"The sense of our times
for our times
when we understand things
what informs this 'I know'?"
"Looks that 'look' ahead of itself
are never the less
always permeated, saturated, filled with
Voices that run, voices that weave
Like Ghosts they reach out
here there everywhere
Like a Ghost in a Kernel
The carnal voice,
a little grain encodes the tree
"But 'voices' never be[longs] to anyone
and even though you may tightly hold.
and put your sign in black and bold
cast it in form, mark 'it' in style
and in thick rims, tie it and file.
they would never ever belong to you
none of them ever do"
words and meaning
mere ink on paper
quashed and tight
into balls of white
as rejects exiled
in the waste basket.
they gather and pile
unknown to itself
and without ties
one upon the other
they grow and rise
but buried within
its twisted folds
their rumpled space
are found to hold
the undoubting trace
though lifeless and cold
are the signs of life.
“In the ancient land on the foot hills of the great Himalayas, there lived an ancient tribe of Bhalus. and in this lively and adventurous tribe, there flourished a family of Bhalus who were known by their patronymic Vyeth. The youngest among the Vyeth’s was a very successful and intelligent mechanic. He had various names, Chotu, motu, Billu, ballu, balmu so on and so forth. We shall nevertheless for the sake of brevity call him simply: ‘the bear’.
Now, let me clear one thing right away. One: that he was a very good mechanic and often I am told that he could instantly tell you the exact problem plaguing your car by simply watching the gait of its walk, as you drove it in to him. However, I have also been informed by some secret and very reliable source, that mechanic-giri was not his true love, his true calling lay elsewhere, his heart like the evil magicians parrot lay in other things. And even though he could not visualize in clear terms what his true calling was, nevertheless, in spite of his success as a mechanic, his life kept wandering into the strange and the mysterious from time to time.
In nights, he would find himself digesting such popular books, such as the “The Sorcerer and the Night of the Tiger”, “The Adventures of a reluctant Yogi”, “The Chudail of Banglapur”, “The Ghost ”, and “Dr. Fu Man Chu and the Monsters of the Deep Blue Sea”. Spoilt as he was with these tales of magic and power, in time his heart had secretly started to desire the magical source by whose power and alchemical potency, he could magically transform himself into a world hero, a great magician of mighty deeds. And if this was not enough, he would loose himself imagining that he was the craftiest of all, the greatest of them all, a great Rishi, a supreme master of the tantra, mantra vidya, who by his mastery of the three worlds even had the tricksy Maya running for his life.
Though he had no idea as to why he wanted to become any one of them, regardless, the fact remains that he did in fact desire all this from the very bowls of his young and nervous guts. And from the bilious dark depth of his warm and childish heart, he genuinely desired to understand and master the deep hidden secrets of the visible and the invisible worlds.
Somewhere deep down the depths of his tremulous heart, it can be concluded without the risk of sounding ridiculous that he wanted to become a powerful being; someone more powerful than his father, his brothers, the head of his tribe, so on and so forth. Often he would in his natural innocence approach a Tantric or an Ojha, to learn the ways by which the great beings from ancient times had learned to negotiate and master the holy force, a sort of secret source of power which gave humans superhuman capabilities. He never doubted their existence, after all, for him, it was a well documented fact written and reported time and again in all the magical and mystical tales of power. Tales that had now gone into his head and in effect he had sincerely started to believe that Shamans are the true guardians of such power. And once this belief had its nail housed in him, our little bear would from thereon be on a vigilant lookout for some secret signs or omens that he believed would guide him to the destined one. And in anticipation of that great moment, he had started to pray night and day to Maha-Dev, the Great God, and it would not be long before his prayers would come true.
As luck would have it, an old Shaman was reported to have been seen by the townsmen. There were rumors that he had put up a temporary abode just on the outskirts of the town, where the polished and refined meets the jungle.
Having heard about the Shaman his heart began the same troubled dance and he found himself cycling through the crooked streets that led through its knotted pathways straight towards the outskirts of the city.
On the way towards the holy baba, he asked passers-by about him, and as the deeds of the Shaman had already become a topic of hot gossip in the town, almost everyone he asked immediately pointed towards the four huge mysterious rocks that lay on the outskirt of the town, where the town meets the jungle.
