Thursday, January 28, 2016

"I am the poem of earth said the voice of the rain" - Walt Whitman

I was thinking of rain while practicing Raag Megh Malhar, and thought to look up what one of my favorite poets had to say about rain and found this beautiful poem: The voice of the rain. 

Walt Whitman 
And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower,
Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated:
I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain,
Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea,
Upward to heaven, whence, vaguely form'd, altogether changed,
and yet the same,
I descend to lave the drouths, atomies, dust-layers of the globe,
And all that in them without me were seeds only, latent, unborn;
And forever, by day and night, I give back life to my own
origin, and make pure and beautify it;
(For song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfilment, wander-
Reck'd or unreck'd. duly with love returns.)

A few observations on this poem: 
  1. Rain has never talked to the listener of the poem.  It doesn't talk to everyone apparently.   In this poem, Walt Whitman asks a question of the rain (Who are you?) and surprisingly, the rain responds.    It was a private discussion between Walt and the rain, so he kindly translates for us, the rain-deaf. 
  2. What a beautiful way to describe rain: it is the poem of the earth. Indeed, a poem is what gives life to the world as we know it.  A spiritual poem, a guru, gives life to its reciter, its student.  If there were no Guru, there would be no enlightenment and thereby no life.  Just like if there were no rain, there would be no fresh water, and there would be no life as we know it.  Rain gives earth life, literally. So it is indeed the poem of the earth.  
  3. Walt then describes the nature of water: unending, perhaps a poem that is repeated ad infinitum. Water rises from lands and oceans and goes into the sky, and then condenses in the form of rain. In the process it does three things: (1) it gives life back to itself (it can evaporate and condense again), (2) it purifies and cleans everything it touches, and (3) it beautifies it.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"Love's best habit is in seeming trust" - Shakespeare

By William Shakespeare

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearnèd in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
Oh, love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told.
    Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
    And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

Memorable Quotes From Kung Fu Panda

“There is no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness.” Po

“One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.” Oogway

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” Oogway

"The secret ingredient is... nothing! To make something special you just have to believe it's special." Mr. Ping when describing why his noodles are special; Po is surprised that there is no secret ingredient.

“I'm not a big fat panda. I'm the big fat panda.” Po in response to his size when the villain, Tai Lung, called him a fat panda.

"Look at this tree, Shifu. I cannot make it blossom when it suits me, nor make it bear fruit before its time. No matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach." Oogway when teaching Po about control.

"One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it." - Oogway.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The soul nourishes our body like rain showers the earth

The saintly abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) likened rain to the vital energy of the soul, which makes the body flourish and "keeps it from drying out, as the rain moistens the earth. For when the rainfall is moderate and not excessive, the earth brings forth new life. But if it is inordinately heavy, it destroys the earth and drowns new shoots. From the soul there emanate certain forces to vitalize the body, just as rainwater with its moisture vitalizes the earth..." 

"The heavenly father and I are one.” —The Essene Gospel of Peace

“Beside the river stands the holy tree of life. There doth my father dwell, and my home is in him. The heavenly father and I are one.” —The Essene Gospel of Peace

Thursday, January 21, 2016

“I ain’t afraid of dying anymore. I done it already” - Hugh Glass

Revenant is based on the story of a 19th century bear trapper Hugh Glass.  In the summer of 1823, five months after Hugh had joined a fur-trapping expedition in South Dakota, he came across a grizzly bear and her two cubs along the banks of the Missouri River. The protective mother was surprised by Hugh's presence and attacked him.  She broke his leg, punctured his throat and ripped his scalp. Hugh's cries alerted his companions who rushed to help and killed the enraged mother with their guns.

However, Hugh was in terrible shape and expedition leaders decided that two of them would stay back with him until he died, and give him a Christian burial. The two that were going to remain behind were John Fitzgerald and a much younger man, Jim Bridger. 

Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

While the rest of the expedition left, John and Jim watched over him for two days.  While Hugh was still dangling between life and death, they were both getting farther and farther away from their fellow bear trappers.  John was especially impatient and eventually convinced Jim to abandon Hugh. They laid him in a shallow grave and departed while he was asleep. When Hugh woke up, he found himself alone.

He was furious with his team mates for leaving him.  Gravely injured, he somehow summoned the courage and energy to drag himself to a nearby spring, the first step in a six-week-long crawl back to the nearest encampment. He wanted to kill the colleagues who had left him for dead.  There are many different accounts of his story and treacherous journey back. Some accounts mentioned that he killed and ate a rattlesnake during his journey; some mention that he woke one day to find a grizzly licking maggots from his wounds. 

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
Credit: Kimberley French

Hugh did eventually find John and Jim, but instead of exacting a bloody revenge, he pardoned them both.  What makes the story of Hugh Glass special is not necessarily just the ending, the forgiveness, but the resolve, the enduring spirit of someone who is determined.  When most people would have thought he would die, he lived.  In the end, Hugh says in the movie: “I ain’t afraid of dying anymore. I done it already.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

When it rains, dejected lutes are bathed in glee ...

Rain brings happiness, fullness, and life to so many!  The beauty of rain in Emily Dickinson's words ... 

Summer Shower

- Emily Dickinson

A drop fell on the apple tree, 
Another on the roof; 
A half a dozen kissed the eaves, 
And made the gables laugh. 

A few went out to help the brook, 
That went to help the sea. 
Myself conjectured, Were they pearls, 
What necklaces could be! 

The dust replaced in hoisted roads, 
The birds jocoser sung; 
The sunshine threw his hat away, 
The orchards spangles hung. 

The breezes brought dejected lutes, 
And bathed them in the glee; 
The East put out a single flag, 
And signed the fete away.


Mith Bolra Ji Har Sajjan - Translation and Rendition in Raag Suhi

The Sweet Master

My master speaks sweetly
I have grown weary of testing him,
but still, he never speaks harshly.

He doesn't know bitter words
He overlooks my shortfalls
and remembers every iota of service
His inherent nature is to purify

He dwells in every heart
He's nearer than the nearest
I seek the sanctuary of this master,
the sweet one, my dear friend.

- Guru Arjan
Mith Bolra Ji Har Sajjan Swami Mora

More on Raag Suhi and this shabad:

Suhi Mahalla 5 Chhanth

Mith Bolara Ji Har Sajjan Swami Mora
Hau Sammal Thakki Ji
Oh Kade Na Bolai Kaura

Kaura Bol Na Jaane Pooran Bhagwane
Avgun Ko Na Chitare
Patit Paavan Har Birad Sadaye
Ik til nahi Bhanne Ghale

Ghat Ghat Vasi Sarab Nivasi
Nerai Hi Te Neraa
Nanak Daas Sadaa Sarnaagat
Har Amrit Sajjan Mera