Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007

Really Inspiring stuff ...

Naren sent me this link the other day ... So many of these, I feel are written for me :D Check if you feel the same way about them

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ram's Treatment of Sita !

So I was thinking .. from quite a while .. what was Rama thinking when he sent Sita away?? Again. After she proved her character via Agni Pravesh. What was he thinking ?? It bothered me a lot. Especially during my younger ( more impulsive and feminist :D) years.
If Rama was an incarnation of God, and if God incarnates to show people how to live right, with Dharma then what kind of an example was he setting doing this ? So many lesser mortals would quote his example and live their lives to fulfill their own selfish ends. So many wife beaters, wife cheaters hide behind this act of Rama, and God being omniscient would definitely forsee this ( plain common sense is enough :D).
An explanation I came across recently was this, Sita was his own, truly, completely, as close to him as himself. Like Sibi who cut away parts of his body to satisfy the vulture, Rama abandoned Sita to exemplify how ideal a king could be. Unless the king can give up everything of his for the welfare of his citizens he has no right to be king, no right to impose tax. It's easier to cut parts of your body to save an innocent dove; that kind of pain can be transformed to pleasure. It's harder to give up your dearest beloved, the shakti with which you create the universe, companion from the begining of eternity, to satisfy a drunken washerman. Rama exemplified the sense of duty a king should have towards his subjects.

We can olny hope that if it was not his wife, whose character was being questioned but some other citizen's he would have acted differently; more justly in the true sense of the word.

This kind of self-sacrifising attitude over a period of time would lead to situations like in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. What if the washerman now found fault with Kaushalya ? Then Lakshmana ? and then Lava and Kusha ? Would he give them all up ?
What justice is this that makes unfair demands of a King ?
After Sita left there was drought in Ayodhya for 10 years. So did Rama sacrifise the greater good of Ayodhya for the smaller good of the washerman ??


Truly amazing movies are those that leave you with a feeling of awe and wonder even the day after you've seen them. Anupama is one such.
It is the story of a girl Uma, whose mom dies while giving birth to her. Her father is never able to get over the death of his wife whom he loved very very tenderly. He hates Uma and blames her for it and will never see her face except when he's drunk. Uma grows up to be a quiet, shy girl who rarely speaks. 'Sehmi' is the word for it in Hindi. She is the like the touch-me-not flower, who is beautiful and at peace amidst flowers and birds but at any human contact she withdraws into herself. Sharmila Tagore played this role wonderfully.
She then meets Dharmendra who is a writer and a poet. He alone is able to reach out into her shyness and be a friend to her. Inspired by her he writes a novel Anupama. How they fall in love is also wonderfully portrayed, no song and dance, no chemistry, no sparks flying; he dedicates his book to her and she shyly looks away and is concerned about his health (he has fever). Uma has a friend, who verbalizes their love and tells them to act before it's too late; Uma's dad is inviting suitors for her.
Dharmendra, who in this movie is more like Rajesh Khanna than Dharmendra if you know what I mean, tell's Uma that the doors of his home and his heart are always open for her but refuses to press her to come. "The freedom of an individual is as important as the freedom of a country" he says and leaves it to Uma to decide what she wants to do.
She reads the novel the night before he is to leave town forever, a week before she is to marry another man. The next morning, she bids farewell to her father, takes his blessings, and leaves her home. No running away at night, no tears and heartbreak, just a quiet firm conviction. The strength of a mountain in the heart of a flower.
Anupama is more truly a feminist movie that movies like "Astitva" which are so far away from reality, that they border on being ridiculous. It's the story of how a woman finds courage and conviction to do what she wants; inspite of all odds. Alone, by herself. Not convinced, not coerced. But from the depths of her soul.
In this movie Sharmila is truly sharmili. Finally I understood what poets mean when they use metaphors like "frightened fawn" in the context of women.
There is also one of my all time favourite songs, "Ya dil ki suno duniya walon, ya mujh ko abhi chup rehne do". Though the song is a bit out of context, we realise in the song that one of the main characters, Uma's friend, is not just a overgrown kid, but a grown woman at heart.
The sad thing about writing about a movie is that the what the movie says with poetry and music, light and shade, beauty and grace, I am trying to say in a few words, in black and white. This may be justified if a great writer were to undertake the task but not very much in this case. See the movie .. feel it's power and beauty ...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Of winter and winter coats

The body is like an expensive winter coat. Keep it lint free and clean and neatly ironed. But dont worry too much about it; you can always get a new one if you have to. Worry about the winter. Work with the winter. Win over the winter. When there is eternal spring you wont need a winter coat anymore.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Svadharma ?

Lord Krishna in the Gita says that it is better to die doing your svadharma than excelling at paradharma. What is this svadharma ? How do I identify it ? So many books and scholars say so many things but it does not make sense to blindly believe them ?
Is svadharma something that gives true joy ? Peace? bliss ? What is it that gives constant bliss, joy and peace. The mind, especially a well-read mind (or even a partially read mind :) jumps up with so many many answers. But these are some areas where the mind is not to be blindly trusted. Or trusted at all. The answer should come from the antaratma, beyond the mind. What is my svadharma ?
Like the disciple who arrives at the answer of "Who am I" by a series of elimination, eliminating a whole lot of who I am not, am I to realize my svadharma that way ?
It is not being a programmer, it is not being a research student. I may fail at these things or achieve marginal success if I work hard at them, but they do not give me lasting joy and peace. Is naren's way of "doing things excellently and 'making' yourself happy" substantialy better ? I'de rather be miserable for a while and get the whole point than sustain the illusion. Like the dwarapala's of Sri Maha Vishnu preferred to be born as his enemies and spend 3 lifetimes apart from him rather than so many more as his friends.
And as a side note, while reading about draupadi and what is really the meaning of Krishna Sakhi I found this excellent link.
Good stuff man good stuff ...