Light our Lamp

Light our lamp

We are not born to live in darkness, as we are the source of light,

Many have come before us; many more will come as our progeny.

This universe is full of dark energy, an ever-expanding dark matter blight,

The forces of light and darkness are engaged, in this eternal cacophony.

Many eons ago we were entrusted to carry, this torch of light high,

The ancient king came back to our kingdom, having defeated the dark force.

Victory over demonic evil, with the people lighting lamps with a sigh,

As we meditate inwards, we realize that we seek only truth’s source.

Our mind roams free, let it seek again, the eternal truth,

Our joy is not outside, it springs from deep within our imagination.

We are not the realized beings, we are only seekers of the path,

Rise again in our life’s purpose and act, spark the light that will not die.

Gather around you kindred spirits and help us fan the flame,

Of an eternal love of life and liberty, in darkness do not lie.

Earth is our home, and the sun our giver of light and fame,

Always strive to light our internal lamp of light, and may it never die.

Happy Diwali 2020

Our bright colors emerge

We have just gone through a tumultuous American Election, in tough Covid times. I am not political and can only speak as a senior citizen, fast approaching retirement age. Just like other Baby Boomers, I am just one of many millions, giving up perfectly good paying jobs. We are growing old and planning to finally retire. Each year more of us are hanging up our helmets, or our boots; and dreaming of drinking, those tall drinks, with small umbrellas. We dream of the shadows of the dancing couples, on the warm ocean’s sands, as the music plays on. Such dreams are of course currently on hold, as the pandemic sweeps across all the continents of our Earth.

The new administration is coming up with a scientific task force, to focus on containing the virus, in the US. Decisive action should result in some mitigation; of its spread, as winter approaches, and we stay indoors. We hope that with a vaccine and the strict measures we will be able to survive this winter. It would be criminal for us, to allow our American Flag; to continue to fly at half-mast when we are capable, of tackling this disease. We must act sensibly and follow the ground rules or die. It is as simple as that.

When you become a hermit in your own interest, you will many hours to introspect. This is the best part of this Pandemic as I am amongst the lucky few. I have withdrawn from social contacts, but not from our earth. I take long walks and enjoy sights of my surroundings, which I would have missed otherwise. I have worried about my nest egg that I have managed to save over my lifetime. I do not like high volatility and wild swings in the markets. I am not in this market to make money anymore but just want to conserve my capital and make a healthy return to live. I love my walks and surroundings but this worry about financial markets continues to nibble, at my nest egg.

My faith in America is that we will rebuild our trust. We will invest in our infrastructure and the base of America again. Education will be highly valued once again and not just be highly priced anymore. Let the elite have their Ivy’s, but the multitude will have free Community College. Our High Schools will be great again and our Colleges will become, the envy of the world. There is a change coming in the air, as it will be equal opportunity for all. No longer will race, color, gender, orientation stand in the way of where you study, live, work or love. Opportunity and justice will be there for all and we the people will once again take up the task of building our nation. There is no Red or Blue State we are after all just The United States.

Everyone who wants to go to College, will be given an opportunity, to peruse their dreams for 2 years of Community College after finishing High School. This will be a huge inflection point in our history as education has always been a unifier and an enabler for our people. In the past few centuries America has continue to embrace immigrants and mold them into the American Spirit. People do not invade America to steal its valuables, they come to steal its spirit. We are stronger as a united human race, than when we are divided along narrow slices of race, gender, religion etc. Our Faith is still strong in humanity and we encourage increasing empathy. We are good human beings and love our neighbors, and want to work together, for all ours benefit. Exponential growth is only possible, when millions strive, for a greater purpose, of becoming better humans.

My nest egg has suddenly become safer with the new sunrise. I feel as if things have stepped off the hamster wheel. Look at this tree with its golden leaves, providing a canopy for my nest, and the blues skies above, on this small tree. This is the compact, we have made to ourselves in this Great Society. We will provide for our Seniors, and our elderly, through Social Security and Medicare. These are solemn promises and need not be casually broken. It is hard to provide for our society but not impossible, there are better ways, to growth and prosperity, than cutting back on programs, for our most needy. The markets will be just fine, and some of the largest corporations will still call America home. The economy will continue to grow, and I strongly believe that the best years of America are still ahead of us. I am delighted to see our bright colors emerge again brightly, in the Fall 2020 elections.

Changing season’s flowers

Fall of Covid season has arrived, as the flowers change; as we await the winter, and our fate in isolation. We live in uncertain times, and the pandemic is not showing any signs, of abating soon. Humans race for the vaccine, or preventable measures; to stop the spread, of this miniscule virus. Our Earth will go on with its seasons, and its flora and fauna will adapt, and the laws of nature will remain in force. Ignorance is not bliss, we have to awaken our inner beings, to the joy of this existence.  Even in our isolated state we can reach inwards and try and find the peace and calm of our being. Each of us has our own destiny and hope and faith. Let us not cheapen our outlook but still strive to be the best.

