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Technical Guide to Nirvana : 2 – Who am I ?

I feel sorry for the title 😉 , the dull branding MBA in me is still alive. Nevertheless, now that we’ve started the series , let’s move on with it.

Who am I ? has been the central question of spirituality. This is where the search begins and this is where, perhaps the search ends.

I look inside of me, with open and closed eyes – I hardly get any answers. I can feel my body, I can, to some extent , sense my mind and I can also sense presence of emotions. Is that what I am ? Sum total of body, mind and emotions ? If yes, why am I not satisfied with this answer. If no, what else am I and why I am unable to see it within me ?

As one digs deep into various scriptures and teachings of ancient texts, a number of theories / realities appear. I specifically like this one suggested in Bhagwat Geeta and other Vedantic texts.

महाभूतान्यङ्ककारो बुद्धिरव्यक्त मेव च |
इन्द्रियाणि दशैकं च पञ्च चेन्द्रियगोचरा: || 6||

mahā-bhūtāny ahankāro buddhir avyaktam eva cha
indriyāṇi daśhaikaṁ cha pañcha chendriya-gocharāḥ

The field of activities is composed of the five great elements, the ego, the intellect, the unmanifest primordial matter, the eleven senses (five knowledge senses, five working senses, and mind), and the five objects of the senses.

ज्योतिषामपि तज्ज्योतिस्तमस: परमुच्यते |
ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं ज्ञानगम्यं हृदि सर्वस्य विष्ठितम् || 18||

jyotiṣhām api taj jyotis tamasaḥ param uchyate
jñānaṁ jñeyaṁ jñāna-gamyaṁ hṛidi sarvasya viṣhṭhitam

He is the source of light in all luminaries, and is entirely beyond the darkness of ignorance. He is knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the goal of knowledge. He dwells within the hearts of all living beings.

Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta Chapter 13

“We are made up of two componenets – Prakruti & Purush , Prakruti is Material , Purush is Conciousness, Further Prakruti is made up of 8 elements – 5 Mahabhoot (Fire , air, water, earth and sky) + 3 inner components called – Man (Mind) , buddhi (Intellect) and Ahamkar (Ego). (the translated words in english do not pricesely explain the meaning , that is a limitation. Try to understand directly in sanksrit or your native language if possible.) These 8 may be different in different beings and are forever changing.

Purush is the soul, atma or the conciousness. Conciousenss is one , same in all, undivided and never changing ” . Similar theory/reality appear in different texts as “Sharir + Shariri” or “Jad + Chetan” or ” kṣhetra  + kṣhetrajña“, while the name differs the fundamental explaination is the quite similar.

Now let’s consider any electronic device. Let’s say a mobile phone or computer and try to understand this. A computer is also made up of “physical components” like keyboard, screen, processor ,memory, mic, speaker etc.. All the input and output devices are the senses of computer through which the computer interacts with the world. To be more specific, input devices qualify as “gyan indriya” – through which one gets knowledge of the world and output devices as “karm indriya”. However without a driver for a device, the device is of no use. So, a driver of device is nothing but our mind. Our eyes alone are of no use unless backed up by mind. There might be many sounds reaching our ears, but we only listen when our mind pays attention to it. If mind is absent, we don’t see what exists right in front of our eyes. So, in that sense, mind acts as activator or deactivator of our senses. The processor is equivalent to the buddhi or intellect – where data is processed and decisions are made.

Ego – the sense of “I” , I guess, doesn’t have an equivalent so far but with emerging Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning – we might have something. The machines till they don’t have an ego stay a servant. If we are able to give them a seperate ego, which means they have an independent existence – desire and will, the fictious fear of AI going out of human control becomes real.

All the physical components and processing power – is absolutely useless , unless we power it up with electricity. This electricity is akin to “chetna” or “soul” component. Interestingly , irrepective of type of device, size of device – the electricity is same in every device. Precisely how “atma” is same in all. The nature of current is exactly same in every device from a tiny chip to a huge machine. The atma from an ant , an elephant and a man is same.

विद्याविनयसम्पन्ने ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि |
शुनि चैव श्वपाके च पण्डिता: समदर्शिन: || 18||

vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śhuni chaiva śhva-pāke cha paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśhinaḥ

The truly learned, with the eyes of divine knowledge,

see with equal vision a Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater.

-Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta 5/18

It’s quite interesting to observe the patterns of human life in nature, in machines. The natural laws seems to be present in some form or the other – everywhere. The core question, “who am i ? ” , remains unanswered by any explaination from the outside. Someone asked Shri Ramana Maharishi , Who am I ? To which he sharply responded First go and see inside, Who’s asking the question ? What is the source of this enquiry ?

Here is the beautiful conversation compiled into a book ….Who am I …? – From https://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/

PS : This blog involves generalization & simplification – just to communicate the idea, please feel free to build on it further , correct it, negate it , criticise it. You write to us at themadmansfarm@gmail.com.

Next Article : Technical Guide to Nirvana : Can human beings really change themselves ?

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A technical guide to Nirvana : Part #1 World is a Dream

With the background of engineering and a deep interest in Indian scriptures , I’ve been trying to make sense of the theories, models or realities proposed in our ancient texts through my exposure to modern technology and this blog series is all about it. It may sound strange at first so let me begin with the incident that prompted me to start this blog series.

” I was working at the computer , typing something while my elder son, 5 year old Chiku, came running by and paused his own play and started looking at my screen. He observed for a while and then he saw me typing and deleting some characters on the screen. He asked me ” What are you doing ? ” , I am working beta, i replied. Further I explained that with keyboard we type and its visible on screen and with backspace we can delete if we have written something we don’t want.

He noded gently and continued looking at the screen and then curiously asked with the deep interest that every child exhibits till we kill it by sending them to the schools – ” Accha , yeh batao – jab aap kuch likhte ho , fir use delete karte ho , to woh kaha jata hai ? ”

(translation : ” tell me when you type something and then you delete it, where does the deleted letters go ?”)

I , with my teacher tone, said ” they get deleted , they disappear …”

Unsatisfied , he asked again ” Yeah, yeah but where do they go ? Where do they disappear ? ”

The all knowing adult teacher in me was about to explain it further , luckily I took a pause and deeply looked at the question without trying to answer. I was for the first time , just wondering at the beauty of the question , the experience of being with a question – patiently. Few moments of silence and i said, ” I don’t know beta….I really don’t know..” , he looked at me and then the screen and then went back to his play.

As I sat with the quesion,few days later a different clarity dawned on me. I’ve been studying a lesser known text called ” Yog Vashishtha” where Shri Ram 14 year old, unenglightened , filled with remorse, questions and confusion is asking questions to Guru Vashishtha about life, about world, about everything. In a way this is similar to Bhagwat Geeta where Arjun is asking his questions to Shri Krishna. However, Yog Vashishtha is more than 16000 verses and has a more complex commentary which is why this is often not so commonly read. Even I wasn’t aware of it till a saint (Late Pandey Ji from Buddhashetra) from nearby village suggested me to read it.

One of the very strong idea proposed in Yog Vasishtha and in various other scriptures too is “this world is not” . While we may see it , we may feel it, we may consider it real – but this idea stresses on the reality that just like how you dream and the world of dream looks real yet it is not – similarly this world that you are walking in – is nothing but a dream, its not real. I had tough time digesting this idea/reality.

There is another hindu saint who is approachable , Shri Nityanand Ji Maharaj – so I sent him this query few months back – here is the snippet of my question and his response.

This is a page from Yog Vashishtha which says, all that you see is an illussion, nothing real.
There is nothing. World doesn’t exist.

I sent this quote to Shri Nityanand ji and shared how i find this truth , difficult to digest. To which he responded –

Nityanand Ji reminded us of age old analogy that just like we mistake a rope for snake in night and then do all the arrangements thinking its snake but its snake only because of our “agyan” or “lack of knowledge”. Once we know its not snake , it never was.

Alright now let me come back to what chiku’s question made me realize or brought a certain clarity on this subject. So, when chiku asked me where did the characters go when deleted , I realised the very existence of those characters was illusionary. Isn’t it ? When those character were alive on screeen, they felt they are something ,even those who looked at them felt they exist. Infact in one way they did exist. The moment we press backspace, they get deleted – they disappear -where ? Well, technically they are erased out of the screen pixels , out of the computer memory etc. can be an explaination.

