Monday, 26 April 2010

perfection

i fall on my knees and take your palm in both hands and, pressing it to my lips, plead: make me perfect!

make me perfect as a perfect square, a perfect circle, a perfect sphere--let it be as you wish. let me be as soft clay in your hands. mould of me your ultimate art.

with your fingers you twist my ears till it pains and then you push me back and skip your way down the slope, leaving me alone on the hillside. as the skies darken and the stars come out, i turn into a night flower, petal by petal, flowering...

*****

"it manifests itself in...the impulse towards perfection, the search after pure Truth and unmixed Bliss, the sense of a secret immortality"--Sri Aurobindo.

*****

15 comments:

Sorcerer said...

beautiful.
The way in which our loved ones can change our life, with the way they touch their hearts.

Another great work from you sir.

Thank you for such a beautiful read.

P. Venugopal said...

call me venu uncle if you can, or buddy, as you call your other friends. 'sir' makes me feel like a self-important tahsildar, an officious bore. frankly, i feel humbled by the talent of my young friends like you.

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

I presume it’s about continuity, the flow of life from one generation to the other, the longing for eternity. Correct me if I’m wrong.

I always get an image of something that gets completed in itself and stand apart as a model of perfection when I think of these lines by Madhavikkutty:

‘Oaro aalinganavum oru poornathayannu
Poorthiyaaya oru kothupaniyaanu.’

P. Venugopal said...

it is more or less the same, Arun. how beautiful the lines you have quoted, Madhavikutty's.
"each time you take me in your arms, dearest,
it is a sublimation of everything there is,
a sculpture chiselled to perfection."
i am into a new territory nowadays, reading Aurobindo. he speaks of the union of matter and spirit, the ultimate destiny of this union through evolutions being the attainment of Godhead in matter. from the lowest manifestation of life to the supreme level attained this far--that of man with his faculties of will and intellect--is a predistined evolution. there are regions beyond, the summit being the manifestation of God in man. you attain it either through the slow and natural process of evolution or through a supreme effort and a calling upon of the entire energies of your being.
he also says that this supreme effort will be of no use at all in the attainment of your goal unless aided by the grace of the Mother, an entity of immeasurable compassion and love, who is the lifeforce behind you and everything. only with total surrender to the Mother will the process begin.
Aurobindo is very difficult to assimilate. he is a theoretician going into unfathomable depths and he is so engrossed in his own adventure that he has no feel of the limitations of those who have to grop their way behind him in twilit blindness. but he opens the doors of an exciting new territory.
what i do nowadays is to take a long walk in the morning, read five or six pages of Aurobindo and sit on the flat roof of my house for half an hour contemplating. in half an hour you become as intoxicated as when you have downed three drinks (which is my limit). i write about this intoxicated state without adjectives. Aurtobindo's Mother comes to me sometimes as my mother, my lover, my grandchild...

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

It’s great that you always have the patience to describe even the most complex of matters in a manner which even some one as dumb as me can grasp.

“there are regions beyond, the summit being the manifestation of God in man. you attain it either through the slow and natural process of evolution or through a supreme effort and a calling upon of the entire energies of your being.”

The second one ‘calling upon of the entire energies of your being’, reminded me of Nietzsche, for he expounded it pretty well, in such an empowering way. But there’s no ‘grace of the Mother’ in ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ as you may know. He talked about Ubermensch with such great passion. Here’s the passage in which he addresses the people gathered at the market place to see the rope dancer perform:


“ I teach you the Superman. Man is something that is to be
surpassed. What have ye done to surpass man?
All beings hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and ye
want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the
beast than surpass man?
What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just
the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of
shame.
Ye have made your way from the worm to man, and much within you is
still worm. Once were ye apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than
any of the apes.
Even the wisest among you is only a disharmony and hybrid of plant
and phantom. But do I bid you become phantoms or plants?
Lo, I teach you the Superman!
The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The
Superman shall he the meaning of the earth!
I conjure you, my brethren, remain true to the earth, and believe
not those who speak unto you of superearthly hopes! Poisoners are
they, whether they know it or not.
Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned ones
themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so away with them!
Once blasphemy against God was the greatest blasphemy; but God died,
and therewith also those blasphemers. To blaspheme the earth is now
the dreadfulest sin, and to rate the heart of the unknowable higher
than the meaning of the earth!”