 Learn a new skill, do a few good deeds, learn to live with yourself and those around you. Life does not get any better than this, so enjoy whatever you have. This way when life gets back to a new normal, we will have learnt what we truly desire; and what we are truly capable, of achieving ourselves. With this hope we can then improve the lot of others around us and make an emphatic effort to better humanity. Learn so we can teach, Study so we can understand falsehood or Maya, Work so we can implement the change we need. We are capable of so much more when we unite our efforts, so prepare in this time, learn from nature. The season will change, and the new shoots will come out, we just have to be ready to ride the next wave, walk under the Cedars or Firs, swim in the lakes, hike in the mountain trails. Teach our children well, as they must learn to protect nature, just as it protects us.

Life is for living, and good action arises from good thoughts. Keep good company and do noble deeds with others. The more you give away, the more will be returned to you, as nature is a cornucopia and it gives and gives. We must be ready to open ourselves to receive our universal gifts, and not limit ourselves by sex, race, religion, or class. Free ourselves in this isolation, so we are only elemental and human, and then do our best. Our internal attitude change will change our life, and Our world, so we must work hard on our introspection and learning!

Life’s Sunset

Every single living being has to face his\her\its time’s end, we will all; eventually have to face, our Life’s Sunset. To those who dwell on such philosophical wanderings, I say good luck to you; as mine is a simpler path. I look at the Sunset, and its reflection; and its wholeness, in fact I am often mesmerized, by what I see. Each moment in time is linked to this eternal flow of time which we partially experience. The rest of the experience is not what we gather from our senses alone as it is mystical bordering on exuberant. There exists a vast beauty, as nature paints our Universe; in mutations of color, in an otherwise Dark existence. I stare at the dark shimmering reflection, of the day that is passing, and the night; which is fast approaching, in each of our lives. Go boldly into this night, as life is not to be feared, but to be lived fully.

This Summer season has come and gone, yet the heat rises, in CA, as the forest fires burn the Giant Redwoods, we made into National Parks. I am sure that in a few centuries, a new Gigantic Redwood Forrest, will emerge, as it is Nature’s way, of reviving itself.  We just have to get out of the way, as forces of climate change need to be tamed, not encouraged. Complete refusal of use of fossil fuels, is not possible for decades ahead.  Eventually we must find an abundant source of energy through fusion, or other means unknown today. Renewal energy and its storage will be the next revolution as we head for an energy independence, and more freedom for humans. With abundant energy alone, does the power for us to enjoy, inter stellar travel is possible for us to find new homes, away from Earth..

Look again at this small lake, as it reflects our universe, in its sublime beauty. We should welcome a clear reflection as it shows another version of reality, a mirror into another existence. We live here and now, and this is our world. We are trapped in this time and place, of our own choosing. Even the shadows that we see, will disappear again, in the light of day, ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace, from day to day.’ Awake from this lethargy and find again, that center within oneself. Strive for its enlightenment, as that is the only purpose, we have in this life. To find the jewel, in the lotus of our heart; ‘Om padme namoh hum’, we meditate internally, so the outside, also becomes us or we become it. We have to become the ‘Ratnadhatamam,’ or the one who attains, the jewel of knowledge; and compassion, for all our fellow companions.   

For those who still need a defined path then devote yourself to Health and Education, of our next generations. They are our future, and we must nourish our portion of Earth, on their behalf. We must leave everything, at the least, as we found it; if we can’t improve, on the general human condition. Steps taken towards making others healthier, as in the case of the current crisis, or towards up skilling our labor force, for meeting future challenges, is important. We have the capability to plan ahead, we can literally write our own future, through enabling actions, in our community. The only lesson that I can provide in my humble experience, is to face up to Life’s Sunset, we must act, as if there is no tomorrow. Our life should be a dedication to truth, compassion and love; a vision of light, leading us away from darkness. Oftentimes, we find that the reflections of our minds, look better, than the original experience. Expect less, and life fulfills us, in its own way. Look up and see how it paints our heavens, to fill us with hope, of an even better tomorrow…

Blushing cloud will save us

There within the darkness, of the fading light,

Under the dark green shade, of the overhanging trees,

Lay the lake and its quiet waters, dark beyond the light,

Two sentinels stood, one on either side in white, in the breeze.

Yet the joy for this day is not yet complete from the skies,

In a burst of color, Blushing cloud will save us, from mediocrity,

In this drab life of limited choice, spring new wishes like fireflies,

In the reflection below the blush is mine, in my mendacity.

The sky has been painted by an impressionist in purple color,

The waves below have erased the memory of the sky’s imperfection,

In this moment who is this observed and who is this observer,

This is the now and here I stand, reflecting on my own reflection.

