LMC trumps Andromeda and LSD, in Celestial delights!

Depiction of the Andromeda galaxy colliding with our milky way

The impending collision of our Milky Way with the LMC (Large Magellanic Cloud) will bring celestial scale events into our neighborhoods. This may not happen for another two billion years from now, but in universal scale that time is not very far away. Initially merger with the Andromeda Galaxy was expected first, but now the race may go to LMC. These events of intergalactic mergers, is quite common in our crowded, and expanding universe.  The biggest danger is that this infusion of new gasses and stars, into the near dormant black hole at the center of our galaxy, may provide fuel to it. This will feed it into activity, and it is expected to grow exponentially larger, with the new energy.

Our Black hole will become a Quasar, and start its own celestial event. The energy expelled at near light speed, by the resulting Quasar, will change our Milky Way. “Should this happen, the stars that currently call the Milky Way’s galactic center home will, sadly, have to yield the neighborhood they know and love, to a new population of cosmic emigrants from the LCM. According to the researchers, many stars will be sucked into the growing black hole at the galactic center; other stars, reacting to all the extra mass pouring into their neighborhood, could be flung headlong into interstellar space, quadrillions of miles away.” Written by Brandon Specktor in Live Science.

Unfortunately we will not be around to see these interstellar events but hopefully our descendants (if human survive), will experience it. According to another model built by the astrophysicists at Durham UK, who predicted the 2 billion time frame, our solar system may not be effected, due to its location. We will not be in direct harm’s way, and may actually enjoy seeing new events, in the skies. New stars and gasses, will crowd into our galaxy, changing our skyline.

Please don’t fasten your seatbelts just yet, to travel and see one of the brightest objects in space, the Quasar. No psychedelic could ever match, the actual merger of two galaxies, into a celestial soup; of energy, and light. This soup unlike LSD (psychedelic drug), will be so thick and strong, that it will produce sights, not possible till today. The scale of this event, will be truly spectacular, and grander than any human imagination. Our solar system is far too insignificant and young, to be included, in this new universal show. We will be left on the sidelines, with great spectator seats.

There are other galaxies colliding at random, in our universe today. We have billions of galaxies and pulsars and quasars out there, and billions of black holes. Their birth and death, are the celestial events, which no one can predict for certain, and they are not part of any great master plan. They rise and fall, in their own time and space. We do not even know if we live in a multiverse existence, as we can only see and know the existence of our own universe. From a flat earth we are evolving in our knowledge, and maybe dark matter and dark energy; which are over 90% of our known universe, have other secrets, that we have yet to unravel.  

There are many amongst us that consider themselves, the master of this universe. Others believe in a Supreme God, shaped in their own beliefs, who controls the destiny of all living and organic matter. These gods reap vengeance, on those who do not believe in them. Their blind followers unleash wars, on other non-believers. The scale of their narrow mindedness, belies the actual reality, of what is all around us. Venus is not the goddess of love and Mars is no longer the God of war, as our understanding and times have changed. We look up into the heavens and see our future, but cannot even understand our own past.

Look inwards and we find another universe of millions of creatures, who dwell in us and what is their God? The only answer is energy, of our life forms. Long as the energy is kept alive, we live, and when it fades; we die, and become fodder, for millions of other cells. Our greatness lies not in conquering the world, but in conquering ourselves. The danger of superstition and false beliefs, creates rifts between us and nature. We end by destroying, that which provides us life, in our ignorance. True reality is when we realize the meaning of how to live, with compassion and love. Hate is natural and fear is elemental, to our nature. We have many leaders who have risen, who fan this hate and bigotry, in the name of clan, nation but mostly religion.  

They are the unrealized and to follow them, is to plunge ourselves into a darkness of spirit and action. Seek the light and you will renounce these shallow beliefs. There is much to learn and we have lived only a spec, of cosmic time. The cosmos is the reality, and we are the pilgrims in search of it. This earth is our witness, and we have proven ourselves wanting, on many counts. Enjoy this randomness of colliding universes, as in this insignificance, is our greatest glory. We are the masters only of our fate, and destiny is only a thought, that should be abandoned. Conquest and pillage is our history, for survival. We must find a better way, if we want to enjoy cosmic time.

Knowledge is limitless and so why limit ourselves to a faith, which limits others, as less than equal? Which colliding Galaxy is stronger or larger, only time will tell; and we, or our man-made God, does not control their destiny. I am, so the universe exists. I learn, and our humanity improves, is the only truth.  Our universe blesses us with a celestial dance, to be enjoyed for the ages. Our moral responsibility is to teach our children well, so that we and our gods can survive, to witness this truly cosmic event!

Woman’s sea of sorrow

Avalokitesvara_Statue looking over the sea of sorrow – China

Gupta Ji’s car was the first car that I had ever ridden in. His son Munna (his school name was Vishnu, but nobody called him that), was in my class, in the local government school. While my family could not afford any other school Munna was in my school, after going to the better local school, where his caste boys went. He was not happy moving to our bigger school and missed the pampering and love in the old school. . His older brother and sister would dress up, in their uniforms and ties and blazers, and take the bus; to their respective Christian schools, for a ‘better’ education now. Munna being darker, and the youngest, was stuck with us, as he was not the heir apparent, or apple of his father’s eye. His father liked the fairer, stronger and taller elder brother better. Surya was fair after his mother and carried himself well, like her proud soldier father, and Gupta Ji, would praise him to the heavens, behind his back, to Munna and me. Sometimes he even did it when Surya was around, when he got too carried away. Soon Surya would be taller than his father and would still smile, and bow low.

Usha his sister, was the more studious one. I would often see her standing at her bus stand, reading a book, while she was waiting. After some years she got spectacles, and Mrs. Gupta complained, that it came from all the reading. What good would it do a girl, to read so much, and not help her own mother, in the kitchen, and house work? Who would marry a girl with spectacles, or accept a daughter in law, who was nearsighted, and not talented, in everyday affairs? Usha continued to study harder, and Gupta Ji quietly supported her, as she reminded him, so much, of his beautiful wife. He soon discovered that Usha is much smarter, and far more intelligent, and encouraged her education.

