Guldasta

A bouquet of flowers picked along the way ….

love is labour June 2, 2010

Filed under: Ethics and Values,life,love,philosophy — gurdas @ :

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” ~Morrie Schwartz

So often is love considered to be an emotion that is born of unknown origins that we forget love is labour. Love in its highest form is a verb. It requires action. It requires effort. It demands that both giver and receiver indulge in the act of loving to improve the life of each other.

“Love never reasons but profusely gives; gives, like a thoughtless prodigal, its all, and trembles lest it has done too little.” ~Hannah More

This giving does not come easily. The roots of this tree have to spread wide and deep for the fruit to bear long and sweet. Otherwise there is the danger of the tree succumbing to the harsh winds of life. We must train ourselves to practice love. Khushwant Singh, on a visit to the Missionaries of Charity, could not bring upon him the love to care for the sick, old people that Mother Teresa would smilingly care for and so he put forth his question, “How can you care and love them?”. To which Mother replied, “I see Jesus everywhere.” Mother Teresa was living her own words, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” And she was not able to do this because she started with an ocean of unending love inside her. No, she started with labour and will. The ocean was created along the way. And she laboured to make the ocean grow everyday. Through dark hours and staggering odds. Her love was not an emotion to be enjoyed while it lasted. Her love was a creation nurtured with labour.

The most satisfying description of love I have come across was in Scott Peck‘s book ‘The Road Less Traveled‘. Scott defines love as “The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” The two pages that follow this rather simple definition contain a persuasive and uplifting discussion of love and labour. I find Scott’s use of “spiritual growth” as a tool to judge love somewhat exalted. For me, the desire to provide happiness and/or help is enough to qualify as love. Kindness, then, is an ingredient of love.

And one need not look so far and high as Mother Teresa for exemplary love. Somewhere around you is a mother that displays the same love, though in the restricted sphere of her children. When a child is conceived, the mother knows nothing of the child’s attributes. The child has done nothing for the mother. The child has not and cannot return any love until it is born and for a long time after that. And yet the mother will make significant sacrifices, smilingly take great pains for the betterment of her child. Yes, there is an attachment born out of possession here, but still, the expression of love happens without any real reciprocation by the child.

“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” ~Robert Heinlein

But, as we know from our own lives, it is uncommonly difficult to love. A loving soul is characterized by kindness and humility. A gentle disposition, a desire to help, and a desire to stay the course when there are no obvious reasons, are all ingredients of a loving soul. John Harrigan succinctly said, “People need loving the most when they deserve it the least.” In other words, what he is saying is that sometimes you will have to be able to love even without wanting to. And this is exactly where labour comes into the picture. It is easy to love someone who is ‘lovable’. But to be able to love any soul at any time, requires tremendous empathy and will. Most of us, including me, do not have the ability entirely. However, all of us have it in varying degrees. The more your capacity to love, the greater goodness you see around you.

I see love as a strong silk rope. Made with the strands of empathy, forgiveness, kindness, humility, goodness, acceptance, and hope. I believe true love is born out of the presence and practice of these faculties. We start with some mix of these traits and gain love. We then use that love and create more of each faculty, which in turn creates more love. The more you practise love, the more love you have to give. Such a beautiful cycle. True are the words of Mother Teresa. Once you know this, you also know that it is unwise to wait for love to happen first and everything else to follow. Love is not some magical, illogical, inexplicable emotion. That is infatuation. No, we start with some basic ingredients and cook love along the way. And then we serve love, with love.

“Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek & find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi

Love is extremely self nourishing. Before your love benefits anyone, it benefits you. May no day pass without your soul being drenched in the healing powers of love.

 

On a day like today February 13, 2010

Filed under: Ethics and Values,life,love — gurdas @ :
On a day like today

On a day like today

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Note: This piece was created about 10 years ago. My apologies to people who are conspicuous by absence.

 

The Constant Ambassador January 19, 2010

Filed under: ego,Ethics and Values,India,Inspiration,Me — gurdas @ :

That is what we are. Constant Ambassadors to what is outside of us. From what is inside of us – our self, genders, faiths, nationalities, and race to name a few. When you talk to the barista, or the waitress, or the bus driver, do not take your words or actions lightly. Because you represent not just a stranger. You represent yourself. Your smile and kind words would be remembered. Your heartfelt “thank you” would make somebody’s day. The Universe is keeping score, even if you are not.

And it always comes back. Yes, you reap what you sow. So keep your seeds top class. And water faithfully.

