Thursday, December 30, 2010

Closest friends and family that encourage me ...

Last week I had sent an invite to everyone on my personal facebook (over 300). I am really grateful to the following who have since then clicked on the "Like" button on my facebook page ... Thanks for being my angels and inspiring me to sing!!!

Adnan Alam
Aman Singh
Baljit-Billy Bath
Balvinder Kumar
Dalvinder Matharu
Dickey Singh
Harpreet S Lamba
Harpreet Singh Chhabra
Harvinder Kapoor
Jagminder Matharu
Jasdeep Sabharwal
Jasleen Dhir
Jasleen Sachdeva Anand
Jon LaClare
Kanwaljeet Singh Kumar
Mani Anand
Manjeet Singh
Navneet Agarwal
Noorie Singh Soni
Parvin Pal Singh
Preet Mohan Singh Kapoor
Raj Budwal
Raveena Dawn
Simleen Ahuja
Sneha Singh
Yudhvir-Seema Sidhu

Bhai Lal

Listening to the great Rababi from Pakistan, Bhai Lal today:

Links to Audio:
http://www.muzigle.com/#!album/bhinni-rainariye-bhai-lal-devotional

Lyrics and Translation:
Raag Sorath - Prabh Jio Khasmana Kar Pyare
http://fateh.sikhnet.com/GurbaniKirtan/tr_0270a.html

Raag Bilawal - Saant Pai Gur Satgur Poore
http://fateh.sikhnet.com/GurbaniKirtan/tr_0246.html

Ratri Suktam from Rig Veda

Ratri Suktam of the Rig Veda (10:127:1-8)

This reminds me of "Bhinni Rainariye" a Chhant composed by Guru Arjan Dev; the language is beautiful and Punjabi, but the meaning remains very similar.

RATRI SUKTAM

om raatree vyakhya daayatee purutraa devyakshabih
vishvaa adhi shriyo-dhita (1)
Om the night of duality comes forth in many forms and times perceivable by the divine power of sense.

orvapraa amartyaa nivato devyudvatah
jyotishaa baadhate tamah (2)
Omnipresent, immortal, the Goddess of places high and low; darkness is repelled by the Light.

niru svasaara maskritoshasam devyaa yatee
apedu haasate tamah (3)
She gave definition to Her sister, the Dawning Light, the Goddess who comes. And the darkness departs.

saa no adya yasyaa vayam ni te yaamanna vikshmahi
vrikshe na vasatim vayah (4)
She is ours now. May we see Her effortless, unimpaired movements upon the earth as a bird sees from its dwelling in a tree (remaining only the witness).

ni graamaaso avikshata ni padvanto ni pakshinah
ni shyenaa sashchidarthinah (5)
For all of humanity, for animals who traverse by foot, or birds who fly in the air, She is the object of desperate search.

yaavayaa vrikyam vrikam yavaya stena moormye
athaa nah sutaraa bhava (6)
Drive away the wolves of confusion, dispel the wolves of egotism, the thieves: hunger, thirst, greed, illusion, grief, and death. Then be to us the excellent crossing to Wisdom.

upa maa pepishattamah krishnam vyaktamasthita
usha rineva yaataya (7)
The all-pervasive darkness is near me, existing as individual forms in the blackness. O Dawning Light, dismiss this ignorance.

upa te gaa ivaakaram vrimeeshva duhitardivah
raatri stomam na jigyushe (8)
O Daughter of the Heavens, I have recited this to gratify you. O night of duality, may this hymn be victorious.

Rig Veda ... Possibly the oldest book written

The Rig Veda is the oldest of the Vedas. All the other Vedas are based upon it and consist to a large degree of various hymns from it. It consists of a thousand such hymns of different seers, each hymn averaging around ten verses. The Rig Veda is the oldest book in Sanskrit or any Indo-European language. Its date is debatable. Many great Yogis and scholars who have understood the astronomical references in the hymns, date the Rig Veda as before 4000 B.C., perhaps as early as 12,000. Modern western scholars tend to date it around 1500 B.C., though recent archeological finds in India (like Dwaraka) now appear to require a much earlier date. While the term Vedic is often given to any layer of the Vedic teachings including the Bhagavad Gita, technically it applies primarily to the Rig Veda.

The Rig Veda is the book of Mantra. It contains the oldest form of all the Sanskrit mantras. It is built around a science of sound which comprehends the meaning and power of each letter. Most aspects of Vedic science like the practice of yoga, meditation, mantra and Ayurveda can be found in the Rig Veda and still use many terms that come from it.

While originally several different versions or rescensions of the Rig Veda were said to exist, only one remains. Its form has been structured in several different ways to guarantee its authenticity and proper preservation through time.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sri Sankara's Teachings ...

"The teachings of Sankara can be summed up in half a verse: "Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya Jivo Brahmaiva Na Aparah" —Brahman (the Absolute) is alone real; this world is unreal; and the Jiva or the individual soul is non-different from Brahman. This is the quintessence of his philosophy."

http://www.sankaracharya.org/

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Raag Lalit

Listening to Raag Lalit this morning. My favorite Raag Lalit pieces:



Monday, December 20, 2010

Love at first sight - Wisława Szymborska

Do you know what love at first sight feels like? I know it. Everytime I read a new poem from Kabir, it happens to me. For hours I am lost in the mystery of a wedding song; more I sing the more beautiful it becomes. Nobel prize winning poet from Poland, Wisława Szymborska explains it this way:
Beautiful is such a certainty,
Mystery is more beautiful.



Here is the full poem:

Both are convinced
that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together.
Beautiful is such a certainty,
Mystery is more beautiful.

Because they didn't know each other earlier, they suppose that
nothing was happening between them.
What of the streets, stairways and corridors
where they could have passed each other long ago?

I'd like to ask them
whether they remember-- perhaps in a revolving door
ever being face to face?
an "excuse me" in a crowd
or a voice "wrong number" in the receiver.
But I know their answer:
no, they don't remember.

They'd be greatly astonished
to learn that for a long time
chance had been playing with them.

Not yet wholly ready
to transform into fate for them
it approached them, then backed off,
stood in their way
and, suppressing a giggle,
jumped to the side. There were signs, signals:
but what of it if they were illegible.
Perhaps three years ago,
or last Tuesday
did a certain leaflet fly
from shoulder to shoulder?
There was something lost and picked up.
Who knows but what it was a ball
in the bushes of childhood.

There were doorknobs and bells
on which earlier
touch piled on touch.
Bags beside each other in the luggage room.
Perhaps they had the same dream on a certain night,
suddenly erased after waking.

Every beginning
is but a continuation,
and the book of events
is never more than half open.

-translated by Walter Whipple

Christmas in the Heart - Paul Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American to gain national eminence as a poet ... and here is a poem about true Christmas spirit ...



Christmas In The Heart

The snow lies deep upon the ground,
And winter's brightness all around
Decks bravely out the forest sere,
With jewels of the brave old year.
The coasting crowd upon the hill
With some new spirit seems to thrill;
And all the temple bells achime.
Ring out the glee of Christmas time.

In happy homes the brown oak-bough
Vies with the red-gemmed holly now;
And here and there, like pearls, there show
The berries of the mistletoe.
A sprig upon the chandelier
Says to the maidens, 'Come not here!'
Even the pauper of the earth
Some kindly gift has cheered to mirth!

Within his chamber, dim and cold,
There sits a grasping miser old.
He has no thought save one of gain,--
To grind and gather and grasp and drain.
A peal of bells, a merry shout
Assail his ear: he gazes out
Upon a world to him all gray,
And snarls, 'Why, this is Christmas Day!'