My name is Adarsh and my family lived in the Barsati on the top floor of Mr Gupta’s three storey home. Our barsati was a 12 by 11 foot space on the red brick lined roof of their home. A few Asbestos sheets had been thrown across the eight foot walls of the living room, bedroom, kitchen, making a bare roof. The wall was raised another 6 feet at one end in a crude extension of another 10 by 11 feet. This loft had a wooden ladder, led up to this wooden floor boards with a coarse cotton sheet covered by a stuffed cotton mattress, to sleep, read, or play, in one corner. The rest was made for storage of other household goods, pantry, traveling trunks and mother’s things.

 It also served as my sleeping space, when I got older with two of my siblings, in the winter. Most of the year we slept on our durries and sheets, on the bricks, on the open terrace. Of course it would get slightly tricky, in the monsoons, when we had to huddle in our barsati, under the Asbestos sheets. Mother and Father of course had their own, wooden legged rope strung beds, and there were two spare ones, kept for any visitors who may arrive.

We were refugees from our town and nobody knew us. Then my father had managed to get some reference from a Bank friend, from his own town, and Gupta Ji had agreed to rent out, his empty barsati to us. Father would leave early in the morning, to work at his fruit stall, near the main cloth and textile Bazar, and would return in the evening. He had long days as he also had to go to the main fruit market, which was half an hour away. He travelled with his cane headgear tray and cotton bags to get supplies, by the local unreliable government bus service. Often he would spend many hours walking to and fro, on days when the bus did not show up, or was too full. He also got some local produce from the farmers around, to replenish his cart on credit, to keep us fed and clothed, during the season.

                                    ***

Many years later I was working in New Delhi as an accountant in a public sector enterprise and posted in New Delhi. After finishing High School in our neighboring town, I had gone to the State Capital to do my Bachelor in Commerce and eventually, graduated second in the class. From there I got a stipend in a local accounting firm to try and do my Chartered Accountancy. I also sat for the Government Service and to my family’s surprise passed in my second attempt and became a provincial officer of the Indian Government. Over the years I had worked hard and learned much and got this much desired posting in our nation’s capital.

Munna had gone on after High School to work at his father’s business. His sister who had gone to Delhi University to study on a scholarship insisted that he must at least complete a Degree college. Poor Munna struggled through the Town’s college, when he wished only to be home working in the family business. He failed twice and what should have taken him three years stretched into five. As soon as he graduated Mrs. Gupta married him off to the fair daughter, of one of the leading Spice Merchants, in the Town.

Even I was invited and it was a grand affair, by Gupta standards, with a special DJ brought from the big City to entertain and get us guests, to dance at the private celebrations. Our Barat was welcomed with a huge display of fireworks. Even the elephant that Munna was riding in all his Groom finery, was rented by his Father in Law. He wanted to show off his new educated bridegroom, to his neighbors and fellow townsfolks. We all danced in our colorful turbans and beautiful clothes, to the DJ blaring wedding songs, and encouraging all kinds of ideas. The Brass Band and Drums when we marched down the main road, added to the clamor and cacophony, of the Bania celebration. The wedding had been planned for months, and the clan had gathered from far and near. There was great excitement and celebrations in the joining of two major Bania families.

I briefly met Usha and she had graduated from her Masters in Social Work, from the University of Delhi and worked with some NGOs. She felt that she needed to make a career for herself, in her field. Her mother was forcing her to get married soon and she was literally on display, at her brother’s wedding, for all prospective grooms, in their clan. The boys of course knew little about this, and it was more the Mothers and Aunts, who participated in the gossip, of which boy is available in which family. They decided between them as to which family, will provide the suitable bride. Usha had blossomed into a beautiful, tall, fair, confident woman. She had adopted contact lenses somewhere along the way, and her brown eyes seemed to sparkle, along with all her jewelry.

                                    ***

A few year’s later I had met Munna and his family at a common family friend’s wedding. It was good catching up with him and he informed me, that Usha had moved to Delhi. She had recently married into a large family and he asked me to look her up, if I had a chance. I took her address and put the slip in my wallet. He mentioned that his Mother was not happy with her first visit home, after her marriage. There had been loud words spoken in her room, between Usha and his mother. It seemed they wanted her to give up her career. Usha had recently got a job working at an international NGO, which provided health care; to pregnant ladies, and newborn babies. They provided better nutrition and did tests, to identify any problems early. She loved running the group of nurses, who provided the care, even to the poorest of the poor.

Munna gave me her address and told me look her up. He invited me to his new home, if I ever traveled to Jaipur, as they had set up a new branch there. His two older brothers, ran Delhi and Bombay branches, of the family business. His parents preferred to stay with Munna, because the dry weather, helped his mother’s asthma. They were very orthodox and now with the community in the small town becoming abusive of Usha’s ways. They believed strongly that a woman, should stay at home, with her babies. After Asha was born, Usha was up and about in six months. She worked harder at helping even more children at work now, that she had a daughter of her own. A year later she had another daughter, and hired a nanny after six months. Usha continued her work, as she was managing more centers and providers now, in her work.

Three years later I got an assignment in Jaipur, for a week. I pulled out the folded paper from my coat pocket with Munna’s address. We met that evening after work at his home. His wife had cooked delicious snacks and dinner and his young son, crawled around everywhere. Munna had put on weight and he looked very happy. His business was doing well and Gupta Ji was glad to see me and we talked about the old times in Delhi. It was Munna’s wife who whispered to me that all was not well with Usha, as I said good bye.

Two years ago I had looked her up in Delhi. I had looked her up on social media, but couldn’t find her at first. Then I tried with her married name, and suddenly I hit a lot of pages of awards, and recognitions of Usha’s work. Apparently even the State of Delhi, had recognized her NGO’s efforts, in helping reduce death rates, in their areas. More women welcomed the midwives, and the nurses, in their need. Under their guidance the infants became stronger. Each year the NGO trained more, and each year Usha seemed to get a different award for reducing the death rate, by another X percent, or more children getting better nutrition.