So I am from India. And I am a Sikh. And I am a man. That is three full time jobs. And I take each responsibility very seriously. And the ambition is sky high. Every person I cross paths with, must remember me as a gentleman, a thinking, loving, compassionate, and respectful human. And when they see any of my kind, may they proclaim welcome with a smile because I left them with one.

Too often we are consumed by petty short sightedness. How easy it is to be rude thinking the other person does not matter because you do not expect to run into them ever again. And then we wonder why someone was rude to us without reason. It is simple. Most of the time strangers are rude because someone like us was rude to them in the past. Imagine this; you meet a Mexican (or Indian or American or Chinese, whatever) woman who was very kind to you. She helped you with directions or offered to jump start your car or let you cross the road first with a smiling wave. What will you feel when you see a similar person again? Can you feel anger or hatred? NO! Your mind will race back to the pleasant experience from the past and you will at least make an effort to be nice.

I occasionally encounter stereotyping. Oh, so you are an Indian, so you must be so and so. Why? Partly because of the ignorance of the other person, the danger of a single story (from this talk by Chimamanda Adichie), and partly because they may have had one or two experiences that confirmed their stereotype image of an Indian. But what if every single Indian they meet breaks that stereotype? How long before they correct their image? Not very I’d say.

Our actions are what we bequeath to our children. I’d say we strive to leave them a world full of loving strangers.

 

Aye Maalik Tere Bande Hum December 20, 2009

Filed under: Ethics and Values,Inspiration,life,philosophy,poetry — gurdas @ :

The song ‘Aye Maalik Tere Bande Hum‘ from the 1957 classic Do Aankhen Barah Haath directed by V. Shantaram has a special place in my heart. For me, and for millions of other Indians, it is a prayer. The song pleads for the strength to be virtuous, embraces death as a reality, accepts human fraility, and implores God to take all our sins and weaknesses. Kudos to lyricist Bharat Vyas for penning an eternal classic.

ankhen0001

(photo borrowed from this page, which is a good read on the movie)

Lyrics (transliteration // translation)

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aye maalik tere bande hum  //  Lord, you are our creator
aysein hon hamaare karam  //  So be our deeds
naykee par chalein aur badhee se talein  //  May we walk the path of righteousness and refrain from evil
taaki hastein huye nikale dum  //  So that we may depart fulfilled and smiling
aye maalik tere bande hum  //  Lord, you are our creator

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badaa kamzor hai aadmi  // Frail is the human being
abhi laakhon hain isme kameen  //  With a million shortcomings
par tu joh khadaa hai dayalu badaa  //  But you are forgiving
teri kirpaa se dharti thamee  //  The world exists due to your benevolence
diya toone hamein jab janam  //  Since you have given us birth
tuhee jhelega hum sab ke gum  //  You will also bear our burdens
naykee par chalein aur badhee se talein  //  May we walk the path of righteousness and refrain from evil
taaki hastein huye nikale dum  //  So that we may depart fulfilled and smiling
aye maalik tere bande hum  //  Lord, you are our creator

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ye andhera ghanaa cha raha  //  The world is engulfed in darkness
tera insaan ghabara raha  //  Your human is fearful
ho raha bekhabar kuch na aata nazar  //  He is uninformed and blind
sukh ka sooraj chupaa ja raha  //  The light of peace and happiness is dimnishing
hai teri raushani mein joh dum  //  Such is the strength in your aura
tu amaavas ko kar de poonam  //  That even a moonless night glows bright
naykee par chalein aur badhee se talein  //  May we walk the path of righteousness and refrain from evil
taaki hastein huye nikale dum  //  So that we may depart fulfilled and smiling
aye maalik tere bande hum  //  Lord, you are our creator

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jab zulmon ka ho saamanaa  //  When we are faced with attrocities
tab tuhee hamein thamanaa  //  O Lord, hold us firm
woh burayee karein hum bhalayee bharein  //  We reply with kindness for their evil
nahi badle ki ho kamanaa  //  May there be no desire for revenge
badh uthe pyaar ka har kadam  //  May every step ahead be for love
aur mitein baeyr ka ye bharam  //  May every thought of enemity be banished
naykee par chalein aur badhee se talein  //  May we walk the path of righteousness and refrain from evil
taaki hastein huye nikale dum  //  So that we may depart fulfilled and smiling
aye maalik tere bande hum  //  Lord, you are our creator

 

The Metamorphosis October 8, 2009

Filed under: Ethics and Values,life,love,Me,philosophy — gurdas @ :
The Metamorphosis - From Larvae to Butterfly

The Metamorphosis - From Larva to Butterfly

 

At first you stop being greedy.

Then selfishness goes away.

Following which empathy comes in and sets the stage for love.

And then you give like it never belonged to you.

Finally, you receive.