Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Khala ka ghar nahin!*

Header change. From this haiku
in a nut shell
there is never
enough room
-Yu Chang
I move to another:
walking alone —
my face
-Hilary Tann

This little poem appealed to me whenever I read it. It is true, isn't it, that we are more sharply in focus in company, that we float at bit, blur about the edges when we are by ourselves, wake up sometimes not knowing who we are?

I jump to another thought now but there are invisible connections. When I was a young girl, I told myself that I was an individualist. That the West had it right - the person mattered, being subsumed in community as we run things here in the East was a scary idea. It was, of course, self preservation speaking. Over time there has been a volte face. I have come to admire the Eastern way. Did you know that the word dehaat (village) comes from deh, Hindi for the body? The village is seen as an organic entity, the people who dwell there do so like the many limbs and organs, all varied, all important, all integral. Of necessity then, the components must be more fluid, more malleable - less individual.

Swami Tejomayananda calls it sattvika jnana.
The hands, the head and the legs are all different, but in my understanding I know that all these form part of “me”... Suppose my finger accidentally pokes my eye, I will not cut off the finger because it has hurt my eye. I will use the same finger to rub my eye and console it. Also, if by mistake we bite the tongue, do we remove the teeth and punish them? No, because the teeth are also part of myself and are just as dear to me as every other part of my body. When there is a sense of oneness, there is love.

I have come to see that this letting go of oneself, this taking apart of 'me' as a highly desirable thing. It is easier said than done. Walking alone, my face might disassemble slightly, even better to sit with my face raised to the skies, then it does dissolve a bit.... but so difficult, so difficult!

In today's Deccan Chronicle, Sadia Dehlvi speaks about the whirling dervishes. She quotes Kabir Helminski, a reputed contemporary scholar and shaykh of the Mevlevi Order, who describes the state of the one who whirls: “There are many dimensions to this experience. Firstly, one has to be able to turn, and to do that one has to become empty inside. Empty, free from all internal dialogues, but fully aware. A state of balance is required to turn on an axis, so centred in one’s own being”.

Empty but aware. It seems to me, we can do nothing till we are able to hold contradictions comfortably, go nowhere till we transcend them.

* From Kabir:
Kabir yeh ghar prem ka, khala ka ghar nahin
sees utaare haath kar so pasey ghar mahin

कबीर यह घर प्रेम का, ख़ाला का घर नाहीं
सीस उतारे हाथ कर सो पसे घर माहीं

Kabir, this is the house of love, not your aunt's that you may come and go
You must hand over your head; only such a one may enter


Sunshine said...

Oh Sheetal! so beautiful.I come here rarely and randomly. And I have never been disappointed. I will come frequently and deliberately.

Sheetal said...

Thank you very much! and welcome, warmly.

Anonymous said...

this made me start googling for more of Kabir's dohas.. thanks..


Sheetal said...

Hello, Ashwini! so good to hear from you. are you blogging anywhere else these days?