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How I learnt of Sribilash and his hypothesis

How I learnt of Sribilash and his hypothesis long before I read the Book

Long years back I came to know of Sribilash’s hypothesis of gullible girls falling for weird guys and ignoring normal dependable men.

But had not read the Book Chaturanga. I read it just recently. How I learnt of Sribilash and his take on irrational loves is a rather a long story but a sad one; and it belongs to the period of my earlier years in Bombay. It might sound filmy, but it is factual (except that a few names are changed).

Vinu Haldankar was then a very bubbly, busy looking young man given to instant likes and dislikes. One cloudy Saturday afternoon just as the wind was picking up speed he was rushing to the safety of the Church Gate Station. Suddenly from nowhere a beautiful looking girl, working in an office in the Flora Fountain area, in her anxiety to catch the 3-45 train almost breezed past   Haldankar, but didn’t quite make it. Both bumped into each other and nearly fell one upon the other. That bump somehow did strange things to Haldankar.

By next afternoon he had located her office and   discovered she was indeed a Bengali girl – Manjusha Goswami. That sharply heightened Haldankar’s   sense of romance, as those were the days of Satyajit Ray’s Black and White films and his bashful heroines with dark long lashes.  He promptly started running round her in circles (chakkar lagane laga); but was not getting anywhere near her. Then, a wise guy offered him a sage like counsel; the shortest route to a Bengali girl’s heart is through her ears especially when filled with Bangla Gana and poetry. That was something Haldankar had not known or even thought about.

A quick and almost frantic search unearthed one Hem Gopal Sen working at a Bank in the Fort area. He appeared to be the right sort of quick help that Haldankar needed, as Hem (it was how he insisted to be called, it meant gold) was given to Bangla Gana, poetry and Dramas too. I was dragged in by Haldankar to recruit Hem’s help. That was done rather easily.

When Haldankar offered to pay tuition fee, Hem paused for a while and slowly said “Dekho Baba, poetry sikhane ke liye paisa lena mere ko teek nahi lagtha” (I am not comfortable with accepting fee for teaching poetry).Well, the next best alternative was quickly worked out. Each evening at the Bascos after downing a couple, Hem would break into Bangla songs of appropriate mood. Haldankar closely followed Hem every word, intonation, tune and the gestures to go with; practicing evening after evening.

One evening I was asked to join the sessions at the Bascos. And, I was quite impressed with what Hem had done with Haldankar. Since, singing was not one my talents, I asked Hem if he could teach me to read Bengali. Hem groaned almost in pain “Dekho Saheb, aap galath time par pooch rahe hain. Ab my aankh bhee nahi khol saktha” (Look here Sir, you are asking me at a wrong time, I can hardly keep my eyes open).

Yet, we both – Haldankar and I – did learn something from Hem. But, both of our learning was awfully incomplete. Haldankar could neither read, nor write nor speak Bengali; but, could only sing. I could neither write nor speak Bengali, and of course, singing was beyond my ken. I however learnt to read Bengali though haltingly.  When in difficulty I was helped out by Hem. The greater difficulty was stopping Hem’s prolonged explanations and letting me read on. It took me about a fortnight to wade through Srikanto .But then, I was not good enough to get past Geetanjali or Nazrul Islam. Hem was sorely cut up with his pupil; but, could not afford to spit out his anger and disappointment. [I have , sadly, forgotten most of what Hem taught.]

In the meantime, Haldankar was making enviable progress with Manjusha . Many evenings he would lovingly coo into her ears Bangla Gana with matching gestures as she sat looking over the Chowpatti beach gulping down mistis, vada-pau and ice-cream that Haldankar bought her fondly. She would occasionally punctuate her eating-pleasure with ogling at Haldankar and brimming from ear to ear. This is what they call rapture, Haldankar would say to himself.

As all good things have to end, Haldankar’s romantic days too came to an abrupt halt. She was not seen for about a week. Haldankar’s feverish search at her office and with her friends revealed that Manjusha had just married. It was truest doomsday for Haldankar, the whole of Dalal Street looked so gloomy to him even the worst stock market crash could not have made it darker. That evening the Bascos reverberated with Hem’s soulful sad songs of love and betrayal.