I met her in her modern and efficient office near the heart of Lutyen’s Delhi, in an old secretariat building. The place seemed very busy, but she made time for me right away in her large personal office with her name on the table. Usha sha-shoed away her visitors, to spend time with her old friend. She ordered nice aromatic tea, and we ate the delightful snacks, that came from her home and the canteen. We spoke for some time about her daughter, and how life had changed for her. She was happy to see me, but she had to rush off to the British consulate; for a tea affair, and we parted. In parting I noticed splotch marks, on her back, as if she had fallen and hurt herself.

Off and on I would hear about the birth of her second daughter and her return to work. We had our own lives but it was just the comfort of having an old friend close by. She was busy with her work and family. I was astonished to read in the paper one Tuesday morning, that here had been a fire in Usha’s home and she was dead. Munna called and I rushed to Gupta Ji’s house. It was strange to be there after so many decades. I could still hear Usha’s laughter from her room where she read. Munna’s wife greeted me and led me to the room were the men of the family was gathered, in mourning.

“Usha looked so happy when I met her last week, and she was glowing with joy. She was so happy, that she was going to have another daughter. The family wanted her to abort the girl and she refused. They should be all thrown in jail, for doing this to her” was all she whispered to me, as Munna’s old friend. Then she folded her hands and left to be with the other ladies who had come to express their grief. The room door was open and Usha’s mother’s wails, continued to break the home’s silence, in sporadic outpouring of grief.

.It was strange to be in the room, with everyone dressed, in white sitting on white sheets. The only thing in color was Usha’s photo, in an ivory frame and a garland of ivory and flowers, around it. I could not believe that the beautiful woman in full bloom of her life, was no more. I had secretly loved her I realized, from as long, as I could remember. I stared at her smiling face, and then noticed that even in that photo she had a blueish blotch, on her breast, peeking through her sari. Something, more than I had ever know, so personal in my subconscious within me; died, at the realization, of what Munna’s wife, had tried to convey to me, an year ago. I could not imagine that any human could have done this, to my beautiful Usha, for having no sons. In a room of mourning men, I sat on the floor, with tears slowly rolling down, my cheeks quitely. Every shriek of her mother, would pierce my very heart, with added sorrow. I just sat there and thought of all the mothers and children, Usha had helped. In her short and shining life she had given so much to so many. We are all the lesser for being, what we have become, as human compassion has been forgotten.  

“Being a candle is not easy,

In order to give light

0ne must burn”

Rumi

Pashupati seal

Pashupati Star pulled on his natural shawl, made of handmade hemp fiber, and swung one end up, and around his left shoulder, keeping his right arm, free. He had a bag hanging from his left shoulder, of the same, but more beat-up, and layered, hemp fiber, lined with cotton. In this bag were his day’s tools. Star was a bricklayer by profession, just like his father and grandfather had been, before him. His staff was also his measuring rod, as it was the length of a standard measure, for building human spaces. The town was planned with straight and perpendicularly divided streets, by the brick lined roads, which formed the thoroughfares. Star turned from the large roadway, into the narrower one, to get back home.

They had lived in this town for many generations, and he enjoyed his profession.  It was rumored that his Great Grandfather’s, father had come from a much bigger town, across the great river. Their home was standard brick design, with high walls facing the street. The house lived inwards, in its open courtyard. There was a large entrance, with two large rooms on either side. The side walls were lined with rooms for his family, and a granary and a kitchen. The fourth side was for the household animals, and their feed. There was even a well for water, which was sweet and abundant, and that is why his Grandfather, had chosen to build here.

“Hey Star,… have you lost … your hearing,” came a panting voice, from behind him. He knew that voice, but decided to keep going, as if he didn’t hear, speeding up slightly. “Star, I will kill you this time, if you don’t stop.” He heard the approaching voice, and her bangles, but Star kept going. He had managed to avoid her, for a whole month.

“My Star!… Why do you not wait for me,…  why must you always torture me, so?” she said, panting, as she caught up with him, running on her long legs. “Mother Goddess, please give me the strength, to put some sense, into this fool.”

“Full Moon, you can’t stop me like this. Not in the middle of the street, and bar my way?” Star said, looking up at the tall young woman, who stood barring his way, with her arms out and her patterned brass bangles, reflecting the fading sun.

“Just call me Moon dear,” Full Moon smiled at him, and gave him a slight push, in his chest, and tilted her head, looking him up and down. “Just like you did the other night, my dearest Star.”

Star was staring at her breasts rising and falling, under her shawl, as she took deep breaths. He noticed the beautiful brass necklace with carved and shaped beads rising and falling, and then turned his head away.

“Yes Moon,” Star looked up into her brown eyes, finally, as she continued to rub and poke his chest, and then pointed 2 fingers up to her eyes.

 “I just finished work, and I am tired, and want to just, go home.” Star said softly.

“OK so you are not doing anything, but just going home,” Moon said, stepping aside, and giving him way. “Good, as I am also not doing anything also, and will happily accompany you.”

Star pushed her aside with his shoulder, and at the open opportunity, started walking off towards his locality. She walked besides him stride for stride, and even skipped a few steps ahead, or followed behind, if he scowled. She hummed a tune, as she accompanied him. He was used to her antics, and he even smiled, when she even tried to do a cartwheel. Instead she ended up on the bricks, with all her long graceful limbs spread out, and flat on the ground. He giggled, and walked away faster.

“Dear Star,” she said catching up with him, near his home’s entrance, as he was still giggling, from seeing her spread out like that, at his feet.

.”Dear Moon,” he responded, and she flung her arms around him, and hugged him tightly.

“Oh so sweet,” Moon said gazing down into his eyes, and he tried to break away giggling harder, as she rolled her eyes at him, and wouldn’t let him go. He was rubbing against her, as he tried to escape, and she was exaggerating it, by her rolling sensuous movements. Then suddenly, even she could not hold in the pleasure, of seeing him, in her arms again. She also looked at his stupid expression, and broke into giggles, as he tickled her. He released himself, and burst into laughter, “You looked so silly Moon, sprawled out in the street like that.”

