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!
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.
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
“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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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)
By Biswarup Ganguly – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12679235
Long have the mystics I have studied instructed followers to stay away from Anger, Lust, Greed and things unnatural. They have all advocated that life has enough to offer without needing any artificial enhancement. In a world of plenty we need to get closer to mother nature and our origins. There are so many wonders around us that we can lead a full life, without having to travel to exotic locations. If we want to travel to exotic locations, then there is no harm, in that either. We just have to follow our own path, and not let life just happen to us. We can pick any path our heart desires, and proceed along it, to a goal, or a state of being. We must seek joy, happiness and mirth in everyday situations. If we are happy now with what we have, then start giving the extra stuff away. To live like a mystic, is to not have attachment, and hence one does not accumulate anything. One lives and discovers wonders of the world like, the Great Banyan tree as life progresses. Let me tell you a little more about the wonder of this tree:
A 255-year-old Great Banyan at the Indian Botanic Garden, Shibpur, has increased its girth by a massive two acres in a little over 30 years, from 3 acres in 1985. The Great Banyan lost its main trunk long ago after surviving two cyclones. The tree is now balanced on its growing new roots. The new roots seem to be walking east towards the sun. It is also the direction away from human habitation in the city and its pollution. 4 senior botanists and their assistants take care of the Great Banyan ensuring its health, and have built a new barrier around it. This is a remarkable tree like the Redwoods in California. They are massive and live for centuries yet this covers far more space. It continues to flourish and has grown into the largest single canopy, on earth.
We must praise nature as the more we take care of it, the more it gives back to us. We must take care of the fauna and the flora, of our native lands. Like the huge store in Norway of all the world’s seeds is good for preservation, but there is no sight like looking up from the base of tall Sequoias; and wondering how tall the trees were, as one could not possibly see the top of the trees? The real life is in our fields, our forests, our woods, our lakes, our rivers, our mountains and our oceans. They have to be nourished and cared for, by an army of people, to make them whole again. We have taken and destroyed so much, that we have to take a joint exercise, just to count the tigers, living in Nepal and India. The numbers are low, and preservation is just starting to work, and a lot of work still needs to be done to preserve the jungle species. They need their own habitats with grazing lands, rivers, woods to continue to do what nature does best. Life is to be enjoyed in its enormity and not in narrow dogmas preached for human consumption. We have become very powerful and with power also comes great responsibility. Let us use our powers wisely, to grow ourselves, and allow others to prosper also, as there is a whole universe still to explore. If we must dream then let us dream big like the Great Banyan!
Very early on I was given to understand that I would never be an emperor of India. I was all of 12 and dreamed all the dreams that Alexander the Great (my hero) would have dreamed, at my age. The tall Qutub Minar towered proud above me after all these centuries in the gardens of Delhi. Gardens and monuments surrounded me from the early Sultanates of India. None was more powerful than the Slave Dynasty that established Muslim rule in India. Ruling from Delhi they conquered the Indus rich lands and a large part of the Gangetic valley and prospered. The pillar was of course much older and had fascinated me for years in its height and girth.
The Ashokan Pillar marks an older tradition of Buddhism, in India. This rust less iron pillar is ascribed to emperor Ashok and was part of his many edicts and signposts, laying down the rules of Dharma. Those rules had been long largely discarded, in the India I grew up in; and long consigned, to the pages of history. Modern Indian politics of Independent India, has been turned towards a new national identity. I had stood with my back resting against the pillar, preparing myself. I looked up at the beautiful carved stone archways, left over from a past kingdom. Vainly I tried to reach around my back, and grasp both hands. Soon I knew that there was no hope, as I was short. Maybe if I had been two feet taller with longer arms, then it may have been easier as the pillar did seem to taper slightly, from the broad base where I stood, reaching our blindly.