No, man of ice,--for shame, for shame!
For 'Christmas Day' is no mere name.
No, not for you this ringing cheer,
This festal season of the year.
And not for you the chime of bells
From holy temple rolls and swells.
In day and deed he has no part--
Who holds not Christmas in his heart!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gao Gao Ri ... Sing sing ... oh bridemaids sing ...

I heard this beautiful poem ...


this has to be in the granth sahib. So I looked, and I found it. Its a little different (some words are different), but strikingly similar.

Meanings of words in punjabi
http://www.gurugranthdarpan.com/darpan2/0482.html

5 elements
body is made of 5 elements: air, water, earth, fire and ether

Guru Tegh Bahadur says:
Paanch tat ko tan rachio, janio chatar sujaan
je te upjeyo Nanaka, leen tahi mai maan

The five elements that have made you
Says Nanak thats where you go back to

"maan" is translated usually as "understand;" I think its ego.

Raini is the "coloring" agent used by weavers like Kabir.
Bedi - to bind, could also be the pandit who reads the mantras

Bhaavar = Phere
http://www.ptlutchmidath.com/vivaha_sanskaar.htm
LAAWAA BHAAWAR or AGNI PRADAKSHINA – The laawa from both sides is mixed and with the help of the dulahin’s brother. The couple now make offerings of specially prepared grains symbolizing fertility and prosperity to the fire. This is done while circling the fire seven times, with the dulahin leading the first four, signifying her promise to always be the first person by the dulaha’s side.



Found on the internet:

Kamal Nabhi Temple is located near Thanesar, in Kurukshetra District of Haryana. The highlight is a sacred tank named Kamal Nabhi within the temple premises. According to Hindu mythology, this tank enshrines a sacred lotus, which is believed to be the abode of Lord Brahma and the lord is said to have manifested from the navel of the lotus. The images of Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma can be seen in the temple.



http://www.eaglespace.com/spirit/brahma.php
Accounts of creation differ in many respects. As per Hindu mythology, Brahma was born from a (kamala) lotus springing from Vishnu's navel and created the world through his daughter Saraswati.


Brahma, according to Hindu mythology, created the Vedas.

tan rainee man pun rap kar ha-o paacha-o tat baraatee.
I make my body the dying vat, and within it, I dye my mind. I make the five elements my marriage guests. raam raa-ay si-o bhaavar laiha-o aatam tih rang raatee. ||1||
I take my marriage vows with the Lord, my King; my soul is imbued with His Love. ||1|| gwau gwau rI dulhnI mMglcwrw ]gaa-o gaa-o ree dulhanee mangalchaaraa.
Sing, sing, O brides of the Lord, the marriage songs of the Lord. myry igRh Awey rwjw rwm Bqwrw ]1] rhwau ]mayray garih aa-ay raajaa raam bhataaraa. ||1|| rahaa-o.
The Lord, my King, has come to my house as my Husband. ||1||Pause|| nwiB kml mih bydI ric ly bRhm igAwn aucwrw ]naabh kamal meh baydee rach lay barahm gi-aan uchaaraa.
Within the lotus of my heart, I have made my bridal pavilion, and I have spoken the wisdom of God. rwm rwie so dUlhu pwieE As bfBwg hmwrw ]2]raam raa-ay so doolahu paa-i-o as badbhaag hamaaraa. ||2||
I have obtained the Lord King as my Husband - such is my great good fortune. ||2|| suir nr muin jn kauqk Awey koit qyqIs aujwnW ]sur nar mun jan ka-utak aa-ay kot taytees ujaanaaN.
The angles, holy men, silent sages, and the 330,000,000 deities have come in their heavenly chariots to see this spectacle. kih kbIr moih ibAwih cly hY purK eyk Bgvwnw ]3]2]24]kahi kabeer mohi bi-aahi chalay hai purakh ayk bhagvaanaa. ||3||2||24||
Says Kabeer, I have been taken in marriage by the One Supreme Being, the Lord God. ||3||2||24||

qnu rYnI mnu pun rip kir hau pwcau qq brwqI ]


The importance of 33 crore or kot tetees

Devata (god) is not same as Ishwar (God, Supreme Entity). The Vedas refer to not 33 crore Devatas but 33 types (Koti in Sanskrit) of Devatas.

They are explained in Shatpath Brahman very clearly. These include -
8 Vasus (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Sky, Moon, Sun, Stars/ Planets) that form components of universe where we live, 10 Life Forces in our body or Prana (Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana, Samaana, Naga, Kurma, Kukala, Devadatta) and 1 Soul called Rudra, 12 Aditya or months of year, 1 Vidyut or Electromagnetic force that is of tremendous use to us 1 Yajna or constant noble selfless deeds done by humans. The master of these 33 Devatas is the Mahadeva or Ishwar who alone is to be worshipped as per 14th Kanda of Shatpath Brahman. The concept of 33 Devatas is a great research based subject in itself and requires in-depth study for proper understanding. However, it has been made very clear in all Vedic texts that they are NOT Ishwar and hence NOT to be worshipped.
*****

rwm rwie isau Bwvir lYhau Awqm iqh rMig rwqI ]1]

Vaishnav Jan To - Translation by Khushwant Singh

Mahatma Gandhi's favorite Gujarati hymn and its translation ...

The Original Hymn:

Vaishnov Jan to taynay kahyeeye
Jay peerh paraaye janneyray
Par dukkhey upkar karey teeyey,
man abhiman na anney ray
Sakal lokma Sahuney bandhey,
Ninda Na karye kainee ray
Baach kaachh, Man nischal Raakhey,
dhan-dhan jananee tainee ray
Samdrishi nay trishna tyagee,
par-stree jaynay mat ray
Vivihva thaki asatya na bolay,
par-dhan nav jhaley haath ray
Moh maaya vyaayey nahin Jeynay,
dridth vairagya jana manma ray
Ram-nam-shoom taalee laagee,
Sakal teerth seyna tanma ray
Vanloohee nay kapat rahit chhay,
Kaam, Krodh nivarya ray
Bhane Narsinhyo tainoo darshan karta
kul ekotair taarya re.
Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/hinduism/32384-khushwant-singhs-translation-bapus-favorite-hymn.html

Mr. Singh's translation:

A godlike man is one,
Who feels another’s pain
Who shares another’s sorrow,
And pride does disdain.
Who regards himself as the lowliest of the low,
Speaks not a word of evil against any one
One who keeps himself steadfast in words, body and mind,
Blessed is the mother who gives birth to such a son.
Who looks upon everyone as his equal and has renounced lust,
And who honours women like he honours his mother
Whose tongue knows not the taste of falsehood till his last breath,
Nor covets another’s worldly goods.
He does not desire worldly things,
For he treads the path of renunciation
Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=32384
Ever on his lips is Rama’s holy name,
All places of pilgrimage are within him.
One who is not greedy and deceitful,
And has conquered lust and anger
Through such a man Saint Narsaiyon has a godly vision,
Generations to come, of such a man, will attain salvation

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for his integrity


FROM PTI -
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lost the Lok Sabha election from South Delhi in 1999 but he immediately returned Rs 2 lakh he had taken from writer Khushwant Singh for hiring taxis saying he had not used it.

This act of the Prime Minister's integrity finds a mention in a new book "Absolute Khushwant: The Low-Down on Life, Death and Most things In-between" written by the 95-year-old author Khushwant Singh.

In the book written along with Humra Quraishi, a columnist, the eminent author says Manmohan Singh is the best Prime Minister India has had even rating him higher than Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister.

