Cinders.

Burning of Holika… happened when Hiranyankashapu wanted to destroy his son Prahalada the old wives give it a simple good wins over evil hue. There are people who give it profound philosophical depth about burning the negatives within us, and going to the “morally superior” plane. To the sceptic in me it occurs, that okay we collect all the winter dry debris and burn it, garbage gone, dull and dried out… and welcome spring which is all about procreation and energy.

After recovering from 40% burns, through sheer willpower and grit, reference to three things I would like to burn seems like flagging a red cape before the bull. But maybe so, because the colour red exciting the bull is all bullshit..

Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, palak paneer in the pot nine days old… the young shop assistant looks at me aghast …I possibly could not confess that i left this cooker on a burning stove and went out to the market!!

Hey interesting isn’t it when stove burns it contains the fire; it uses fuel, gives out heat, that is another usage of the word burns. I definitely think twice something that consumes fuel and gives off heat… after all resources are not squandered. .

Burn is also combustion… like the engines of various vehicles, well would I want to do that I do not have the technical knowhow, and having dealt with my own personal spontaneous combustion I think I rather give it a skip,  think about this lingering bottled up anger… it never reveals the true colours of an individual then it slowly gets all mixed up, rotten, confused, and becomes, very volatile unstable and combustible then one small ignition and boom the explosion occurs totally foreign and different to the natural self… yes we definitely skip it.

When the stove burns it contains the fire, this helps to cook, to keep warm whatever, we are all born with the fire within us, do,  should we contain it like the stove or do we let it out free for all… containing it would mean experiencing discomfort like burning with jealousy, shame or whatever we choose to call the cinders, or we could burn with ambition, give it fuel, let the light and heat out and accelerate to action, so that the human doing will manifest as the powerful human being.

It’s okay  if the burn down as occurred like a burnt down houses, it’s not a burn sentence on an electric chair, one can rise from the ashes like the phoenix and fly to different vista’s at different altitudes.

The Kabala has a beautiful philosophy, which is each week comes with its own unique opportunities for transformation. When we do connect with the energy of the week then we transformed, we are empowered and the major shift occurs. Maybe the belief that transformation happens when we are ready for it has been burnt too deep into me, so I think this musing over three things which would burn… flags the connect. However the bottom line, things I would burn

  • The stove to cook the food that nourishes.
  • Incense that cleanses and takes the staleness away.
  • Body fat to make myself more aesthetic.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

 

 

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Vasanta Gita… the song of the spring.

vasanta -- courtsey internet.

vasanta — courtsey internet.

Vasanta looked at the facebook wall, her husband smiling with a group of his school, college friends, how it had hurt he had chosen to be with them rather than her on their anniversary, her mother-in-law had sneered at her, “enjoy your anniversary alone” that had hurt her more.

When he return there was no as much as greeting, apology, gift whatever, Vasanta, knew it was time to take a call, with to live in hibernation with a dead  relationship or to move on in life.

Lalita-lavaṅga-latā-pariśīlana-

komala-Malaya-samīre,

madhukara-nikara-karambita-kokila

-kūjita-kunja-kuṭīre

viharati Harir iha sarasa-vasante

nṛtyati yuvati-janena samaṃ, sakhi,

virahi-janasya dur-ante

When winsome westerly winds

caress comely creeping cloves

As bumblebees’ buzz-buzzing and cuckoos’ coo-cooing

Resound in huts, in coves, in groves,

In springtime, the sensual season so languorously

Long for forlorn lovers,

Krishna strays and plays, my friend,

Dancing with young girls.

Verse 1, Song Three, Gita Govinda of Jayadeva – translated by Lee Siegel

Vasanta is the undisputed king of the seasons.  In league with Kama, who roams triumphant bringing all under his sway with his unfailing arrows, Vasanta causes almost every flower and tree to put forth magnificent blooms.  It is – says Rama as Vasanta arrives at Lake Pampa amidst a rain of blossom – as if the trees are vying with each other.  This is the season of the cuckoo and the bee, the mango and the aśoka.  Painted with a fiery palate of the reds, golds, oranges and yellows of its flowers, Vasanta kindles the flame of passion and burns the hearts of those separated from their lovers.  Clichéd though this metaphor has become in the hands of many poets, there are some verses that give it fresh life:

The dancer was dancing, the movements were graceful. Yes, Vasanta thought, just like her name, Vasanta the spring, new beginnings, a time when nature wakes up from the hibernation of winter when flowers bloom in their glory.  The Indian Diasporas in USA celebrated the vasantotsava; they called it the Hindu Valentine’s day.  After the so called classical performances, came the medley of Bollywood songs.

She remembered the excitement, the Month of Magha, the fifth day was the Panchami, and the house would come alive. There would be preparations for the Vasanta Panchami, then the shashti, the Ratasaptami and finally the durgashatmi.

Spring was dedicated to Saraswati…

“Madam, look at this point, there is something that does not match with findings.”