But fundamentally, we can say that those characters do not exist in the very first place. Their existence itself a sort of illusion. What exists perhaps in more concrete form is the keyboard, the operator, the screen and the software. The interplay of all these create something which is temporary by its very nature.

A file on computer exists in an illusionary realm from the perspective of more concrete components. A file talking to other file , will not see it. They both will say they are as real as life could be. When someone comes and tells them , listen folks – you are ilussionary , you frankly dont even exist ! – those files will have tough time getting it. I am one of those files, I guess.

Next article : A technical guide to Nirvana : Part #2 Who am I ?

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an experiment of learning and love…

(by Rhea Rego)

As the gentle morning sun rises heralding a new day, it warmly embraces the Learning Center, the stoic white hybrid mud-cement building that cordially welcomes everyone to The Madman’s Farm. It has been two weeks since its shutters were drawn open and a sea of curious children streamed in, filling the room with laughter and mirth.

Initially, children weren’t quite sure what to make of the place. School to them is a place where they are made to sit behind a desk for six to eight hours, maintain silence, listen to the teacher, recite like parrots, and write down whatever is written on the board, regardless of whether they understand the content. The genial environment of the learning centre is alien to them. No being scolded or beaten? No stress or competitiveness? No bullying, failure, or rejection? Learning through music? Dance? Games? Outdoor activities? Could it possibly be… that learning can actually be… enjoyable?

Sadhna Vidyasthali is an early childhood alternative learning space at the farm that caters to children from three nearby villages between the ages of 4 and 13 years old. The entire endeavour is one sincere attempt to explore whether children learn better in an environment of love, care, and respect. Academic learning is secondary here. The focus is on providing a healthy, happy childhood. We use fun and games to explore experiential learning, relationship building, and imbibing values. According to our team member Twinkle, at the core of this experiment is the question: Can we create a learning space where children learn more by being nurtured with love rather than disciplined with fear?

For a long time, the burning question of “How do I make the world a better place?” lived in Shashi’s mind, rent free. After giving it much thought, he realised that it all boils down to two things: Children and Nature. If we nourish children and plants, they both have power to nourish the rest of the world. While keeping the alternate education philosophies of Gandhi, Warldof, Montessori,Jiddu Krishnamurti and in mind, the aim of this experiment is not to align with one particular philosophy but to start from scratch with the inquiries into the “what, how, and why” of early childhood intervention.

The time, effort, and courage required to start something from scratch without following a blueprint created by someone else are immense. It’s easy to just Google lesson plans or watch YouTube videos on what to teach. But how can we bring ourselves and our ideas to the space as authentically and creatively as possible?

A lot of well intentioned social initiatives have often ended up harming instead of helping. Thus, the thought of conducting a learning experiment on children, not creating a positive impact on the lives of students or, worse, impeding their future in such a way that they neither fit in at the village nor in the city are valid fears that grip both our learning facilitators. However, after multiple requests from the community and years of pondering, Shashi finally decided to give it one genuine, sincere attempt.

It has been a roller coaster of an experience for Shashi and Twinkle. Every day brings a fresh palette of chaos that splatters the four walls of the learning center. Since both facilitators are products of the mainstream educational system, their conditioning occasionally takes over while dealing with the children, and they have to be careful to make conscious decisions out of love. New questions arise like su babul trees. How do we make sure these children are academically on par with their peers in traditional schools? How do we fit all this into just two hours? How do we deal with parental expectations?

Their guiding light through these uncertain times is their pure intention. Sometimes the only way to navigate uncharted territory is to keep in mind that you only want what is best for the child. They speak to mentors and take feedback from people who have started similar endeavours. They maintain their sanity through these stressful, uncertain times by making time for self-care through meditation, running, journaling, dancing, and other things that give their souls joy.

And so, every morning, our two warriors prepare to battle their fears with love. Despite the dark clouds of worry that often crop up in their minds, they arrive with full gusto to illuminate the space with diyas and their dazzling smiles. The gentle sound of bhajans floats through the air, dissolving any negative energy. Cloaked in the warm, golden light of the morning sun, our dedicated facilitators Shashi and Twinkle prepare for another day of love, learning, and play.

