Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Honesty

I think it is depression
I sleep a lot..
I get up and don't know why
I watch television...
I feign honesty, but I am not truly honest
True honesty is too painful, 
and does not always serve a purpose.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Reservations

My dearest darling Radhe,
My love.

Difficult it was 
for me to write those words. 
Such open confessions of sentiment cause me turmoil, 
spasms in the chest. The fear of sounding false.
The fear of unbelief in my own words.

It seems I have lost confidence in my love for you.
You have told me to disbelieve in it.
And I am trying hard,
and observe the passage of the stages of grief, 
beginning with the visceral disbelief in the loss.

What does one do when all the air leaves the balloon?
Where does one go when one stands atop a precipice?
What are the true signs of wisdom?
Ah, yes, this all certainly brought down a storm
on my smug sense of self
wreaked havoc with my sense of direction.

I am tired of examining this so-called love,
assessing whether it is good or bad, right or wrong.
Asking whether this love is real enough 
for me to cherish it or to miss it,
or simply a most powerful illusion, 
an irredeemable distraction
and the path to spiritual destruction..

And so I end up feeling like Radharani 
trying to excise Krishna from her heart, from her mind
by whatever distractions she is able to find,
as I explore the endless alleys and byways of YouTube

But all drugs dry up eventually
and that is when you revisit me...
as the external entertainments, 
the hypnosis of flicking through YouTube channels
relinquishes its hold   
there you are with me, once again, as one flesh 
I again feel your presence in my chest
on my skin, penetrating every one of my senses,
and so the words burst out 
"Radhe Radhe Radhe!
my dearest, my darling."

It is rare that I can give myself to it
in the full madness that I once knew
It has become the remembered speech of a player
in a remembered role, 
coming as automatically as an alarm clock. 
an un-conscious recital from the underlying YouTube reality,
the undercurrent of my very own life drama
and my frustrated ambivalence to it.

My obsession also had become a disturbance to you
Its legitimacy had been called into question. 
The line between love and insanity is thin.
So you had made a decision
many decisions actually
and you exercised decisiveness.
What else could you do?
Such games are the province of youth
and for us, in the dawn of dementia.
a foolish last grasp at the illusion of happiness.  

Do we never learn?
Is there no time when one outgrows
a belief in love in the flesh?

Love or lust. This is a philosophical path 
we have traipsed down many times before,
Even now, I believe that lust and love can join hands
and one can transcend the false self inherent in lust
and harness its power, ride it like a horse, 
in the cause of love, yes I do.

One lives that dream 
by allowing it to melt you both into a Yugal
searching together as One for prema transcendence..
The very idea of it has an inherent beauty,
that encompasses both the pains and pleasures of love..
Despite the passage of time 
and the inevitability of separation
will I now deny this love as illusion
just because it could never be real and permanent
in this temporary abode of inevitable loss and misery?

These reflections come now after years 
of battering my head against your wall
vomiting and diarrhetic as a cholera victim,
my liquid beauty more horrific with each cry of pain.
Horrific to you. Horrific to me.
And repeating it, repeating it again and again,
in all its horrific detail, hoping it can one day become a story
that has the simple profundity of a fairy tale.

Today perhaps there is a new courage 
that makes me write to you. 
Perhaps there really is an inevitability weighing down on me
whether for good or for evil.

But all this comes after I started writing to you again
after another determined silence. I am becoming stronger
I am feeling braver. I think that I may even be able to write again.

Perhaps it is only an illusion that someone
who loved me with pure lust that makes me think
I may still make a mark in this world
despite being but a speck of dust 
in infinite time and space.
And should it happen, I will still say, 
You made me do it.


Friday, April 19, 2019

I write to you, I wonder why

I write to you. I wonder why.
In theory, I am satisfied with your memory alone
The one alternative is to forget,
but at some point, I decided that this love for you…
even if it is nothing but lust…
was a value I would examine to the very end,
I would keep conducting this experiment
even without hope for verifiable results in this life.

But my memory of you is antiseptic,
it is isolated from its origin, like a medicine.
It is the active ingredient, which somehow
was transferred into me.

