched in the contemplation of someone you love, you become the person you love.


Therefore I will only speak of myself, for in me now you have merged. Not of your volition but of mine. Not of your need but of mine.


And you think I have forgotten you.

Yes and no!

How can I remember you, when all that I am is you in me? How can I see myself as separate from you, when you and I have merged like two different coloured inks on one blotting paper?


We were different. Separated by time and space, over lifetimes. Two bodies. Two minds, searching one another over lifetimes. Now the search is complete. Not because I have found you, but because my love has acted as the blotting paper into which our two separate lives have merged into one.


It was the best thing that happened to us. Now there will be no hide and seek. No need to go anywhere to look for the other. Not even to avoid the other, if we wish to.

Now we are – me.


In fact, it was all an illusion – two separate beings, traveling over lifetimes to find each other.There was no time and space in which our souls traveled in search of each other. It was only how we thought we did. But, now even that is over.

I have thought of you so much and imitated your ways so often, in wakefulness and in sleep, I have devotedly contemplated upon you, like Radha upon Krishna and now I find the difference between us has disappeared.

I can say we are one, if there still were two of us. But, when that is naught, there is only a lack of words to describe what Is.

If your thought are deeply entrenched in the contemplation of someone you love, you become the person you love.




Art by Smriti Vohra

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A soft tap on my shoulder pulled me out of the pages of the book I was reading at the Manny’s Book Store in Pune. It was late evening and I had returned to that city to take a longish break and complete a painting lying the in attic of a dear friend. I turned around and looked at the face staring down at me. Soft aquiline features of the face were framed in a cascade of salt and pepper hair falling from the head to below the shoulders, gently covering the well-formed breasts of a woman, not more than forty-eight years ofage. I searched my mind – she looked familiar, but….

She smiled. The laugh lines on either side of her mouth looked sad to me.

” Sagar….” she said. ” Remember we met at Prem’s a couple of years ago?”

How could I forget! ” Of course I remember you! How have you been?” I said looking at the book in her hand.

” Pretty good really” She said with another smile that could have melted the Book Store.

” So what are you reading” I asked.

” Inheritance Of Loss by Kiraaaan Desaaaay”

” You are not planning to buy it, are you?” I asked quickly.

” I thought I might….it’s won the Booker”.

I had to say my line –

” Oh, well! Man Booker has become a God of Small Things it seems. No literary genius this! Buy the last one, if you must, God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. That really was a literally genius”.

She bought Arundhati Roy. We moved out of the Book Shop. ” So what are you doing for the rest of the evening? Any plans?”

” Not really. I am here on a holiday to complete a painting. Just thought I would like to revisit the past….?

She looked questioningly at me and then said, ” Would you like to come home with me? I have some lovely tea from Darjeeling!”

Oof! The romance of tea! It’s something I can’t resist. ” Thank you! That will be lovely”.

Sagar’s room, on the top floor of a building in the small inner lanes, was tastefully done with a large French window opening out to a private terrace.

” I’ll just put the kettle on.” she said trying to make me comfortable on a large cushion. I picked up the blue crystal lying on a wad of cotton wool, on the shelve, with a light bulb over it, “May I, please?”

” At night, I put all the lights out and just that one over the crystal, and the room fills with blue waves. It’s so soothing.” She said putting her hands on her heart.

I could imagine.

She returned with the tea carefully placed on a tray made of bamboo. I recognized it as Made In Meghalaya – my part of the country.

” Where did you get that from”? I said in astonishment.

” Well from the shop outside the German Bakery. They sell some great cane stuff”.

She settled down and we both looked at each other for a long time.

” You look tired and withdrawn….not like I remember you from last time” She was very observant.

” I am coming off a relationship” . I said without much ado.

” Oh? Long one?”

” No! Actually a very short one. Only three months! Yet it has been so intense for me as if it was something I have experienced for over lifetimes. I feel tired.”

The aroma of tea had already filled the room She poured out a light liquor in a fine china cup – white with a light lace of gold around the rim. I took the first sip without being invited to. Lovely! The aroma and the warm tea filled my senses.

” So tell me ……” she was saying.

I did not feel like talking about it. It was too close for me to look at it with distance. I had come to paint the pain away. I knew that when words were hard for me to speak, the brush made up for the loss of words. Colourful strokes of on the canvas always changed the picture in my mind.

” Too close to it, still. Can’t talk,” I said simply.

She began to talk instead.

