Tuesday, April 28, 2009

BhimAnna – BharatRatna Shri Bhimsen Joshi

One of the best-loved and respected vocal exponents of Hindustani Shastriya Sangeet (Indian Classical Music), Bhimsen Joshi is now living the last quarter of his life. A giant, recognized in his own times, he has been recently honoured with India’s highest civilian award, the ‘Bharat Ratna’ (Jewel of India).

This blog posting is a small attempt to capture some of his magic.

It was at the ripe old age of 11 or 12 years that Bhimsen ran away from home in South-West India in order to ‘learn music’. And one of the most heavenly voices he heard in his early days and which inspired him to run away in search of a Guru, was that of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan Saheb and his ‘Piya Bin’, here below

He ‘had to’ sing like the Ustad, the urge became an obsession and so he ran away from home to North India, travelling on trains and begging and singing to feed his hunger: and above all trying to find the right Guru for himself. And yes, he learnt the local language while on the run. For 2 years he changed cities (and gurus) in search of ‘the Guru’. Finally, one noted vocalist heard him out and told him the the Guru he was looking-for was near his home-town itself: the noted vocalist Sawai Gandharva. Sawai Gandharva – who was a disciple of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. The journey had turned a full circle. From the age of 12 to 14, Bhimsen stayed away from his family (with no contact whatsoever), travelled and stayed at various places including Gwalior, Calcutta, Delhi and Jalandhar. But now it was time to return home. The son given up for lost, was returning, but music was still uppermost in his mind. The journey from being Bhimu, Bhimsen Joshi to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was only beginning.

Wikipedia says ‘His performances have been marked by spontaneity, accurate notes, dizzyingly-paced taans which make use of his exceptional voice training, and a mastery over rhythm.’ Here below is a glimpse of that

And another one

And a few more

a rare and unusual pairing of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Pandit Jasraj for a film

A Marathi Natyageet

Another Marathi Natyasangeet piece ‘Prem Seva Sharan’ at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyT_e4oLXbA

A Marathi devotional piece

An excerpt from a more recent soiree at the annual festival ‘Sawai Gandharva Music Festival’ that he started in memory of his Guru. The Festival is one of the premier music festivals of India featuring Indian classical music

Dhan Dhan Bhag Suhag Tero (Raag Kalashri)

His mother-tongue may have been Kannada and his motherland Karnataka but for a large part of his singing-life he operated out of Pune, Maharashtra and he sang many classical and semi-classical pieces in Marathi, the language of that state; and Marathis’ took to him instantly and loved him passionately as one of their own which indeed he is.

One of his famous semi-classical devotional piece in Marathi: ‘Mana Rama Rangi Rangale’

the Marathi Lyrics being

man ho ram rangi rangale
atmarangi rangale
man vishwrangi rangale

charani netra guntale
brung ambujatale
bhavtarangi rangale

One of the crowd favourites, a Kannada bhajan of Bhimsen: ‘Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma’: two videos: one from the Kannada film and the other a live audio recording. Original composition by Sage Purandaradasa (1484 - 1564)

The Kannada lyrics are at http://meerasubbarao.wordpress.com/2007/11/01/lyrics-for-bhagyada-lakshmi-baramma/ and the English translation at http://meerasubbarao.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/bhagyada-lakshmi-baramma-english-translation/. Also pasted below, first the Kannada lyrics, then the English translation

bhAgyada lakShmI bArammA nammamma nI sau
bhAgyada lakShmI bArammA

hejjaya mele hhejjeyanikkuta gejje kAlgaLa dhvaniya madutha
sajjana sAdhu pUjeya vELege majjigeyoLagina beNNeyante

kanaka vrStiya kareyuta bAre mana kAmanaya siddhiya tOrE
dinakara kOTi tEjadi hoLeva janakarAyana kumAri bega

attittalagalade bhaktara maneyali nitya mahOtsava nitya sumangaLa
satyava tOruva sAdhu sajjanara cittadi hoLevA puttaLi bombe

sankhye illAda bhAgyava koTTu kankaNa kaiya tiruvuta bAre
kunkumAnkite pankaja lOcane venkaTaramaNana binkada rANI

sakkare tuppada kAluve harisi shukravAradha pUjaya vELage
akkareyuLLa aLagiri rangana cokka purandara viThalana rANI

Oh, Goddess of Fortune ! Laksmidevi !
Do come slowly with your anklets making the jingling sound!
Come to us like butter emerging out of buttermilk when it is churned !

Come and shower on us a rain of gold and fufilll our aspirations !
Come with the brightness of countless number of rays of the sun !
Come and bless us; Oh, Devi, who has taken incarnation as Sitha !