Rajiv Kapoor Jun 2020.

Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door. -Saul Bellow, writer, Nobel laureate (10 Jun 1915-2005)

Row My boat

There are two lights, that light my way,

The first from the heavens, on many holds sway,

The second from within, our life force arises,

This is the one, that will turn me to ashes,

Long have we wondered, at where we are going,

The learned have lovingly advised us, to start slowing,

The path before us, is not always clear,

Our loved ones, are not always near,

Where oh where in this uncertainty, do I row my boat,

There is only now where I exist, and my lonesome moat,

The whole universe is given to me, to explore,

It is up to me to light my lamp of inquiry, to restore,

That which was promised to me, when existence arose,

My covenant of wisdom with destiny, is mine alone,

So ask me not in innocence, on where I row my boat,

It is you who have confined me and reduced me, to this moat.

When all else is lost, and I cannot find the shore,

I remember again that hope, I kept, and row to love some more.

Rajiv Kapoor June 2020

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. -Anne Frank, Holocaust diarist (12 Jun 1929-1945)

Future incubators

I am surprised, to read that in the US, “ Research and development have been cut so much that the US is now in second place and high-quality higher education is becoming unaffordable for most middle-class students. Yet every time someone proposes new investments in our future, they are told that the nation is broke, massively in debt, and cannot afford new investments.”

The Jouirnal Blog continued, “The United States had plenty of money half a century ago. In the 1950s and 1960s, we paid down the huge World War II debt at a time when we maintained a much larger military than today and fought wars in Korea and Vietnam. We built the Interstate Highway System and much of the other physical infrastructure we use today. We funded vigorous research and development, including the fabulously expensive Apollo program. We supported higher education well enough that middle-class students could graduate from elite universities without crippling debt.”

I am surprised, as I always believed that the best years are ahead of us. Yet the article sounded as if our wild economy, and can-do attitude, is a setting Western sun. We have become a nation that refuses to invest in itself, it allows private business to thrive, at the cost of public expenditure. Who will build the future modes of transportation, or the new fuel cells and batteries? Future cities will house, millions in a new tech world. Future farms will be climate controlled. Flora and Fauna will be preserved in video, and reserves. Humans will use artificial companions, for living, and transportation. Entertainment will be through focused sensory stimulation experiences, including physical, chemical and mental stimulants. 

Traditionally we have been a nation of Innovators and Free Thinkers as part of the American Way. Unfortunately, the cost of fostering human social conditions, for this innovation and education, has been going up. Over the past 5 decades, cost of social justice and security, has largely drawn from the pocketbook of employees, instead of the pockets of the corporations. Even before Reagan the cry to lower taxes, on the corporate and Wall Street big wigs, had a quaint resonance, in the elected house and Senate. Lobbyist swarmed and payroll taxes doubled many times, since initiation. Corporate taxes continued to slide, even hailed today by current President Trump, as one of his proudest moment, in this White House.

It is time now, to once again invest in the American Spirit and our people. Ever since the revolution, we have always risen from the ashes of past wars, and failures, with even more strength and determination. We are on the cusp of another revolution, where we tax more, and invest more, into American roots. The roots will grow green shoots which will create the forests of tomorrow. These schools and, universities are incubators, of our future world. What we teach them today, as basic human values, will take our place; in the universe, of tomorrow May they live long and prosper, on our blue planet!

Peace of the Yogi

His associate spoke in high accolades, about the power of the Yogi. Then he took a freshly filled Chillum, and with the help of another devotee, he lit it, in rhythmic, deep, breathing. He seemed to time the breaths, to the rhythms; of the devotional music, playing in the background. The Associate Ashok, passed to the Yogi, his newly lit Chillum. Then he bowed, towards the setting sun. The yogi sat erect, and was framed by the setting sun, of red, and a horizon of orange clouds, with a golden lining.  He partook of the fire, and the smoke, and engulfed them all, into a different world. The chillum did its rounds, and the followers started to sway; to the heavenly music. It was a simple elemental beat, but seemed to have the variances, of the universe. Sometimes it sped up, and was the crashing of galaxies in our spatial universe. The music represented the change of the cosmic events around us. At other times it flowed slowly, like the river of time, then appeared to enter into a deep valley; rushing ever faster but reaching nowhere. It finally reached a crescendo leaving the audience afloat, on a vast ocean.