It has no beating of heads in disagreement
no pulling or pushing, no wanting no frustration of want;
It is the preserved essence in mind of you;
it is the sum total of everything you did to my senses,
the cell by cell invasion of your hladini power.
It is a conscious force, but I do not know it is you, I only guess.

And why should I want to reach out past the illusion of memory
to a "real" person, who comes with her own expectations
as many branched as the tree of life,
a text-book source of misery,
acclaimed by all the shastras of good will
as a danger to me, an elephant trap,
a honey trap, only to be stung by bees?
Yes, It is a vanity to think one will not be stung.

I know. The real you, you will tell me,
is the one who tells me to renounce,
and by your strength of will,
I have been bound to learn your lesson.

I fear you. I fear most of all that you would turn around
and change direction. That you would say, let's do it.
Then what would I do? What does an old pauper monk do with an old woman?

And yet it is answered: why do I write?
Do I still dream of a reconciliation of real you with memory you?

Memory is a good thing. I am an old man now
and so I believe in the inevitability of loss.
A parade of losses is the preparation for the final moment,
the final breath. What memories will glow in my brain at that moment?
The pheromones ignited by your love?
The Holy Name, and the thought of that mightiest of unions,
at the Soul of the very Universe?

Time I am, destroyer of worlds.
And so time grinds down my love,
ah but I was so sure it would never die.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Bhaktivinoda Thakur, lapsed Anglophile

What was it my parama gurudeva saw
in the rulers of the world, that recognized their weakness?
Those he admired to the end for their acuity
for their knowledge and science and philosophy
and for their language, its poets,
would dance one day to the tune of Nitai Gauranga
and the Holy Name, so he said.

With arms upraised and filled with joy, he said.
With their Bengali brethren, he said.

That Bengali brethren these civilized rulers thought
even lower than their own peasants back home.
They who thought themselves,
the very epitome of human attainment,
the very fruit of God's evolutionary desire tree,

Demonstrated by the time they could spend
choosing the correct clothing for the correct time of day
to .preserve the codes that marked
how the epitome of human civilization should behave:
perfect discipline in all things,.

The ruling class. Soldiers filled with disdain
Educated men, Eton Harrow Oxford Cambridge men,
with an educated curiosity, a sense of knowing
their own superiority in understanding
what the perfection of humanity should be,
along with an educated disdain for the penurious heathen,
the uneducated, the illiterate, the insular, the almost naked
even the best barely better than the lowest peasants
of their own island world.

Contempt even for the educated Indian,
even for the Anglophile Indian,
who was nothing better than a house servant
calquing his manners on the British master, inside and out,
what color of the skin made a difference
if one who had been thoroughly turned into Englishmen
equipped with the capacity to speak to the aristocrat
almost as an equal, but never as an equal,
always as a servant.

As a child, little Kedar went to gawk at the Mem Sahebs
and their clothing, the skirts and dresses and petticoats
the corsets, the bustles, up to their rouged faces and coiffed hair.
Witnessing the glitter of a society that consists of nothing but
polite talk with constant glib reference to the classics,
Latin, Greek, Shakespeare and the Good Book,
around tea, madeira or something stronger,
whatever the appropriate drink for the appropriate hour,

The uprightness, the discipline, the sharp intelligence
the inability to tolerate untruth,
who recognized truth as the force by which they ruled,
knowledge of weaponry, of military science
and then of all things technical and industrial,
overflowing into India with all the potential
of the modern world. What a glitter it was,
that glitters even stronger today in the global village..

So it was wisdom, some thought,
to recognize they could not be free
until they could play on the same pitch
with their masters,
they needed to master the crafts of the time
world standard. They needed to be able to compete..

Whom did Kedar meet that inspired him?
Was it Dall Saheb and the American Transcendentalists.
who could be persuaded that there was meaning in the Gita?
or a Jones who recognizes the divine beauty of the Gita Govinda,
or an Avalon entranced by the truth of Tantra,
that made him believe that the glory of spiritual India
would exercise its magic and triumph in the end?

