Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

Kitchen musings

July 10, 2019

On Monday, I was chopping the spinach the workers in the field gave us on Sunday. They gave us a big bunch and wouldn’t take money for it, so we divided up the bunch between ourselves.


As I chop, I muse on the fact that all this respectable-looking amount will boil down to just a few teaspoonfuls. So, too, it is with ambitions and desires….the overwhelming, dominating aims and longings of today will melt down into tiny, insignificant things, in the entirety of life. And like the spinach, other wants and needs and must-haves will take their place!

I must be careful…

November 5, 2014

A lesson I have learnt from the moon.

I may imagine that I am carefully showing only my illuminated, best parts to the world…but my dark side will also show….


Life and death…and thoughts

September 25, 2014

ஜென்மம் நிறைந்தது சென்றவர் வாழ்க
சிந்தை கலங்கிட வந்தவர் வாழ்க
நீரில் மிதந்திடும் கண்களும் காய்க
நிம்மதி நிம்மதி இவ்விடம் சூழ்க

The life is over; hail to the person who left.
Hail to the person who concerned us.
Let the eyes swimming in tears dry up;
Let peace and calm prevail.

ஜனனமும் பூமியில் புதியது இல்லை
மரணத்தை போல் ஒரு பழையதும் இல்லை
இரண்டும் இல்லாவிடில் இயற்கையும் இல்லை
இயற்கையின் ஆணைதான் ஞானத்தின் எல்லை

Birth is nothing new upon this earth.
There is nothing older than death.
Without both, there is no Nature.
The laws of Nature are the far reaches of wisdom.

பாசமுலவிய கண்களும் எங்கே
பாய்ந்து துலாவிய கைகளும் எங்கே
தேசம் அளாவிய கால்களும் எங்கே
தீ உண்டதென்றது சாம்பலும் இங்கே

Where are the eyes filled with love?
Where are the hands that moved?
Where are the feet that straddled this earth
There are only the ashes, after the consuming fire.

கண்ணில் தெரிந்தது காற்றுடன் போக
மண்ணில் பிறந்தது மண்ணுடன் சேர்க
எலும்பு சதை கொண்ட உருவங்கள் போக
எச்சங்களால் அந்த இன்னுயிர் வாழ்க

What one could see, goes with the wind.
What is born on earth, returns to the earth.
The form made of flesh and bones disappears
May the soul live forever.

பிறப்பு இல்லாமலே நாளொன்று இல்லை
இறப்பு இல்லாமலும் நாளொன்று இல்லை
நேசத்தினால் வரும் நினைவுகள் தொல்லை
மறதியை போல் ஒரு மாமருந்தில்லை

There is no day without a birth
There is no day without a death
The memories born out of love trouble us.
There is no medicine like forgettin.

கடல் தொடும் ஆறுகள் கலங்குவதில்லை
தரை தொடும் தரைகள் அழுவதும் இல்லை
நதி மழை போன்றதே விதி ஒன்று கண்டும்
மதி கொண்ட மானுடர் மயங்குவதென்ன

The rivers which the ocean touches, do not worry;
The lands that touch other lands, do not weep.
When they percieve a Fate that is a like a river or rain
Why do intelligent humans get enmeshed?

மரணத்தினால் சில கோவங்கள் தீரும்
மரணத்தினால் சில சாபங்கள் தீரும்
வேதம் சொல்லாததை மரணங்கள் கூறும்
விதை ஒன்று வீழ்ந்திடில் செடி வந்து சேரும்

With death, some angers will cease.
With death, some curses will end.
Death clarifies what even the Vedas do not say.
Where a seed falls, a plant will rise.

பூமிக்கு நாமொரு யாத்திரை வந்தோம்
யாத்திரை தீருமுன் நித்திரை கொண்டோம்
நித்திரை போவது நியதி என்றாலும்
யாத்திரை என்பது தொடர் கதையாகும்

We came to this earth on a journey
Before journey’s end, we fell asleep.
Though sleeping is in our destiny,
Our journey is a serial tale.

தென்றலின் பூங்கரம் தீண்டிடும் போதும்
சூரிய கீற்றொளி தோன்றிடும் போதும்
மழழையின் தேன்மொழி செவியுறும் போதும்
மாண்டவர் எம்முடன் வாழ்ந்திட கூடும்

When the soft southern breeze touches us,
When the rays of the rising sun touch us,
When we hear the honeyed sound of the rain,
Those who are departed, may live with us again.

மாண்டவர் சுவாசங்கள் காற்றுடன் சேர்க
தூயவர் கண்ணொளி சூரியன் சேர்க
பூதங்கள் ஐந்திலும் உன்னுடல் சேர்க
போனவர் புண்ணியம் எம்முடன் சேர்க

May the breath of the departed mix with the breeze.
May the light of their eyes mingle with the sun.
May your body merge with the Five Elements
May the good deeds of the departed belong to us.