Having reached the mysterious rocks, he at last saw the Shaman who was by the way busy filling his bag with all sorts of goodies that the ladies had brought for him. In exchange he would read their palms and predict their future and even gladden their hearts by letting them know in advance the riches that await their sons and husbands in the coming years.The bear waited till the ladies had left, then with folded hands he approached the old Shaman and immediately begged him to guide him into the mysterious of all the mysterious art, the very essence of Shamanism.
“ Ho ha, kya ray baba, where comes the barsaati frog. What think you hairy one that this is a game of dice that I can teach in five minutes. This art my boy requires diligent practice of thousand years and even that is not enough to understand the rough outlines of its power -do you understand.”
“I am ready to spend my whole life” begged the bear.
Arre Baba, stop troubling me, shoo, go back home, enjoy life, have fun. If you want any mantar jantar, a charm to catch your towns’ slim waisted beauties, then sit down here and I will spin for you a magical amulet, otherwise go home, don’t waste my time.
There were tears, rejections, requests and re-requests and after many pleadings, the Shaman, who was by now tired and fed up asked him to create a circle exactly 4 steps left to where he was standing. And after he had drawn the circle, sit in it cross-legged with his back straight and his hands on his lap, fingers circled in the famous mystical mudra symbolizing Om.
He then scrutinized his posture and asked him to take a deep breath and blow in and out rapid puffs muttering HOW HOW.
After the bear had puffed HOW HOW with his face turn red failing to catch the pun in HOW HOW, he asked him in a polite voice. “Baba bear! Have you asked your parents about your crazy desire to enter this lonely and loony path of Self Mastery.”
” I am 22″ replied the bear confidently, “and as a grown man I need no ones permission, Holy Master.”
“It may be so grown man, but still, you surely must be married, so have you discussed this with your wife and kids.”
“How can I have kids when I am not even married Holy Master?”
“Very well, very well, as you are of age, I shall take you under my custody, after all I am an old and ageing man and need someone to look after me; everyone needs a donkey what do you say! so, I have decided to take you under my arms but on one condition.”
“What condition master?”
“Wait, not so fast Baba bear. I am not your master yet, any way, come tomorrow morning, be early and bring along with you a duly signed note from your papa and mamma and counter signed by the head of your tribe stating that they have no problems with your decision to tread on the sacred path. You see, I don’t want any trouble -do you understand.”
“Yes master, It will be done master” said the bear. He then touched his muddy feet and quickly rushed back before any one could suspect what he was up to. Cycling like a mast bull who has sighted his mate he spent the whole night swooning in and out of deep delight.
Next morning he was there with the letter which surprised the Shaman “Aha you back already, you crazy bhalu, come show me the letter…Yes, you have even got one, you silly fellow.” He scrutinized the paper “Is it genuine or fake?”
“Genuine master” he replied innocently, though it was clearly forged as the bear had not informed any one about it. Nevertheless with that noble lie, a long and fruitful apprentice-hood began and the bear as far as I know served his master diligently day after day, month after month.
And after a long and I stress, a very long apprentice-hood into the mysterious world of Shamanism, finally the day arrived for the holy transmission of the secret of secrets, the hola bola of concealed wisdom that lay coiled and hidden inside all the Tantras’. the key to all and everything.
The Shaman approached his furry little creature who had by the way taken good care of him and who over the years had grown thin and lean and his once famous silky black and brown coat had meanwhile turned rough, dirty and gray. In these 10 years, the Shaman himself had witnessed profound and far reaching changes seep, soak, transform and transmutate the deepest and the darkest regions of his soul. Now old and fragile, he for the first time called out for the Bhalu by his patronymic Vyeth, and having seated him in front, spoke to him in a voice that sounded more like the loving voice of his forgotten mother. “My dear Son” he said , “I” he stuttered “I don’t even remember my real name, any way dear Bhalu, if the occasion serves us right, let me recall that I have over the years taught you all the known and unknown arts of magic; from the marvelous art of sammohan, to the secret art of staying awake in sleep. In early days I even taught you how to charm things, to pursue their drifts as they fragment, break and transform their appearance and shape, and how in the process of doing so, switch, shift and change their very essence now locked under the focused gaze of your altered perception, and how you could then weld these fragments and play with them just like the way a child goes about playing all sort of games with his pocket full of little pebbles in the courtyard of his house.