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The satisfaction of being Utterly Useless !

“But I’m worried that I’m not being useful here”, says Bhanu, Shashi’s 23-year-old nephew, as we try to persuade him to stay at the farm a little longer. Twinkle, Dyuti, and I look at each other and exchange knowing smiles. After a few months of staying at the farm, we have mastered the art of not being useful.

As brilliant children who always emerged at the top of our classes and over-achievers through most of our young adult lives, we struggled to prove our worth to others and ourselves. By excelling in everything we did, we fought to prove that we deserved to exist. Because if we were going to have the audacity to have needs, we’d better be doing something with ourselves. Young women with a fiery passion in our bellies and a strong desire to change the world, we gave our work everything we’d got. And we gave. And gave. And gave. Until we had nothing left to give. Until the flames of burnout finally singed our wings and forced us to descend.

So here we are the Burnout Buddies. One can be found sitting atop a mango tree, reading for pleasure. The other lying on her stomach observing an industrious spider spinning its web. The third lost in the flow of her little dance in the angan of the Mudhouse where we stay. As Dyuti says, any outsider would take one look at us and say, “What a waste of such an able workforce”.

Madman’s Farm’s Flow Community ! – Bhanu, Rhea, Dyuti, Shashi, Sourabh, Priyamvada, Devagya & Janmejay

People think that not being productive is a waste of human life. In a world that glorifies hustle culture, eighteen-hour work days, and lack of sleep, we tend to define our self-worth based on our productivity. We feel like we deserve to exist only if we achieve something. And how damaging is that? No wonder today’s generation is hitting burnout as early as their mid-twenties.

The Madman’s Farm has become our refuge. The slow, lulling energy of this space is helping us heal. Shashi and his wife’s incredible warmth and kindness. The sounds of children’s laughter, the trees, birds, and crickets. The stars in the sky. The earth under our feet. The dragonflies, butterflies, and fireflies that decorate the farm. The sunsets and moonrises. The unconditional love from the dogs and cows here. From each other.

We have become a community that is healing through love, laughter, sunshine, and authentic connection. Through cooking experiments. Eating healthy, organic food. Moving our bodies. Walks to the mango tree. Soaking up the sun with a cup of Kishlay’s infamous chai. Music sessions. Simply observing nature. Deep meaningful discussions on topics like life, love, morality, and learning. Holding space for each other. These things have become our medicine.

The one good thing about burnout is that your body and mind are forced to rest. There is no other option. And what better place to do that than nestled in the lap of nature, with unconditional support from a small community of kind souls? The Madman’s Farm is a place for once stagnant energies to start to flow again. Tired, withered brains to bloom again.
I am so incredibly grateful to Shashi and his family for opening up their farm, home, and heart to random strangers; weary travelers on the journey of life who are desperately in need of rest.

As I hit the two-month mark of my stay here at the farm, I reflect on all the lessons I’ve learned in this wonderful space. The most important one is the Art of Doing Nothing. Slowing down and doing nothing has taught me that even if I am utterly useless(which is almost impossible no matter what I do or don’t do), I am worthy of love.

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Udder Disrespect of the Divine Bovine

by Rhea

In a land where the cow is considered sacred, the ancient scriptures have foretold that the descent into Kalyug or the dark ages begins with the disrespect, abuse and illtreatment of this gentle creature.

On my bus journey from Bhopal to the farm, I witnessed hundreds of cows huddled together in the middle of the highway. I didn’t think much of it, assuming that their owners would soon arrive to round them up. Until I saw my first cow carcass. And the next. And the next. By the time I reached Deori, I’d seen at least ten dead cows rotting in the middle of the road.

This isn’t a rare site in this part of the country. As agriculture shifts from bovine centric to more modern methods, the use of the cow is rapidly dwindling. Male cows which were once utilised to plough the fields have been replaced by giant red tractors. Cow dung, traditionally used as manure, is being supplanted by DAP and urea, which are incredibly harmful. From the most valuable asset of an Indian farmer, the cow (especially male) has become a liabilty. And so, the number of cows that are being abandoned is increasing expeditiously. Old cows who have lost the ability to lactate. The Desi cow, in favour of more milk yielding varieties. Thus, these docile creatures are forced to fend for themselves with no one to take care of them.