But, the worse was to follow.

The news trickled in saying Manjusha had in fact married her Sitar teacher a Muslim from Mahim area. It appears their affair was long drawn as his slow meends   on Sitar strings. Hem shrieked in pain with sad and angry songs with his heartbroken pupil joining in.

One evening Kathuja Begum (that was her name now) presented herself at the most unlikeliest of places, at the Boscos. She was looking pale, frightened and worn out. Her eyes were small, puffy with crying . Haldankar almost jumped out of his skin; and anxiously enquired: was anything wrong? Could he be of help? Etc. But, from what Kathuja sobbingly narrated it looked that she was beyond any help; at least far beyond Haldankar’s short reach.

After the bliss of the customary three wedding nights , when Kathuja stepped into her new home at Mahim she was greeted at the door by two other Bibis of her new found husband. Kathuja was now Bibi No.3 at the Mahim residence. And later, as the two senior Bibis learnt that Kathuja knew next to nothing about cooking beef or preparing Biryanis and such other stuff they promptly assigned to her the only tasks she could perform without much training. They put her to cleaning the cooking vessels, scrubbing floors and sweeping the backyard. When she raised voice that night “what have you done to me, you rascal’,  her Lord and master stretched on the bed just yawned and turned to the other side lazily mumbling “As of now, I am allowed to take one more”.

By the way, she lost the name given by her parents as also the one by the Mullah who converted her; but acquired a new name. In the Mahim household she came to be known and shouted at by all, including the half dozen brats ,   as Teesri, the third one.

But the two senior Bibis (Badi and Choti) did not overlook to send Kathuja, the Teesri, back to her job, to keep strict vigil over all her movements and to take turns in standing sentry at her office gates on all paydays.

*****

That evening, after the sudden entry and doleful exit of sobbing and chastened Kathuja the Teesri, Hem sang no songs but just stared out of the window   with a blank face watching two stray dogs fight over the garbage dump.”Bolo, hum kis kis ke liye royen” (Tell me, for how many can we shed tears).

It must be said to the credit of Haldankar that he recovered from the shock, sooner than anyone expected. But the old fire had gone out of his eyes. One afternoon, he along with Hem came into my office (Hem was sober, this time) ; and while Haldankar was mostly sombre and silent, Hem went on philosophizing, in a rambling monologue, over irrational loves and their devious ways leading to pain , sorrow and humiliation  ; and how  ‘beauty and anguish walk hand in hand downward slope to death’ etc

I thought you’d always be with me.
Always by my side but then you betrayed me,
humiliated me in more ways than one,
You left me to face
this cruel world alone. 

Set adrift in a sea of night, my tears fall freely,
my face an open book showing all the pain
you’ve caused.
 
First you lie, then cheat,
then deceive, then lie again, then cheat
again, then deceive again
When will this circle of pain end?
-Anon

 

[For more about Sribilash please Check Chaturanga Part Two]

Continued in After-story of Teesri

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Story

 

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Why do the children have to suffer so horribly?

[This, in some way, is related to my earlier post Fate and Human Endeavour]

1.1. In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s final but incomplete novel the Brothers Karamazov, Ivan Karamazov , the argumentative intellectual among the three brothers,  is highly disturbed by the apparent senseless suffering in the world. Ivan proclaims that he rejects the world that God has created , because it is built on a foundation of suffering; especially the suffering of the innocent children. In an impassioned speech he tells his brother Alexei (a.k.a. Alyosha) that nothing can justify the suffering of innocent children; nothing can console it; nothing can compensate for it; and, nothing can restore a sense of order and purpose in the world in the face of a child’s suffering. What good any theology can do for children who are suffering, he demands.

To deny the reality of a child’s suffering ;and, pretend to justify that in the name of religion and ethics , he bursts out, is nothing but piling up falsehood, ignominy and perhaps worse. It is cruel to the suffering child.