” Relationships come and go. They are like boats sailing. You climb on to some. You let go of others. And you just watch some happening to others. They are both real and unreal…real because they bring you very close to yourself and unreal because, when they pass you are still left with yourself, quite untouched by what has passed”

” But they do change you don’t they?” I was sure.

” You change yourself through them.” She said thoughtfully.

Something hit me like a bolt of light. There was truth in what she was saying. So why was I passing through this mental muck, before the “sky cleared” so to say?

Sagar continued, ” We change ourselves through them”, she repeated. ” We become aware of things we did not know we were capable of. Love changes us, transforms us and takes us to places we never thought we could visit ever. Like an onion peeling off, it exposes different layers in ourselves, we did not know even existed. But the question is, why do we jump on to some boats and not others? Why?”

Suddenly, my head began to clear and I knew –

” Past connections. We have known each other before. We have a word in India for it….”

” What? Sagar was curious.

” Rinanubandh ” – when two people are ” tied ” to each other from past lives, it is called Rinanubandh. They meet because there is a thread of continuation from the past to the present and to the next if you like….”

” Interesting! So you are never out of the karmic cycle of things. You are never free of each other”.

” No, not exactly. The cycle runs itself out in time. You are attracted or call it attached to something or someone so long as the cycle of karma does not end. The moment it finishes, if you are to watch yourself, you might say to yourself – how surprising! I had a great delight for this person only sometime ago and now I am off it. The cycle has indeed completed itself.”

Sagar sat pensively looking out at the trees bending over to touch the floor of her private terrace.

” That is why I suppose, relationships are both real and unreal…real because they bring you very close to yourself and unreal because, when they pass you are still left with yourself quite untouched by what has passed.” She said finally.

” Not quite! The relationship has helped you evolve. You are not the same person, even to yourself are you?” I repeated what I had heard her say just a while ago.

” No! You are not the same person. You have changed and because you have changed, everything around you changes because your perception of things have changed”.

” In other words Sagar, the outside only reflects what is inside of us. Time is not the essence; it could take only three months to come to the same results…..”

” …..or nine years, as it did in mine!” Sagar concluded.

I looked at her again deeply, as I now knew why the laugh lines on either side of her mouth, looked sad to me. Sad because they had a history of tears behind them and yet they did not affect the serene beauty of her face. The feminine quality of sadness had in fact enhanced her already far away, distant looks of Enya’s country.

Growth, is such a beautiful thing to happen to you!

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If only I could love you less, I would not have waited a thousand years for you.

If you look at the map of Tibet or you search the net to find Laipei, you can’t. It is too insignificant a place, too small, to be placed on the map and yet, for both of us it has been so eventful. And we have held it in our hearts for all these years because there was a longing we could only touch, but not explore, a happening, we could not submit to totally and a desire, we could not fulfill. It was a veil cast over our souls that took us a thousand years to unveil, but we both know in our hearts that over each lifetime, we have been searching to find each other….and perhaps we did in one way or the other. But in this lifetime, we remember the spell we cast on each other, binding us over lifetimes….

If only.

The monastery with its thick high walls could not keep us from seeing each other every morning when we went for the prayers. The thick mist in the early morning, the nip in the air could not stop us from the instant warmth we felt when our eyes fell on each other, for that one brief moment, before we were inside the common hall for the early morning prayers. That one moment we held for the rest of the day and night, until again we saw each other the next day. One moment stretched to the length of sunrise to sunset – to sunrise again. Yes, I know the pain of longing. I know the attitude of quiet surrender in waiting ….I have known it for so many years. So I knew it when I saw your eyes, only for a brief moment; they held the quiet, yet restless hours of the night because they lay like deadpan in the crater of their sockets. These endless hours of the night were like eons for both of us.

Then one day as you passed, I saw you drop a piece of paper on the ground. I knew it was for me. That morning’s prayer for me was pitched on the paper lying outside the hall. I picked it up on my way back to my room. Inside, I opened it to find your name. You had written it out for me.