Embarrassed, she started laughing nervously, with him. He dropped his bag and reached out and tickled her. They both cracked up then, and soon were down on the bricks, pounding them, and roaring aloud. “Sweet Star…Sweet Star.” Moon said between laughs, and Star said “Dear Moon. Dear Moon.” They raised their heads, and looked at each other, sitting in the street and laughing at each other. Moon made a face, and then, they broke into spasms of laughter again.

“Oh Mother Goddess! Will I see you by the silent grove of Pashupati, tonight after sunset,” Moon asked, when she could compose himself.

“Tonight? Well let me try, and get there, as I have some things to do.” Star replied.

“Oh Star it will be so good, if you can make it,” Moon almost begged. Star nodded and agreed to meet her later.

Moon smiled back at him, and wrapped her wrap around her, now that she had heard, what she wanted to hear. She straightened out the handwoven cotton shift, that she had wrapped around her waist.  The joy of seeing Star again, was just like her Mother Goddess, had promised her, when she prayed to her last night. The Mother had calmed her, and assured her, that everything will be alright, in the evening. Her brass necklace and her bracelets and bangles, shone in the setting sun, as she turned, and headed off to her home. She had a lot to do, to[KR(1]  get ready for the night.

Star ate an early meal, and finished off the chores he had to complete. He then decided to go to the bath. He was feeling dirty and decided, to clean himself, from all the dust of the day, from working, in construction. The public baths were a short walk away, past his local market. He headed out and soon another friend joined him, and they talked as they walked, as he was headed for the baths also. His friend worked in the sanitation department, and they kept the drains cleaned and covered, and the streets clean. He really needed a bath he said, after this day’s work. They enjoyed the hot baths, and then relaxed in the cool pool, and let the day’s tiredness; seep out, of their pores. Then they dried themselves, and applied oils, to smoothen, their chapped hands and feet. With glistening hair now, cleaned and tamed by the oil, they were ready to return, to civilization.

Star fade farewell to his friend and headed for the Pashupati Grove, on the outskirts of the town. As he approached he saw the full moon start to rise, above the clouds on the horizon. He felt a sudden jump in his anticipation, at the sight of the big white moon rising. There were two more couples, ahead of him, also strolling along, in the same direction. He realized that they may be headed for the Pashupati Temple, for the special prayers, offered on every full moon night. Star believed deeply in Pashupati as the lord of all living creatures. His friend Full Moon believed more in the power of our Mother Goddess, and tonight the two would meet in the silent Grove.

Star entered the Grove and headed for the Temple, and saw that a lot more couples, had gathered, for the celebration. On one side, a stage had been built, in a clearing in the grove. A lot of people, had already spread themselves, on the grassy slope, all around the stage. There was light from oil lamps, hung on the brick and wooden stage. The surrounding areas, were in semi darkness, and only lit by the stars and the moon. There were four people, sitting on the stage, playing music, and the sound of their drums, and voices, spread the music all around. The rising moon above the trees, brought light into the clearing, and you could see people and shapes more clearly now.

He felt her presence, even before he saw her. She was sitting under a tree, in the shade; erect, and looking at the musicians. Star felt a strange vibration arising from her, a serenity as if she was the Mother Goddess herself, as Moon had described her to him. She was glad in a thin cotton wrap and on her arms were bangles of brass with tiny beads hanging from them. Her hair was washed, oiled and neatly parted. In the middle parting she wore vermillion, and it seemed to add to his desire, as she was in service, to the Mother Goddess.

This strange tall beauty, and raw feminine power, in full display, had attracted him before, when he met her last. Suddenly all his efforts at self-discipline was gone, causing him, to break his promised fast of the senses, to his lord Pashupati. He approached her from behind, and saw her shoulders relax, and she swayed slowly with the music, as he approached her. He knew she could feel his presence too, as the power of Pashupati flowed to the mother goddess, and their disciples, are surely swayed, by the same vibrations. As he reached down to touch her shoulder, she looked up and smiled, as if she already knew he was here.

She patted the ground besides her and her bangles made music of their own. She looked up into his eyes and smiled, “I came early, and found a good spot for us,” Moon said, “We can hear the musicians, and see the stage clearly from here.” Star grunted, as he lowered himself to the ground, and sat down beside her, on the reed mat. She had come well prepared for the evening with snacks and drinks. . There was a coarse cotton sheet covering the reed and the soft grass below, for comfort. The moon rose higher, and another larger group of musicians, came on the stage. They were louder, and the tempo picked up, as the moon shone brighter on the people. Star felt the music take him also, and he closed his eyes and swayed.

 She reached down and  offered him a drink from the baked clay amphora, which she carried for that purpose.  It was a special drink, from the Mother, and she had prepared it carefully. Star took a deep swig, as he was thirsty and felt the greenish golden liquid, flow down his parched throat. He coughed, as some of it went down the wrong way, and Moon pounded his back, to help him recover. “Don’t be in a rush Star, I made more than enough for us, for the evening, just like last time.” Moon joked, as she took another sip, of her favorite drink. It had come out just right she felt, just like her mother, had taught her. She smiled as the herbs and intoxicants carefully prepared, in the ancient recipe, would soon have the desired effect. She wanted tonight to be spent devoted, to the worship, of the Mother.

Then Moon started to dance and she motioned to Star to rise also. She and he danced in the moonlight, as the musicians, sent them into a strange trance. Star felt his whole universe become free as he swayed and danced in the moonlight. Moon had a natural grace and a good ear and flowed with music. She would hum along, and let her tall body follow, the waves of the melody

When the moon reached its peak, the high priest of the temple, came out from the Temple. He was clothed all in white and his junior priests followed, also dressed in white, carrying torches that lit, his way. On their shoulders, they carried the shining brass image, of Pashupati in all his glory, surrounded by his living creatures all around him on a large brass seal. The people bowed as the image passed, and Star prostrated himself to the ground, as he knew that without Lord Pashupati’ s help, he would never find joy in this life. 