Ivan then says, “Listen! If everyone must suffer in order to buy eternal harmony with their suffering, pray tell me what have children got to do with it? It’s quite incomprehensible why they should have to suffer. I would rather remain with my un-avenged suffering, and unsatisfied indignation, even if I were wrong. The whole of  truth or harmony is not worth such a price. If I am an honest man, out of love of humanity, I must give my ticket back. And that I am doing. It’s not God that I don’t accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return His ticket.”(The Brothers Karamazov; Part Two; Book V; Chapter 4; Rebellion)

***

1.2. Why do we suffer? Why do innocent children have to suffer so horribly? It is a question that assails every parent bringing up a handicapped child. I found a resounding echo of that question and of Ivan’s outburst in Arun Shourie’s book ‘Does He know a mother’s heart?’ (Harper and Collins India;  2011). I could, in some way, relate to both.

2.1. Shourie’s book is a probing and an honest outpouring of a father, straight from his heart, in humility and out of immense love for his 34 year old son Aditya, suffering from cerebral palsy. Aditya ‘cannot stand or use his right arm; his vision is impaired ; and, he speaks haltingly. He has the mind of a child’. Looking after him has been a major preoccupation for Shourie and his wife Anita, for past thirty-four years. Life has neither been easy nor kind to them, with each day bringing up new complications- including Anita Shourie’s own painful bout with Parkinson’s disease. Now in his 70th year, Arun Shourie is at a loss, as he faces questions that have no answers, such   as: “Who will lift Adit out of bed as I weaken with age?” and “Who will look after him when we are gone?”

2.2. It is a moving and an intensely personal book written as a mature and a reflective father mellowing in age and sorrow attempts to  grapple grief, anguish and anger while he is bewildered by ‘Why’ of all unjust suffering. In his suffering he is lonely and helpless, as are most of the parents saddled with handicapped, autistic and such other children.

3.1. To start with, Shourie, just as Ivan, relentlessly indignant, questions god’s ways. Why does He subject children to such sufferings? Why does god make someone perfect while some are inflicted with imperfections? Aren’t we all equal in his eyes as we are told to believe? Isn’t his love for all the same? Then why are some discriminated… He is angry how a kind, benevolent and all-knowing God could allow innocents to be in agony.

3.2. Pain is a universal equalizer. It grinds down all to the irreducible; to their minimum. Shourie goes through range of emotions before he arrives at a rational approach to manage the reality of all life: the suffering. He goes beyond fate and faith; and accepts the reality of suffering; discards the ‘props’ ; learns to take the child  upon himself  without passing him on to a god or a Guru;  or without hiding behind a theoretical abstraction about suffering as handed down by someone else.”Suffering is real. Anything that dismisses it as ‘Maya’ or unreal is to mock at the pain of the other.” He shares his experiences; and urges all such parents to realize and give expression to the power of selfless love that is within them. He dedicates the book to the suffering mothers of the Special Children. He also lists out suggestions to manage such children.

***

4.1. Arun Shourie goes beyond “Why me?” crosses over to “Why?” and looks for explanations to human suffering as offered by numerous religious texts and the sages. His search for answers to these question forms the bulk of the book (I wish he employed the services of a good editor). First; Shourie examines the texts of the Semitic religions, comparatively and in the light of modern knowledge. Then he focuses on the explanations given by religious thinkers of modern India, like Gandhi, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ramana Maharishi and J Krishnamurti. Next he puts to scrutiny the classical explanations for the cause of misery; of karmic beliefs; of notions of illusion and unreality of the suffering. Further, he investigates metaphysical props such as god, fate and god-men. He also talks of the sheer desperation that drives the parents to irrational occult practices imposed by the Babas.  He then analyzes s the numerous alternatives that emerged.