Oh, lotus eyed Devi who is the pride of Mahavishnu!
Come and appear before us wearing the shining golden bracelets on your wrists and the auspicious vermilion mark on your forehead! Oh, Consort of Purandaravithala !

Welcome to You who shine auspiciously in the hearts of great sages !
Oh, Queen of Alagiri Ranga!
Come to our worship on Friday when streams of ghee and sugar will overflow !

And he has sung for a few Hindi movies. One of the earlier ones being ‘Ketaki Gulab Juhi’ for Basant Bahar-1956 (you may want to ignore the actor singing with Bhimsen’s playback on screen, for better effect)

And one of the more recent ones being, ‘Raghuvar Tum To Meri Laaj’ from Ankahi

A small interview with him

And if I remember http://fr.truveo.com/Vande-Mataram-Bhimsen-Joshi/id/951084895
was how India used to wake up to when the Doordarshan channels were the only ones around




Thursday, April 23, 2009

Helen, Queen Of The Nautch Girls

The actual documentary by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory probably boasts of little artistic merit and fails to rise above the ordinary. For the Indian film afficianado, however it serves as an important historical record. And for that alone, it is mildly watcheable

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

OshoSpeak – 2009: #10

From ‘Socrates. Poisoned Again after 25 centuries’

The most fundamental thing about religion is meditation………Meditation is the art of cleaning your mirror of all the dust that the society, the religions, the educational systems have poured on you; to take away everything that has not been born with you, to bring you to your absolute innocence……I call this ‘rebirth’. And after rebirth you are just a mirror

Whom do you think is the greatest Western philosopher?

Friedrich Nietzsche. It will surprise you, but Friedrich Nietzsche is the most misunderstood philosopher…….and he was more misunderstood because Adolf Hitler accepted him as his master.

He was not a fascist. No other philosopher in the West has such a deep insight into things. And his approach was so multidimensional that he could not write in the ordinary way philosophical treatises are written. He wrote in maxims………that became one of the reasons for misunderstanding him.

I have to ask You this esoteric question. How can You say with such certainty that this earth is the only place in the universe where life has blossomed, and consciousness has arisen? How do You know?

It is not an esoteric question; it belongs to the inner science of man. The moment one becomes enlightened, he is no longer confined in his own body; his vision is as big as the whole universe.

So when I said that this earth is the only place where life has blossomed, where not only life but consciousness has arisen, not only that but there have been a few people who have reached to the ultimate expression of consciousness – to me, that is godliness – I can say it with authority because it is my own vision...................

………..there is no planet other than earth where there exists something similar to man – not only alive………but man is also conscious of his life. To become conscious of one’s consciousness is the highest stage……………

To me it is an actual experience, and there are many experiences which I am not telling you about for the simple reason that they will look esoteric………….

I mention this point especially, because I am immensely concerned that life on the earth is not destroyed. It is existence’s most ambitious flight.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

OshoSpeak – 2009: #9

From ‘The True Sage. Talks on Hasidism’

There are religions – Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and many more – but they are religions, not the religion. They are the reflections of the moon in many kinds of minds, they are not the real moon. The moon is one………..When the religion is not a reflected one – when one comes face to face with reality without any minds whatsoever, when there is no mind between you and the truth – then there is born the religion.

Hasidism is the religion. Sufism is the religion. Zen is the religion. They differ only in names; otherwise they are all the same.

They don’t believe in creeds, ideologies, scriptures, dogmas, doctrines; they know the truth. And when you know the truth there is no need of scriptures.

In Roptchitz, the town where Rabbi Naftali
lived, it was the custom for rich people
whose houses stood isolated, or at the far
end of town, to hire men to watch over
their property by night.

Late one evening, when Rabbi Naftali was
skirting the woods which circled the city,
he met such a watchman walking up and down.
“For whom are you working?” he asked
The man told him, and then inquired in his turn,
“And for whom are you working, Rabbi?”
he asked. The words struck the zaddik like a
shaft. “I am not working for anybody just yet,”
he barely managed to say. Then he walked up
and down beside the man for a long time.
“Will you be my servant?” he finally asked.
“I should like to,” the man replied.
“but what would be my duties?”
“To remind me,” said Rabbi Naftali

When the son of the Rabbi of Lenshno was
a boy, he saw Rabbi Vitzhak of Vorki praying.
Full of amazement, he came running to his
father and asked how it was possible for
such a zaddik to pray so quietly and simply
without giving any sign of ecstasy. His father
answered. “A poor swimmer has to thrash
around in order to stay up in the water.
The perfect swimmer rests on the tide
and it carries him.”

It is reported that Rinzai, a great Zen master, was asked by a disciple that “I have left the whole world, renounced all – now why am I still to wait for nirvana? Why is the enlightenment not happening?”