Moon was the only one who remained erect and stared curiously at all the creatures surrounding the lord. She smiled as she knew, that without the Mother, none of them would have existed, for Pashupati to rule. The power to give birth remained, only in her and the Mother

Star had spent the past few years in devotion to Pashupati. He had worked hard on his body, to make it stronger and virile like his lord. He had shunned all base pleasures of the other bricklayers, and concentrated on making himself better. He was attracted to the power of the lord, over all creatures, and wanted to emulate him. Unfortunately a month ago, he had met Full Moon, on the same moonlit night. She had bewitched him and he had lost himself, and all his training and restraint, had become lost. He remembered having the same drink, and all his senses coming alive.

 He felt his mind had become very fluid and his rigidity of discipline was gone. All his efforts at self-control, and all his meditation, had become lost. He had gone so far out of himself that, had it had not been for Moon, he would have been lost. He wandered into a strange world, of disbelief and wonder and imagination and profundity, as if everything was growing in a mother’s love. It was the sound of her bangles, as she danced in abandon, which brought him back to reality. The sight of her flushed face and body sent him into a new realm of joy which was missing in his hard life..

She had called him with her power, as this was her first time, and the Mother had told her she was ready and the time was right. She sent her feminine force and calmed his male force, with her love, and brought him back, from the dark recesses of his mind.  She had stroked him and slowly guided him, into the ways of the Mother. The power of his years of training vanished, in her soft embraces. He was suddenly more awake, than he had ever been. Each moment was a delight, and each touch, was a pleasure. “Sweet Star” Moon had whispered, as she showed him the ways, of the Goddess. ”Sweet Star” again at him, as the music played, and they swayed. Star had clung to her, as only she would save him now, from himself, in this strange new world. He realized that all his power was only built, for her pleasure. She completed him, and there was no other way; that he could live, from now on.

 “Dear Moon,” He whispered back, as the drink took hold, of their imaginations, and their spirits soared. They became so co-mingled, that nobody could tell, where Pashupati ended and the Mother started. A joy arose within them, at the realization that, this was just meant to be.

Star looked up after an eternity it seemed, and he noticed that the moon had slid down, behind the trees. The night was passing fast and he felt, as if he had just arrived.  He smiled in a strangely contented way, and Moon looked at him and smiled, and poked his chest. Star giggled as the waves of happiness rose, from her caressing touch. Moon giggled at his reaction, and Star reached out, and tickled her, some more, on the curvy spots she loved. She laughed, and squealed. Soon they were rolling on the grass, laughing and mingling, in the joy, of the Mother’s blessing. Their spirits mingled and they were one.

Their laughter became a primordial sound, and they reveled in their creation. Moon with her bangles, and the soft music in the background, spread love across the clearing. More and more couples had joined them, in the glow, of the Full Moon ceremony. Now their laughter became infectious, and spread out, across the clearing in compassion and joy. Star was so entangled in Moon, that their laughter, turned into a deep satisfying feeling, inside. From there, the force spread outwards, and spread to everyone. In that magical night, they were all connected, in this great ceremony. He felt his mind, become one; with hers, even as they laughed softly. The Mother Goddess, and Pashupati, existed that night, in a co-mingled joy celebrating life and creation.

 The Grand Priest of Pashupati, declared this month’s Full Moon ceremony closed. He turned to face east and prostrated himself towards the rising sun and the Temple. He then spread his arms high and thanked Pashupati for making this ceremony, a roaring success. He blessed all the couples, to go forth, and be happy!


 [KR(1]

Fading Moon

Yogi was walking on the side of the lake, in the haze of existence, along with his new companion. He was slowly talking about the galaxies, and the universe in the heavens, beyond the dark and overhanging clouds and smog. They had not seen the Fading Moon, in many months. The earth was covered with a brown and grey cover,  which hid the moon, and barely allowed a soupy dawn. Yogi had heard about the nuclear war, on another continent, which brought this haze. His companion was prone to violent shakings sometimes, as she walked besides him. He understood it was just her nature, as she was actually a sweet little thing, once she cleaned up. It must have been some trauma in her young life, maybe after the loss of her husband. She would shudder and shake. Her slender arms and legs would tremble uncontrollably. Sometimes when the fits took her, she would crumble on the floor, and just weep for hours.

Yogi did not ask about her past, as he had enough trauma’s of his own to take care of. He had learned to live with himself; to avoid confrontations with others, and to seek peace, in his own life. They were simply happy, that they had found each other. Yogi reached out and took her shaking shoulders, under his right arm. He hugged her shaking body to his side, as they walked on. They had their food and water supplies, and were now determined, to reach their shelter. Yogi’s home, was on the other side of the lake. He took a swig from his precious water bottle, and shared some with Eva. Then they set off in the fading light, to follow the ancient path to their shelter. Yogi looked up at the grey clouds and haze, hoping to make it home, before the approaching storm broke.

Yogi did not need much in any case, these days. He had got used to fasting, and skipping food altogether, for days. Even though he had his own well of sweet water, he did not trust the water. He had constructed some elaborate filtration and cleaning system, for his water supply. He only drank his own homemade bottled water, any more. The pristine lake, in which, he had swum in every summer, since he was a child, had become poisoned, months ago. He and Eva avoided any outside water, and were getting stronger, with their hydrated bodies. Slowly Eva’s shaking subsided and they were able, to make better progress.

When they got home Eva immediately started working on the grains and flour, to make breads. Other wild grains she boiled, to make a base gruel. She could then add vitamins, and nutrient supplemental, they had gathered from the Supply store, near the train station. The store keeper said that it was a miracle, the old electric trains, still ran at all. Also the power supply, was unreliable, these days. The storms could cause havoc, and destroy anything in their paths.  Yogi and Eva spent most of their time indoors, going out only for necessities, for their survival. They were not city dwellers, where conditions were probably even more dire. Yogi had heard it rumored, that large mobs raged, across the broad avenues, seeking food, at the soup kitchens.

