Guldasta

A bouquet of flowers picked along the way ….

giving thanks November 25, 2010

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

Thank You

To those who did not help, for introducing me to life
To those who helped, for upholding my belief in humanity

To those who were impatient, for helping me practice patience
To those who were patient, for giving me the space to be and become

To those who were weak, for the opportunity to be strong (for you)
To those who were strong, for inspiring me

To those who were dishonest, for the examples that it is just not worth it
To those who were honest, for telling me it is worth it

To those who were unkind, for testing my ideals (and hopefully I lived up to them)
To those who were kind, for encouraging me to be the same

To those who did not love, for the moments of soul searching
To those who were loving, for showing me the only way to live

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A true soldier’s prayer June 28, 2010

Filed under: Ethics and Values,Inspiration,Me,philosophy,Religion — gurdas @ :

If I were given the choice to meet any one person in history, my pick would be Guru Gobind Singh. A figure unlike any other,  a soul most extraordinary. The 10th guru of the Sikh faith, fought battles against tremendous odds, lost all four sons in the struggle for the right to practice a religion of one’s choice, was a stellar poet in Persian, and instilled in the Sikhs a light that shines bright to this day. All of that in the brief 43 years he lived.

Guru Gobind Singh

Guru Gobind Singh

देह शिव वर मोहे इही
शुभ कर्मन ते कभू न तारों|
न दरों अरिसों जब जाए लरों
निष्चे कर अपनी जीत करों|
आर सिखाहों अपने ही मन को
एह लालाचाहों गुण तेओ उचरों|
जब आव की औध निदान बने
अति ही रण में तब जूझ मरों|

(transliteration)

Deh Shiva var mohe ihai
Shubha karman te kabhu na taron
Na daron arison jab jae laron
Nishche kar apni jeet karon
Ar sikhahon apni hi man ko
Eh lalachahon gun teo uchron
Jab aav ki audh nidaan bane
Ati hi ran main tab jujh maron

(translation)

O Lord give me this blessing
That I may never be deterred from good deeds
That I may have no fear while fighting against the enemy
And that I may triumph certainly
May I educate my conscience
To crave singing your praises
And when the last moment comes
I may fall fighting in the battlefield

Guru Gobind Singh (गुरु गोबिंद सिंह), 10th Sikh Guru, 1666-1708

Note: The image is from here. My home for the first 18 years of my life had this exact framed painting and I would like to pay my regards to the painter, Sobha Singh, whose works of Sikh gurus are without parallel.

 

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.

 

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)

.

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

.

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

.

ye andhera ghanaa cha raha  //  The world is engulfed in darkness
tera insaan ghabara raha  //  Your man 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

.

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

 

keep walking November 25, 2009

Filed under: life,love,philosophy — gurdas @ :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationships gain depth in leaps and bounds and rarely (if ever) is this process gradual. Yes, your effort in understanding a relationship and your investment of time and labour is everyday, but this is simply preparation for the big tests that life throws at you.

Bonding does not happen under ordinary circumstances.

A good example could be strangers thrown into a difficult situation, say a train wreck. All the years spent learning and understanding concepts of team work is simply preparation for the fight to survive this tragedy. And it is well-known that people and families who were complete strangers before a tragedy, become life long friends afterwards. So, what makes this happen?

I think tragedies and difficult times reveal our true identities and force the untainted human to step out of our everyday protective shells. We reset our priorities to the very basic needs, and since these needs are more or less similar across humans, everyone’s priorities get aligned. One can learn from this and bring the same joy of growing together in daily lives. By creating more situations where you have some if not all priorities aligned. Say going on a survival trek. Or playing a game of tennis. But these are by design. The big challenge and big rewards is learning to survive together the unplanned battles. From the ‘ordinary’, like the arguments that start from the kitchen or living room and always end up in the bed room to the ‘extraordinary’, like the loss of a child.

An amazing thing that can happen inside the conflict bubble is the act of placing the other before oneself. This is the magic moment. In a relationship between honest individuals, the act of giving up reigns supreme in creating a bond. When we give up, we expose a vulnerability even while the act itself is that of strength. I think Nature designed goodness to be recognizable. When you give up, you put your goodness on the table, where it gets identified, and that is what creates the bond. This act of extending yourself unconditionally is also known as love.

Relationships are journeys of the heart. To go far all you have to do is keep your love, and keep walking.

 

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.

 

Hope is Dead! Long live Hope! May 6, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration,life,philosophy,poetry — gurdas @ :

Full were my pockets and my heart
For Hope dwelled in both these parts
She played around with me all day
And in the night, beside my bed she lay

She held my hands in troubled dreams
And caressed my forehead to settle me
Her peaceful eyes had me smile
And utter ever so often “I can walk for another mile!”

She walked ahead and I followed her
Blind to the misery all about me
But even when I did look around
I saw that Hope is abound

In the worker’s sweat
In the bookie’s bet
In the mother’s eye
And the lawyer’s lie

She is most impartial and answers
To the small, big, one and all
But there is such a thing as limit
And people just forgot about it

The greed and violence of the crowds
Hit Hope a little too loud
She fell unconscious and her breath came slow
Her slender body could not take the blow

With Ms. Hope falling sick, Doctor Courage was called
A big sturdy man he is, almost like a wall
He checked her pulse and peeked in her eye
“She is dead!” he exclaimed, and gave a sigh

– – –

I wrote this poem almost a year and a half ago and then forgot to publish it. And while it gives the impression of being tragic, I had penned it to humour the callousness displayed by people.