Rinzai said, “You have left the world, now leave enlightenment also, otherwise it will not happen, because whatsoever you call enlightenment is nothing but the opposite polarity of your world………………..Drop enlightenment also.”

……………………In a single moment it is possible. But if you cling to the duality, then for lives together you can go on and on and on.

Boredom is one of the greatest problems of human life. No animal is ever bored……………No animal, no bird, no tree is ever bored; only human beings are bored – why? They have missed the natural flow of life, they have moved away from life………………Jesus says, “Nobody will be able to enter into my kingdom of God unless he is like a child.” What does he mean? What is the quality of a child? – he is fresh and never bored…………... his consciousness is so fresh that dust never settles on it.

Gurdjieff used to say that there are seven types of men……………The first three types are very ordinary……..The first ‘number one man’ Gurdjieff calls, is body oriented. He lives in the body……..he lives to eat. The second type of man…………is emotional……..sentimental. Number three is the intellectual……….They are almost on the same level…………in India…….the body oriented we have called the sudra. The feeling oriented…….we have called the kshatriya, the warrior…..the intellect oriented we have called the Brahmin, the intellectual, the intelligentsia.

The fourth, the vaishya, the businessman, is in fact not a type but an amalgamation of all the three.

………….These are the three types………..they are all blind.

……….Number four, Gurdjieff calls “one who has become aware.”………..who has become a little alert, who can see…………….With the number four, religion enters into the world.

………………number five, whose awareness has become settled…………he has his own inner light burning.
………….number six whose all discontentment has disappeared, who is absolutely content………….everything is attained, fulfilled; there is nothing to attain………..then why number seven?

With the number seven even contentment disappears……..no content, no discontent; no emptiness, no fullness. The number seven has become God himself. To the number seven we have called the avatara. A Buddha, a Mahavira, a Krishna, a Christ, they are number seven.

Zen masters hit their students – beat, throw them out of their houses and windows, jump on them sometimes. But one thing you should remember: they are not angry; that too is part of their compassion…………..it is possible only in Japan. In no other country is it possible, because a certain tradition is needed. For almost one thousand years this has been a tradition. So when a Zen master jumps and beats his disciple, the disciple understands the language……….when a Zen master beats the disciple, he accepts it in deep gratitude…………..Zen disciples deep down hanker for the day to come when the master will beat them. They wait, they pray for it………a strange tradition, but when it goes deep-rooted into the unconsciousness of a country, race, it functions.

Don’t try to practice virtue. Practice only one thing: awareness. Virtue follows it……….Once you enter into your own being and become rooted there, centered there, all, all happens because all the doors are open



Sunday, April 5, 2009

OshoSpeak – 2009: #8

From ‘Bauls. The Mystics of Celebration’

The Bauls are called Bauls because they are mad people. The word ‘Baul’ comes from the Sanskrit root vatul. It means mad, affected by wind…………..Bauls have nothing – no scripture…..no church, no temple……nothing whatsoever. A Baul is a man always on the road. He has no house………..Dance is his religion, singing is his worship. He does not even use the word ‘God’. The Baul word for God is Adhar Manush, the essential man………..He says, inside you and me, inside everybody, there is an essential being. To find that Adhar Manush, that essential man, is the whole search……..And he lives very spontaneously, because the Baul says, “If you want to reach to the Adhar Manush………the way goes through Sahaja Manush, the spontaneous man”

There are two traditions in India: one is the tradition of the Vedas, the other is the tradition of the Tantras. Vedas are more formal, more of the nature of rituals…….more social, organizational. Tantras are more individual – less concerned with rituals, forms, habits, more concerned with the essential………….Vedas………are……more puritan, more moralistic. Tantras are non-puritan, all-inclusive, more human, more earthy. Tantras say that everything has to be used and nothing is to be denied.

Bauls belong more to the Tantras than to the Vedas. There is only one improvement on the Tantras……Tantra is too technical. The very word ‘Tantra’ means technique. It is a little harsh, more scientific. Bauls are more poetic……..singers and dancers.

Tantra uses sex to rise higher than it, but it uses it. Sex becomes instrumental. Bauls say that is not very respectful……….They don’t use sex as a means; they delight in it, they enjoy it………..

In Tantra, you are to remain unattached……….absolutely neutral….like a observer, a witness…………….Thats where Bauls differ. They say it is too cruel, this passionless attitude is too cruel…….thats why I call their attitude more poetic, more human, and more worthy

From ‘When the Shoe Fits. Commentaries on the stories of the Taoist mystic Chuang Tzu’

When the Shoe Fits

Chu’i the draftsman could draw more perfect circles
freehand than with a compass

His fingers brought forth spontaneous forms from nowhere
His mind was meanwhile free and
without concern with what he was doing.