போனவர் புண்ணியம் எம்முடன் சேர்க
போனவர் புண்ணியம் எம்முடன் சேர்க

May the good deeds of the departed belong to us.
May the good deeds of the departed belong to us.

Here’s the transliteration and a much better translation by R Shankar:

janmam niRaindadu senRavar vAzhga
sindai kalangiDa vandavar vAzhga
nIril midandiDum kaNgaLum kAyga
nimmadi nimmadi ivviDam sUzhga
Life was full, blessed be the departed
Blessed be the ones who made us grieve
May eyes that swim in tears dry out
May tranquility pervade, here and everywhere

jananamum bhUmiyil pudiyadu illai
maraNattai pOl oru pazhaiyadum illai
iraNDum illAviDil iyaRkaiyum illai
iyaRkaiyin ANaidAn nyAnattin ellai
Birth on this earth is nothing new
Nothing more timeworn than death
But without them natural order will perish
The bounds of knowledge are but nature’s mandates

pAsamulAviya kaNgaLum engE
pAyndu tuzhAviya kaigaLum engE
dEsam aLAviya kAlgaLum engE
tI uNDadenRadu sAmbalum ingE
Where are the loving eyes?
Where are the hands that leapt to feel and search?
Where are the feet that measured the world?
Ashes and left-overs (from fire’s meal) are all that remain

kaNNil terindadu kATRuDan pOga
maNNil piRandadu maNNuDan sErga
elumbu sadai koNDa uruvangaL pOga
eccangaLAl anda innuyir vAzhga
What was evident has gone with the wind
Born of the earth, is now unto the earth
Skin and bone have evanesced
May that sweet life live on despite defects

piRappu illAmalE nALonRu illai
iRappu illAmalum nALonRu illai
nEsattinAl varum ninaivugaL tollai
maRadiyai pOl oru mAmarundillai
A day without birth isn’t possible
Nor a day without death
Loving thoughts are the malady
There’s no panacea like amnesia

kaDal toDum ARugaL kalanguvadillai
tarai toDum tAraigaL azhuvadum illai
nadi mazhai pOnRadE vidhi enRu kaNDum
madi koNDa mAnuDar mayanguvadenna
Rivers draining in the ocean are not distressed
Rays touching the ground do not shed tears
Knowing that rivers and rain are but fate
Why are intelligent men bewildered

maraNattinAl sila kOpangaL tIrum
maraNattinAl sila sApangaL tIrum
vEdam sollAdadai maraNangaL kURum
vidai onRu vIzhndiDil seDi vandu sErum
Wrath expires with death
Imprecations vanish with death
What scriptures do not, death does teach
If a seed falls, a tree will result

bhUmikku nAmoru yAttirai vandOm
yAttirai tIrumun nittirai koNDOm
nittirai pOvadu niyadi enRAlum
yAttirai enbadu toDar kadaiyAgum
We’ve come on a journey to this earth
We’ve gone to sleep before journey’s end
Even if sleep were pre-ordained
The journey itself is without end

tenRalin pUnkaram tINDiDum pOdum
sUriya kITRoLi tOnRiDum pOdum
mazhalaiyin tEnmozhi seviyuRum pOdum
mANDavar emmuDan vAzhndiDa kUDum
When the gentle fingers of the wind caress
When a sliver of sunlight sparkles
When the prattle of babes fills our ears
The dead come back to our lives

mANDavar suvAsangaL kATRuDan sErga
tUyavar kaNNoLi sUriyan sErga
bhUtangaL aindilum unnuDal sErga
pOnavar puNNiyam emmuDan sErga
May the breath of the dead mingle with the wind
May the brightness of their eyes brighten the sun
May their bodies become one with the elements
May their virtue become ours

The departure

July 2, 2014


I saw this scene,
It was a metaphor to me.
When the soul wants to leave
The cage, and depart
For the spaces beyond,
It cannot wait.
It needs no gates or pathways;
Through the very bones,
Through the grid,
It passes, leaving behind
Just the shell of what was once inhabited.
The fence cannot hold it back
Once the call for departure comes.
Mute, devoid of the presence
That has gone,
The fence stands, just showing
How, inside it, once, was a soul
That is now free.

Life, and letting go……

June 28, 2014

I am Sweden for a few weeks; when I went around a jumble sale yesterday, I had no cash whatsover, and even if I had some, I knew I would only be accumulating junk that would be of no use to me or the person I am staying with. This allowed me to go around the sale area without buying anything.


Coming back home, I mused upon the fact that this is a metaphor for my life, too. If I lack the cash (the ability to get attached to something) I can go through life enjoying everything without getting too attached to it, bringing it “home” and being lumbered with it….