That was it! All my chanting changed words. But for one word, which was your name, my mind forgot all other words. Day and night, in prayer and in worship, walking or in work, in sleep or in wakefulness, only one word, your name. I was full of it. My body languished without food. I was not hungry. My belly was full – full of you. Every word escaped my thoughts, save your name. It was easier to listen to others, than to talk. What is my language, I often asked myself? What to say? From one dawn to the other and to the next, I saw only the vision of your face and I chanted the Word. Then again I saw the anguish in your eyes one day….I knew it then…I had traveled that path. Next day I dropped a piece of paper on the ground just as you had done and I knew, even as we sat in prayer, your mind would be outside the hall, just as was mine. When I left the hall that day, the paper was gone and from the look in your eyes the next dawn, I knew your mind was fixed on one word too, like mine – my name, which you had now read on the paper. I knew it was growing in you and somewhere in the depth of the night, as if concealed from the watchful eyes of the other monks, our chanting met each other – my name in your mind and yours in mine.

Such passions cannot go unnoticed. They found out and the monastery was full of gossip. Wherever I went I was looked at with disapproval. I had broken the law. I had not. We were not to blame. Our hearts knew no rules and they lived without a boundary. They were free. They would have met anyway.

The day of the last judgement was not too far.

Both of us were out. The cold morning air outside the prayer hall could not penetrate our bodies thrown close together about a hundred feet away from the gates of the monastery. Two humans who had been cast inside the walled monastery at Laipei were now outcast from the inner safety of a monks’ life and thrown to the ways of the world. We did not know what it entailed but no sooner we were faced with ourselves, all hell broke lose.

Entangled in each other’s arms, our bodies tout with passion, we became one and inside each other. Our boundaries were lost forever. Our fingers intertwined; our energies locked as one….the shivering cold of Laipei’s winter and the frosty floor of the earth on which we lay burnt with fire emitting out of our bodies and the whole cosmic journey was made in these single moments, stretching and intermingling and dissolving into each other. I heard you cry, ” Just once call out my name….Speak! I want to hear you call my name….” My mouth opened to voice the Word…my breath came to my aid and I uttered only the first syllable ” Mi..” and your mouth was on mine, inhaling my breath with your name on it… our bodies now breaking into a throbbing presence, our minds, finally, finally leaving each other in the outbreak of convulsions that brought us back to ourselves only….together, yet so far inside our own selves, jointly meeting the cosmic throb inside and around us.

And in that moment, a sharp pain pierced our hearts…. a stabbing pain of a sword driven through us. We have been stabbed. And although, our bodies are now loosening out, our mouths still hold each other. We are still throbbing inside each other. And slowly…….ever so slowly, our breath still holding us as one, we ebb out like the receding waters of a sea, when the tide goes down.


” …lereppa”, I say, like a person coming out of a coma, completing your name where I first left off, that fatal morning when we died in each other’s arms. ” Milereppa.” I whisper to you as my friend, unaware of the past we have held together, introduces us to each other.

It is not a coincidence. Nor a chance happening that I have met you again after all these years, here at the IIC. With every passing day, we have been drawing closer to each other, one step at a time, one day at a time, our hearts knowing that there is that one person we are looking for, very close to us. We have known, even before we came to Kumkum’s birthday party today, that tonight we will be giving birth to a new day in our lives. That is why no matter what it took of us to be here, we have both arrived.

” How do you know his name? Have you met before? Do you know each other?” I heard my friend ask in amazement.

Neither of us said anything.

Sometimes the best answers are silent.

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It was one single thread I had caught and carried it over lifetimes….a connection I could not place my finger on and yet, when I saw her in the most unpredictable place in Chandni Chawk, I followed her around, sometimes with her knowledge, at other times without.

Have you ever come across such an episode in your life, when you see a person and you know that in some way you and he/she have known each other for long, maybe over lifetimes?

This is one of my most favourite subjects – I receive a note, I see a picture, I receive a letter, an email even or I suddenly come across someone in the middle of the street and I know, this is not the first time I have seen them or been with them. It is a strong impulse that tells me so. It is in my heart, my body and my brain, and yet, I can’t remember where I saw them last….

I call them, “ PLC- Past Life Connections” because we have been together, in some relationship or the other and we know each other, but in this life, we cannot recollect, who they were in relation to our lives then and when we were together – In which lifetime and where.

I try hard to recollect. My mind cannot, but my heart knows. So with my extended eye, I try to catch glimpses of the person….try to capture them in my camera, so that they can be with me forever. At least in this lifetime, I do not wish to lose these moments, this person, for as all things come and go, so will she.

But, my heart laughs. The more I try to hold things in my mind, the more I lose them. The more I try to forget things that are close to my heart, the stronger they get. Facts of life cannot be changed. Past life connections cannot be forgotten. And yet, to try to remember them from the mind is futile. These memories are possessions of our heart. They have always been – long before we were born and they will remain long after we pass.

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