Yogi was straightening out his clothes in his room, when he heard Eva from the kitchen, “Dinner will be served in five minutes, and will you join me Yogi?”

Yogi felt some pangs in his stomach, as he had not really eaten anything, since the day before. He had become very suspicious of all foods. He had seen his friends and companions, become sick with strange growths, and ulcers break out on their necks, and bodies. He had seen them suffer, and slowly wither away, and then soon die. He knew if it was not for Eva insisting, he would probably have given up, altogether and joined them. She was hungrier for life, than he was; and he had sensed that, when he had first seen her, scrounging for food. He saw her outside the Store, some months back. The Store keeper had told him she had arrived on the train, some days back. He was very wary of strangers, yet her sweet smile and sunny disposition, had melted him. He did not sleep that night and the next day came and made her the offer, to join him in his home.

They were both lonely and she saw his emancipated body and his hollowed eyes. She realized that he was letting his life force ebb, and wane. She decided to nurture him back to health, as she was desperate for companionship. She had been a nurse, once, in what seemed so long ago. She had been happy, before her world turned, upside down. She thanked every day, on which she woke up, to find herself, still alive.  He seemed a good man, who had, had some bad breaks, in the past. The Store keeper had told her, Yogi may appear eccentric, and strange, but at heart he is a very good man. She had followed him, and watched him for days. Finally she decided to move in with him, on an extremely stormy night. Yogi had brought her home and made her welcome and showed her, where everything was. She slept on the Sofa, as she was cautious, and afraid.

Eva passed the hot boiled gruel, she had prepared, in two bowls. Eva had sprinkled some precious herbs, and added the boiled spicy vegetables. Fresh vegetables and fish had arrived that day, from the climate controlled, hydroponic, indoor, organic farms, far away. These were rarities these days, and she was very happy, with her meal. Yogi as usual, just pushed the food around on his bowl, with his fork. She had coaxed him a couple of time, but had soon realized; it was best, to just let him be. He would play with the food and sometimes take a small forkful into his mouth, and chew contemplatively. It was as if he was discovering, how to eat, for the first time. Then he would walk away and wait to see if the food was safe. Eva would continue to sit and eat, slowly enjoying, every bite, of the nourishing food.

Yogi was more interested, in the brain pills, which he had gathered. It was a concoction, of whatever the store keeper, had been able to obtain through his contacts. He would even continue conversations across the home, as he admired his cache. There were blue pills, pink pills, white capsules, yellow tablets, but most importantly these organically grown and refined natural enzymes and powders, increased his brain health. Yogi was convinced that they were keeping him alive, as while his body had become deprived, these supplements kept his brain alive, and functioning.

Eva had joked, “It’s all in your head Yogi, I do not take brain pills, and am happy the way I am. We have to be happy inside Yogi, and nothing from outside can do that, no matter what concoctions, you ingest. My Mommy always used to laugh at this world, and she taught me early on; that we are created to bring joy, to all around us.”   She laughed at him, and coaxed a smile out of him, with her antics. She mimicked him popping pills. She pantomimed him, by raising her hands above her head, pretending that her brain, is expanding.

That night she joined him in his bed and they talked about the past. They made love, and then they talked on until dawn. They talked about their hopes, and their dreams. They made love again, and she nodded off. Then they ate a predawn meal, as she awoke early, feeling hungry again. This time she sat with him smiling, and talking about their upcoming day. He was not one, for sleeping much, these days anyway. As he listened to her talk on, he became strangely contented, with her company. Eva’s shaking fits slowly disappeared over time.

“What do you want to do tomorrow?” Eva asked innocently at breakfast one day,

Yogi just looked at her amazed, and just sat straight, slowly chewing his food again; and finally thinking about a future, he had given up on. As the night turned into a grey dawn, he slowly ate, spoon, after spoon. She smiled at him, passing her feminine strength, into his meagre frame, and a small hope rose, in his mind again. They decided to venture out into their universe more often. “Lets go and see what else is out there?” Yogi said, gathering himself and leading the way.

Months passed and they got used to venturing out, into the fog. It had rained in the night, and more appeared on the way, from the distant thunder and lightning. Yogi looked up into the grey skies, and then turned, as Eva caught up. She took his hand in hers, as they walked up the hill, away from the lake, towards the forest. Eva claimed that the night before, she had actually seen the Fading Moon’s shadow, in the sky, from the top of the hill. They reached the top, after another violent storm, when the heaven’s opened up. Eva had hugged Yogi as they got a glimpse, of our Milky Way, and the galaxies and larger universe. Yogi and Eva lay on the ground, and looked at the eternal universe enchanted. They spent a magical night, enjoying this beautiful spectacle for hours, lying in each other’ arms.

Since then a year has passed and this hellish semi darkness, eats away, at both of them. Yogi would have withered, but Eva saved him, and continues to nourish him, with what they can find. It is rumored that from that from that fateful night onwards, the Fading Moon became a reality, and was never seen again. Yogi does not talk about our beautiful moon, or our colorful Milky Way, or the size of our external universe, anymore. Even Eva’s shaking fits are becoming worse again, and they venture out less and less….

Schopenhauer. “Suffering is the substance of all life”

Wikipedia image of mushroom cloud at castle_romeo2

The Afternoon of our lives

Summer days are long, and often eventful,

There are places to go, and things to do.

Rarely does one sit, in quiet contemplation,

About old companions, and those who have gone.

 

Summer nights are dark, and bring the heavens closer,

There are lovers to enjoy, and dreams to dream.

Sometimes we lie half-awake, in restless beds,

Yet at others we live our lives intensely, for those to come.

 

Youth is irreverent, towards many age old dogmas,

The future belongs to them, and they are well trained.

The Morning of our life is the age of youth, and its admirers,

Tales of adventurous travels to different shores, to fight our dragons.

 

My time now I realize, is the Afternoon of my Life,

So much that was promised in my youth, has passed.