I’m yet to start reading Krishnamurti. Last week I finished the biography of Naipaul. It’s written in such a compelling way that sometimes one feels that one is sitting in a room with Naipaul, watching his antics. So many times I had to stop reading as I thought I would just breakdown. Somehow, I’m getting better from the influence and look forward to read the pile of books I bought this month.

P. Venugopal said...

Arun, you understand the things i understand as deeply as i do! i have a copy of Zarathustra with me, buying it a couple of years ago reading Osho putting him at the very top the list of 100 books he had loved.

it was the misunderstanding of him that gave birth to Hitler, was it not? i am given to wonder whether it was not the absence of the surrendering of the self (to the divine Mother, if one wants to put it in the form of a symbol) that had been the tragedy of Hitler in his understanding of Zarathustra, as expounded by Nietzsche.

but how close to Zarathustra's superman concept is Aurobindo's concept of the superconscious state in man!

it is indeed a possibility to touch that level. we are a combination of matter a spirit; there is no need to elaborate on it; it is something that can be felt deep inside if we clear the antenna of the rust and dirt that clog it and listen.

matter is inert, it has weight, animal instincts...it draws you down and its natural tendency is to keep you bogged in the mire. the spirit soars; it is free; it flies. how to combine the two to obtain the optimum levitation shall be the basis of our inquiry.

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

In Calicut, at the end of Mavoor Road, there’s a shop, Osho’s book store. I remember a book on Nietzsche by Osho there.
Nietzsche was perhaps the most misinterpreted of philosophers. Now it’s not a secret that Nietzsche was ‘the victim of "criminally scandalous" manipulation by his anti-Semitic sister’ Elisabeth Forster and her husband Bernhard Forster. Nietzsche was a staunch opponent of anti-Semitism. Yes, the Nazis used the contorted version of Nietzsche’s ideology. It’s Elisabeth who published the book ‘Will to Power’ by adding and twisting some of Nietzsche’s thoughts which was abandoned by him and later the same was used by the Nazi propagandists.
I think even today the same things are happening. The teachings of the great religions of the world are interpreted in such a way that they are used to breed hatred and violence. All in the name of God, right?
“i am given to wonder whether it was not the absence of the surrendering of the self (to the divine Mother, if one wants to put it in the form of a symbol) that had been the tragedy of Hitler in his understanding of Zarathustra”
Venu Chettan, I’m afraid that it would be oversimplification to say that. Pardon me if I’m wrong and please don’t hesitate to correct me. There’s absolutely no doubt that reading Zarathustra gives one a feeling of empowerment, but are the things described in Zarathustra meant to be taken literally? I’ven’t read much of Nietzsche to say anything authentically about his writings. But I view him as an exponent of freedom and man’s power to change his own destiny. Remember his diatribe against Christianity.
I hope I’m not blabbering.

P. Venugopal said...

Arun, this is turning out to be a very deep discussion, and exciting too because we have not known what we say had existed in the realm of our knowledge. We are drawing each other out, making ourself go deep and look into ourselves and see that, surprisingly, we know it.
in fact, all knowledge is within us, within each one of us. we need not read much; we need only to free ourselves from outside noice--the noice of even the teachings of saints--and go deep into ourselves to know the truth, as it is.
but reading saves us from going meandering into the maze of the deep woods by showing a footpath through the undergrowth. books like Zarathustra were written by writers who had inquired, gone deep. it shows a footpath. but we don't know whether it is to the ultimate destination. that, each one of us has to find out for himself/herself.
(frankly, i was marvelling how much you have read at your young age. until four or five years ago, almost all i used to read and reread was Wodehouse, because my focus was on the turn of expression, the wordplay and the flourish of it all. i started reading for content only recently--JK, Osho and now Aurobindo. and i haven't as yet read one per cent of what they say in their books.)

