Will You Play This Game With Me?

Since last week we were talking of the importance of seeing beauty, how about making a game of it? Making a game out of something to do makes it so much more fun, pleasant … and beautiful. There — we are in the company of beauty already.

Ok, so here is how the game goes —

You share with me, in the comment below, any one thing of beauty that you see or perceive right now, at this present moment, whether it is in the world around you or it is within you. Anything of beauty that you perceive in your thoughts, feelings, or via seeing, smelling, touching, or hearing (or whatever other senses you may have!).

Then it will be my turn, and I will share one something of beauty that I am perceiving at that present moment when I reply in the comment below. I will also send the reply to you by email, if you give your email while commenting.

We will play this for three rounds, i.e. I will reply to three comments below by correspondingly sharing some thing of beauty that I see. Then who knows, this might not remain a game between you and me. We might find a whole lot of us sharing their own perception of beauty, seen through each one’s exclusive keyhole.

This is a win-win game.

Here is a demonstration of how one chance is played — here right now, I am looking for something of beauty that I can perceive, and this is what I found:
My father is talking to someone on the phone, as I type the keys of the laptop keyboard are responding with a gentle thudding sound that gives me the feedback that yes the key did get pressed fine, the pigeon is cooing at the window behind me, and I can feel my chest rise and fall silently as I breathe automiraculously — this small symphony of sounds and that I am able to share it with you, is beautiful.

Ok. So that was the demo. Now your turn. Will you share with me a thing of beauty that you perceive right now, at this present moment?

Vani

P.S. With the email subscribers of vani-expressions, we played this game slightly differently.

Related article: Beauty is everywhere. Sitting quietly, waiting to be seen.

I Shall Go The Way I’d Gone

I shall go the way I’d gone
as a child, to the sky.
I shall let it blow my mind
To smithereens.

Then I shall be
only me
Nothing more.
As the sky is
Just the sky
Nothing more.
As the bird is
Just the bird.

“But you’re so intelligent!” they say…

This I do not understand
This exclaim, “You’re so intelligent.”
“So what?” I say.

“Serve! Do your duty!” they say.
I cannot see who I can serve.
Each and every being perfect ―
Who do I serve?
Tell me, how to serve the sky?

If there’s something at all amiss
In this world, it is this ―
You do not see beauty ― it is
Everywhere.
But still, *you* are beautiful.

Not urgent, it’s important though ―
See beauty
It is everywhere.

As for me
I shall be me
Just as the sky
Is just the sky
Nothing more.


About “Important, Not Urgent”
Things that we do, or have to do, fall under four sections of the urgent-important matrix.

Urgentimportantmatrix

The “Important, Not Urgent” quadrant is the quadrant of quality. Those activities improve the quality of our mind, body, and life.

Seeing beauty is very subtly important. The benefits it brings is deep. The world is waking up to the importance of meditation. Seeing beauty is the easiest way to meditate.

To see beauty we need not go on a vacation. Beauty is everywhere. Here is an article that expands on what beauty is and examples of how it is everywhere.

That’s All “It” Asks

how will you
garland the wind,
touch the feet of sunshine?
is there any need to?

turn your face
to the wind
the sunshine and the moonlight
immerse in the dark night
listen to its gurgling flow
wet your fingers
in the water…

i hug god with my heart

that’s all “It” asks
if anything

which will you choose?
the wise or the joyous
the smart or the joyous
the right or the joyous

success or joy
say, fear or joy
which do you choose?

who is your god?

~ vani murarka

The Science of Shiva – My Favorite Thin Spiritual Book

कहें न तुमसे तुम्हारी बात तो किससे कहें हम?

Shivji is one heck of a cool dude. You see, I have a teenage crush on Shivji that endures. So when he says, “O Beloved, put attention neither on pleasure or pain but between these, I feel this warm glow all inside.

He’s addressing me as beloved! Oh how nice!

What are you talking about Vani??