Now I am wiser and know what folly is, and what madness is,

This summer is for my lover and there is no other castle.

 

On realizing that our youth, has long passed us bye,

We can now move on to the realization, of our life’s purpose.

The idealistic way is still the best, for its sweet dreams,

Many a life I would strive, for working towards its realization.

 

The Afternoon of my life on this summer’s day,

Passes with many a roar and a celebration of Sports and Humans.

We watch the best efforts of our champions, and award the Trophies,

Enjoying this moment and this time, as this game of life looks at a setting sun.

“Views of a Foetus in the Womb”, detail from a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci

Woodland walk

The path led me deeper into the lush summer forest. There was greenery everywhere and fallen trees, were blocking; some areas of the path, which I happily scrambled over, to continue my woodland walk. It is an old habit amongst our family to walk in the hills since childhood. Drilled into us to taking morning and evening hikes, in the Himalayas. It is a very healthy lifestyle but very few of us are privileged enough, to become a mystic, or a communicator with nature. Our just being in these woods helps us identify, with our larger universe.

It is good to walk alone and introspect and find out what is happening with oneself, once in a while. So as I came among my favorite cluster of Oaks, I saw the pairs rising from a common roots. For some nature’s freakiness there is a huge proportion of these pairs towering over the path in some parts as compared to others. Here in the middle I paused as something was not right.

There to the side was a pair that seemed to have missed the spring season. This giant pair was as leafless as a mid winter’s day. I grew close to it and was strangely attracted to it. I decided to use it as a backrest for my meditation and sat down with my back to it, soon feeling safe, amongst its roots. With closed eyes I observed the sound of the Doe and her kid, as they grazed in the sloping valley behind me. A squirrel was scrambling up on the Maples, across from where I sat.

From the tree there was no vibration of life. It seemed it had caught the Rip Van Winkle effect and gone to sleep in summer. I wished them well and hoped that they would green again soon, as I missed the living twins. I sat there contemplating the times we had spent in the summers before, vibrating together with our life forces, in the eternal hum of life. Time passes slowly or at least it seems to, in the summer, when all our senses come alive. I get up with a sense of loss, and melancholy grips me momentarily. A few steps up the path and the deer family come into sight and I get distracted and move on.

Social Media grabbed me on my return back Home and there is just so much fake news going around, that I am ready to turn everything off.    How can these people blatantly lie and expect us to swallow all of it without complaining. The rhetoric levels are rising and the two parties are drifting farther apart, under this Presidency. People are falling everyday in this administration, and what can I add about our dear President, that hasn’t already been said. We are all living the dream!

“This above all: to thine own self be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou canst not then be false to any man.” -William Shakespeare, poet and dramatist (23 Apr 1564-1616)

Kate and Anthony

 

Suicide rates in the US have gone up by 25% from 1996 to 2016. Contrary to common misconceptions, a lot of them cannot be attributed to Mental Health Problems. NY has long abandoned its old Mental Health Institutions and come to a more modern solution to the problem. The recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, have brought these suicides to our world’s attention. Our public has to suddenly look beyond the public persona of famous people, to their personal persona. What we are forced to see is that even in publicly successful people, there is a strange loss of soul. Even at the pinnacle of public admiration, one can still falter and fall very deeply, into the very depths of human despair. This is not a subject I would bring up at a jolly dinner table, but it is something that each one of us has to acknowledge, as something that needs to be discussed.

Our new media society is very successful in connecting us digitally day and night. Now one is always connected and social media and other makeups of our digital signature, builds a new world only for each one of us. We can be whatever we want to be, on our World Wide Web. It is just a matter of putting out the right ideas out there, which connect more people. Popularity numbers are suddenly very high, with millions of followers for some social celebrities. Success now is almost instantaneous for some people, but to sustain it over a period of time, means the person is personally gifted. Very few people have the charisma or the opportunity to present themselves uniquely and with their full life force, to our world. They open new horizons for us, through their ideas and actions. They expand our way of thinking and in the end ourselves as a race. We have to just do a better way to resolve issues that arise, out of our modern digital always on life, a little better.

We can use our social and digital media to bring peace and closure to such issues. We can use our community to make an effort, to address the root cause of some of these problems.  We need to do a better job in tackling substance abuse and physical health problems.  We have other societal needs like the war against poverty. Approximately 1-in-5 children in the U.S. are living in poverty today(1) , and even though this represents one of the highest childhood poverty rates among developed nations worldwide, almost half of Americans (49 percent of those surveyed) are unaware of the prevalence of childhood poverty in the U.S., based on a new national survey from Walgreens. It is a combination of social and economic causes that lead to suicide and until we get a better understanding of the cause, we cannot find a solution to the rising rates. Our compassion has to go towards building a society where people want to live and prosper.

It’s far better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone. -Marilyn Monroe, actress (1 Jun 1926-1962)

A big deal!

The photo shows a century old electric alternator from the Budapest hydroelectric station. India is entering the second Industrial revolution a century later, due to inertia, ineptitude and inadequate resources of its ruling elite.  A World Bank report recently pointed out that India was doing electrification of over 30 million homes per year, between 2010 and 2016. “India is doing extremely well on electrification. We are reporting India about 85 per cent of the population has access to electricity,” Vivien Foster, Lead Energy Economist at the World Bank, said. This means that the Modi Government will have enabled almost all the accessible villages, and majority of households in India with access to electricity.

The World Bank report went on to explain that India was in the last leg of its electrification project, with over 80 percent of the population having access to electrical energy. This, the report said, meant that the efforts to provide electricity to the remotest households would have to be more pronounced, as reaching those places would prove challenging. The report also looked into global cues and pointed out that Bangladesh and Kenya were faster in electrification than India. This is a remarkable turnaround for India with over 1.2 billion people in a very short time. Political questions of whether it could have been faster, cheaper, earlier are being asked? The work completed to date, is most welcome, and should be celebrated by the millions of citizens, who have been enlightened.