P. Venugopal said...

and now i write on your point about positively empowering teachings getting twisted and distorted to suit the designs of negative empowerment:

how can a Hitler take birth from Zarathustra's teachings and how can religion, which actually means raising the level of consciousness, become the cause of division and conflict?

this is a problem with every great invention of man. remember what we did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while atomic energy could have been used in a thousand other ways in the service of the good.

is it an oversimplication to wonder "whether it was not the absence of the surrendering of the self that had been the tragedy of Hitler in his understanding of Zarathustra”?

all religions first teach the necessity to surrender. Christians kneel down, the Mohammedeans kneel down, the Hindus postrate and do shayana prathikshan.

it is not a meaningless ritual. we are saying, God, i kneel down before you, i kneel down before the whole that is--the hills and the valleys, the multitude of animals and plants, all the people living, the vast oceans, the clouds in the skies and the moon and the sun and the stars.

can any person who knows deep down the meaning of this surrender ever turn a Hitler? we have religions, but we are not religious. we have words but we don't know words are mere symbols. the meaning goes far beyond into the unknown, where we feel overawed and our knees buckle and we kneel.

(Arun, don't take me for the sandal-paste-smeared, pooja-japa-shayana-pradikshana-obsessed type you rightly avoid. we have not met. we can have that vodka together when you come here and even talk about nice-looking girls, if they happen to pass our way.)

vijay said...

Enjoyable
and
Enjoying.
Pl carry on

P. Venugopal said...

thanks, Vijay! you remind me of Mycroft Holms!!

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

Yes, Venu Chettan, it’s very interesting. But frankly, I am neither a voracious nor a good reader. I’ve more books to be read than what I had read, in my collection. I don’t know when I’m going to read Wodehouse. Even last month, when I visited Crossword, I saw copies of Jeev Series. I hope I can start soon.

Now about religions inspire fanatics and Zarathustra Nazis: I found the answer here.
“Can any person who knows deep down the meaning of this surrender ever turn a Hitler?” No, never. ‘Kathayariyathe aattam kanunnathannu prashnam. But unfortunately, that is what the majority does.

What you said about scientific formulae getting manipulated is absolutely right. I made the same point in an earlier post titled ‘The Joy of Drinking’ to defend alcohol which begins with a quote “I took more out of alcohol than alcohol had taken out of me”. The tendency to use and abuse lies in us, but we are not willing to be responsible and hence we blame almost everything except ourselves.

P. Venugopal said...

the joy of doing anything is when we do the thing with austerity. contemplate on this maxim and we will know it applies to everything, including drinking alcohol.
have you noticed the working of alcohol in us. the sentinels within each one of us, keeping us apart from our surroundings, drop their guard after we have downed a couple. no longer is there any pretention. if this condition is not tempered with austerity, our problems bubble out, because the sentinels are not on duty, and we are miserable. this is when drinking becomes a problem and an addictive thing taking us over and dragging us down into its whirlpool... when we drink with austerity, there is a flooding in of innocence and a heightening of alertness. what i say now may not be in line with the accepted concepts, but this is what i have seen watching the working of alcohol.

vaguely i am also aware of the possibility of touching the same state without the aid of alcohol. a friend of mine (who has been going deeply into his self and is what you may call a seeker) recently told me about Sri Ramakrishna who used to be on a high all the time without the aid of any intoxicants. God-drunk, he could not even walk on steady steps at certain moments.

just imagine how much money we could save learning this trick.

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

“when we drink with austerity, there is a flooding in of innocence and a heightening of alertness.”

I second, even last night I experienced it, ‘the heightening of alertness’, ‘the deep-going within’. This is something we all miss when we drink with friends, right? Cheers!

P. Venugopal said...

Arun, please send me your e-mail id. I want to write you something that is only for you.