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.

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.

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 ( 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---
তবে বজ্রানলে
আপন বুকের পাঁজর জ্বালিয়ে নিয়ে একলা জ্বলো রে॥ video search

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,