Do you remember, how, by using rhythmic chanting, followed by carefully controlled and orchestrated dance mudras, infused with percussive drumming dagada bagada, bagada, dagada, you were able to snap men and women into different poles of consciousness.
In subsequent years, I even taught you complex and powerful tricks such as casting suggestions inside the body of other men by staging delicately crafted mimed dramas; with each act timed and cloaked in secret rites that despite their rational wills engage them at their deepest level, because deep down they are found to embody them, make and mark them, shape and fashion their intelligence, and are found flourishing in the deepest recesses of their beliefs. I have also if you remember taught you how to make a person loose his momentary awareness by stimulating the occult side of his ojas. The side from where arises his dark and swaying belts of power, and having discovered its hidden vectors that like a flutist winds and jigs it, I showed you how you could rig it to his evolutionary advantage or disadvantage by stabilizing or destabilizing its integral wholeness.
“Yes you did master”
Do you remember how you enjoyed pressing the soma-rasa by grinding mystic speech out of your teeth.
And at other times, how you enjoyed placing various dhvanic suggestions through culturally coded and traditionally accessible language into the souls of men and women by first studying the astonishing and surprising effects the given signs and symbols have on them. And how once you have selectively marked your perspective creature out from the herd, you were then able to make him do various things against his or her conscious will.”
“Yes, I do master”
“And while still engaged in the tamsic sammohanic regressive foreplay brought about by repetitive chants now beaded and weaved into the mysterious fabric that operates through the hidden and veiled suggestive powers found in the Bhoota and Pisachsa Maha Tantra’s, your various centers of awareness were aroused and energized and then through the magical potions made from glorious herbs you were made you go to various places and lokas, talk to strange beings and entities in those lokas, and not just talk and see but also trick them into barking out their most obscure and hidden secrets and the inscrutable anecdotes that they are found to hold in their dark and mysterious webs of powers; webs that inevitably affect our and their fate.
I have over time even taught you the deadliest of all tricks by which you could enter the souls of dead Shamans and steal from them lethal charms and potent mantras.. Haven’t I”
” Having powers over others, this is what all this amounts to” said the Shaman in a quick and heavy tone, “There is nothing more to it -Absolutely nothing. Do you understand this?”
“Did you understand what I just said?”
Then the Shaman said “Look son, listen carefully to what I have to say. I once told you in jest that everything is filled with language. When you walk through the jungle, wade your way through town and hills, it is like walking through the folds of Vak. Vak informs you, it impresses you, it grants you sight and sound. So when I spoke to you that everything what is, is because it shines in Vak. When I said this, I was not joking, one cannot joke in these matters, because every speech that speaks holds within it its mystery. So pay heed for what I am now going to divulge to you, for what holds this speech is the very un-bounding heart of Satya. And whose essence is nothing other than the undeniable existence of your own Self.
The world my lad is held in its grip by Vak, and Vak in thrall of Satya. That is why you were able to plant dreams through various suggestions, manipulate their emotions like a Swami or a good cinematic director. So remember, and pay close attention to what I am now going to render out to you.”
He waved his hands at the world, and spoke with great warmth. “All this” he said pointing to things around “ all this, my boy, including what you see and hear and in this seeing and hearing that which is read in, comprehended, grasped, realized, including, all that you have learned so far my boy, all that is but a mere house of words, a product of thought, an evacuation of a delirious minds, a vomit of Bhoots, and nothing more.”
“When I hear someone speak” continued the Shaman, “all I hear are the words of Ghosts. Nothing what a person says, thinks or feels belongs to him. Man after all my dear, is a creature wholly possessed; a creature haunted and sick, and such is his nature that like an innocent child of two he always ends up taking the word for a thing. On the other hand, he could as easily be satisfied like the 8 month old Krishna, when Yashoda showed him the moon reflected on the silvery plate filled with water and as he touched it, it rippled, deformed and the moon broke into thousands of fragments.”