At last the Yogi pulled himself even more erect, in his posture. His magnificent chest had swelled in all its glory, when he had taken the Vayu breath, and stayed in his samadhi, still and composed. Having absorbed his fill, he did a deep discharge of breath, and the last of the smoke. He looked around him, as if focusing on the reality, of what was before him. He finally raised his head and eyes to the heavens, and the beautiful sight of the universe, passing into night. As all eyes seemed to turn to him, he raised his arms and spoke “Hear, me, here, here me now,”

The followers all turned, as the leaders hissed for silence, across the clearing. The Yogi and his companions, sat on a raised platform, with the group of musicians behind them, they followed the classical style, passed down for centuries on their drums, and musical instruments. They had learnt the accompanying music, from him, as the Yogi himself was trained, by the ancient Yogis, and their musicians, before him. They had played all day, with numerous breaks, to refresh, and meet others. Many far away devotes of the council, had gathered, for the Spring festival. Other leaders had brought their followers, and they now listened intently, as he spoke.

“The whole struggle is in our mind. My mind is not very different, from that of the Adi Yogi, whom we all want to emulate. He has passed beyond time, as we know it, and most of us will never rise to his wisdom… It is the way of the mind, that it stops all of us, from reaching the state of our Adi Yogi. This state is not a static state, and I will show you what is the way, to break this dependence, on a million years, of our mind’s conditioning. From the dawn of humanity, we have chased the question of eternity, and existence. Even our Vedas and Upanishads, have explored the relationship of our creator and us. We have come a long way, but still we have the critical question to ask of our Gods. How do we change our mind to experience, what the Adi Yogi, experiences?”

” So I will teach you all now, the path to this experience, but first you have to remove all the past, from your minds. Till we cleanse ourselves, through meditation and efforts, we cannot still our minds. Much less discipline our minds to become still, so we can move on, from this confusion of change, to our next level of awareness. Think on what I have said, and we will take up our minds, in the morning. We all must change, and remember with hard work, we can only do this together. This river of time and our memories are tied together, like an eternal rope, which makes up our mind. Freedom from this rope, demands a different passageway of our mind, to be first awakened, and then connected.”

He rose and then bent his arms and brought his hands together over his heart. He bowed in the direction that the sun had disappeared. He then walked down from the platform and headed off towards his cave in the mountain face. The tall evergreens were separated by a large path that led from this clearing towards the stream, that led to the cave. He walked erect and Ashok his devotee and companion followed closely behind as always. Ashok had also taken the role of scribe, and would spend a lot of time recording the discussions, and the debates, of the attendees. He and his companions would spend hours discussing various speakers, and their expressed views, were ascribed in the night. They lived in wooden log homes, with thatched roofs, and mud and stone walls of their small town.

They had ample water from the running stream, and had some enterprising young men had set up a water mill, and an irrigation system, long ago. They grew more than they needed and fed their visitors all year around, and gave the rest away, in charity to the needy. The neighboring gujjars raised their sheep, and their goats, in the valleys and fields, in the surrounding mountains. The local villagers fished in the autumn, for then the fish were plentiful. The Council always had the best variety of meals, for their varied visitors. Most of course were vegetarians, and largely satiated, by the whole grains and pulses, from the fields. The fruit orchards were ancient and well-kept, and so were the vegetable gardens. The famous nuts from the neighboring mountains, were traded in exchange for local largess, and served with compassion and love.  

Ashok remembered his grandfather telling him about a 20-year ancient drought, but in his lifetime he had seen only a few small droughts. The gods had been kind and livestock and fields had continued to flourish. Most of all Ashok was thankful for the current Yogi who had arrived 10 years ago, out of the forest with wild hair and fiery eyes. The head priest had seen something in the crazy creature and taken him directly into the high cave for discussions. He had not emerged for 3 months and wild rumors of his antics floated about, his working with the priest. Laments of pain so loud and on other days loud laughter, was heard, and then there would be long periods of silence.  

When he finally emerged, he was much changed. His wild hair was gone, and now was tamed into a tight bun above his head. He was now wearing the lion cloth of the yogi, and held a staff in one hand, and a wooden bowl in his other, measuring his total possessions. He had taken his vows of chastity and was ordained as a devote of the Head Priest. On that day our Head Priest spoke that he had visions of his arrival to our cave, many months ago. He whispered of his lineage from some ancient monastery, and his disappearance into the Home of Snow 10 years ago into the North. Fate and fortune led him on his travels to distance lands of Tibet, and the Far East, and Japan. He had sailed the seas and arrived back at the ports in Bengal. From there he made his way up the Gangetic Plain, strangely arriving back from his great journey, from our south.

Ashok finally bound up his work and decided to sleep. It was late in the night and as he lay down he saw a vision of the Yogi sitting in his samadhi as the man never seemed to sleep. He just sat there and meditated on this universe and it appeared to Ashok that the Universe existed in its order because of this Yogi. He seemed to exist beyond time and he looked forward to hearing him in the morning. As sleep took him he felt the Adi Yogi appear in his dream, suddenly his Yogi and the Adi Yogi seemed to merge into one. He was also swept into this flow of the great river, and gained the speed of flying stars, and worlds flashed by; yet in all of this change, he felt a strange peace, The peace of the yogi.