My favorite thin (ultra-thin) spiritual book. It’s called “Vigyaan Bhairav”, which means “Science of Shiva”.

The original is in Sanskrit, but hold on, don’t go away yet. We aren’t going to get all high brow, scholarly and stuff. In fact it’s because of its utter simplicity that I love this book – and there are many kind and sweet ways that it is accessible to us without having to bother about the Sanskrit.

Shakti (Durga, Parvati, The Supreme Feminine Force) poses a question –

“O Shiva, what is your reality?
What is this wonder-filled universe?
Who centers this universal wheel?
How may we enter it fully, above space and time, names and descriptions?”

Essentially she is asking him to spill the beans. She is asking him to tell us “the theory of everything”, the one final answer to all questions anyone may ever have.

And then Shiva answers –

He gives 112 short simple ways whereby we may know the answer ourselves by experiencing it. In short, his answer just boils down to this –

Be aware. Experience completely. Receive fully.

He does not directly answer the question ‘What is your reality? Who centers the universal wheel?’ – for if we just heard that, bereft of experience it would just be information and theory to us. He tells us ways in which we can enter his reality, ways in which we can arrive at the center of the universal wheel – above space and time, names and descriptions – and thereby we can directly reach the answer experientially. Nowhere in the book does he say, “I center the universal wheel. This is my reality. Worship me (or anyone or anything for that matter)”. I told you, he’s a cool dude.

.

Observe. That is the bedrock of science. Observe as much as you can, as minutely as clearly as you can. On a personal level that converts to – be aware, experience completely. Be as acutely aware, of as much in you, around you, as you can.

Scientists use various instruments to observe – be it the grand Hadron Collider at CERN or the hapless rickety Voltmeter in the school lab. We too have been bestowed with superb instruments to observe with. The grandest, big daddy of them all being – our mind. And a plethora of other superb instruments too – eyes, ears, skin…

We just have to tune our instruments and use it completely. When we do that, we directly reach the reality of what is Shiva, along with resolutions to life problems required enroute.

To solve a problem, we have to know the problem. To know the problem, we have to observe the problem. And that applies to whatever hassle we may be experiencing. And even if everything is hunky dory and you are filled with wonder at our wondrous universe and want to know what drives it all – the ultimate question of science, “the theory of everything” – Shiva tells us how you can straight away, bang on, arrive at it. At the center of it all. Not only do you get to know the theory of everything, you get to directly connect with everything, you get to become everything.

It all boils down to tuning our instruments and using it. One simple way that Shivji gives to tune our big daddy instrument, our mind, is – be aware of your breath.

The first four verses of his answer are all different ways of saying, be aware of your breath. Here is the first –

1. Radiant one, this experience may dawn between two breaths. After breath comes in (down) and just before turning up (out) – the beneficence.

Whenever I do that, whenever I choose to become aware of my breath, I feel a sense of calm. Ok, relative calm. Things do not feel as overwhelming. I feel his presence. Be aware of your breath.

Imagine a rickety voltmeter gone rogue, jumping all over the lab. That’s what our mind is like most of the time. What kind of an answer to anything will we get using that instrument? What kind of problem solving will it manage to do? Even if someone is blaring the answer we seek at top volume, we won’t be able to hear it. Cause the voltmeter (which has a radio transmission receiver built into it) won’t be able to receive any radio transmission. We gotta tune the radio.

A way to do it – be aware of your breath.

Dear reader, I invite you – pause a second, become aware of your breathing – no need to close your eyes, take on a posture or any such thing – be aware of the movement in your chest, or your tummy – whichever moves more. Just five breaths. In and out.

Being aware of just five breaths, in and out, being aware of just one breath, has tremendous power.

Then Shivji, in Vigyaan Bhairav, gives some further ways to arrive at the center of the universal wheel, above space and time. Here are some that I particularly like. It all boils down to – Use your instruments! See! Listen! When eating something, taste it completely. When having sex, experience it so completely that the fire burns in you forever. Feeling like a rag doll? Well experience that completely.