At the jumble sale, I had a credit card that was not accepted. I accept that I do need some money….some attachment…to get me through life…but how can I ensure that I will have only the really important attachments? At the jumble sale, the decision was taken for me, but in life, I will have to make these decisions…and my mind is too fickle, too caught by what is glittering and meretricious, and I squander away my peace of spirit for “baggage” that only weighs me down….


After my divorce, when KM moved out of the house, he was kind enough to have the apartment painted before my return. He’d packed a lot of bric-a-brac away, like the Swarovsky crystal, my collection of Ganeshas, the life-like miniature vegetables I bought in Dakshineswar….and I have never bothered to unpack them, since I returned (this was in 2012.) I actually feel the relief of not having to dust and clean them regularly….I have learnt, therefore, to shed *some* baggage. But the journey of learning to let go, is still very long….

The moon and the star

May 2, 2014


If you were the moon and I was a star,
We would have a home in the sky
People would see you from afar
I’d have the right to look on you from close by!

Tumkur visit, 010514

The first haircut, 160314

March 17, 2014

AM writes:

Today my little baby transformed shockingly into someone else. The head shaving ritual served me a spiritual lesson regarding the mortal body in multiple ways. Hair gives our bodies a significant amount of identity and character. Without any, my little guy seems shockingly different, even to the mother whose body he is still a part of. As he glanced into the mirror I saw surprise in his eyes, but there was also a disarmingly fast acceptance. As though he has a much easier time disengaging from the attachment to our specific familiarity with earthly “clothes”. I am not able to articulate my lesson today. I have a sense of loss for the mischievous little baby whose wispy, soft hair frequently enhanced his mischievous eyes by hiding them. And in that loss is the voice of God trying to tell me about the body being a utilitarian vessel, a vehicle of the soul (Side note: with hair – Acura, without – Scion XB). Hair loss through age, or treatment of a disease also seem to speak to me about the fragility of what we embrace as the manifestation of a person. It locks and limits

read the wiki entry
the spirit to that particular look. Picture every birthing center and maternity ward as a runway for the fashion designer Gods in charge of birth (most of them), and your soul is forever zipped into whatever was in vogue the week that you were born. I find myself disturbed that I am not more connected to the spirit of my own son. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to today’s actions, so as to invite myself to recalibrate.
The Wiki says: “In Hindu tradition, the hair from birth is associated with undesirable traits from past lives. Thus at the time of the mundan, the child is freshly shaven to signify freedom from the past and moving into the future. It is also said that the shaving of the hair stimulates proper growth of the brain and nerves, and that the sikha, a tuft at the crown of the head, protects the memory.”

read the entry

Jigsaw Puzzle, 100913

September 12, 2013

Life…is fitting together the pieces
And making sense of it.
Your parent’s there to guide you
If the pieces don’t fit!


St.Louis, 100913.


August 23, 2013

The piquant and witty observations of “shEr”

here the Wiki entry on “shAyarI”

bring home truths wrapped in small, elegant packages. The rhyme scheme is generally abab, but there may often be no rhyme at all. Here are some I received from a friend:

Har Baat ka Koi Jawab Nahi Hota…
Har Ishq ka Naam Kharab Nahi Hotaaa..
Yun to Jhoom Lete Hai Nashe me Pine Wale
Magar Har Nashe ka Naam Sharab Nahi Hota…

Not every question has an answer.
Not every love is maligned
Those drink soar in intoxication
But not every intoxicant is liquor.

Hasti Aankhon Me Bhi Zakham Gehre Hote Hain ..
Jinse Aksar Rooth Jaate Hain Hum
Asal Me Unse Hi Rishte Gehre Hote Hain ..

There are deep wounds even in laughing eyes.
Those with whom we get most often angry
They are, really, the ones we have
The deepest relationships with.

Kisi ne khuda se dua mangi,
Dua mein usne khud ki maut mangi,
Khuda ne kaha, maut to tuje de du magar
Usse kya kahu jisne teri zindagi ki dua mangi?

Someone asked God for a boon,
Asking for his own death
God said, I can give you death…
But what do I say to the one who asked for the boon of life for you?

Har insaan ka dil bura nahi hota
Har ek insaan bewafa nahi hota..,
Bujh jate hain diye kabhi tel ki kami se..,
Har baar kusoor hawa ka nahin hota..

Everyone’s heart is not bad
Every human being is not untrue..
Sometimes lamps flicker out because of lack of oil..
It’s not the fault of the wind every time.

The moon….

January 12, 2012

When I was about to go to my tent at JLR Bannerghatta, I looked up at the full moon, serenely riding the night skies.

And the next night, when I looked out of my balcony, the moon was rising, still looking full:

fll mn 100112

Having taken a zoom shot, I got the moon through the palm fronds:

mn palm 100112


is my entry about the moon, some time ago. I promised that I would post the Tamizh film song about the moon….alas, I cannot find the original video anywhere on Youtube. The only video which has the original soundtrack does not give me a URL to post….can someone help me? The song is “andru vanthathum athE nilA”.