"I really got to know him at the election he lost from South Delhi. This was in 1999. I was surprised and impressed because the son-in-law (of PM), whom my family knew, came to borrow some money-just two lakhs-to hire taxis that were needed for campaigning. They didn't have even that much to spare. I gave the money in cash," recounts Khushwant Singh.

But days after the election, Manmohan Singh called him and asked for an appointment. He went to see him with a packet.

"'I haven't used the money' he said and handed me the packet with all the cash I had given his son-in-law. That kind of thing no politician would do," he said.

Khushwant Singh said "When people talk of integrity, I say the best example is the man who occupies the country's highest office."

Giving the reasons for rating the Prime Minister higher than Nehru, Khushwant Singh says Nehru had vision and charisma but he had his faults.

"He (Nehru) was instinctively anti-American and blindly pro-soviet and socialist. He could also be impatient with people and had favourites.

"Manmohan has a free and extremely good mind. He can't be accused of nepotism. Nehru could. Indira could. No one would say that of Manmohan Singh," he writes in the book published by 'Penguin Books'.

The author known for his popular column 'malice towards one and all' says the economist-turned-politician had "the courage to disagree with Nehru's socialist vision and turn away from Mrs Gandhi's legacy".

"He (Manmohan Singh) pursued a pro-America policy. he opened India to the world, championed the private sector and set us on a path of economic progress without compromising India's interests.

"He has completely turned around our sick economy," Khushwant lauded adding that the former Professor has "remained grounded" even after assuming the top post of the country.

Khushwant says Manmohan Singh is also very humble and simple. He grew up in small village in a family of very modest means and struggled to get an education.

"Initially his ambition was to be a college professor, find a small flat and settle in Chandigarh then chance changed the course of his life and took him to Cambridge and Oxford, the UN and the highest positions in India's financial institutions, and now he is Prime Minister. But he remained grounded," he said.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Aadarsh Prem (Ideal Love) - Harivansh Rai Bachchan

प्यार किसी को करना लेकिन
कहकर उसे बताना कया |
अपने को अपर्ण करना पर
औ‌र को अपनाना क्या |

गुण का ग्राहक बनना लेकिन
गाकर उसे सुनाना क्या |
मन के कल्पित भावों से
औरों को भ्रम में लाना क्या |

ले लेना सुगन्ध सुमनों की
तोड़ उन्हें मुरझाना क्या |
प्रेम हार पहनाना लेकिन
प्रेम पाश फैलाना क्या |

त्याग अंक में पले प्रेम शिशु
उनमें स्वार्थ बताना क्या |
देकर ह्रदय ह्रदय पाने की
आशा व्यर्थ लगाना क्या |

Reminds one that love is about giving, not receiving.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Best of my Reverbnation Honey today

Some of you asked me whether I wrote the poem "Reverbnation Honey" from a dream yesterday. No, I really "reverbnate" with sweet music ... and here is my selection from today ...

One of the best Christmas songs I have heard in a while ... "If it felt like Christmas" from Pauline ...



Now this is the kind of music I would love to sing with ... from Brian William Ogle ... so meditative, and soothing. Just refreshing!



Francisco from Brazil does metal music usually, but includes a beautiful classical piece, "Multiverse" that I absolutely fell in love with ...




Men came from mars, women came from Venus, but Jordan comes from another planet ... hear that song. So well done:





A beautiful self description in Hip Hop style in Yolanda's song, "It aint nothing":




And I love how French is said ... "Stop Me" if you can! From Womaka in France ...

Monday, December 13, 2010

НЕВЕДОМОМУ БОГУ - Alexander Blok

Не ты ли душу оживишь?
Не ты ли ей откроешь тайны?
Не ты ли песни окрылишь,
Что так безумны, так случайны?..

О, верь! Я жизнь тебе отдам,
Когда бессчастному поэту
Откроешь двери в новый храм,
Укажешь путь из мрака к свету!..

Не ты ли в дальнюю страну,
В страну неведомую ныне,
Введешь меня - я вдаль взгляну
И вскрикну: "Бог! Конец пустыне!"

Google Translator:

Hast thou not revive the soul?
Hast thou not uncover her secrets?
Hast thou not inspire the song,
What's so insane, so random? ..

Oh, believe it! I'll give you life,
When wretched poet
You open the door to a new church,
Lead it from darkness to light! ..

Hast thou not in a distant country,
In a country unknown to this day,
Shalt bring me - I have a look into the distance
And shouts: "God! " The End of the wilderness! "

Vladimir's Interpretation: "only God will revive the soul, reveals the secrets, songs gives wings. And the poet is ready to give life to God, who opens the door to a new temple, from darkness to light. And when God leads him in this unknown country, he (the poet) shouting - God! over the desert!"

Reminds me of "Your Sanctuary"

Touched by an angel - Maya Angelou



We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Alexander Blok - Night, street, lamp, and pharmacy




Night, street, lamp, and pharmacy,
A meaningless and misty light.
Live on a quarter century—
The same. There is no hope of flight.

You will die, rise from where you fell,
All be repeated, cold and damp:
The night, the wavering canal,
The pharmacy, the street, the lamp.

10 October 1912

—Translated from the Russian by Leo Yankevich


In Russian ...

Ночь, улица, фонарь, аптека,
Бессмысленный и тусклый свет.
Живи еще хоть четверть века—
Все будет так. Исхода нет.

Умрешь—начнешь опять сначала
И повторится все, как встарь:
Ночь, ледяная рябь канала,
Аптека, улица, фонарь.

10 октября 1912

For my experiments with Russian poetry see: Russian inspired poetry

Envying the Crows - Ronald Baatz

Beautiful poetry showing lonliness without love (friendship) ...

A cold winter day spent
reading, collecting tinder.
But, my god, the loneliness
of the hours was overwhelming.
With age it becomes more and
more apparent that I need to be
among people. I have to stop living
like a monk. Although, it is true,
monks do live with other monks.
They pray, take their meals together,
and perhaps life at the monastery
is not such a burden. I would never
have to eat alone in such a place.
Earlier, I stood eating a can of sardines
and a piece of unbuttered bread.
I envied the crows. From the
kitchen window I had seen them pecking
at the leftover rice I had thrown out.
The crows, that had arrived in a group
and that had left in a group.
Same as the sardines.

Inside us - Jose Saramago

Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we are.
- José Saramago

A poet, novelist, playwright and essayist born in Azinhaga in the province of Ribatejo, Nobel Laureate José Saramago made his international breakthrough in the 1980’s with his satirical novel Memorial do Convento. The novel is set in the first half of the 18th century. Saramago is the author of some 30 volumes of prose, poetry, drama and essays, and has won several major literary awards, in addition to the Nobel Prize.

Friday, December 10, 2010

When my heart broke - A story

A story from allspirit maillist ... beautiful! Shows how a person can come out of a broken relationship smiling, and being grateful. Reminds me of Guru Arjan Dev saying "Whatever I want, I receive."

When my second marriage fell apart, I tasted the rawness of grief, the utter groundlessness of sorrow, and all the protective shields I had always managed to keep in place fell to pieces. To my surprise, along with the pain, I also felt an uncontrived tenderness for other people.
I remember the complete openness and gentleness I felt for those I met briefly in the post office or at the grocery store. I found myself approaching the people I encountered as just like me—fully alive, fully capable of meanness and kindness, of stumbling and falling down, and of standing up again. I'd never before experienced that much intimacy with unknown people. I could look into the eyes of store clerks and car mechanics, beggars and children, and feel our sameness. Somehow when my heart broke, the qualities of natural warmth, qualities like kindness and empathy and appreciation, just spontaneously emerged.