“What do you mean, Karan?” Vasanta asked her assistant they were researching the river Saraswati the season of spring was dedicated to.

“Madam, the ghost river bed, in synchrony with the age and flow we have mapped. The fossil finds are in tune with the age of the river bed, but suddenly from this point, the river bed shows an altered pattern, there is evidence of the river drying up or rather fading away and at the sub terrain level there is lateral movement of the river towards the east.”

“Any archaeological findings’

‘Madam, the dating is same as that of the Dwaraka excavation dates, but the structures do not match any of the Saraswati valley findings, these look like extracts stored from various regions. For examples, this pottery is definitely east coast, Anga pradesha, while the contents of this vault and look like the fish remnants from the Arabian Sea.’

Now that was really interesting, somehow all these seem to fit into Vasanta’s findings that that the river Saraswati had vanished due to development that lacked sustainability, the resultant disaster either deliberately of inadvertently diverted the river eastwards.

“Ambi tame, devi tame nadi tame Saraswati,” muttered Vasanta,

“Ma’m isn’t it strange that the festival of spring is associated with a sterile goddess like Saraswati?”

Vasanta smiled, “Karan how long have we been researching Saraswati,”

“Ma’m since my MPhil, I have been working”

“so what has come up for you?”

“Ma’m, she is the goddess of learning, pure, white, sitting on a swan,”

“Is that it Karan? And an MPhil for it,”

“Ma’m I focused on the life and trade possibility”

“Look at it, Karan, a civilization whose fields nourished by a mighty river, the fish from it that they ate, the water that quenched their thirst,  the water on which their ships travelled for trader, the waters which brought other traders to them. The river that sustained life and living, she was all giving, so Saraswati… the giver of life flavour.”

“Yet Ma’m  I mean she is the goddess of learning, so spring, that is associated with romance, and superficiality even holi madam we perform Kama dahan. This logic of Vasant Panchami eludes me.”

“Ma’m can I go a little early today?”

“why”

“the Amir Khusro study group is having the Basant Bahar, the festival of sufi songs that use the word Basant.  Ma’m the Sufi’s brought the Basant festival into the Muslim community, it is great fun Madam, first we have these songs, and then there is socializing.”

As her scholars left, her eyes reverted to the picture on facebook,  she wondered what his glamorous lady friend would have done if her husband dared to be away on her birthday or anniversary. But then it was not about the lady friend, neither was it about her husband it was about her life.

Did she want the cold, winter or was she willing to move on the vibrant spring exuded energy. A state of being that could give. Did she have the courage to move on in life. all her excuse had now run out, her daughters were not more dependent on her.  As Vasanta scrolled the facebook wall down, there was a beautiful clipping of a butterfly emerging out of its cocoon.

Vasanta stared at it fascinated, the struggle, the rupture of the safe shell, the wings unfolding, and new life fluttering into the horizon, yes, it was time, to spread the wings and experience the exhalation feeling of  flying high, the winds would hold her up, she would morph into the next stage…. the spring had truly arrived.

favorite season…?

The season that I love best,

From the supermarket

From the supermarket

I really do not know . Julian Barnes says in Flaubert’s Parrot “When you’re young you prefer the vulgar months, the fullness of the seasons. As you grow older you learn to like the in-between times, the months that can’t make up their minds. Perhaps it’s a way of admitting that things can’t ever bear the same certainty again.” “

As a dancer for me movements of nature are very inspiring, and the monsoon that imprisons me within the walls of my house teaches, the movement of nature. From the swaying trees, this changes it s tempo and rhythm with each.  The heavy rains begins to shower, from the fiery grishma varsha begins to freezes.

The need to create the fire within emerges, this is the power of varsha, and the thunder begins with the rhythms, which reminds me of the chande that we use in Kathakali, mohini attam or yakshagana. The swaying trees that inspired the creation of Mohini who resides in every dancer as Mohiniattam. The dazzling lightening. The soul begins to dance.

The first event to break the monotony of the rains is the Krishna ashtami, when the early performances begin. The tales of Krishna are told and then comes the beginning of the new season that is Ganesh chaturti which ends with only vasanta panchami in January.

Grishma, the heat has had its pinnacle soaring pinnacle, when the mind refuses to work. I kind of lethargy. Creatively this period is of nervous energy yet non productive.  Inner sounds are too tired to create music. The heat tires any physical activity. Sanguinity is the only possible reaction to life and living.

Then come the early monsoon showers, or the pre-monsoon showers, the heat, and rain combating for mother natures’ attention.  To give way to varsha, the rains,

Thunder, lightening, showers cools body mind and soul. It appears as if the early tiredness created by the body is now recuperating. Ready to take on newer horizons

monsoon flora

monsoon flora

Yet how can I overlook spring?