In order to tap into the religious sentiments of their vote bank, the government has set up Gaushalas across the state. Pristine buildings erected, with not a single cow in sight. Of course, there are many ongoing community projects. One such shelter is the Ma Ambe Gaushala that has been dedicated to cow welfare since 2016. Located in Dugaria village near Deori, it is a refuge for over 150+ old, sick, and unwanted cows.

For the past eighteen months, Shashi has made Gau seva a weekly ritual.
Every Tuesday at 8:30 am on the dot, the residents of Madman’s Farm pack into Shashi’s trusty Maruti Suzuki and make the thirteen kilometre drive to the Gaushala. (When the car is overloaded with people, I sit in my favourite spot: the boot). For three hours, we sweep, scoop, and wheel out barrows full of dung. My favourite part about going to the Gaushala is connecting with and being around these gentle souls. Scratching them under the chin: their favourite place and the only place they can’t reach. And of course the sugar shot of piping hot chai that we are served by the ever smiling caretaker once we’re done. There are two friendly dogs who have recently become proud parents to nine little nuggets, cosily nestled under the hay machine.

According to Shashi, we really don’t know if the community project of Gaushalas is really helping the larger crisis of the Indian cow. It’s the least we can do to solve the cow problem. We talk a lot about changing the world and making a difference. The question is, if you notice certain problems in your community, are you on the side of the problem, or the side of the solution?

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Diwali Madness @ The Madman’s Farm

Blog submitted by Rhea , Photographs and video courtsey : Twinkle, Kishlay, Govind and Nidhi

This Diwali, Madman’s Farm was illuminated by a handful of diyas, fireflies, the stars, and the spirit of togetherness that connected us all. Six souls from different parts of the country, each battling our own versions of darkness, came together to celebrate the festival of lights.

With Shashi bhaiya and his family in Bhopal for Diwali, the farm was eerily quiet. There was an underlying sense of incompleteness without Bhaiya and Didi’s warmth and Chiku and Vishu’s vibrant energy. Being away from home and in the middle of nowhere, most of us had no great expectations about the festival. For the same reason, it was easier to put a spin on Diwali traditions and create our own.

Our humble mudhouse was adorned with delicately drawn chalk rangolis. The fragrance of suji roasting in ghee wafted through the air and made our mouths water in anticipation of the suji ka halwa that was to come. Our banana offering to Tulsi maa was stolen mid-aarti (with the agarbattis still intact) by our lovely but greedy dog Ammi. The crickets joined in on the bhajans and our rendition of Kabir Das’ Matkar Maya ko Ahankar, which was so delicately (yet clumsily) strung together with lyrics read off YouTube, beats of the dholak and clinking of daflis. The essence of the song is something that resonated with all of us and seemed to be the main theme of the night: six people on different journeys trying to make peace with transience.

खूट गया सिन्दड़ा रो तेल

बिखर गया सब निज खेल

बुझ गयी दिया की बाती

हो बुझ गयी दिया की बाती

रे जैसे ओस रा मोती

“The clay lamp ran out of oil.
The play scattered. The light went out in the lamp.
The light went out in the lamp, Like a drop of dew.”

Here are some excerpts of the individual experiences of the Farm Dwellers and our lovely guests.

“To me, Diwali has never been about festivities, firecrackers, or sweets. It’s about people coming together to celebrate each other, just the collective energy of Being.

Being away from home on Diwali, I was doubtful about whether I would feel that togetherness. But my Madman’s Farm Diwali gets a big thumbs up from me.

It was the small gestures: when we were drawing rangolis I started with a flower and Nidhi added on to it, and Pia and Rhea joined in too. I could feel the collective energy while making suji ka halwa, performing a small aarti, singing songs together. This was my Diwali. It felt like Home, like I belonged. I’m so incredibly grateful for it all.
-Twinkle (chalk rangoli initiator, Diya lighter)

“Diwali at Madman’s farm was really great. I have been here for almost ten months now and I’ve also been privileged to have the company of friends and guests (who have become friends) at the farm. It was nice to be away from the city. This was my first Diwali at Madman’s Farm and I look forward to many more!” -Kishlay (aarti dancer, bhajjan DJ)

“My wife, my daughter and I reached the farm on the day of Diwali. This is the first time I’ve experienced the festival in this way.