~Pema Chodron, Shambala Sun



__,_._,___

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Meeta Kaur

I had posted a link to my poem "Thanksgiving Prayer" on my facebook account, and my friend Meeta wrote this encouraging comment:

"Shiv. I love this poem. It is perfect! It is absolutely perfect and so deeply humble and human. So sincere. I can feel the yearning which is so universal. I love the stanzas. The realization that we only have Baba Ji, Wahe Guru as our... guide. And I love that you refer to the Gurus as your angels. Okay. I'm motivated to send you something now. You made my day!! I keep reading it over and over and over again. Wow -- I wish I started reading your stuff earlier! :) A++++++++ My friend. A+"

I didn't understand it as well before, but now I understand how Bhagat Kabir would explain her reaction. Sometimes, as fruits and flowers, conditioned manipulations of our Creator, we and our poems taste and smell delicious; that happens when both the writer and reader are connected to our roots, the essence of Truth (Satnaam), through the branches of pure knowledge (in this case the pure knowledge is Guru Tegh Bahadur who wrote the shabad "Ab Main Kaun Upao Karoon").

Here is the definition of Satnaam by Kabir: Kabir - What is "Satnaam", Our True Identity

So thank you, Meeta giving me a richer understanding of Kabir's beautiful poem, and in the process reminding me of our One common father.

The Frog in the shallow well - A Chinese Fable



I was writing about how spirituality is multidimensional, and how I have in the past missed its dimensions; so I was reminded of this Chinese Fable I recently heard. I think it is good material for a dinner table story tonight. Here it goes ... - Shiv

Once upon a time there was a Frog who lived in a shallow well. The shallow well is the only place he has ever come into contact with, as well as a puddle of murky waters. Whenever he looks up through the opening of the well above, he would exclaim excitedly: “Wow! The world is so big!” Little did the Frog know the real world that lies outside of his well.

One day, the Frog met a Turtle, who came from the East Sea, at the edge of his well. The Frog boasted of his perfect little biding: “I am so happy! When I go out, I can jump about along the edges of the well. When I come home, I can rest in the holes inside the well. I have the water which comes up to my armpits, and the mud to play with. When I look at the small worms, crabs, and tadpoles, I realize none of them can compare to me. I am the lord of this well, and I am very, very pleased!”

The Frog then said to the Turtle:”I know this is the best place in the world. You are welcome to stay here if you like.”

The Turtle shook his head, “Even a distance of a thousand miles cannot give you an idea of the sea’s width; even a height of a thousand meters cannot give you an idea of its depth. In the time of the great floods, the waters in the sea did not increase. During the terrible droughts, the waters in the sea did not decrease. The sea does not change along with the passage of time and its level does not rise or fall according to the amount of rain that falls. The greatest happiness is to live in the Sea.”

After hearing the story, the Frog of the Shallow Well was shocked and became suddenly aware of his ignorance.

Personal LESSON (by Shiv)

Lesson for the kids: This story reminds us that we should not ignore what we don't know and just be satisfied with what we have. Because the world has better things in store for us. For example, I know you like Pizza the best, but you should try some other foods as well; you may not know what you might like sometime!

My lesson: This frog is actually quite likable -- he is happy with what he is, and he is willing to share his happiness with others. However, he is ignorant of what lies outside his world. Somewhat like me before I started reading books from all around the world, I thought what I had read was enough. Expanding my reading has geometrically increased my understanding of even what I had read before. So, to myself I have made a promise: "Lest ignorance happiness curtail, let the light of wisdom prevail."

Victor Hugo - More Strong Than Time



Even the chilly winds of time cannot freeze the essence of love's rose in one's heart. Beautiful metaphors used by Victor Hugo in this poem about love ...


Since I have set my lips to your full cup, my sweet,
Since I my pallid face between your hands have laid,
Since I have known your soul, and all the bloom of it,
And all the perfume rare, now buried in the shade;

Since it was given to me to hear on happy while,
The words wherein your heart spoke all its mysteries,
Since I have seen you weep, and since I have seen you smile,
Your lips upon my lips, and your eyes upon my eyes;

Since I have known above my forehead glance and gleam,
A ray, a single ray, of your star, veiled always,
Since I have felt the fall, upon my lifetime's stream,
Of one rose petal plucked from the roses of your days;

I now am bold to say to the swift changing hours,
Pass, pass upon your way, for I grow never old,
Fleet to the dark abysm with all your fading flowers,
One rose that none may pluck, within my heart I hold.

Your flying wings may smite, but they can never spill
The cup fulfilled of love, from which my lips are wet;
My heart has far more fire than you can frost to chill,
My soul more love than you can make my soul forget

Declan - Thanks for French Translations

Thanks to my friend Declan for translating a couple of my poems to French. She has really put her heart and soul into it. Declan lives in France and is a meditation teacher, a Biosynergist Relaxologue, and a Taï Chi Chuan Teacher. Her own writing describes her lightful personality ... "We connect ourselves to our dear friends, the ones who care and love us. And we foculize only on their inside light, their deep being. These lights are going to make for us a real coat of light." I am thankful for her friendship!

You can find her videos here: http://www.youtube.com/user/declan31329

Her translation of "Your Sanctuary" can be found here: http://shivpoetry.blogspot.com/2010/12/votre-sanctuaire.html

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sarah Frausto: What is Love?

Today I read an email from my friend Sarah Frausto asking me "What is Love?" So I wrote my answer in a poem for her: Drive the Fall to Love

John Lennon - Imagine



Remembering John Lennon's famous song Imagine after 30 years of his passing today. I too imagine all the people sharing all the world! You are not the dreamer alone, I'm one too!!

At the same time, I categorically disagree with John's statement, in his song "God", that "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." What John was trying to say was that the more pain and distress we feel, the more we need/like the "idea" of God. The problem I see with that statement is that I have not found this statement to be true in my experience. Most angels who remind me of God (including John's own song, Imagine) tend to be grateful of what God has given us and accept His will, and pray for love, and are therefore satisfied. My angels do not remember God just in pain, they remember God always.

"Imagine" reminds me of our one Creator. "No religion" reminds me of Guru Nanak saying, "I am not a Hindu, I am not a Muslim." These ideas are beautiful, and therefore the song is as popular as it is. Here are the lyrics, and below the lyrics a video of the song. Enjoy!

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Gautam Buddha - Teaching by example



This morning, "Toa Budh" left a message on my facebook page:

Toa Budh: Pass this message ------- Everything will be drown within few months/years. Save yourself by " worship of ethical and moral values. Speak maximam truth. Stop killing of animal/birds/living being. If possible Don't hurt any one. If possible Don't drink alkohole drinks and don't consume drugs,tobeco & smoke. If possible ...Don't eat seeds.(fruit is true food.) Love(innocent love & unconditional care) every human/living being. Help other. Forgive other's bad deeds. In case of wild animal/bird/other wild living being - prevention is good. If possible don't kill wild animal/bird/living being. " New world of peace & love will come soon. Almighty/Divine power will help u. Almighty/Divine Power(VISNU Bhagavan/ALLAH/RAB/GOD/ANY OTHER NAME) bless us all living being.

What I have found to be great in the life and works of Buddha is that he taught not by pontification, but by example. He learned himself, and became "Buddha," the all knowing; that by itself was the lesson, that itself a message. He believed that life's comforts did not bring peace; he gained inner peace in a unique way; and millions of others who follow him have found it as well. That message of peace is passed without being asked to pass.

Learning is the best way of preaching.
Listening is the best way of speaking.