4.2. As regards the god, he finds that god is a complex idea; each a product of its culture. The concept of God has changed over the centuries as human needs and knowledge too has changed. He finds all those notions do not provide adequate answers to the problems of suffering in life . He is disappointed at the explanation that a child’s suffering is in some way related to the  whole process of  problem-solving that is happening in a totality of the whole universe. “No cosmic purpose is served by our suffering or that of those dear to us. Just as no cosmic purpose is served by our being born or by our dying and that for the simple reason that there is no cosmic purpose”…. “We have no clue, hence god comes in as a filler of a mysterious unknown”…  “On the simple elementary fact, which the religion tries to hang on to god, that concept does not stand to examination.”

4.3. He is dismayed at the oft repeated logic of prarabda karma adduced to justify suffering: “Your child suffers for sins committed in a past life”; “and your child will enjoy great joy in his next life for the pain in this”.  If someone tells the mother “Your child suffers for your sins”, it is insensitive ; and, it is an insult to motherhood. No mother can be asked to prove she ‘loves’ her child. He cries out “Does He know a mother’s heart?

According to him “The explanations that scriptures proffer for the occurrence of pain and suffering do not stand up to the slightest examination”. And, “Suffering refutes religions.”

4.4. When a distressed mother seeks the help of a Swamiji or a Baba it is an act of desperation, more in hope than in faith. These are truly most agonizing experiences for the mother, as the hopes raised by the Baba soon crash down when nothing good happens to child. The pain, disappointment and helplessness grow many folds. Another is the anger and frustration that builds up nearing the point of explosion. It is the mother who suffers most. Is there a threshold for her pain? How much and how long can she bear the pain and sorrow?

The most noticeable feature of faith deposited in a Baba is that very few questions are allowed. Any question, no matter how reasonable or incisive, is dismissed with a simple “God’s ways are inscrutable” or “Our minds aren’t evolved enough to understand His higher purpose” or “All will be made clear at the End of Days”.

5.1. In a way of speaking, relying only on divine intervention, begging, beseeching  the Swamis and Babas to cure the child ; and, to relive the child  of painful suffering , basically mean  handing over our burden and our responsibility to someone else; and, expecting them to solve our problems. We surrender all decision-making, our attitudes to life and to suffering to Babas and others.  And, they are more than eager to act like pack leaders or like life-guards at the beach perched on high stools throwing instructions to a drowning person. Such help does not always work. Should we rest our hopes on a phantom reed?

5.2. Gods and god men are facilitators who aid our own introspection and internal growth. They are, at best, the props. Unless we learn to discard the props, strive to stand on our own and to fight our own battles there is no reasonable way out of the distress. Let’s stop doing things by proxy.

6.1. That veers Shourie towards the Buddha. Our Teacher recognized suffering the way it is, as the reality of life. He asked each one to formulate his attitude and to work out his salvation without relying on props or merely looking for explanations. “There is no use looking for explanations to suffering. Instead, attend , on priority, to the problem at hand, as if you are attending to a man whose hair is on fire  or to the one who is shot with a poisoned arrow”… “Whether the world is finite or infinite or both; whether the Tathagata survives after death or not , these are matters of speculation …there is birth, there is aging, there is death, there is sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair .These are the realities.  They have to be dealt with….” And there is a way of dealing with that. The only way is to accept it and deal with it rationally.

When the Buddha finally says ’workout your salvation with diligence’ he places the responsibility on us alone, relying on our effort and our experiences.

**

7.1. Viktor Frankie, a survivor of Nazi death camps, believed that ‘the last of human freedoms’ is the freedom to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances; to choose one’s own way. It is not the freedom from conditions; it is the freedom to take an attitude towards the conditions. This he calls it as ‘the last of the human freedom’. And there were always choices to make.

Taking a cue from that, Shourie says “Everyone struck a blow will find his own ways to cope – if it works then each of them is valid”.

7.2. When we see the helplessness of our child we are filled with anger, bitterness and lot other emotions questioning the very sense of our existence. Then, observe those emotions that swell up just as an outsider who looks at an object. That will help you to look at things as they are.

8.1. The child is as much a victim of circumstances as are his/her parents.  The everyday pains, aches and suffering surround both. But, so are the moments of joy and laughter. The helpless child laughs, loves and loves to be loved. Let not the parents’ unhappiness dampen the spirit of the little one battling the affliction.  Do the chores that have to be done, in good cheer. Thank him for letting you help.