No application was needed,
his mind was perfectly simple and knew no obstacle.

So, when the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten;
when the belt fits, the belly is forgotten;
and when the heart is right, ‘for’ and ‘against’ are forgotten.

No drives, no compulsions, no needs, no attractions:
then your affairs are under control.
You are a free man.

Easy is right.
Begin right and you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy is to forget the right way
and forget that the going is easy.

Chuang Tzu is one of the rarest of flowerings, rarer even than a Buddha or a Jesus. Because Buddha and Jesus emphasize effort and Chuang Tzu emphasizes effortlessness. Much can be done through effort but much more can be done through effortlessness

Buddha worded for six years, continuously meditating, concentrating……….not a single stone was left unturned – he staked his whole being. But it was an effort, the ego was there; he failed…………………………failed absolutely……..he became absolutely hopeless. In that hopelessness he dropped all effort……………That night his sleep was of a different quality because there was no ego……….Buddha flowered that night and in the morning he was enlightened

Chuang Tzu says from the very beginning: Don’t make any effort. And he is right………..He says…………….You were born. What effort have you made to be born? You grow. What effort have you made to grow? You breathe. What effort have you made to breathe? Everything moves on its own, so why bother? Let life flow on its own; then you will be in a let-go. Don’t struggle………..Be a white cloud moving in the sky – no goal, going nowhere, just floating. That floating is the ultimate flowering

Chuang Tzu and his old master, Lao Tzu, are against culture. They are for nature, pure nature. Trees are in a better position than you……….because they are more alive, they dance more to the rhythm of nature.

Look at nature: everything is so perfect. Can you improve upon a rose?.........If a rose is beautiful without any effort on its part, why not man? What is wrong with man? If stars remain beautiful without any effort, without any of Patanjali’s yoga sutras, why not man? Man is part of nature, just as stars are

The Tower of the Spirit

The spirit has an impregnable tower which no danger
can disturb so long as the tower is guarded by the
invisible Protector who acts unconsciously, and whose
actions go astray when they become deliberate, reflexive
and intentional

The unconsciousness and entire sincerity of Tao are
disturbed by any effort at self-conscious demonstration
All such demonstrations are lies

When one displays himself in this ambigious way,
the world storms in and imprisons him.

He is no longer protected by the sincerity of Tao

Each new act is a new failure. If his acts are done in public,
in broad daylight, he will be punished by men.
If they are done in private and in secret, he will be
punished by spirits.

Let each one understand the meaning of sincerity
and guard against display.

He will be at peace with men and spirits and will act rightly,
unseen, in his own solitude, in the tower of his spirit.

Hindus have called this Rit. Jesus calls it the kingdom of God. Chuang Tzu calls it Tao. Whatsoever the word used, it means to stay close to one’s consciousness, and to flow with it without any conditions……..and to trust it.

Flight from the Shadow

There was a man who was so disturbed by the sight of his
own shadow and so displeased with his own footsteps, that
he determined to get rid of both.

The method he hit upon was to run away from them.
So he got up and ran.

But every time he put his foot down there was another step,
while his shadow kept up with him without the slightest

He attributed his failure to the fact that he was not running
fast enough. So he ran faster and faster, without stopping,
until he finally dropped dead.

He failed to realize that if he merely stepped into the shade,
his shadow would vanish, and if he sat down and stayed still,
there would be no more footsteps.

Man creates his own confusion just because he goes on rejecting himself, condemning himself……….Why don’t you accept yourself as you are? What is wrong? The whole existence accepts you are you are, but you don’t.

Monkey Mountain

The Prince of Wu took a boat to Monkey Mountain.
As soon as the monkeys saw him they all fled in panic and hid
in the treetops.

One monkey, however, remained, completely unconcerned,
swinging from branch to branch – an extraordinary display.

The prince shot an arrow at the monkey, but the monkey
dexterously caught the arrow in mid-flight.

At this the prince ordered his attendants to make a concerted
attack. In an instant the monkey was shot full of arrows
and fell dead.

Then the prince turned to his companion Yen Pu’i, “You see
what happened? This animal advertised his cleverness.
He trusted in his own skill. He thought no on e could touch
him. Remember that! Do not rely on distinction and talent
when you deal with men!”

When they returned home, Yen Pu’i became a disciple of a
sage to get rid of everything that made him outstanding.
He renounced every pleasure. He learned to hide every

Soon no one in the kingdom knew what to make of him. Thus
they held him in awe

Tao says that whatsoever is beautiful in you, valuable, hide it, because whenever a truth is hidden in the heart, it grows like a seed hidden in the earth

It has to be remembered that a Taoist master has never been crucified or poisoned. Never! Because…………they never say that they are higher than you, more divine that you, holier than you………..They behave in such a way that everybody around them will feel that they are superior to them

Symphony for a Seabird

You cannot put a big load in a small bag, nor can you with a
short rope, draw water from a deep well.