Thanks for reminding me that thats how my Guru's taught. Most of the songs I sing are written in first person. Most of the bhakti saints sang in first person. Most sufis do too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Emily Dickinson - FATHER, I bring thee not myself

FATHER, I bring thee not myself,—
That were the little load;
I bring thee the imperial heart
I had not strength to hold.

The heart I cherished in my own
Till mine too heavy grew,
Yet strangest, heavier since it went,
Is it too large for you?

Emily Dickinson: Tell all the Truth but tell it slant

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Cirrcuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---

Emily Dickinson - Success is counted sweetest

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne'er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory!

As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Equality and brotherhood

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

In Portugese:

"Todos os seres humanos nascem livres e iguais em dignidade e em direitos. Dotados de razão e de consciência, devem agir uns para com os outros em espírito de fraternidade."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fable of the Porcupines



This story was told to the kids in my son's club scout pack today. A beautiful way of understanding how to be grateful ...

It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together. This way, they covered and protected themselves; but, the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other.

After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.

Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. This way they learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationship with their companion, but the most important part of it, was the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.

Therefore:
The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the best is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities.

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves." ~Carl Jung

Kabir - What is "Satnaam", Our True Identity



On my trip from Denver back to California I was reading Rabindranath Tagore's book, "Songs of Kabir" and I happened to come across a beautiful definition of Satnaam or "True Name" ...

"Satinam hai sab te nyara"

THE true Name is like none other name!
The distinction of the Conditioned from the Unconditioned is but a word:
The Unconditioned is the seed, the Conditioned is the flower and the fruit.
Knowledge is the branch, and the Name is the root.
Look, and see where the root is: happiness shall be yours when you come to the root.
The root will lead you to the branch, the leaf, the flower, and the fruit:
It is the encounter with the Lord, it is the attainment of bliss, it is the reconciliation of the Conditioned and the Unconditioned.

- Translated by Tagore

Monday, November 29, 2010

Maya Angelou - I know why the caged bird sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the win
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and is tune is heard
on the distant hillfor the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Swami Vivekananda

No Man is born to any religion; He has a religion in his own soul.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Elena Vogt



For being an inspirationally hard working musician and dedicating a holiday song to our troops. Here is the song ... it sounds great:


Amlan Roy Chowdhury

For sending this email:

Shiv, I was listening to Guru Nanak set in raag baageshri and I had tears in my eyes. It is so spiritual. It is as though Guru nanak ji clad in the white robe is comming to you with his arms open and I went into the folds of his embrace.

http://www.myspace.com/555914554

Shakespeare - Sonnet 44 (Longing)




If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
Injurious distance should not stop my way;
For then despite of space I would be brought,
From limits far remote, where thou dost stay.

No matter then although my foot did stand
Upon the farthest earth removed from thee;
For nimble thought can jump both sea and land
As soon as think the place where he would be.

But, ah, thought kills me that I am not thought,
To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone,
But that, so much of earth and water wrought,
I must attend time's leisure with my moan,
Receiving nought by elements so slow,
But heavy tears, badges of either's woe.


****

Beautiful Sonnet, if I paraphrase it means: "If I was made of thought, I would travel long distances fast, and come to you, my Love. However, I am made of slow and heavy elements like earth and water; so in your longing, all I can do is use all the elements I am comprised of and cry"


Couplet based on this:

If I were a feather of thought,
To you I would instantly fly
Alas Of Earth n water I'm wrought,
So just heavy tears I can cry

* wrought = created

Dalai Lama - True Religion

True religion is a good heart - Dalai Lama 14th

Я считаю, что действительно настоящая религия - это доброе сердце
Далай-Лама 14-ый

Longing - Matthew Arnold


(24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888)


Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Come, as thou cam'st a thousand times,
A messenger from radiant climes,
And smile on thy new world, and be
As kind to others as to me!

Or, as thou never cam'st in sooth,
Come now, and let me dream it truth,
And part my hair, and kiss my brow,
And say, My love why sufferest thou?

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

William Shakespeare

If music be the food of love, play on

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A little bit of Rumi

A couple of Rumi gems, recently posted to Sunlight:

Love of the dead does not last,
because the dead will not return.
But love of the living
is in every moment fresher than a bud,
both to the inward and the outward eye.
Choose the love of that Living One
who is everlasting, who offers you
the wine that increases life.
Do not say, "We have no entrance to that King."
Dealings with the generous are not difficult.


Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994

The hearty unripe grapes, capable of ripening,
at last become one in heart
by the breath of the masters of heart.
They grow rapidly to grapehood,
shedding duality and hatred and strife.
Then in maturity, they rend their skins,
till they become one:
unity is the proper attribute
for one who is one with others.

Remembering Guru Tegh Bahadur's Sacrifice


In 1672/73, when Guru Tegh Bahadur attended to his devotees at Anandpur, things in the country were rapidly deteriorating under the tyrannous rule of emperor Aurengzeb. Since coming to power by imprisoning his father and killing his two brothers, Aurengzeb had been consolidating his power base. After ten years he now began to apply his power throughout the country. Aurengzeb was an orthodox Muslim who dreamed of purging India of all ‘infidels’ and converting it into a land of Islam. Aurengzeb had no tolerance for other religions and proceeded on a brutal campaign of repression. Famous Hindu temples throughout the country were demolished and mosques built in their place. Hindu idols were placed in the steps of mosques to be trodden on by the feet of Muslim pilgrims. Aurangzeb issued a number of harsh decrees. In 1665 he forbade Hindus to display illuminations at Diwali festivals. In 1668 he forbade Hindu Jatras, in 1671 he issued an order that only Muslims could be landlords of crown lands, and called upon provincial Viceroys to dismiss all Hindu clerks. In 1669 he issued a general order calling upon all governors of all provinces to destroy with a willing hand the schools and temples of the infidels; and they were told to put a stop to the teachings and practicing of idolatrous forms of worship. In 1674 lands held by Hindus in Gujarat, in religious grants were all confiscated.

In this climate of intolerance the viceroy of Kashmir Iftikhar Khan took to the task of forcibly converting the Hindu population to Islam by the sword. The Hindu Brahmin Pandits of Kashmir were among the most highly learned and orthodox of the Hindu leadership. Aurangzeb felt if they could be converted, the rest of the country would easily follow. He did not want to see the talik (holy mark on the forehead) or janaeu (sacred thread) on any of his subjects. Given this ultimatum, a large delegation of 500 Kashmiri Pandits decided to journey to Anandpur Sahib to seek the help of Guru Tegh Bahadur. This delegation was led by Pandit Kirpa Ram Datt (who would later on become the Sanskrit teacher of Guru Gobind Singh and eventually become a Khalsa and died fighting in the battle of Chamkaur). The Pandits met the Guru and explained their dire predicament to the Guru and requested the Guru to intercede on their behalf. As the Guru was pondering over the issue his nine year old son Gobind Rai walked into the room, noticing the serious and gloomy mood in the room the young Gobind asked his father what was happening. Guru Tegh Bahadur replied, “Unless a holy man lays down his head for the sake of the poor Brahmins, there is no hope for their escape from imperial tyranny.” Young Gobind replied, “Revered father, who would be better equipped for this than yourself?” Guru Tegh Bahadur hugged his son and wept for joy. “I was only worried about the future, for you are far too young”. “Leave me to God”, Gobind replied, “and accept the challenge of the Mughals.”