I left India due to a shortage of electric power, to run my factory, many decades ago. It is amazing to see the bold steps being taken to increase energy production, via all means available. Indian Government owns the coal mines, the rail used to transport coal, the thermal plants that produce power. The State transmission systems, then deliver it to eventual consumers. It is all starting to come together, in a cohesive whole, under a hard working party and civil service, which is encouraging greater transparency and productivity. New auctions have been largely digital and productivity based, whether for mining, green energy, infrastructure or telecommunication. Privatization is the eventual answer for smart cities under development, and may help bridge the last mile problem.

There are many promises yet to keep in India, as a lot of people live in dire poverty, on the edge of an improvised existence. Universal health care and social security is a far dream, for the poorest citizens. Housing, Health, Education and employment for the young population about to enter the workforce, is the greatest challenge. To create a million jobs a month, is not easy, and to train many more millions is harder. Skilling its resources to become more productive, will strain India’s finances. IOT and a digital world is coming and India’s challenge is to leap right from the colonial times, into the Digital Age of Cloud and goods and services delivered on demand. The world needs the services that this new workforce will supply, and it is the adoption of globalization which will help India and our world.

Entrepreneurs have to spring up in a free and democratic India, to take up these harsh new challenges. The 500,000 villages which are being electrified now, will unleash the resources of almost a billion people, who have not been truly globally engaged before. The economic contribution of such a large part of human population, will drive Indian economic growth for decades ahead. It is a country readying itself for a productivity takeoff, after centuries of oppression. Its people have been a victim of bad policy and poor execution by its leaders and was preceded by autocratic rule. Finally there appears to be a democratic government, ready to govern. It is striving to ensure that basic needs of its citizens, irrespective of class, creed, caste, religion or gender, will be met. If not wholly today, but an attempt will be made to meet the basic needs in the coming years.

There is still a promise of hope for the largest democracy in the world, as the winds of change have arrived. The ship of State is being steered by firm hands and the nation is progressing, in small but meaningful ways. Power has literally come to the people and now a new day will dawn. The Vedic wisdom will be studied again in remote hamlets, and a new compassionate citizen of this universe, will reappear. For too long has the beauty of the human mind stayed hidden, in remote darkness, neglected by us all. A light has been shown where there was none before, and with it will come enlightenment for the masses. This rising of hope and passion in people who were deprived of it for too long, to quote Joe Biden, at the passing of the Affordable Care Act is, “A big Deal!”

Magnolias, represent the profundity of our spring

Our oaks and maples are still bare

Winter’s day is not done today,

Yet there are signs of spring approaching.

Forsythias’ yellow, glows in our sunrise,

Cherry Blossoms’, waken us this morn,

It is only a passing season, and we are so alive.

 

Magnolias am I, and date ninety five million,

Am prehistoric, with tepals, I predate even bees!

Witness I stood through ice ages, and mountain formation,

My glory rises in many continents, riding this continental drift.

When spring comes, I awake from dawn prehistoric,

In a profundity of spring, rejoicing all of Earth’s seasons.

 

Magnolia I am, living in this millennium.

Young is this Earth, and younger yet is this season.

The lovers come and stare, at me and my blooms.

Captivated by my outpouring of love, for our mother.

They gaze at me in wonder, admiring Spring’s profundity.

Of nature’s shameless, as I bloom wantonly, full of color.

 

Our grass will turn green, along with our trees

Our time of love and newness, will open its buds.

We will walk in the woods and smell their sweet air

Drawn to this clearing, we will have our first visitation.

Of the profundity of spring, and Earth’s many manifestations.

Remember the Magnolia and sing in our glorious spring!

(Hope Lives! April 27, 1953).

Earth Day celebration!

Once again we celebrate Earth Day and I am reminded of the time when his first five disciples questioned Buddha, on how they could confirm that he had indeed attained Nirvana, he touched the earth and said that this earth is my witness. Since then our world has not been the same as his teachings improved the lives of millions and showed us how we can live peacefully with nature.  I am happy to read that even today Earth Day draws on astronomical phenomena in a most ancient way – by using the vernal Equinox, the time when the Sun crosses the equator making the length of night and day equal in all parts of the Earth. Earth day is devoted to the preservation of the harmony in nature and yet draws upon the triumphs of technology, the measurement of time, and instantaneous communication through space. We celebrate Earth Day with the following anthem and ringing the Japanese Peace Bell at the UN. We pledge to live in equality and harmony with everything around us on our Earth..

 “Earth Anthem” by Abhay K

Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the continents and the oceans of the world
united we stand as flora and fauna
united we stand as species of one earth
black, brown, white, different colours
we are humans, the earth is our home.

Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the people and the nations of the world
all for one and one for all
united we unfurl the blue marble flag
black, brown, white, different colours
we are humans, the earth is our home.

The beauty of Earth Day is that we are no longer bound by man-made National boundaries or regions, we live on one warm blue planet, clinging on to precarious life, in a frigid universe. It is a celebration of life’s diversity, which nature allows in such abundance. We take time to understand what a miracle creation of life is and what we must do now, to preserve it for the future. The profundity of creation is reflected all around us on Earth and on this day, we cherish its diversity and its value. Some also play the following Anthem to the tune of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’.

Earth Day Anthem:

Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment

Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world

As we all join in this celebration we can walk around and join other likeminded folks who treasure their time on this Earth. We may find some kindred spirits, who will be happy, to walk along with us today. We can develop a camaraderie to protect our environment and our way of life, and leave it unharmed, to our progeny. All Flora and Fauna must be allowed to bloom, and we must never destroy nature, but come together, to help it prosper. We have a responsibility to our Earth Mother who sustains us, that we provide back in ways, which will ease her burden. We cannot subsist on our own, but must live in a cohabitation life, with all other creatures. We sustain each other and grow stronger with each other. We are bound to find our rightful place on this Earth, as all its creatures live and die here. We may roam the universe, but this Earth will always be our home. We have to learn to celebrate Earth day and our biodiversity with a joy, that transcends our basic human nature of self preservation!