8.2. Most emphatically what is needed is not pity, and not even sympathy. Empathy is the word – not feeling sorry for; not even feeling for. But getting into the skin and feeling like what the child must feel. It is hard to attain that  except by the mother  who ‘Loves –till it hurts’. It is said; ‘If you want to be truly selfish,   do help (love) someone who cannot do anything in return’.

8.3. Learn to look at the suffering and also at the child as a sort of teacher who taught you patience, non-attachment and above all to love unselfishly. We need to look at the situation afresh. Stop asking “why this has happened to me?”  But ask “how do we put the lessons we learnt to work for us as also for others?” It is extracting a purpose from debris. Do whatever has to be done, promptly, without postponing. Perseverance is as relevant as reflection.

8.4. The suffering of a helpless child forces us to subordinate our interests and our  pursuits to his needs. It teaches us to empathize others suffering. It might possibly lead to the path of service, in even the smallest way possible, contributing whatever skills or resources we have. Perhaps, pain is a sort of megaphone that awakens humanity in man.

The issues raised in the book concerns almost all who suffered ‘a blow’. One may agree with or sharply refute the book. Regardless of that, his conclusions offer a perspective to the problem of pain; and to the realization of the power of love.

Shourie lists the lessons he learnt in the light of his experiences.

8.5. Shourie’s outlook is life-affirming. He states that he found the strength to equip himself “to take the first step towards dealing with the suffering that we have to confront…. the illness is beyond our reach, but the quality of love we pour into the child and to his service, the extent to which we reach out to serve the one we love dearly ,  is in our control… the circumstance remains but what fills our mind now is not the circumstance, it is the thing that we have to do for the one dear to us”.

flordeloto

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Books, General Interest

 

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What Love is…

 

 
I read on Sulekha a number of writings on love and related stuff. I had not consciously thought of it so far. It did not occur to me to look at it and examine it, in order to understand it. The exercise meant like looking into one’s own eye. I do not pretend I understand what this is all about, despite the years.
 

I hesitate to articulate on this. I cannot talk unreservedly and with comfort. It is not because of an inhibition. There are voices within vying;each one  yelling it is the true one. There is also a taciturn skeptic, in a state of suspended judgment watching and laughing in half mock. I am not sure which one to give expression. Nothing appears to make much sense. Yet, I am reluctant to let this pass. I may not have much time left.

There are those who poke fun at love as a naïve and romantic construct of our culture milieu, dismiss it as an affliction, and will tell you it is impossible to love and be wise. Others wax poetic and sing “love is all; love is the bird call and the glint in a young girl’s eyes on a summer night.” Some will be dogmatic and pronounce emphatically “God is Love.” And, some, out of their experience, teach, “Love is a strong emotional attachment to another…”etc. There are those that never thought of questioning love, much less defining it; and object vehemently even to the suggestion that they at one time doubted the wisdom of it. To them love is not to be pondered, it is to be experienced.

 
Similarly, the single whom we mistakenly take to be lonely and suspect that their status might be due to their lack of knowledge  or experience of love, will tell you they too have a concept of their love. Some of them will tell you it is like a tranquil pond reflecting, as if dreaming, a distant mountain peak; as like the moon reflected in the still waters. The moon does not get wet and the water is not broken, yet both enjoy a tacit relation.
 
In addition, there are those in vast numbers that sleepwalk through life unmindful of what surrounds them.
 
 Surely, there are yet more views and attitudes I am not aware. All of those may be true to some degree, but to assume that any one is best or comprehends all there is to love, is rather simplistic. Each one of us lives and experiences love in his/ her limited sphere, supremely unconcerned with the seeming confusion surrounding its definition. Each has an understanding, an experience of her/his own life and love, and goes by that. Definitions and opinions matter little.
 