Even though Guru Nanak had refused to wear the sacred thread when he was young, the Gurus still believed in the freedom of religion and the right of the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs to live in peace and practice their own religions. With this Guru Tegh Bahadur laid down the gauntlet in the fight for freedom of religion and told the Pandits to inform Aurangzeb that the Brahmins would gladly accept and embrace Islam if Guru Tegh Bahadur can be convinced to do so. Guru Tegh Bahadur made preparations to leave for Delhi. he bid farewell to his family and followers and dictated that his son Gobind Rai should be installed as the next Guru. Accompanying the Guru on his journey and also prepared to accept the consequences of whatever happened were Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Dyala and Bhai Sati Das. As soon as Aurangzeb heard the news he ordered the immediate arrest of the Guru. Guru Tegh Bahadur and his party were arrested soon after they left Anandpur Sahib and taken in chains to Delhi.

When brought before Aurangzeb, he was asked why he was hailed as the Guru or prophet and called ‘Sacha Padsah’ (the True King) and if he really believed in his being one he should perform a miracle to justify his claim. Guru Tegh Bahadur reprimanded the emperor for his blind orthodoxy and his persecution of other faiths, “Hinduism may not be my faith, and I may believe not in the supremacy of Veda or the Brahmins, nor in idol worship or caste or pilgrimages and other rituals, but I would fight for the right of all Hindus to live with honour and practice their faith according to their own rites.” The Guru answered further, “Every ruler of the world must pass away, but not the Word of God or His Saint. This is how people not only call me a True King but have done so through the two centuries before me in respect of my House and also in respect of others who preceded them and identified themselves not with the temporal and the contingent, but with the eternal and the never dying.” The Guru refused to perform any miracles saying, “this is the work of charlatans and mountebanks to hoodwink the people. Men of God submit ever to the Will of God.” Guru Tegh Bahadur refused to embrace Islam, saying “For me, there is only one religion - of God - and whosoever belongs to it, be he a Hindu or a Muslim, him I own and he owns me. I neither convert others by force, nor submit to force, to change my faith.” Aurangzeb was enraged and ordered Guru Tegh Bahadur to be forced to convert to Islam through torture or be killed.

Guru Tegh Bahadur was subjected to many cruelties, he was kept in an iron cage and starved for many days. The Guru was made to watch as Bhai Mati Das the devoted Sikh was tied between two pillars and his body split in two by being sawn alive. Bhai Dyala was boiled alive in a cauldron of boiling water and Bhat Sati Das was wrapped in cotton wool and set on fire. The Guru bore these cruelties without flinching or showing any anger or distress. Finally on November 11, 1675 Guru Tegh Bahadur was publicly beheaded with the sword of the executioner as he prayed. The Gurus body was left in the dust as no one dared to pick up the body for fear of the emperors reprisal. A severe storm swept through the city and under the cover of darkness a Sikh named Bhai Jaita managed to collect the Guru’s sacred head and carried it off to Anandpur Sahib to the Guru’s son. Another Sikh Bhai Lakhi Shah who had a cart, was able to smuggle the Gurus headless body to his house. Since a public funeral would be too dangerous, Bhai Lakhi Shah cremated the body by setting his house on fire. Meanwhile the head was taken to the grief stricken young Guru Gobind Singh and the widow Mata Gujari. On November 16, 1675 at Anandpur Sahib, a pyre of sandalwood was constructed, sprinkled with roses and the head of Guru Tegh Bahadur was cremated by young Guru Gobind Singh.

Thus ended the earthly reign of the ninth Nanak, Guru Tegh Bahadur. Never in the annals of history has the religious leader of one religion sacrificed his life to save the freedom of another religion.
[from sikhs.org]

Guru Tegh Bahadur's Words:




Poem Based on This Shabad:

Lost Time




I had built my nest
on a tree very tall
pranced through the spring
but alas, its now fall


As death's noose engulfs my neck
I loose all my sense
The wealth that I amassed here
Will be someone elses hence


Only Krishna can help me
Its Now that I realize
Wonder why I didnt spend my time
To Sing praises and eulogize


Your song stirs my soul
Year be spring or year be fall,
I don't care much at all
Cuz now I have found my call
- Shiv





English Translation:


Ab mai kahā kara▫o rī mā▫ī.
What should I do now, O mother?
Sagal janam bikẖi▫an si▫o kẖo▫i▫ā simri▫o nāhi kanĥā▫ī. ||1|| rahā▫o.
I have wasted my whole life in sin and corruption; I never remembered the Lord. ||1||Pause||


Kāl fās jab gar mėh melī ṯih suḏẖ sabẖ bisrā▫ī.
When Death places the noose around my neck, then I lose all my senses.
Rām nām bin yā sankat mėh ko ab hoṯ sahā▫ī. ||1||
Now, in this disaster, other than the Name of the Lord, who will be my help and support? ||1||


Jo sampaṯ apnī kar mānī cẖẖin mėh bẖa▫ī parā▫ī.
That wealth, which he believes to be his own, in an instant, belongs to another.
Kaho Nānak yėh socẖ rahī man har jas kabhū na gā▫ī. ||2||2||
Says Nanak, this still really bothers my mind - I never sang the Praises of the Lord. ||2||2||

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sandy Harless

Sandy Harless (http://www.sandyharless.com) is my angel today for sharing a beautiful passage from the Bible that I have not read before. The passage reminds us that our common Father resides with us, that He delights in our singing, giving our music purpose.

When I sent my poem "An Infectious Smile," to her this was her reply:

Beautiful! Reminds me of

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)
For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.[a]
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Sandy has a beautiful voice and has some beautiful compositions up for us to here on Reverbnation. Here is my favorite song of hers (I also like "Wings of a prayer"):


Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar

My angel today because her song "Jagoon Main Saaree Raina" reminded me of Guru Arjan Dev's shabad "Mohan Neend Naa Aavey" and inspired me to start writing a poem:

How long will be this wait
In the night its very late
My eyes gaze at the gate
Come home now in a haste

Really beautifully sung ...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Guru Nanak's "True Business"

A beautiful story about Guru Nanak ... teaching us how to conduct the business of life:

As the legend goes, Nanak Dev was only 12 when his father, a revenue official of Talwandi village west of Lahore in Pakistan, decided to test the business acumen of his son.

The boy, who had already impressed his teachers with a mastery of languages and a spiritual forbearance was given 20 rupees and told to go find a business. On his trek, Nanak Dev came across a band of wandering holy men in the forests. Seeing they were hungry and destitute, he used the 20 rupees to buy them food.

On his return home, empty-handed, Nanak Dev was punished by his furious father who wanted to know why he had given away the small fortune.

Nanak Dev, who would go on to become the founder of Sikhism replied that he had done a "true business" by serving the poor and hungry.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Robert Frost - "Miles To Go Before I Sleep"

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.



Robert Frost's poem, reminds me of Krishna, and his message of righteous action. It might be easier and more comfortable to do the alternative, but the path of righteousness must be actively chosen.

Tara Leigh Cobble

For serving her community, Tara Leigh is my angel ...

Have entered to support her CD production this year!

Support Tara-Leigh Cobble

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Walk Alone - Rabindranath Tagore

If no one answers your call
make a stride and walk alone
When everyone is closed and shut
Open your mind and speak alone.

Walk Alone, Walk Alone, Walk Alone

If they turn away and desert
and the wild path obstacles exerts
trample the thorns no matter the hurt
And Alone along blood-lined track traverse.

Walk Alone, Walk Alone, Walk Alone

If no one holds up the light
and a fierce storm troubles the night,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite
your heart, alone, and let it burn bright

Walk Alone, Walk Alone, Walk Alone

The above is my version of Rabindranath Tagore's great song "Ekala Cholo Ray," a favorite of Mahatma Gandhi.

