Posts Tagged ‘Zen’


Who is the other? Or is it I forever relating with myself through others? Is there a purpose why we meet? Why the pull? What is unfinished karma? What is the clearing that takes place when there is someone with whom we are relating? There must be some reason why we have come together? And then we draw apart? What is completing a cycle? What is it that keeps us together? What is permanence? What is the alchemy of love?

I don’t know.

I am not visiting this lifetime to find answers. If there are questions, there will be answers to them. Often the question holds in itself the answer as well, like a seed holds in it the whole tree. My reason for this visit is clear to me – I have come to clear my Path. I need to be free of past baggage and so on hindsight I look at my life and know that I have been doing just that throughout. Sometimes with awareness, most times without. Only when I choose to look back I am aware of how I have been choosing every episode, person, circumstance to serve this purpose. I chose my parents. I am deeply proud of my mother for her spirit and my father for the art of renunciation. Together, the exact mix of being completely involved and being totally distanced at the same time came to me as genetic inheritance. I can’t be anything else.

So the road has been strewn with many lovers and many Masters. Unfinished karma from past lives. How can I see myself if I was not facing a mirror? Similarly, how can I see my own realities unless I am with lovers who reflect your own reality and Masters who put me on the Path again? This process gave rise to real aspirations. My Masters become my doorway. The relationships gave me reflections of myself but my Masters gave me the technique to look into myself, gradually distancing my Self from myself. As if the Self was separate from myself. It is the finest art I learnt to do in this lifetime. I had learnt from being a student of philosophy that the Self was different from myself. My Masters taught me how.

Distancing is such a wonderful art. It needs skills I could not have learnt in any classroom except the school of life. The first whiff came by, when I received a letter from my first love in school saying she was going to marry soon. But I thought ” She said she wanted to spend her entire life with me! What happened?” Days were spent in early college when I pondered over declarations without explanations. I sat for long periods of time at Marine Drive in Bombay just looking out at the sea. Something about water – it washes out everything. I could be like a boatman sitting on his anchored boat on the banks – just sitting there watching! Watching! Watching! The waves cleared my cobwebs and I had the first experience of sitting in a large meadow in my mind, so far in a little chair that I thought if I really had to see myself in my mind, perhaps I would have to use binoculars! The first love remains with you for life. So does the first rejection. How you handle it makes or breaks your life. I had already started my journey to my Self.

He had to be a different kind of man and if he did not know the concept of space how was he ever going to address where I was already. He had all these and he had more! He had traveled through rejection not looking at the Arabian Sea. He had a Master already. We were by then identifiably soul mates. Our values were the same. We spoke the same language. It was bound to happen. But what was shocking to me – I was converting to his Master. I had no religion I could say I had allegiance to. I could not bear temples, God-men and temple pundits. They made me feel nauseous. I did not have a strand of religiosity in my body. I still don’t but this Master took me on a different journey – from reading of Buddha as a student of philosophy, he taught me the art of meditation as taught by Buddha. I could bear this, even love it. Buddha was an agnostic. So He was acceptable to me. He had a method to go beyond, pleasure and pain establishing the transitoriness of everything and changing realities. Nothing was forever. Change was the only permanent thing. Just a simple formula – be watchful. Meeting with this Master, made all relationships after that like water down a duck’s back. However, as long as I am in the body, I do not know how my desires will drive my body but I can surely say that all relationships are a fresh look at myself and all Masters are a door to the divine.

Where I stand today, I have focus and a friend, philosopher and guide whose drive and search is deeper than mine and she has taken it on herself to make me walk the Path with her. That is her only concern. I have finally come home after travelling over many roads, my feet tired and my soles torn. Yet I have not dropped my mother’s spirit of absolute involvement and my fathers armour of worldly distance and renunciation. I am in the body and weary of my long stay at the Master’s House, the office romances and Yogi, even Kolkata are a must to my life. They all reflect my own reality and without their presence I would never know my truth, my inner Self. Without a mirror it is impossible to see my real face.

No water; no moon.