“Man” he said “is at one hand as innocent as Krishna, and on the other as deluded as Kansa. When he speaks about something, it is not he but the Bhoot’s in him who in fact do all the speaking. The whole mankind my son, is possessed by this madness. But as a Shaman you are privileged by the order of your works to indulge in all this, but remember, this is not your real calling.”
“What then is my real calling?” asked the bear.”
“Your real calling is to learn from now on to ’see’ as the universe sees, and ‘live’ as the universe lives, to face your ever present existence without anything informing you about yourself in advance. You have to see, feel, hear, think by that which sees in all seeing and hears in all hearing, that which feels in all feeling, thinks in all thinking. Because my son, without this: this feeling would not be felt, without this: in seeing one would not see anything, without this: in hearing one would not hear anything, because it sees by it, feels by it, hears by it.”
“Through its arrival the senses arrive, through its withdrawal the senses withdraw. In all its coming and going, it is ‘it’ that is forever found shining in all its thread. Just like heaven shines as the empty space, as the open area which makes way, and by making way grants the cloud its existential possibility, a space, a place to appear and dwell. So to ‘it’ forever remains hidden as the background possibility which grounds all experience, and still in all our experience it itself is never experienced as such. So from now on my son, work meditatively to break this dependency of your body, mind and soul to rely on the fore-structures, to rely on the background intelligence and its referential totality that soaks and claims us, and having claimed us, projects its subtle and hidden webs of power out of which go marching all the concepts and ideas fanning out, forever speeding ahead of you. Spreading like the rays of the Sun and like it rendering things visible, accessible, reachable and thus from the very outset reading everything that needs to be read, known, thought, felt, realized and understood by you.”
“The seer needs to become the seen, its vectors watched and followed. If you observe the observer, it will become clear to you, how the observer itself is a set of controls and how it invariably is controlled by the senile regime of words and concepts. ‘You’, just like the deluded son of men are a creature ignited in advance by ideas and thoughts, now watch closely how these inevitably command and contain you and in containing you they ultimately shape your emotions and fashion your destiny.
“With impeccable watchfulness you need to pay close attention to the arising and engulfing of your emotions and how their arrival and departure cause you to experience the torments, sparked by the flare of fear that keeps tumbling into the burning filaments of hate, and how all this inevitably casts your likes and dislikes, and how once cast, they insidiously order and frame your whereabouts and before you even realize, they have already from the outset chosen everything in advance, leaving behind only an impression of a freechoice, and an illusion of “swatantra Iccha”.
“So pay close attention to this “what”, for this ‘what’ of “Kya hai ye” is the samagri through which you makes sense of things in the world. What ever shows up, shows up only through this background intelligence which grants and facilitates all showing, by making things intelligible to you and to others -well in advance.
In this game of delirium my son, you HAVE to find the thread that generates the very fabric of this ‘What’. You have to penetrate its womb and fracture the very grammar that route and knit your false selves.”
“It is so and it is such and thus it is not surprising that we often end up doing things with our lives, things we could have done without.”
“So seek from now on my son to realize its ‘movement-creating power and how you like every other creature inevitably always happen to end up building your life around these.
The bear thought for a while. He thought very deeply. Though I don’t know what thinking deeply means but it certainly seemed as though he was in some deep state of meditation, then as if he understood everything that had passed between them spoke in a low and meditative voice, “Master, tell me, which mantra should I use to let the seer be the seen?”
Vyeth Nandan! he smiled with an awful wicked grimace “you only need to observe by completely freeing your body from its dependence to operate from fore-structures -Observe just like you would normally observe a flower, a street, a mountain. Often what is closest to you remains hidden, unseen, unobserved, neglected, ignored, left out.”
Our junior Shaman was clearly troubled by these strange and new revelations, trembling from top to bottom he pleaded: “My Sir, My Master, tell me, what tools would I require to fix this observer so that I, I can…I” his voice deserted him.
“By staying awake.” he mouthed, “By staying awake my son, after all it is all about your mythic battle with self bewitchment. Do not ever forget that the Shamans ultimate struggle is always against his Sleep.”