When winsome westerly winds
caress comely creeping cloves
As bumblebees’ buzz-buzzing and cuckoos’ coo-cooing
resound in huts, in coves, in groves,
In springtime, the sensual season so languorously
long for forlorn lovers,
Krishna strays and plays, my friend,
dancing with young girls.
The poem by the Sanskrit poet Jayadeva, describes Krishna in spring. Spring the king of all seasons, the companion of the God of Love.
Between 20th of March and 22nd of March is the Vernal equinox the official first day of spring. Spring is the nature’s way of saying “lets party!”
Spring represents renewal, rebirth, and regrowth, in India Vasantotsav is a much enjoyed festival with colours and frolic. Temperatures between 25-30 degrees. It is winter in the shade and summer in the sunshine. A season of kites and marriages.
Like Virgil.A.Kraft noted “spring shows what god can do with a drab dirty world.”

sagriAnd summer? The summer sounds
actually one does not really pay much attention to it. Its only when the poets highlight it that we notice it.
to the kids it means no more pencils no more books, no more teachers dirty looks. To mothers it means no lunch boxes to pack, to Indian grandparents it means grandkids home.
To mother nature—sings a different song, there is an unreal element here like a mirage, the heat saps the enmity between predators, you don’t need wealth to cool your life-like the famous Indian poet Bhana says, the season allows it by itself by sending the breeze through the sweat which is coolant.
The Indian summer is legendary, the cracking of dawn is with the chirping of migratory birds, and then come the crackling parrots, on tree tops, these slowly leave the stage for droning bees that come to the jasmine flowers as they are at the peak of their fragrance. As the day moves on it’s a mirage of peace and harmony between predators created by the lethargy of the summer heat.

The paradoxical winter warmth

Winter or Hemanta as we call it Sanskrit is a favourite of mine. The description of this is done by a Sanskrit poet as follows:

गजपतिद्वयसीरपि हैमन्तस्तुहिनयत्सरितः पृषतां पतिः।

सलिलसंततिमध्वगयोषितामतनुतातनुतापकृतं दृशाम्॥

Gaja-pati-dvayasīr api haimantas tuhinayat caritas pṛṣatāṃ patiḥ |

Salila-saṃtatim adhvaga-yoṣitām atanuta atanu-tāpa-kṛtaṃ dṛśām ||

The winter wind, lord of water drops, freezing even rivers deep as the mightiest of elephants is tall, produces a stream of hot, painful tears from the eyes of women whose husbands are away.

I love winter when the landscape weaves its magic. It is like a mystery waiting to be unveiled. The story has its nebulous secret. There is there solitude, there is loneliness. There is a sense of privacy which no other season gives. Spring, summer or fall people sort of buzz around. While in the monsoon the drone of nature may take getting used to, it is the winter that provides quiet stretches for one to savour the sense of belonging to one’s own self.

Keeping warm, is a luxury in itself. Winter being milder in my part of the world, we tend to wear thick cottons or thin woollens. Silks are the norm for daily dressing.

The festivals involve dishes made of Til ~also known as gingelly that is sesame. Roasted sesame is dropped into melted or caramelized jaggery to which ginger, cardamom and cashew bits have been added. This is rolled into small balls. Til is supposed to be a keep warm nutrient that helps one tide over the winter scarcity.

Keep warm food are spicier, tangier yet lighter. Ginger, pepper flavours.

papillary

papillary

End of the day it is all about Shifting with nature’s energy—change of season

In today’s world office jobs and supermarkets have made it possible to provide for ourselves and our families regardless of nature’s cycles. While most of us no longer depend directly on nature’s seasons for our livelihood our body’s clocks still know deep down that a change of season means a change in us too. If we don’t acknowledge this we may feel out of sync, as though we have lost our natural rhythm. These days, autumn is more likely to bring thoughts of going back to school than harvesting but into classes the chill in the air tells us it is time to move inside and prepare for the future. We can consciously celebrate the change of season and shift our energy by setting time aside to make the same change we see in nature. We change our colours like falling leaves and wilting blooms by putting away our bright summer colours and filling our wardrobes and living areas with warm gold’s, reds and browns,

While plants concentrate energy deep in their roots and seeds we can retreat to quieter indoor pursuits, nurturing seeds of endeavours, which need quiet concentration to grow. We can stoke our inner fires with our favourite coffee, eat, cider or cocoas while savouring rich hot comfort foods that the season brings on array of fall colours, potatoes, pumpkins, corn etc. as animals begin growing their winter coats and repairing their dens for hibernation we dust of our favourite sweaters and jackets and bring blankets out of storage creating cosiness with throw rugs and heavier drapes. We can also light candles or fireplaces to b ring remnant of summer’s fiery glow indoors.

By making a conscious celebration of change we usher in the new season in a way that allow us to go with the flow, not fight against it. We sync ourselves up with the rhythm of nature and the universe and let it carry us forward nurturing us as we prepare for our future.

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.sagri
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”
― Yoko Ono