This inspiring song often reminds me of Guru Gobind Singh's hymn "Deh Shiv Bar Mohe Shubh Karman Tay Kabhun Na Taron" or "Oh Shiva, Give me this boon that I may never shirk from auspicious duties." Tagore, the great Bengali poet/singer, winner of the nobel prize, explains further how to not shirk from auspicious duties. Here is a video of Shreya Ghoshal, one of the best current Indian singers in my view, singing this; it helps that Bengali is her native tongue. Stroll below for the translation of the song.



Bengali Lyrics:

যদি তোর ডাক শুনে কেউ না আসে তবে একলা চলো রে।
একলা চলো, একলা চলো, একলা চলো, একলা চলো রে॥
যদি কেউ কথা না কয়, ওরে ওরে ও অভাগা,
যদি সবাই থাকে মুখ ফিরায়ে সবাই করে ভয়---
তবে পরান খুলে
ও তুই মুখ ফুটে তোর মনের কথা একলা বলো রে॥
যদি সবাই ফিরে যায়, ওরে ওরে ও অভাগা,
যদি গহন পথে যাবার কালে কেউ ফিরে না চায়---
তবে পথের কাঁটা
ও তুই রক্তমাখা চরণতলে একলা দলো রে॥
যদি আলো না ধরে, ওরে ওরে ও অভাগা,
যদি ঝড়-বাদলে আঁধার রাতে দুয়ার দেয় ঘরে---
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Romanized Lyrics
Jodi tor đak shune keu na ashe tôbe êkla chôlo re,
Êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo re.
Jodi keu kôtha na kôe, ore ore o ôbhaga,
Jodi shôbai thake mukh firaee shôbai kôre bhôe---
Tôbe pôran khule
O tui mukh fuţe tor moner kôtha êkla bôlo re.
Jodi shôbai fire jae, ore ore o ôbhaga,
Jodi gôhon pôthe jabar kale keu fire na chae---
Tôbe pôther kãţa
O tui rôktomakha chôrontôle êkla dôlo re.
Jodi alo na dhôre, ore ore o ôbhaga,
Jodi jhôŗ-badole ãdhar rate duar dêe ghôre---
Tôbe bojranôle
Apon buker pãjor jalie nie êkla jôlo re.

Tagore's English translation

If they answer not to thy call walk alone,
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou unlucky one,
open thy mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O thou unlucky one,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track travel alone.

If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,
O thou unlucky one,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart
and let it burn alone.

Osip Mandelstam's "Freedom"

I shared my poem in Russian to my friend, Vladimir Korobov. And he sent this beautiful couplet back, from a Russian poet, Osip Mandelstam:

Образ твой, мучительный и зыбкий,
Я не мог в тумане осязать.
"Господи!" - сказал я по ошибке,
Сам того не думая сказать.

Rough English Translation:
Your image, painful and fragile,
I could not feel in a fog.
"Lord!" - I said by mistake,
He did not think to say.

My version
Your image, painful and fragile,
I could not feel in a fog.
"Lord!" - I said by mistake,
And a loving embrace I got

Beautiful, both Vladimir and Osip angels!!!

Update Nov 19/2010

I obtained the rest of the poem today:

Образ твой, мучительный и зыбкий,
Я не мог в тумане осязать.
"Господи!" - сказал я по ошибке,
Сам того не думая сказать.

Божье имя, как большая птица,
Вылетало из моей груди.
Впереди густой туман клубится,
И пустая клетка позади.

So, will make a change to the previous version

Your image, painful and fragile,
I could not feel in a fog.
"Lord!" - I said by mistake,
You wouldn't believe what I got

God's name like a big bird
flew out of my chest in a rage
Leaving a swirl in the front
And in the back an empty cage

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Automobile by Jeff Wirtzfeld

They called in the automobile ... the key to my freedom! Blues in country!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Alice Herz-Sommer

The oldest holocaust survivor in the world, at the age of 107 Alice Herz-Sommer still plays the piano every day. "When we laugh what happens in our body, physically, it's beautiful!" Herz-Sommer attributes her longevity to her optimism.

"Worst thing in lives is boredom. The best thing in life is a laugh"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sean Berry from the UK

Sean Berry in the UK for reminding me of one of my favorite songs ... that some of the most popular songs of the last few decades, reminds us of our commonalities, and therefore our common father. Thanks Sean,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Baba Farid

From Facebook

There are 134 hymns of Sheik Farid incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib. Many Sikh scholars ascribe them to Farid Shakarganj (1173 – 1265) of Pak Pattan, a disciple of the Sufi Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. The tenth in succession to his post was Shaikh Brahm (Ibrahim), also known as Farid Sani or Farid the 2nd, and it is this Farid who Guru Nanak Dev ji met on two occasions.

Max Arthur Macauliffe who has been described as a 'Matchless Scholar of Sikh Lore' states that hymns ascribed to Farid are compositions by the latter Farid, whereas others have ascribed them to Farid Shakarganj.

There are still other scholars who believe that the hymns were composed by different Sufis of the Pak Pattan centre, all using the poetic name Farid as was the custom in those days as the leader of an order chose his most suitable devotee to take his place shortly before his death.

At birth his parents named him Farid-ud-Din Masaud, but he is mostly revered as Baba Farid of Pak Pattan. When Farid was a few years old his mother taught him his prayers. The boy asked what was gained by his prayers. His mother replied 'sugar'. She used to hide some sugar crystals under his prayer-carpet, and, when he had finished his prayers, she would draw it forth and give it to Farid as a reward for his devotion. On one occasion, when his mother was absent, he prayed a great deal, and, it is said, he found a correspondingly greater supply of sugar under his carpet. Please with the size of his 'reward' he ate some himself and shared the the rest with his playfellows. He related the circumstance to his mother on her return and as she had forgot to place his usual reward under his prayer mat she realized it wa a miraculous gift from God, so she gave him the surname Shakar Ganj, meaning a "treasury of sugar".


Devotees going through the doorway to the tomb of Farid Shakar Ganj. Photograph : Carl Ernst, 1986There is a great deal known or written regarding the original Shaikh Farid. Two genealogies of Shaikh Farid, subsequently called Farid Shakar Ganj, are given in the Jawahir-i-Faridi - one spiritual, the other temporal. He received his spiritual position from his priest Khwaja Qutub-ul-din Bakhtiyar Ushi of Dihli, whose spiritual predecessors derive in an unbroken line from the Prophet of Makka. Farid's temporal or family genealogy is traced back through princes and kings to Hazrat Amir-ul-Mumanin Umr-bin-ul Khitab Qureshi Makki Faruqi, the second Khalifa of the Muslims.

Nizam-ul-Din Auliya, a disciple of Farid, relates a legend of a robber who went to Farid's mother's house to steal. On beginning his operations he lost his sight. He then cried out that there must be some saint or miracle-worker present. He vowed that, if his sight was restored, he would renounce thieving and become a good Muhammadan. On hearing his vow Miriam prayed for him, and his sight was restored. He went home, and returned to her the following morning with an offering of milk. Accompanied by his wife and children, he expressed a desire that they should all become Muhammadans. Miriam caused his wishes in this respect to be gratified, with the result that thay all became holy. In reply to her, he said his name was Chawa. His shrine among others in that locality has subsequently became a place of devout pilgrimage.

When Farid was conceived, his mother used to spend her days and nights in prayer. He was born at Kothiwal on the first day of the month of Ramzan the Muslim religions most sacred month, A.H. 569 (1173). The sky that night was dark and cloudy, and the moon, whose appearance as the “pehli ka chaand” (the new moon) when the moon is seen in the western sky as a faint and delicate white curve which marks the beginning of Ramzan, the Muslim period of daylight fasting. Because the moon could not be seen, it must be seen to begin Ramzan, the devotees did not know when to begin their fast.