“What is this bewitchment master, I am all confused, my mind is restless, peace deserts me, please Master! What sort of battle am I supposed to fight, against whom, and with what weapons!” and having said, his legs caved in, his mind grew dark and heavy. He had served as an assistant for many a year, and still at this very moment, he felt he knew nothing, understood nothing, all these years of apprentice-hood had been a waste, a cruel joke that had left him with nothing to lean on, he could feel dark and enveloping emptiness crawl up his spine and having reached his center, it shot up and went straight for his head.
The bear’s head was now spinning like a Vayu’s disk. The Shaman watched fine strings of confusion swirl up from nowhere. They thickened as they rose and twirled wildly into menacing shapes, swirling and moaning like the widows of slain hero’s they rushed and sized his deliquesce body, wrapping him in their translucent fibrous thongs. He watched them pierce his field of awareness and sink their shivering tentacles deep inside his skin. Once inside they engulfed his soul with their dark and swooning winds.
There was nothing he could do, he just sat there and gazed unblinkingly into his nervous eyes, then taking a deep breath spoke to him in a soft and comforting voice, “Fear not my Vyeth”, he said “brace yourself, don’t let weakness overwhelm you, It may be confusing but I assure you that you will in the end know all about it, in time it will all become clear to you. But for present you should know that the great time is near and in few days I will be gone, gone forever, gone away so completely that I would become utterly unreachable and once I am gone you will my son, have to carry on this battle all by yourself.
We all have to in the end.”
“Wake up boy…Wake up”
Copyright © Rajiv Mudgal 2007
Bhalu: Bear (Bhalus - Bears)
Vyeth: river Jhelum in Kashmir
chota mota pyaara: short fat plumb
Darshan: Presence, Phenomenology
Charnamrit: Holy Nectar, the accumulated liquid, often milk which is then sipped after washing the feet’s of Gods in a Temple
Tantra, mantra, yantra, vidya: Various forms of Tantric practice as practiced in Hindu and Tibetan Buddhism.
Ojha/Tantric: Shaman, Sorcerer.
Ojas: The Substance That Maintains Life
Barsaati frog: seasonal appearance (as frogs show up in monsoons)
Mudra: Yogic Gesture
Sammohan: Sort of Hypnosis
Rasa: The essence of drama
Dhvanic: The essence of Poetry
Bhoota: Past, dead, Ghost etc.
Vak: Primordial speech, sort of Logos
chiefly:RV 10.125, RV 10.71.1-4, RV 1.164.45
Swami: Holy man, Wise Man, Guru
Krishna: Avatara of Vishnu (The second aspect of trinity as the sustainer/maintainer of the universe, Brahma being the creator aspect and Shiva the destroyer aspect)
Yashoda: Foster mother of Krishna
Kansa: Material uncle of Krishna whom he slays.
Vyeth Nandan: Progeny of the Vyeth’s.
In slow measured steps the Bear walked noddingly towards him and said: “You are right about the Self being co-extensive Mr. Jackal, you see, generally it seems that when people start meeting in groups, after a while, this group may develop a brain of its own, it starts behaving and reacting almost like a pack of animal, like them, the group may feel threatened and start preempting, which means that every member becomes defensive and reacts typically, that is, feels anxiety and pain, which develops into a pattern of fear, and all these factors, for example fear and tension then start seeping and shaping his life, this forging sir you must admit is almost paranormal; almost supernatural. And then the group Mr. Jackal might also start seeing the same vision, the same commonly shared units of symbols start showing up in their dreams, and if you pardon me, they appear no different then the visions of your saints. So I am now certain, that all these conditionings in some mysterious and insidious way go very deep, very very deep Mr. Jackal.”
“How deep?” asked the Jackal “Like controlling the distinct styles seen in art and architecture!”