Before coming here, I had no expectations about what would happen. I came here to be one with nature, to feel peace. To just be. We all had a great evening. On the day we usually stay up very late, I wasn’t even awake to pick up my friend’s call at 11:30 pm. It was the first time I slept so early on Diwali. Together with Rhea, Kishlay and Twinkle, we spent the evening under a sky illuminated by thousands of stars. It feels like this is the way Diwali should always be celebrated: away from the noise, crackers and excitement. My heart longs for more time spent in peace. It was so beautiful.” -Govind (music maker, conversation starter)

“When we were doing the puja, I was confused about the reason behind it, its importance, which gods we worship during Diwali and why. I had so much fun while lighting phooljhadis, making rangolis with all my friends, lighting the diyas together. This was my first time celebrating Diwali away from home. I missed my friends. We usually dress up and burst crackers. But I liked that we didn’t burst so many crackers, that there wouldn’t be so much pollution and plants wouldn’t be harmed.” -Pia (Rangoli artist, human version of a phooljhadi)

“We have always celebrated Diwali with our family members, with a lot of lights and crackers, tons of sweets and home prepared dishes.

This year’s Diwali was different for me. Seeing the farm decorated with so many fireflies brought on feelings of nostalgia. The last time I saw a firefly was when I was five or six years old.

The theme of this Diwali for me was about facing both my dark side and my brighter side. About illuminating my darker side. The possibility of overcoming my fears and insecurities with a ray of hope.

It was magical, I must say. It actually opened a new dimension to life for me. There’s no need to follow cultural norms or whatever others are doing on a certain festival. You always have the choice to forge your own path, to discover it in a new way. The fact that there are multiple stories around one festival and the variety of ways in which it is celebrated made me realise that there are multiple realities.

Diwali is all about celebration. It’s not about how we’re celebrating in the outer world, but how we’re celebrating it inside us. How much peace, courage and happiness you feel within. This is the source of contentment.
I felt quite satisfied and content this Diwali and this experience will stay with me. Whenever I feel darkness, the fear of facing the darkness that is inside me, I’ll remind myself that I have already done it.” -Nidhi (Suji halwa maker, rangoli extender)

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The sad & happy tale of Gilhari & Tithayari

I wish to share the duality together. Sadness and Joy together. Two stories so interwoven, almost representing our entire life. As most prefer, the happy tale first…

Rewind, almost 10 years back, with my back pack , I walking to this farm from the mud road passing through the nearest village. As I walk past the village temple, my path is crossed by a nimble squirrel. I am mesmerized. That was the closest encounter to a squirrel in my life. For in city, the sight of most of the farm / wild animal is rare , forget about close encounters. I stopped and watched the busy squirrel jumping swiftly from one branch to another till she disappeared into the bushes.

Squirrel drinking water from our well…

I continue my walk and soon reach the farm. As i start living at the farm, my eyes were looking out for squirrel. Inspite being so close to forest, even common birds, animals werent’ here. This farm was under chemical cultivation and hardly any trees around.

Years pass by and from last year onwards ,finally squirrels and a lot of beautiful birds have become a common sight. Fireflies which are rare in the villages nearby are in good number at our farm.

Squirrel on a coconut tree next to our home.

Similarly we also have a good amount of trees in the farm. Some big, some small , some growing well, some stagnant and we continue to grow more trees. As a rule, no tree that grows on itself by nature is disturbed or uprooted unless it is absolutely necessary. Thus we are adding few trees every year to farm, nature is adding way more trees to the farm.

We grow some trees, nature grow many trees…slowly trees are visible in the farm…This is peek summer..

So, that was the good news. It gives us a feel that things are improving at farm, we have some positive contribution to the whole ecosystem……hopefully….Feels good !

Now the other news ! The sad part.