J .Krishnamurthy in a way summed it up, when he said:
 
Put away the book, the description, the tradition, the
authority, and take the journey of self-discovery.
Love, and don’t be caught in opinions and ideas about what love
is or should be. When you love, everything will come right.
Love has its own action. Love, and you will know the
blessings of it. Keep away from the authority who tells you
what love is and what it is not. No authority knows and he
who knows cannot tell. Love, and there is understanding
.”
 
In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful and an idealized understanding of love and friendship- Anam Cara “Soul Friend.” It is soul love, connecting and bonding souls. The loved ones’ recognize the inner light and beauty in each other. People, it believes, are like stained glass windows; they sparkle and shine when the sun’s out, but when the darkness sets in, it is then their true beauty glisten brightly in vivid glory – only if there is light within.
 
This concept is beautiful but is elusive like a moonbeam you try to clasp in your palm. When you find an Anam Cara, you are blessed. Does it ever happen? ; Rarely or  perhaps never.  Is it Attainable? I am not sure.
 

I am incapable of grasping a mystical or idealized love as Hafiz or Mirdad or even Tagore as in his later years did. It is a yearning for the distant one; often one-sided. One of the paradoxes in romantic love is that it never produces human relationship as long as it stays. People never seem to settle into relationship with each other as human beings and as friends, until they are out of the romantic love saga and until they love each other instead of being in love.

I find the Indian view warm and human. It enjoins to cherish each other in happiness and sorrow, share the burdens and pleasures; make mistakes and yet be friends caring for each other. It teaches to care about everything; the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You are saying ‘Let us walk these steps together .I watch with love every step we take. I am witness to your life as you will be mine. I stand beside you as partner and friend. You are the cause of my life. Let us cherish each other in sorrow and happiness.”

Most of us lead quiet, unheralded, uneventful lives as we pass through this world .This does not mean we should reject the idea of ideal love. We cannot and we should not .Yet, we should progress from romantic love of songs and legends to sharing, loving and living.

It is not always possible to love the best person, even if such a one does exist. You love a person for the best you see in him/her (or you think so).If you could find someone to love you for what you are, that would be ideal. That rarely happens. Consider yourself blessed if it could bring out the best in both.

It is not about perfection either. The perfect ones in the world as snowflakes or stars are either dull or too distant. We come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. We learn to accept the other as truly as the other is. We are not here to make things perfect, but to live a life as well as we can despite angst, broken hearts, shattered dreams and loving wrong persons. It has also a lot to do with forgiveness and gratefulness.

What is to live well is a matter of understanding, aspiration and fulfillment. It is woven around your work, knowledge, emotions and your values, in order to give life a meaning. None of it makes sense if love, actual care for persons, is not present. Your life, your love needs expression with those who share it.

There were times when I was scared , unable to let in someone’s love. I even  tried pushing it away, finding it difficult to open to love or let it all the way in. Looking back over the years, I now realize I could have been gentler and understanding.

 

It is now no longer important whether anyone loved me or not; more important now for me is to love all; that brings greater happiness. Pablo Picasso wrote, “In life, you throw a ball. You hope it will reach a wall and bounce back so you can throw it again. You hope your friends and loved ones will provide that wall.”

As we grow older, we learn from the ebb and flow of life. As Anne Lindbergh said, when you love someone, you do not love him or her constantly, all the time, in exactly the identical way, from instant to instant. Each moment is not identical with its next one. It is just as a river, each ripple, each drop, resembles its predecessor and its successor but it is never the same ripple or drop. It is impossible; it is hard even to pretend to replicate chosen moments of life. Yet, this is exactly what most demand; not realizing life has a rhythm and vitality. We seldom recognize continuity is possible in life, as in love, only when there is growth, fluidity and freedom. It offers you at each moment, opportunity to make new choices, to live afresh and grow, instead of trapping you in an endless loop.

“We spend nearly a lifetime attempting to define who we are and then spend what ever time we have left trying to undo the mess. We do not get to start over but we do get another opportunity to make new choices about new directions every moment of our lives. That will never change but we can.” as Wei Wu Wei said.