“Much Deeper than that Mr. Jackal. So deep does it go that our body and brain starts translating everything around according to this ‘depth’“. The Jackal looked stirringly “’Depth’ Mr. Bear!!!” “Yes Depth Mr. Jackal. Let me explain. As you know we know how language affects our emotions, and just like language this, this depth opens and affects our endocrine nervous system. So deep does this depth go sir, that it fills us, saturates us, knits and weaves us into various shapes. It does this by becoming our invisible skins connecting our body to our mind, and so” the Bear continued, “I have found Mr. Jackal, that what we hear and what we do, that is all our responses are from that moment onwards found to be in a state of scramble towards securing our being from all sort of imagined abuse, and in doing so it often over does and so ends up responding either violently or diplomatically, and all this Mr. Jackal, to some extent shapes our future.”
“You mean getting a maximum grip on things.’
‘”I mean the depth Mr. Jackal.”
The Jackal was amused and hooked, he now wanted to know more about this strange idea that our Bear had worked out so well, and so full of curiosity he asked the Bear: “So, the real thing is, can one simply opt out and be free as a bird?”
“Yes” snapped the Bear pointing to his head, “This is exactly what intrigues me about this new brain; this phenomena has been central to all my thinking; that is to know whether this new brain will live a shared and meaningful life and at the same time end up doing the same things, that is taking recourse to the same calculative cunning maneuvers that always ends in some form of violence.”
“Or” interrupted the Jackal, “ends in practicing the dubious art of diplomacy which only spews more resentments, and thus ends up pushing this manifest violence to some future state, in some future time, that is, in some convoluted manner helps only to perpetuate the very thing it sought to end in the first place.”
“Brilliant” exulted the Bear. “I always wonder, should it then escape into all this religious, spiritual, mystical and scientific nonsense, like the Big Bang, the Collective Unconscious, God, Satan, Magic, Soul, Reincarnation…you know all those things. One withdraws” Beamed the Bear.
Withdraws where?”, asked the Jackal
“From these other Deliriums: So what do you think?”
There was no answer, rather one sensed the growth of total silence between the two, and it was not some sort of mute and dumb silence, but rather it seemed to have a voice, and its voice was not something static but to the contrary, it seemed to spread and penetrate all its neighbors by ingesting even the woods and the rocks with ears. So long and empty was this meditative silence that one could almost hear the crow cawing several miles away and if a cloud or the heaven above had a ‘whisper’, one could almost hear it.
The Jackal kept staring at the heavens, one felt almost as if he was trying to penetrate the very veil of the universe, to rend it asunder, to make it speak.
After a while he spoke.
“So have you found an answer Mr. Bear?” .
“No” replied the Bear. “I only know what it is and how it works”.
“But isn’t knowing also freeing!” asked the Jackal
“Yes, But I am always driven to do something, to bring this knowing to them.”
“Could it also be” said the Jackal, “that you have not touched the rock bottom yet,” and then pointing to his heart said “In matters related to heart, and music there are ways and routes that remains invisible to your otherwise sharp eyes.”
“Perhaps” said the Bear, “Love for ones fellow men, to gather and build a community of like minded individuals…one of these days I may perhaps hit the rock bottom and know where the spade turns.”
“Then perhaps” exclaimed the Jackal slyly nudging the Bear ”Perhaps there is no Rock Bottom and thus one is finally released from this, this deep Delirium.
“are you trying to say, that I too am delirious? Mr. Jackal”
“In your deep sense, aren’t we all Mr. Bear, Come now, lets go fishing.”
"Still dangling between Devil and the Deep Blue sea,
Caught between the jaws of complete incompleteness
despite well intended Plans,
These eggs I brood over,
will they be laid waste by time
time and ..again?."
from -“Once there was a little Jackal” (a incomplete poem)
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"Poetic Expression is what, but...
Spotha - Natural Meaningfulness
Dhvani - Allusion, and Suggestibility
Alankara – Ornamentation, Charming
Style - Metaphors, Tropes and other Rhetorical Figures
- from "Once there was a little Jackal"
“Mankind in his most glorious of all periods, in his most promising of all epoch, today gets lost in the fog of his own doings –thus said the silly little Jackal”
- from "Once there was a little Jackal"
"A man looks at Vak (language/consciousness) and yet he may not see it, He listens to it, but he may not hear it.
She like lovefull well clad lady, reveals her body to her lover"
-Rig Veda X71,4