Then a holy man arrived reporting that a wonderful son had been born to Jamal-ul-Sulaiman and if the infant suckled, the time for fasting had not yet begun, but if, on the contrary he refused the breast, then all good Muhammadans must fast. Farid did not suckle, and so it was apparent the fast had begun. During the whole month of Ramzan, it is said, the infant only took milk by night in the Muhammadan fashion and fasted by day
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There are 134 hymns of Sheik Farid incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib. Many Sikh scholars ascribe them to Farid Shakarganj (1173 – 1265) of Pak Pattan, a disciple of the Sufi Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. The tenth in succession to his post was Shaikh Brahm (Ibrahim), also known as Farid Sani or Farid the 2nd, and it is this Farid who Guru Nanak Dev ji met on two occasions.

Max Arthur Macauliffe who has been described as a 'Matchless Scholar of Sikh Lore' states that hymns ascribed to Farid... (read more)Personal Interests:There are 134 Shabads (hymns) of Sheikh Farid incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib. Many Sikh scholars ascribe them to Farid Shakarganj (1173 – 1265) of Pak Pattan, a disciple of the Sufi Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. The tenth in succession to his post was Shaikh Brahm (Ibrahim), also known as Farid Sani or Farid the 2nd, and it is this Farid who Guru Nanak Dev met on two occasions.

Baba Farid is recognised as the first major poet of the Punjabi language and in recognition of his exalted status, the district of Faridkot in Punjab, northern India is named after him. Baba ji was a Muslim with a predominantly Sufi background.

Farid ji has been honoured by the Gurus of Sikhism and his verses were collected and subsequently compiled into the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib (normally referred to as Gurbani) under three different sections as detailed below:

First section (page 1 - click 1 above)

The first section comprising of two shabads is in Raag Asa at page 488 of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Bani starts " ਆਸਾ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦ ਜੀਉ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ - Āsā Sekẖ Farīḏ jī▫o kī baṇī - Aasaa, The Word Of Shaykh Fareed Jee:"

Second section (page 2 - click 2 above)

The second section comprising of two shabads is in Raag Suhi at page 794 of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Bani starts " ਰਾਗੁ ਸੂਹੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦ ਜੀ ਕੀ ॥ - Rāg sūhī baṇī Sekẖ Farīḏ jī kī. -Raag Soohee, The Word Of Shaykh Fareed Jee:"

Third section (page 3 to 10 above)

The third section is by far the longest section comprising about 8 pages in Raag Jaijaiwanti starting at page 1377 of Guru Granth Sahib and ending at page 1384. The Bani starts with the line: " ਸਲੋਕ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦ ਕੇ - Salok Sekẖ Farīḏ ke - Shaloks Of Shaykh Fareed Jee:" This section consists of couplets which have become very famous among the followers of Babaji.


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Baba Farid ji's successor was Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (Delhi), born in Badayun, Uttar Pradesh, India (1238 - 1325). When he was only 5 year old, he lost his father. He came to Delhi with his mother. He was very impressed with baba Farid and became his disciple at the age of 20. He used to go to pakpattan at the holy shrine, specially in the month of Ramadan. Baba farid ji made him his successor just days before his death. Auliya sahib didn't stay at pakpattan and chose to come back to Delhi, became Gods messanger and worked throughout his life for the poor people of that region.

He had millions of followers and students and Amir Kusrow was his best student. We all know that Amir kusrow was a well known poet and musician. He intoduced the Qawali in Indian music for the first time. Not only that he invented Tabla by cutting the south Indian drum called mradang or pakhawaj.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Spring And The Fall - Edna St. Vincent Millay

In the spring of the year, in the spring of the year,
I walked the road beside my dear.
The trees were black where the bark was wet.
I see them yet, in the spring of the year.
He broke me a bough of the blossoming peach
That was out of the way and hard to reach.

In the fall of the year, in the fall of the year,
I walked the road beside my dear.
The rooks went up with a raucous trill.
I hear them still, in the fall of the year.
He laughed at all I dared to praise,
And broke my heart, in little ways.

Year be springing or year be falling,
The bark will drip and the birds be calling.
There's much that's fine to see and hear
In the spring of a year, in the fall of a year.
'Tis not love's going hurt my days.
But that it went in little ways.

Friday, May 21, 2010

John Newton's Story

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound...” So begins one of the most beloved hymns of all times, a staple in the hymnals of many denominations, New Britain or “45 on the top” in Sacred Harp. The author of the words was John Newton, the self-proclaimed wretch who once was lost but then was found, saved by amazing grace.

Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship which sailed the Mediterranean. When John was eleven, he went to sea with his father and made six voyages with him before the elder Newton retired. In 1744 John was impressed into service on a man-of-war, the H. M. S. Harwich. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he deserted but was soon recaptured and publicly flogged and demoted from midshipman to common seaman.

Finally at his own request he was exchanged into service on a slave ship, which took him to the coast of Sierra Leone. He then became the servant of a slave trader and was brutally abused. Early in 1748 he was rescued by a sea captain who had known John's father. John Newton ultimately became captain of his own ship, one which plied the slave trade.

Although he had had some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was a child, he had long since given up any religious convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance.” He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.

For the rest of his life he observed the anniversary of May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to a higher power. “Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’tis grace has bro’t me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” He continued in the slave trade for a time after his conversion; however, he saw to it that the slaves under his care were treated humanely.

In 1750 he married Mary Catlett, with whom he had been in love for many years. By 1755, after a serious illness, he had given up seafaring forever. During his days as a sailor he had begun to educate himself, teaching himself Latin, among other subjects. From 1755 to 1760 Newton was surveyor of tides at Liverpool, where he came to know George Whitefield, deacon in the Church of England, evangelistic preacher, and leader of the Calvinistic Methodist Church. Newton became Whitefield’s enthusiastic disciple. During this period Newton also met and came to admire John Wesley, founder of Methodism. Newton’s self-education continued, and he learned Greek and Hebrew.

He decided to become a minister and applied to the Archbishop of York for ordination. The Archbishop refused his request, but Newton persisted in his goal, and he was subsequently ordained by the Bishop of Lincoln and accepted the curacy of Olney, Buckinghamshire. Newton’s church became so crowded during services that it had to be enlarged. He preached not only in Olney but in other parts of the country. In 1767 the poet William Cowper settled at Olney, and he and Newton became friends.

Cowper helped Newton with his religious services and on his tours to other places. They held not only a regular weekly church service but also began a series of weekly prayer meetings, for which their goal was to write a new hymn for each one. They collaborated on several editions of Olney Hymns, which achieved lasting popularity. The first edition, published in 1779, contained 68 pieces by Cowper and 280 by Newton.

Among Newton’s contributions which are still loved and sung today are “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” and ”Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” as well as “Amazing Grace.” Composed probably between 1760 and 1770 in Olney, ”Amazing Grace” was possibly one of the hymns written for a weekly service. Through the years other writers have composed additional verses to the hymn which came to be known as “Amazing Grace” (it was not thus entitled in Olney Hymns), and possibly verses from other Newton hymns have been added. However, these are the six stanzas that appeared, with minor spelling variations, in both the first edition in 1779 and the 1808 edition, the one nearest the date of Newton’s death. It appeared under the heading Faith’s Review and Expectation, along with a reference to First Chronicles, chapter 17, verses 16 and 17.