Friday, March 30, 2012

Narsihn Mehta

Once me and my wife went out shopping. While buying a trouser for myself, the shop-owner asked my caste. I said Brahman. He at once remarked, "From Narsinh Mehta's caste?" I said yes.

Such is the influence this great poet-saint from Gujarat had on the psyche of the general public. Many a tales have been told from generations to generations about the many troubles he had to suffer from the hands of the then rigid society. And how, in spite of the troubles and threats to outcast him from the society, through his unerring and loving devotion to Lord Shri Krishna, he escapes these threats and lives a devoted life. His life was full of miracles that saved him time and again. Miracles, by the great Lord, whom Narsinh Mehta loved and adored all his life. Generations, after Narsinh Mehta, came to be known as Nagar Brahmans and these generations are indeed, proud to be called after that great saint. He brought glory to an entire caste of people. He created poems, bhajans and songs in praise of Lord Krishna and one bhajan became immortal and is sung with the same devotion. It tells of the moral values, duties and essence of a civilized Vaishnav. It became a favorite of Mahatma Gandhi.

James Cameron's dive to the deepest point on earth

Great News!!!

James Cameron - Director of The Titanic and The Abyss and the recent Avatar, completed a record breaking dive to the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on earth in a specially designed submarine. He stayed on the ocean floor for about 3 hours and took samples for research in marine biology, microbiology, astrobiology, marine geology and geophysics and also filmed parts of the Mariana Trench.

The Mariana Trench is 120 times larger than the Grand Canyon and more than a mile deeper than the Mount Everest is tall.

Reminds of the great Jacques Cousteau - a French naval officer explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water.

The Vagabond - Reflections

 Give to me the life I love,
   Let the lave go by me,
 Give the jolly heaven above
   And the byway nigh me.
 Bed in the bush with stars to see,
   Bread I dip in the river -
 There's the life for a man like me,
   There's the life for ever.

 Let the blow fall soon or late,
   Let what will be o'er me;
 Give the face of earth around
   And the road before me.
 Wealth I seek not, hope nor love,
   Nor a friend to know me;
 All I seek, the heaven above
   And the road below me.

 Or let autumn fall on me
   Where afield I linger,
 Silencing the bird on tree,
   Biting the blue finger.
 White as meal the frosty field -
   Warm the fireside haven -
 Not to autumn will I yield,
   Not to winter even!

 Let the blow fall soon or late,
   Let what will be o'er me;
 Give the face of earth around,
   And the road before me.
 Wealth I ask not, hope nor love,
   Nor a friend to know me;
 All I ask, the heaven above
   And the road below me.

-- Robert Louis Stevenson

Another remarkable poem!!!! In this poem, all the poet wants is to travel to different lands. He does want to be in the midst of men or to be surrounded with friends. All he wants is to lead a simple life, to walk the bare earth and to sleep below the starry night. He does not care what will happen to him, he is willing to face the cold winter or the hot winds. It seems he wants to live a life of a wanderer, a carefree life, an free and aimless life. To care for no one, just to be happy with what he has (he is not wealthy, but just needs to take care of the simplest needs of life).

This poem makes me think about another Gujarati poem, where the poet wants to roam the hills and the forests without a guide. He wants to see the natural beauty with his own eyes and not what others want to show. The poem goes on like this....

ભોમિયા વિના મારે ભમવા’તા ડુંગરા,
જંગલની કુંજકુંજ જોવી હતી;જોવી’તી કોતરો ને જોવી’તી કંદરા,
રોતા ઝરણાંની આંખ લ્હોવી હતી.
 મારે ગણવી હતી;
ડાળે ઝૂલંત કોક કોકિલાને માળેઅંતરની વેદના વણવી હતી.

એકલા આકાશ તળે ઊભીને એકલો,
પડઘા ઉરબોલના ઝીલવા ગયો;વેરાયા બોલ મારા, ફેલાયા આભમાં,
અકલો અટૂલો ઝાંખો પડ્યો.

આખો અવતાર મારે ભમવા ડુંગરિયા,
જંગલની કુંજકુંજ જોવી ફરી;ભોમિયા ભૂલે એવી ભમવી રે કંદરા,
અંતરની આંખડી લ્હોવી જરી.

How similar these two poems are, in their thought, expression, content and the essence. They talk about being alone in their wanderings, to see and feel the world through their own eyes, to live a simple life, devoid of materialistic cravings. They want to be at peace with nature. To be with nature.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Spark

Everyone needs a spark to ignite that thing in him or her. What lies dormant within oneself does not find expression unless there is no outside force applied to it. Many of us must have experienced this in our lives. Some are naturally motivated. They have that inner drive in them that takes them on and on. They know what they want to do. It is the inner force which compels them to move forward. 

But what about those who do not have that drive in them? What do they do to express themselves? Such person's creative urges and expressions lay hidden for years, sometimes they do not find a suitable outlet to pour forth their thoughts and feelings. At such times, it is the responsibility of us - intelligent, moral, and mature individuals - to lend support, to act as mentors and to seek out those creative energies in a person and to urge and motivate them to move forward in life. 

In an age where man has set out explorations in outer space, where Super-earths are being discovered, where man has delved deep in the ocean depths, it is important for one to look at oneself, to look at the inner qualities and energies that drive us to do what we want to do and express ourselves creatively and be more intelligent beings. 

Perhaps meditation and one's own realisation of one's thought pattern can help in this. There should be a sense of freedom to free oneself of one's fears, inhibitions, and whatever one feels is letting him of her down or is an obstruction in expressing oneself. 

Life is too short in live in fear, Who knows what lies in store in our next life? Think of today, this moment. Sit down, let the world fly by, there will be times when the world too will join you in your celebrations. But take your time to see deep within yourself. What qualities you have which you can express better than the person sitting next to you. It can be any quality e.g. can you paint better, write better, cook better. You have an art of thinking in pictures? Perhaps you are good with handling objects e.g. moving your body in rhythm, or ability to fix things up. Or perhaps, you speak better than the other person e.g. you have good oratory skills, are better in speaking with good tone, voice, words etc. Are you good in understanding persons, you like to socialize or keep friends? You are sensitive to other people's thoughts, you can clearly understand them. That, too, is a good talent to have. You care for the environment? You like to be informed about the latest events happening in your neighbourhood, or take part in contests, fun fairs, quizzes, competitions, marathons. Or you like to be alone and like to reflect on how to grow better plants, how does a star shine, what are stones made of, etc. 

Take time to gather your thoughts, concentrate on yourself and once you come to a point of deep realisation, that is your moment. You have to then build on these qualities and shape your own future. This future will be yours and yours alone.

The Way through the woods - Reflections

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods . . . .
But there is no road through the woods.
                                       -- Rudyard Kipling 



Reading this poem gives you that mystic feeling, of a road closed long ago, among the wooded forest, where there still lingers that haunting rider and his lady love. Splendid poem. Very haunting and full of mystery. I wonder, when in some quiet and remote travel spot, you might see some road winding through a forest, remember this poem. It might add that aura of the unknown seeing you through hidden eyes.