Have you not heard how a bird from the sea was blown
inshore and landed outside the capital of Lu?

The prince ordered a solemn reception, offered wine to the
seabird in the Sacred Precinct, called for musicians to play the
compositions of Shun, slaughtered cattle to nourish it.
Dazed with symphonies, the unhappy seabird died of despair.

How should you treat a bird? As yourself, or as a bird?
Ought not a bird to nest in deep woodland or fly
over meadow and marsh?

Ought it not to swim on river and pond, feed on eels
and fish, fly in formation with other waterfowl.
and rest in the reeds?

Bad enough for a seabird to be surrounded by men
and frightened by their voices! That was not enough!
They killed it with music!

Water is for fish, and air for men.
Natures differ, and needs with them.
Hence the wise men of old did not lay down
one measure for all.

The Turtle

Chuang Tzu with his bamboo pole was fishing in the Pu river.

The Prince of Chu sent two vice-chancellors with a formal
document: We hereby appoint you Prime Minister.

Chuang Tzu held his bamboo pole. Still watching the Pu river,
he said, “I am told there is a sacred tortoise offered and
canonized three thousand years ago, venerated by the prince,
wrapped in silk, in a precious shrine on an altar in the temple.”

“What do you think? Is it better to give up one’s life
and leave a sacred shell as an object of cult in a cloud of
incense for three thousand years, or to live as a plain turtle
dragging its tail in the mud?”

“For the turtle” said the vice-chancellor, “better to live and drag
its tail in the mud!”

“Go home!” said Chuang Tzu. “Leave me here to drag my tail in the mud.”

Man is Born in Tao

Fishes are born in water, man is born in Tao. If fishes, born in
water, seek the deep shadow of pond and pool,
all their needs are satisfied.

If man, born in Tao, sinks into the deep shadow of nonaction
to forget aggression and concern, he lacks nothing,
and his life is secure



Saturday, April 4, 2009

OshoSpeak – 2009: #7

From ‘Sufis. The People of the Path. Talks on Sufism / Vol 2’

Yes, it is a touch, it is a flame from one lamp to another lamp, a jump of the flame. Once you have felt it……………….u have become aware of the sacred……………..
‘So Sufis say the greatest blessing of life is to find a Master, one who knows, one who sees, one who is.

Man is a paradox. And man is the only animal, the only being, that is paradoxical…..
……….A tree is a tree, and a dog is a dog, but man is never in a state of isness. He is always becoming, growing.

Look into the eyes of a cow – how peaceful, calm, tranquil she is. There is no anxiety, no anguish, no clouds. Look into the eyes of a man. They are always cloudy……..

No synthesis is needed between a rosebush and the lotus – they are perfectly beautiful as they are. Lotus is lotus, rose is rose, Islam is Islam, Hinduism is Hinduism, Zen is Zen, Sufism is Sufism. And Judaism is Judaism, and Jainism is Jainism. They are perfectly beautiful as they are. They are not lacking anything

Iman Muhammed Baqir is said to have related this illustrative fable:

‘Finding I could speak the language of ants, I approached one and enquired, ‘What is God like? Does he resemble the ant?’’

‘He answered, “God! No, indeed – we have only a single sting, but God, he has two!” ’

That’s how all your religions and philosophies are – God is just your magnified roop, form. You have one sting, he has two. You live seventy years, he lives eternally……….Your God is your projected, reformed, modified, decorated form.

What is God? Al-Hillaj Mansoor says:

It is the gathering together than the silence
then the loss of words and the awareness
then the discovering and the nakedness.

And it is the fire clay then the fire
then the clarity and the cold
then the darkness then the sun.

And it is the orgy then the casting away of cares
then the wish and the approach
then the conjunction then the joy.

And it is the strain then the relaxation
then the disappearance and the separation
then the union……
then the fusion

What is God?

It depends on you………..There are as many Gods as there are possibilities of looking at God. It is natural.

It is said in the Bible that God created man in his own image……………..Just the contrary is the case. Man has created God in his own image.

When Nietzsche said ‘God is dead’, he was saying that all formulations of God up to now have become irrelevant. Man has gone beyond them; man has become more mature………………Look in the Old Testament. God is ferocious, very jealous………This seems to be a very primitive God; seems to be conceived of by a Genghis Khan – not very cultured, not very sophisticated yet.