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Never Born; Never Died

The story so many of us have heard from one source or the other, is the story of the aggrieved mother who having lost her only child to death, is driven to near madness with grief. People in the village tell her that there is a compassionate man in the outskirts of the neibouring forest, ” Take your dead son to him,’ they plead, ‘ he will make him come alive.’

The man referred to was The Buddha. The lady carried her dead son to him with the hope and conviction that he would do the miracle on him.

As she approaches the forest from far she could see, the Enlightened One sitting under a tree. She rushed to him and placed the dead son at his feet and wept inconsolably. Seeing her, The Buddha in his great compassion shed tears with her.

” Oh compassionate One, make my son come to life again’, she pleaded.

“Oh mother, your son can be revived if you can get a handful of mustard seed from any house in the village, where there has been no death at all”, said Buddha

The mother hurried. House to house. All day, and yet at dusk there was not a single house where there had not been a death. At that moment, an understanding, like a streak of lightening struck her mind. The grief of loss was not hers alone. Everyone in the village had gone through it, at some point or the other.

Death is an inevitable universal fact. The compassion of the Buddha shone through her mind and she realized that had he told her the same she would not have accepted. But in his great love for humanity, He made her go through the experience, in order that the truth may dawn to her on it’s own.

We live in denial. While we accept one truth, we reject the other and cover it with a shroud.

Life and death co-exist from the moment we are born to the world. They are intrinsic to each other. They are not two sides of a coin, but they co-exist as One. They are inseparably entwined with one another. Like night is to day, smoke to fire, the passionate kiss of lovers, life cannot be separated from death, while one reflects light and attracts the darkness to it, light itself dissolves in the magnetic pull of darkness, just as life surrenders to and dissolves in death.

At the very physical level, from the moment of birth, cells are continuously produced and at the same time, other cells are dying. When we are young, the ratios between new and dead old cells swing in favour of the new cells. They far outnumber the dead cells. However, as age progresses, new cells are produced much less or rather the dead cells begin to outnumber the new ones being generated. Thus, at a certain point, the body becomes more of an accumulation of dead cells, than live ones.

The mind-body connection we speak so often about is visible throughout life but in later years, for example, we see a marked difference between the two emerging. While mentally we may be prepared to do anything, the body does not permit. I may be ready to do a marathon mentally but my body cannot go beyond a certain point.

Psychologically, we submit. We let go. We begin to accept more easily than we did in our early years.

But through all these different happenings, there is something within us, which has and will forever remain unaffected. It is never born and it never dies. It is absolute. It is what we call The Self.

At a philosophical level, what is death? The physical experience of death is very obvious. The body stops to act any more. It lies absent to the world. For a body that has left the physical world, there are no further experiences. However, all the experiences of death happen to those who are still live.

Perception. We are attached to the perceptions created in our mind by the body that has passed away. Our real connections with others are through our perception of the other. That precisely is why, we can feel differently about the same person in different times. The problem is not with the other, the problem, if we may call it that, is within us. It is about, perceptions that are changing about the other in our minds.

Our grief is about the perceptions we have created around these persons. These perceptions are the impressions that are formed on a continuous basis as we interact with people around us. So can we say, that if this is true, then, all relationships even the deepest ones are only a perception? And if it is not just a perception, how is it possible that we tend to forget the other over time? Even a beloved lost to death, is remembered, but the pain of loss is never the same over time.

Death is akin to deep sleep. Deep sleep is a state where there is no perception or memory. Therefore, all relationships are severed here. In deep sleep, we are totally lost to the world. No husband, no wife, no child, no nothing. We might be sleeping on the same bed with our beloved, yet, once we have slipped into deep sleep, the other stops to exist for us any more. In deep sleep, we are not the mother, father, son, daughter. We are nobody. Yet when we wake up we remember that we had a sound, dreamless sleep. Who is this who remembers? Who is this entity which is still aware, even though for that period in deep sleep, we were totally lost to the world?

This who remembers, we call The Self, The Spirit, The Watcher, the Omni-present, The Absolute. This is never born; it never dies.

Even when all is naught, That, lives on forever.

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