Very often, the sense of possession, fear grip and strangle the relationship. We leap at the flow and fear at its ebb. We desperately hang on to an experience and try in vain to relive it .We are afraid it will never return. If you realize that all things change, you will try not to hold on to the past but live in the present and accept it as it is now, within their limits; for each moment has something to offer. That is what keeps life alive.

Appreciation of each other is important. Appreciation is the understanding, quiet amazement and gratitude. The basis of love is that appreciation, respect and trust which provide space for affection and friendship to flourish. As the poet says, Seasons turn, feelings churn, passions burn, spirits learn, seeds take hold and turn to gold.

When I said providing space, I meant being responsive to other’s feelings and letting the other feel whatever he/she needs to feel without fear how it might be perceived within the relation, and express it. She may need to express her anger, grief, silence, protest, pain, and seek a little solitude or even ask for comfort, to hold hands. It requires humility, care, understanding and the ability to step out of the way with grace; and honesty to appreciate that whatever that is causing hurt is certainly not above our relationship and us; and it can be put away. Two solitudes protect, touch and greet each other. You serve as a container for the overwhelming feelings; that is a gift of love.

What seems to grow fairer to me as life goes by is the love and the grace and tenderness of it; not its wit and cleverness and grandeur of knowledge – grand as knowledge is – but just the laughter of children, and the friendship of friends, and sight of flowers, and the sound of music.

Lao Tzu (c.640-540 BC) said it with remarkable clarity and simplicity what love meant in day to day living: “Why not simply honor your parents, love your children, help your brothers and sisters, be faithful to your friends, care for your mate with devotion, complete your work cooperatively and joyfully, assume responsibility for problems, practice virtue without first demanding it of others, understand the highest truths yet retain an ordinary manner? That would be true love, true clarity, true simplicity, and true mastery.”

Lewis Carroll says the same but differently; “Oh, tis love, tis love, that makes the world go round!” Somebody said. Alice whispered, “that its’s done by everybody minding their own business.”

Love, happiness and well-being are spoken in one breath as if they are inseparable. Many times, I think, they are not even related. A lot of that does not necessarily feel good. It is a bouquet of feelings of various hues and shades. Had I thought that love was about only feeling good, I would have missed many things in life.

Anne Lindbergh wrote,” Don’t wish me happiness. I don’t expect to be happy all the time…It’s gotten beyond that somehow. Wish me courage, strength, and a sense of humor. I will need them all.”

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the poems, legends and the sagas that idealize pain and suffering as if it is all that is to love. To them, sorrows are seeds of loving , to love is to die like a thorn bird that searches for the perfect thorn to impales itself singing the most beautiful song ever heard , as it dies. I am not sure of that either. You live that you may learn to love. You love that you may live to learn, as Mirdad said. I think love is an attitude; it is about life. Love is about living.

 
Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme love.
: Lao Tzu said
 
 
A longtime friend whom I had not met in years wrote this. It in a way sums up what I was trying to say.

Love is not all a bed of roses.
Some times it’s washing dirty sox,
 Sometimes it’s getting no sleep with a colicky baby,
Sometimes it’s putting your needs last,

Sometimes love is keeping your mouth shut,
Sometimes love is fighting and making up
Sometimes it’s dealing up with in-laws or extended family,
Sometimes it’s moving away from everyone you’ve ever loved except your mate,
Sometimes it is insisting that your needs come first this time,
Sometimes it’s holding your beloved’s hand as they breathe their last

 

Watching her beloved die in her arms, her shriek in pain was a natural and an intense expression of love gushing forth like a geyser from the depth of her being. No matter how much it hurts—and it may be the greatest pain in life—grief can be a pure expression of love.

As years pass, the companions who loved , cried, fought, shared , laughed, witnessed wretchedness, drowned in ignominy, sang verses over the autumn moon behind the shifting clouds , are going or gone . Only their mute images remain. And, we survive among the dead and dying. The old grief passes gradually into quiet, tender longing love.

 
I love without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

-Pablo Neruda

 

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in General Interest, Speculation

 

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