The Hindu God is far more sophisticated. Krishna with his flute is far more cultured. But Buddha reaches to the very peak because he drops the idea of God. He talks about godliness……….Buddha drops the very idea. He says…………….Existence is full of divineness, bhagwata, but there is no God like a person sitting there on a golden throne controlling, managing, creating………….Now this is a far higher concept………….We make God more like a process……….Buddha……….says ‘God is creativity, not a creator.’

The whole philosophy of Sufism is to approach God as cosmic energy, with no concept. But we all have concepts and all concepts are juvenile, childish. God cannot be conceptualized.

God is not a person………It is human to think of God as a person…………Lao Tzu says ‘Tao’, but Tao doesn’t seem so warm. You cannot hug Tao. Tao cannot hug you. Buddha says ‘Dhamma’ – the law. But the law seems to be cold. You need some warm embrace, you need a God who can love you, who can caress you………This is human desire, desire for warmth………..You transform God into a person because of your need.

You will never meet God, remember……….The ego disappears and then there is experiencing – continuous, constant, eternal. That energy, that everflowing energy, is what God is.

…….Sufism is not a philosophy, it is a science. It does not believe in speculation, it believes in experience……..nothing else can be decisive………..Sufism ………….It wants you to drop all kinds of beliefs because they will be barriers to knowing…………Only when you are empty of all thought are your eyes ready, receptive. Then you can see.

………there are four ways to approach truth………..

The first is known in the East as karma yoga – the way of action………you can act with total absorption, and you can offer your act to God. You can act without becoming a doer………..The goal of karma yoga is freedom, moksha………..This is the path of Jainism, yoga and all action-oriented philosophies.

The second path is the path of knowledge, knowing – gyana yoga…..Thats what Krishnamurti goes on teaching…………You just have to attain to clarity………You just have to see that which is……..You simply have to drop your prejudices and……..your concepts, notions, which can interfere with reality………..And that changes you………The goal of the path of knowledge is truth……..The goal of the path of knowing – Vedanta, Hinduism, Sankhya………Ashtavakra, Krishnamurti – is truth, Brahman……………..

The third is bhakti yoga – the way of feeling. Love is the goal…………..Vaishnavas, Christianity, Islam…….Ramanuja, Vallabha…….they say that subject and object are not separate.

These are the three ordinary paths. Sufism is the fourth……..it is neither of action, nor of knowing, nor of feeling……….is the way of transcendence. In India this is called raja yoga – the royal path……..you simply accept whatsoever is…….In that very acceptance you go beyond. You remain just a witness…………Zen and Sufism belong to the fourth. That’s why Zen people say ‘the pathless path, the gateless gate’ – because there is no goal………….You just have to be silent and see.

The Sufi sage, Abdulalim of Fez, refused to teach, but from time to time would advise people about the way to proceed on the path.

One day a disciple, who was both incapable of learning and regularly driven abnormal by attending ‘mystical ceremonies’, visited him.

He asked, ‘How can I best profit from the teachings of the sages?’

The Sufi said, ‘I am happy to be able to tell you that I have an infallible method which corresponds to your capacity.’

‘And what is that, if I am allowed to hear it?’

‘Simply stop up your ears and think about radishes.’

‘Before, during or after the lectures and exercises?’

‘Instead of attending any of them’

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

P.G.Wodehouse – 7

From ‘The Swoop or How Clarence Saved England. A Tale of the Great Invasion’

Anyone who has anything to do with the higher diplomacy is aware that diplomatic language stands in a class by itself. It is a language specifically designed to deceive the chance listener.
Thus when Prince Otto, turning to Grand Duke Vodkakoff, said quietly. “I hear the crops are coming on nicely down Kent way,” the habitual frequenter of diplomatic circles would have understood, as did the Grand Duke, that what he really meant was, “Now about this business. What do you propose to do?”
………and the King of Bollygolla bent forward, deeply interested, to catch the Russian’s reply. Much would depend on this.
Vodkakoff carelessly flicked the ash off his cigarette.
“So I hear,” he said slowly, “But in Shropshire, they tell me, they are having trouble with the mangel-wurzels.”
The Prince frowned at this typical piece of shifty Russian diplomacy.
“How is your Highness getting on with your Highness’s rollerskating?” he enquired guardedly.
The Russian smiled a subtle smile.
“Poorly,” he said, “poorly. The last time I tried the outside edge I thought somebody had thrown the building at me.”
Prince Otto flushed. He was a plain, blunt man, and he hated this beating about the bush.
“Why does a chicken cross the road?” he demanded, almost angrily.
The Russian raised his eyebrows, and smiled, but made no reply. The prince, resolved to give him no chance of wriggling away from the point, pressed him hotly.
“Think of a number,” he cried. “Double it. Add ten. Take away the number you first thought of. Divide it by three, and what is the result?”
There was an awed silence. Surely the Russian, expert at evasion as he was, could not parry so direct a challenge as this.
He threw away his cigarette and lit a cigar.
“I understand,” he said, with a note of defiance in his voice, “that the Suffragettes, as a last resource, propose to capture Mr. Asquith and sing the Suffragette Anthem to him.”
A startled gasp ran round the table.
“Because the higher he flies, the fewer?” asked Prince Otto with sinister calm.
“Because the higher he flies, the fewer,” said the Russian smoothly, but with the smoothness of a treacherous sea.
There was another gasp. The situation was becoming alarmingly tense.
“You are plain-spoken, your Highness,” said Prince Otto slowly.