The one thing Ashok and Buddha consistently talked about was that compassion and contentment are noble attributes. The sooner we acquire them the easier is our trip to Nirvana. We must not follow our desires as like Lucy in the Sky with diamonds they can never be satisfied in our lifetime. We can take a strange trip of chasing all our desires in a distorted reality, or one with all ones lucidity and love. Just contentment stops a lot of things from happening – mostly with positive results. We do not seek, so are not disappointed, and also do not have any guilt of missing the next high. Desires continue to flourish in our imagination as human beings desire more and more as the world unfolds before us. Every new vision or revelation makes us children again reaching out for a newer shinier toy.
Some seek God and salvation in narrow beliefs and blind faith, while others like the Isa Upanishad say God is in everything so nothing is ours and it is all His, so renounce and enjoy. Buddha did not destroy desires but he found a path we could follow, which would help us overcome becoming trapped in this world of Maya and endless rebirth leading to a state of Nirvana. Great saints have all proclaimed the supremacy of their God and shown paths to serve Him as in the prayer of Saint Francis to his Lord to, “make me an instrument of your peace.” The end result of many of these learned beings is the concept of Sangha or society that is equal and everyone works for its betterment. God does not dwell in Churches. Temples or Mosques but in each of us and his laws do not differentiate between rich and poor. Follow your Dharma or beliefs and you will find the right path.
So to conclude we remain largely the slaves of our desires. We indulge in more ways to enjoy them and seek the company of those who are followers of the same path. The Germans did not start off as evil under Hitler but they took his beliefs to an extreme and became evil. Similarly we need to ensure we seek contentment versus the fulfillment of all our desires. Desires come and go and we need to be in harmony with nature. The universe has forces far larger and stronger than us puny men trapped on this blue planet. We are only as great as our belief and so seek higher living and thinking. When we destroy whole species of flora or fauna, we are destroying a little bit of ourselves. We have the power to create a new world, full of goodness and hope. Seek to live righteously, as in the end all of us must die.
There is a path in the woods, which I believe leads to change. We must all seek this path, as to stay stagnant is to slowly die away. We do not know what we will find on this path, as we are not sure what we want. We must seek the path and follow it to where it leads, as that is why we are here. We were not given this life to only rot in our internal turmoil, and not seek what is freely given. We are free to explore and find the meaning of life in our own way. We must change to find love, compassion, balance and life itself.
There are many paths I have walked on and many more left for me to explore. I am angry about many I have taken in the past, as they took me to misery and pain. I am anxious about the ones I have to take in the future, as they are unknown and may lead to even more pain and sorrow. The one I am on now is the best, as I know exactly where I stand and also know, where it is taking me. I know my love is with me and I have compassion in my heart for all creatures, on this path. I am blessed to feel this passion for life, as it drives me to move faster and seek more. Love is boundless and compassion expands our hearts even more and we attain happiness, when we experience joy in even the smallest of happenings.
As we change so does our life and our path to joy. This path of happiness is so subtle that we have to experience it, to understand the true meaning of life. Many a year has gone by when we did not know what our life was meant to be. Many a day I was lost and many a night I cried that this meaningless life, was better off without me. Pain and suffering surrounded me and all that was dear was forlorn, and all that was near, was just a reminder of my past failures. How could I continue to live and I withdrew into my skin and dared not look, feel, or reach out around me, afraid of human emotion and touch.
Then one day I met a person who had nothing and was happy and laughing at the world. He was ugly, poor, disabled and had no economic future, yet he was happy to meet me and laughed at me, for what I had become. He had known me when I was young and lively and the whole world was within my grasp, and he had been the same. Now I was morose and even though I had everything, he told me I did not value what was given to me. I looked into the twinkle in his eyes and realized I was looking in a mirror of time, and wondered why I would let myself become him.
I learnt a lesson that day and now every day, I walk fearlessly on a new path and find all that my heart desires and more….