The story is recent, few days back. We are constructing a new building to be used as an alternative learning space for children and youth, for which we needed some mud to be do the filling. We hired an earth mover, few tractors to dump soil from our lake to our site. The lake was kind of dry by now. Our friend, new team member, Kishlay was supervising the lake area work while I was at the building site. I went back to the lake area just to see the progress of work and I see Kishlay amidst machines in the lake nervously looking around. Parallely , I can hear shout of two birds (Titahari or Red-wattled lapwing) . Kislay shouts ,which is heard barely due to sharp sounds of those two birds and the loud noise of machines – “Bro , this bird had two small chicks, just here…but I can’t see them anymore…” Oh ! Now, we knew the mommy and daddy birds were frantically running around to save their chicks as their nest on the ground was destroyed by some machine passing over it. Few minutes later, Kishlay is waving hands very fast as if he wanted me to come immediately. I reach and we spot a chick crushed totally , broken into pieces like glass and one chick lie next to it alive. The sight was disheartening for both of us. We immediately too the other chick that was alive and parked her safely next to a tree and within few minutes the father and mother bird found her. However, the scream of birds continue. Hovering over the dead body of the crushed chick , picking up the pieces one by done and then dropping it when they realize that it’s dead. The birds continued to scream and shout for almost 2 hours ! We had no option but just to witness the whole thing. The machine folks called us and we had to soon get busy with work. Kishlay stood with wet eyes saying his favorite phrase for a situation like this ..”Sad life ,bro”.

This is just one instance where we could see the damage we are causing. Imagine all such violence we might be involved in due our activities !

Frankly , can we really answer if our coming to this land has a more positive impact or a more negative impact ? Perhaps, best is to leave nature alone and integrate ourselves within the nature without majorly modifying any of it. Human beings have become very violent towards nature. Some violence is evident, most is not.

A Lapwing (Titharayri) – making warning or Alarming sound when they spot some danger to their nest…

Nevertheless, we continue to live at farm and learn. Community is slowly growing. Few new initiatives are on the cards. Life is beautiful and I am grateful.

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Something is brewing…

People are coming, people are going…

Trees are fruiting , some trees are dying…

Children are growing, my hairs are graying…

New friends are in making,

Habits are breaking,

Silence is deepening, chaos is increasing…

Fireflies are flying, butterflies are following…

Some walls are cracking, new houses are building….

Jungle is falling, spirits are rising…

Old friends are calling, some old friends are dying…

Sunsets are calming, Sunrises unsettling ….

Stars are gazing, skies are smoking…

The world is changing , the world isn’t changing..

I’ve no idea, what’s exactly happening !

All I know is…

Something is brewing……

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The curious case of me and my neighbors

Me and my neighbor – Shantanu and family have not being in talking terms for almost 2 years now. I thought it might be good to dedicate one post to this.

First thing first – this is my version of the story , far away from their version for sure and further far away from the reality. ( This blog is being published after sharing the same with Shantanu and modifying it as per the objections)

First let me share with you the journey in few sentences.

2014-2017 : Peaceful friendship Phase, we worked together, ate together, discussed , shared ….

2018-2019 : Some level of distance crept in, relationship not deepening but becoming more formal, few hurts on both sides – but we continue to co-exist peacefully.

20192021 : Hurts take over, talks stopped, blame game is ON, No longer in any kind of conversation or relationship.

My version of What happened ?

Frankly, I realize it was majorly my fault in judging them. They are what they were. I saw them through romantic glasses. I saw them through colored reality and hence had a different picture that I wanted to believe. Over period of time, my glasses were partially broken and I could see some glimpses through the crack. It started hurting me because I had a different image. When I look back, all that I blame them today for , was perhaps present right from day 1 but I didn’t see.

I am not saying that they are wrong or bad – all I am saying is that what they were , I misread it. This misreading led to many confusions and some hurts. If I could go back in time start over with my current reading of them, I am sure that today we would have been in perfectly sound relationships with almost no conflicts.

Lemme further simplify with a funny analogy – Say you meet a girl, you fall in love and decide to get married in that heightened state of emotion. Later you realize that this girl would have made a great colleague but not a great wife ! Someone who would be great wife may not be a great colleague. If I could treat the girl as my colleague right from the beginning, I wouldn’t have felt hurt, I wouldn’t have caused hurt. Thus, its the reading that matters. I misread. I had to pay the price.