Prince Otto clenched his fists; but he had had a rigorously diplomatic up-bringing, and knew how to keep a hold on himself. When he spoke it was in the familiar language of diplomacy.
“The rain has stopped,” he said, “but the pavements are still wet underfoot. Has your grace taken the precaution to come out in a good stout pair of boots?”
The shaft plainly went home, but the Grand Duke’s manner, as he replied, was unruffled.
“Rain,” he said, “is always wet; but sometimes it is cold as well.”
“But it never falls upwards,” said the Prince, pointedly.
“Rarely, I understand. Your powers of observation are keen, my dear Prince.”
There was a silence; then the Prince, momentarily baffled, returned to the attack.
“The quickest way to get from Charing Cross to Hammersmith Broadway,” he said, “is to go by Underground.”
“Men have died in Hammersmith Broadway,” replied the Grand Duke suavely.
The Prince gritted his teeth. He was no match for his slippery adversary in a diplomatic dialogue, and he knew it.
“The sun rises in the East,” he cried, half-choking, “but it sets – it sets!”
“So does a hen,” was the cynical reply.
The last remnants of the Prince’s self-control were slipping away. This elusive, diplomatic conversation is a terrible strain if one is not in the mood for it. Its proper setting is the gay, glittering ballroom at some frivolous court.

From ‘Mr Mulliner Speaking’

‘….Mr Mulliner, you love that girl.’
‘I do.’
‘So do I’
‘You do?’
‘I do.’
Osbert felt a little embarrassed. All he could think of to say was that it made them seem like one great big family.
‘I have loved her since she was so high.’
‘How high?’ said Osbert, for the light was uncertain.
‘About so high. And I have always sworn that if every any man came between us; if ever any slinking, sneaking, pop-eyed, lop-eared son of a sea-cook attempted to rob me of that girl, I would…’
‘Er – what?’ asked Osbert
Bashford Braddock laughed a short, metallic laugh.
‘Did you ever hear what I did to the King of Mgumbo-Mgumbo?’
‘I didn’t even know there was a King of Mgumbo-Mgumbo.’
‘There isn’t – now,’ said Bashford Braddock
Osbert was conscious of a clammy, creeping sensation in the region of his spine.

Osbert stood petrified. He had never seen a burglar before, and he wished, now that he was seeing these, that it could have been arranged for him to do so through a telescope. At that close range, they gave him much the same feeling the prophet Daniel must have had on entering the lions’ den, before his relations with the animals had been established on their subsequent basis of easy camaraderie. He was thankful that when the breath which he had been holding for some eighty seconds at length forced itself out in a loud gasp, the noise was drowned by the popping of a cork.

From ‘The Man with Two Left Feet and Other Stories’

If you can imagine a fond father whose only son has hit him with a brick, jumped on his stomach, and then gone off with all his money, you have a pretty good notion of how poor old Izzy looked.

‘You come to me an hour a day, and, if you haven’t two left feet, we’ll make you the pet of society in a month.’
‘Is that so?’
‘It sure is. I never had a failure yet with a pupe, except one. And that wasn’t my fault.’
‘Had he two left feet?’
‘Hadnt any feet at all. Fell off the roof after the second lesson, and had to have ‘em cut off him. At that, I could have learned him to tango with wooden legs, only he got kind of discouraged. Well, see you Monday, Bill. Be good.’
And the kindly old soul, retrieving her chewing gum from the panel of the door where she had placed it to facilitate conversation, dismissed him.

From ‘The Prince and Betty’

((I knew that P.G.Wodehouse has said some not so complimentary things about black people in some of his books. And a lot has been said online about this tendency of his. And on those same lines the below sentence about Hindoos too surprised me. But I guess that’s how it was in those days.))

……I’m sure people don’t like those nasty Hindoos. I am quite nervous myself when I go into the Indian room. They look at me so oddly

Tears are the Turkish bath of the soul. Nature never intended women to pass dry-eyed through crises of emotion

…..his remarks sound like the output of a gramophone with a hot potato in its mouth

The behavior of the New York policeman in affairs of this kind is based on principles of the soundest practical wisdom. The unthinking man would run in and attempt to crush the combat in its earliest and fiercest stages. The New York policeman, knowing the importance of his safety, and the insignificance of the gangsman’s, permits the opposing forces to hammer each other into a certain distaste for battle, and then, when both sides have begun to have enough of it, rushes in himself and clubs everything in sight. It is an admirable process in its results, but it is sure rather than swift.