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die.”- Friedrich Nietzsche
We are here only because of our desire for being. Our egos are satisfied only if we live for ourselves.I have always admired Sartre and Bertrand Russell for their existential philosophy, as their writings first opened up my mind to a life lived with meaning and having values. In our life we have the choice to live in a manner deserving of our aspirations. If we have very high aspirations our life is a little more complicated, than if we have lower expectations. This choice is critical for the life, we are about to lead. Thus it is clear that the more we live our aspirations, the more meaning our lives have in the end.
The second more important truth is the value in our life that we seek. If we seek a higher purpose and always strive to achieve that high moral ground, bound by our inner conviction, then we cannot go wrong. The value of our life increases exponentially, the more creatures we help around us. We have to start small and walk along this path of eternal values, as only by following the laws of nature, can we be successful. Evolution of our species has allowed humans to evolve, into a higher life form on earth, but we still remain but specs in this universe. There is much still for us to explore and much around us, that we still have to understand.
The merging of meaning and value in one life are a beautiful creation. The greatest achievements in our human evolution, have been done by these great thinkers and doers, who have come before us in this realization. We have a collective memory of survival and prosperity from our Parents and Grandparents and what they achieved. Their values and meanings have now become ours and we have to bring fruit, to those aspirations. Those of us who rise socially, economically or spiritually all live our own value system, which gives meaning to our life. We are all individuals but are tied up in this world wide web of human endeavor, and achievement. Some are of course more successful than others like me, in achieving a state of perpetual awareness and serenity..
It should not stop us from striving for betterment. We still have time long as we live, to adhere to our values and to add meaning in our life. Since infinity is available, we can strive for that. That is the most beautiful piece of truth in our our life that nothing is in our way to achieve, our goal, except ourselves. Existence is only for us to live to our potential. Do not short sell ourselves as all that is here, is ours; and all that we seek, is at hand. Pick the right values, and the true meaning of a compassionate and peaceful life will emerge. The greatest men have always emphasized human equality, and the rule of law. Enjoy walking on their path as it leads to greatness, and gives us a a freedom from unneeded action and strife. Live life as the great gift, where we will leave a better universe; for all our succeeding, generations!
Life has no meaning a priori. … It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose. -Jean-Paul Sartre, writer and philosopher (21 Jun 1905-1980)
Today I spent time studying the first verse of the over 1,200 verses in the first of our four Vedas, commonly known as the Rig Veda. When in doubt, wise men have told me to try and go to the source of the doubt. So I sought out the most ancient chant in our tradition. What could an ancient verse that survived many millennia in a spoken tradition, chanted by priests and their families, till writing was invented, tell me? Ancient Sanskrit has changed and one has a problem understanding it, but the message of the verse; is a bedrock of Hinduism and clarity shines brightly through in an intensity, that shows the clear thinking, of the ancient mystic who wrote it.
Agnimile purohitam, yagyasya devamrtvijam, I hotaram ratnadhatamam II
A learned mystic Sri Aurobindo translated it as, “I adore the Flame, the vicar, the divine Ritwik of the Sacrifice, the summoner who most founds the ecstasy.”
One of he most ancient of Mantras to survive in human existence is also translated as: “I venerate Agni, the priest (lit. who is placed on the seat of honour/in the East), divine ministrant of the sacrifice, bestower of treasure, par excellence.”
Well any of us who have invoked Vedic Mantras while lighting Agni in the Havan kund know the ritual well. We start with (water, samagri, ghee and samidha) dry wood kindling and special mixture of natural items found in nature, to purify the air and raise the sacred flame of Agni within and without. We know that its a homage to the fire of creation, which burns in each and every one of us. It is only now when I have had the pleasure of reading the first verse of (our strutis) or knowledge passed down, by the invokers of the devas. The ancient sounds have not changed much from when they were first spoken, to express human ecstasy, while conducting the fire sacrifice (Havan or Homa). It is we who have forgotten them, and the ancient rishis still lead us to the righteous path.