My version of “Their version” of what happened ?

They feel betrayed. A lot of the rights , privileges , benefits and scope they received are being taken away by me because of my changed reading of them. Road for instance, was agreed to be shared for free but with new reading , I feel they must either pay for the road or just find another one. No wonder they feel betrayed. If I allow what they want, I feel exploited.

Because I was reading the girl to be my wife, I could share everything I had, freely. Infact, girl had the right to my things. The girl got used to it and when I now treat her like a colleague, she would naturally feels hurt. I can only say sorry for my misreading, making her wife again looks quite difficult.

Further, I feel that just like how I feel I am flawless , they feel the same. Strongly than me , I would argue. They feel they have done no wrong, all wrong is being done on to them. For no mistake of theirs ,they are being put through all this torture. This is exactly where I lose hope. For one who sees no fault in his approach and all wrongs being inflicted upon him – I feel it’s little difficult to find a way out.

One thing that could have Saved our relation !

Communication, conversations , dialogues …I think we both failed at keeping communication alive. If we were chit chatting, small things would have remained small and we could have sorted differences amicably. We used to talk once (by talk I mean deep sharing or longer conversation with lot of time and space) or maximum thrice a month even in best of our days. Slowly it came down to once a month and that’s where one of us should have blown the whistle and put effort to increase communications. I feel this would have avoided most of the issues we hold right now.

Way Ahead :

At one point I was quite determined to resolve conflicts. I was willing to do whatever it takes to get to terms that are at least not hostile if not amicable. But right now – I do not see a way ahead for resolution. At best, we can come to terms where we do no further violence to each other. I would be happy with that. But unfortunately, I’ve seen in life that relationships are like water, if flowing they continue to flow and eventually meet ocean but if they do not move, they gets worse with every passing day collecting more and more stale.

May God give us all sanity to learn a way to be with others. !

0

The new Religion of Vaccination

Covid brought in a new religion of Vaccination ! While not totally new, the covid pandemic did present Vaccination in a new , powerful and dominating avtar. Why am I calling it a religion ? Because it’s based on beliefs and it divides humanity.

Some may say, its based on science and not beliefs ! I am not denying the science part of it. A lot of rituals in religion are also based on scientific or cosmic principles, in fact if one could trace down – there is always strong component of science in most rituals. Similarly, Vaccination does have a science foundation but the building built above the foundation is largely made up of beliefs and biases.

When does something become religion ? When you start believing in singular story told to you and become antagonist to people with other stories. Further, you wish to control, convert and contain the ones who do not adhere to your story.

That’s precisely happening with Vaccination today.

We are made to believe that Vaccinations are danger free, effective and the only way to combat Covid. We are made to believe that those who do not take Vaccine are a threat to society and are savage – stupid people. Further, there is every possible curtailment to ensure that those without vaccination face lot of issues and thus slowly can be controlled or converted.

One day I get a call from our laborer in farm asking me – Injection lagwale kya ? This person is 50 years old , super powerful, works hard, eats wild and has a great immunity. Further he lives in our farm – far away from village , city or town. The chance of him getting infected with Covid are quite low and even if he is infected – at the mortality of less than 2%, the chances of him survival are more than 99% ! Does he really need a shot ? But he was lately threatened that your all government benefits including bank accounts will be seized if you do not vaccinate. Scared, unsure – he gets his shot. Of course, no side affects so far and he is doing well. But the question remains – Do we have right to our health ? Do we have right to chose ?

People like me may be able to escape as we know many routes including the false certificates easily available everywhere but what happens to the innocents ?

Another friend of mine was denied medical care after being diagnosed , admitted for Kidney stone on the ground of vaccination. Further he was reprimanded and ridiculed for not taking the shot. Such stories are ample. People without shots are being troubled like anything and it’s not even seen as an unfair behavior. That’s why I am calling this religion !

In the name of religion, you may trouble people, you may even kill them and still the masses of your religion will see no harm in it and may well give you awards for saving the religion !

We are living in tough times where singularity is being celebrated. Vaccination is just one facet.

We’ve become more developed but less tolerant.

We’ve become more educated but less sane.