OshoSpeak – 2009: #6

From ‘The Perfect Master Volume 1. Talks on Sufi Stories’

A certain man decided that he would seek the Perfect Master.

He read many books, visited sage after sage, listened, discussed and practiced, but he always found himself doubting or unsure.

After twenty years he met a man whose every word and action corresponded with his idea of the totally realized man.

The traveler lost no time. “You,” he said, “seem to me to be the Perfect Master. If you are, my journey is at an end.”

“I am, indeed, described by that name,” said the Master.

“Then, I beg of you, accept me as a disciple.”

“That,” said the Master, “I cannot do; for while you may desire the Perfect Master, he, in turn, requires only the Perfect Pupil”

….who are you?…….from where have you gathered? from books? from discussions? from arguments? They are all borrowed. And in your ignorance you have gathered all kinds of nonsense.
………How can you understand the Koran? To understand…..you will need the heart of a Mohammed. How can you understand the Geeta? To understand…..you will need Krishna-consciousness

The ancient Jews had a word; that word is ‘maranatha’ – it means “Come, Lord, come!” That is prayer. “I am ready. My heart is open for you! I am waiting. Come, Lord, come!”

The Buddhist moves by negating: This is not the truth, that is not the truth – neti, neti – neither this nor that…..When you have eliminated all, that which remains and cannot be eliminated any more is the truth.

Sufism is based on positivity. Don’t negate, don’t use no, say yes……Don’t think of ugliness, misery, think of beauty and joy.

Both are there. And you cannot use both together – you will go mad if you use both together……….One has to use one; the other will be there but as a shadow, just complementary to it.

In Zen you use no………..People who follow Zen reach…….That is their way.

The Sufi way is just the opposite……..and slowly slowly, it arrives at the same goal………..it flows through the valleys and mountains of love.

Zen flows through a desert land. The desert also has its own beauty………..If you are a lover of the desert, don’t be worried about it. People have reached through the desert to the ultimate. But if you are not, then there is no need to torture yourself in the desert. There are green valleys too.

Sufism moves through green valleys. Now this too is very strange, but that is how the mind functions: Sufism was born in a desert; Zen was born in a green valley. Maybe that’s why it happened so.

…………….Sufis talk about love, of paradise……They think of God as the Beloved. They talk about wine…….they talk about drunkenness

…………..Feel both. Feel Sufi dancing, and feel vipassana. And whatsoever fits with you …..and when something fits, you will know………….suddenly everything falls in tune, a great harmony arises.

……………And never impose your path on anybody else, never, because that may not be the path for the other. Share your joy, but never try to convert anybody to your principle….never become a missionary. The word ‘missionary’ is dirty

I talk to you about Sufism and about Zen so that one day you can go beyond both. You have to go beyond all standpoints!......beyond all kinds of principles, dogmas, paths, methods, techniques…….I am neither theist nor an atheist, neither a Hindu nor a Mohammedan,

I am simply awareness – full of love. You can also become that, because whatsoever I have become you can become, because wherever you are I was there one day, with the same agony, the same suffering………….Thats why I say you can also be just like me.

A Sufi teacher was visited by a number of people of various faiths who said to him, “Accept us as your disciples, for we see that there is no remaining truth in our religions, and we are certain that what you are teaching is the one true path.”

The Sufi said, “Have you heard of the Mongol Halaku Khan and his invasion of Syria.? Let me tell you.”

“The Vizier Ahmad of the Caliph Mustasim of Baghdad invited the Mongol to invade his master’s dominions. When Halaku had wont the battle of Baghdad, Ahmad went out to meet him, to be rewarded. Halaku said, ‘Do you seek your recompense?’ and the Vizier answered, ‘Yes’”

“Halaku told him, ‘You have betrayed your own master to me, and yet you expect me to believe that you will be faithful to me.’ He ordered that Ahmad should be hanged.”

“Before you ask anyone to accept you, ask yourself whether it is not simply because you have not followed the path of your own teacher. If you are satisfied about this, then come and ask to become disciples.”

Real meditation is Zen, vipassana………is doing nothing but to sit silently, doing nothing………….There is no other technique…..no mantra has to be repeated….no prayer……no god’s name…….You simply sit….but that is the hardest thing to do in the world. Looks so simple!

Sitting silently,
Doing nothing
And the spring comes
And the grass grows by itself………..

……..Just allowing your existence as it is without covering it in any way.