It is rumored that when Edison asked his friend Max Muller to do his first recording for human history. Max recorded this first verse for posterity. This first recorded sound kept up an ancient Indian spoken tradition, unbroken in recorded time, and still alive as originally spoken. So the ancient seer spoke these words and passed them on to his progeny, generation after generation, from the time the Arya arrived in India, and made it their own home. I am a product of these settlers in the rich valleys of the five rivers in the northern plains of Hindustan, in a region now known as Punjab. The Indo-Aryan migrations started in approximately 1800 BCE, after the invention of the war chariot, and also brought Indo-Aryan languages into India.
In the Epic Mahabharata Arjun rides a war chariot and Krishna is his charioteer who drives and protects him and pulls the chariot up in between the warring cousins on the ancient battlefield of Kurukshetra. The sun reflects off of the bronze protective plates of the war ready warrior, as he throws down his great bow and questions why he must bring death on his near and dear ones. The chariot stops and we hear the Bhagavad Gita from the mouths of Arjun and Krishna (as described to the blind king many miles away by the seer Sanjay). The Gita is considered a condensation of the Vedas in some ways, as it lays out men’s duty to society, religion and knowledge. So while the first verse of the Vedas spoke so much about internal ecstasy, the Gita gave us a whole new religious philosophy, showing many paths.
We in the Arya Samaj strongly believe, that the Vedic tradition is one of the most noble ways of life, and those who follow it will become Arya, or the enjoyers of inner peace and contentment . We will always strive to become learned, and do this by hearing from others and also passing on what we learn, to teach others. We study the ancient texts and my mother used to do a daily Havan for man years, even in the worst of times, when she became a refugee in India, after the partition. The internal light in her lived on through life’s ups and downs, as it did in my father who was also a karma yogi. Their joint reciting of the Sanskrit verses during festivals and social occasions was a reminder to us that the pursuit of knowledge, would bring its own rewards.
My translation, “Oh Agni! Thou does’ light my inner being and I adore thee and the one (male\female) who sits on the East and hosts this great ceremony. By this great yagya flame we do the divine Ritwik of our traditions, for conducting this sacrifice. This sacrifice brings us closer to the Devas and the priests who have invoked them for millennia. As we raise our voices to the divine it is you Agni who causes the flame of our efforts to rise and lead us to greater ecstasy. We discover a treasure from the fruits of our Havan, a treasure so exquisite that we consider it par excellence. Finally we call out the summoner who is within us this day, who has mystified these words, and has invoked the eternal ecstasy, by his recitation of the ancient texts as they should be read He is the bestower of the greatest treasure called life, as we gather here to sing this hymn to its glory.”
We have lost our way in the current age of Kalyug or dark times,and Satyug or Truthful times will come again in our future, when we are free from Maya. Till then we can recite the verse and have faith that the promised treasure awaits us, and it is we who are wanting. Our ancients gave us such a powerful message of hope in the opening verse itself, that if none other had followed, Hinduism would have still lived to its modern form. The power of the tradition where an ordinary conductor of the ceremony becomes the raiser of our inner faith is so powerful a construct, that it needs no other external support. Hence Hinduism has lived through the ages largely unchanged, often reformed; yet the work, never quite completed.
We return in the end to the funeral pyre, where the body is disposed off by Agni, but the soul is not burnt; and it rises to either live forever in its ecstasy, or try again in a rebirth. So life begins and ebbs, rises and falls, in the rhythms, of these ancient verses. We have to just stop and breathe evenly, recite the ancient and sacred words, pour the ghee and samgaree on the kindling and pray. If we look hard enough at the fire burning outside and say the right words, our inner fire flames up, and the rest of the day is full of an awareness of love for nature and our universe.Imagine yourself as the Purohit and say the words that will bring you to your personalized ecstatic treasure. Life does not become more intense than this verse in its simplicity and power, so enjoy!.