Let the British strut and steer
with the energy of youth;
they would one day tire and turn inward
and yearn for the riches of the soul
that were the science that India had spent
dwelling on these many thousands of years..

The Thakur was an Anglophile
But the diet of Britishness, the meat,
the ever present spirits and cheroots,
finally brought him down.

He had served the powers
he knew the powers
he learned all he felt there was
to learn from the powers,
and in the end,
he believed he could meet them as equals on the turf of philosophy
of religious insight and practice, and show them the way.

If he was grateful to them for one thing
it was their devotion to Jesus
and aspiration for a universal brotherhood of man,
but he saw that they did not really know the science of love,
that thing the Savior of the East had brought.
They did not know the joy of prema bhakti,
the one lack that overrides all worldly attainments.
That is what he came to know and then to show.

Jai Bhaktivinoda Thakur.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Crappy poetry


Poems should be crafted
by those who love the language.
And I don't love English,
so I am a fool to think that
my untidy gushing of vomit-like sequences
of eloquence and insight deprived
sounds pertaining to the English language
should ever be called poetry.

Poetry is rasa dhvani.
It is the art of the unsaid,
the reverberation that both
spreads light and meaning
and burrows its way into one.

Like the arrows of a weak archer,
What good are a poet's words
if they do not make the hearer's head spin?

The words are just the tools that are used
to evoke the inexpressible, to suggest
something unsaid.

I am a dull and helpless lover
as bad at love as the untidy,
degraded drunkard is to drink.
I have only the most empty, primal scream,
which knows no capacity for self description.

To describe it clinically
would just be to say it is what happens when
a poor man finds a treasure and then loses it,
and can thenceforth think of nothing else;
it begs for a meaningful explanation
but cannot find it.


Monday, January 21, 2019

The anthropological history of love


The history  of books, the history of men
Is the story of the disruption in the flow of love.

That is the essence of human civilization.
It from the beginning was the creator of human civilization.

Did thought come first, or was it love?
When  love was seen to be good,
Intelligence was born. Love works.
And intelligence is there to make it work.
Better and better. Even if its end rule
Is that you must deceive the intelligence
In order to truly know love.

Your faith must be greater than your reason,
For without it reason knows not what to do.

There is no couple but for Radha and Krishna.

Freud's story of the birth of human self-awareness:
It came when the jealous young’uns got together and killed
The overbearing dominator, the alpha male, their father
Who hoarded all the females and enjoyed them at his leisure
And left the others to surreptitious canoodling under hidden branches.

After the parricide they were consumed by guilt
And so began to venerate his memory in contrition
Neurotically inventing ritual to expiate the guilt.
By exalting his memory, exaggerating his powers
internalizing whatever virtues they suddenly realized  
they had lost
By their sin against love.

They had fallen from an ordered paradise
And so intelligence was born
And the analysis of love was begun
And thus it was that
the human race began to grow up.


The Speaker and the Listener


I come back to you.
It comes that talking to you
Whether you listen or not
is the proper remedy for
this particular disease of being me.
I think certainly there is a hearer
At the end of this line. A listener.

You, my dear human person,
May listen or not, but when you listen
You give me life. And what is more Godly than that?

The 8.30 end meditation alarm sounds
And I am suddenly pursued by ecstasy.
Rasa is ecstasy. It flows inexplicably
But it means nothing but love for everything.
It is the golden jewel around which all the other purusharthas lie.

It was  not you who listened. It was God.
And if you stop listening that is also God.
It is the lessons that still remain unclear.
But the pursuit of ekanta nishtha has its own rewards.

So to speak to you becomes speaking to the world.
What has to be said to you is what has to be said to the world.
At least the world that has tattooed itself on me
Despite the best efforts I have to be someone or something
I am always just a series of layers.
The external personality is also not the self.
But a reflection of it.

I see your ears perk up.
Suddenly you think there is something meaningful here.
If not wisdom, it is perhaps a marker on the road to wisdom.
But the mystery I seek is that of the truest wisdom,
That of love.