16. In the beginning and gradual refinement of the sound of any letter, awake.

17. While listening to stringed instruments, hear their composite central sound; thus omnipresence.

22. Consider any area of your present form as limitlessly spacious.

27. When in worldly activity, keep attentive between two breaths, and so practicing, in a few days be born anew.

37. Look lovingly on some object. Do not go on to another object. Here, in the middle of this object – the blessing.

41. While being caressed, sweet princess, enter the caressing as everlasting life.

43. At the start of sexual union, keep attentive in the beginning, and so continuing, avoid the embers in the end.

45. Ever remembering union, without embrace, the transformation.

46. On joyously seeing a long-absent friend, permeate this joy.

47. When eating or drinking, become the taste of the food or drink, and be filled.

50. At the point of sleep when sleep has not yet come and external wakefulness vanishes, at this point being is revealed.

51. In summer when you see the entire sky, endlessly clear, enter such clarity.

52. Lie down as dead. Engaged in wrath, stay so. Or stare without moving an eyelash. Or suck something and become the sucking.

59. Simply by looking into the blue sky beyond clouds, the serenity.

62. In rain during a black night, enter that blackness as the form of forms.

67. Feel yourself pervading all directions, far, near.

79. Toss attachment for body aside, realizing I am everywhere. One who is everywhere is joyous.

82. Feel the consciousness of each person as your own consciousness. So, leaving aside concern for self, become each being.

91. Wherever your mind is wandering, internally or externally, this.

92. When vividly aware through some particular sense, keep in the awareness.

96. Devotion frees.

98. The purity of other teachings is as impurity to us. In reality know nothing as pure or impure.

100. Be the unsame same to friend as to stranger, in honor and dishonor.

101. When the mood against someone or for someone arises, do not place it on the person in question, but remain centered.

104. Wherever your attention alights, at this very point, experience.

108. Here is a sphere of change, change, change. Through change consume change.

109. As a hen mothers her chicks, mother particular knowings, particular doings, in reality.

110. Since, in truth, bondage and freedom are relative, these words are only for those terrified with the universe.
This universe is a reflection of minds. As you see many suns in water from one sun, so see bondage and liberation.

112. Beloved, at this moment let mind, knowing, breath, form, be included.

.

.

Did you sense a deep silence and wide expanse in those words?

There is tremendous transformative power in receiving our experiences completely. As we do it (even if just sometimes) over time it creates a shift, a transformation within. We start seeing the same things that have been in our life all along, in subtle but significantly different ways. There is power shining everywhere and every once in a while we are able to connect to it. A wide expanse opens up and our mind gets transformed in unimaginably gorgeous ways. We feel unlimited. We become unlimited.

Then, in the original Sanskrit, at the end of all his answers, Durga “कण्ठे लग्ना” – i.e. filled with gratitude, she embraces him, she hugs him tight.

That is exactly what happens. We are overcome by gratitude.

That sure is what happens to me. उनके बस गले लग जाना, ज़ोर से – और क्या चाह सकती हूँ मैं?

विस्तृत होकर मन मुस्काया
छा जाती नभ सी यह काया
मैं बस वाणी – मन भरमाया
मैं तो हूँ ब्रह्माण्ड समाया


Zen Flesh Zen BonesDear reader, the excerpts that I have shared with you here are from the book Zen Flesh Zen Bones which consists of four parts (it is not 4 parts as in 4 printed separate books – there are 4 parts within this one book Zen Flesh Zen Bones).

This, a very simple, extremely pared down translation of Vigyaan Bhairav is the last, 4th part of Zen Flesh Zen Bones titled “Centering”. 18 printed pages. That’s all.

There are other ways in which Vigyaan Bhairav is accessible to you too. There is a version available from Bihar School of Yoga / Bihar Yoga Bharati where the original Sanskrit is given with short explanations in English after each shloka. Osho Rajneesh has written a commentary on Vigyaan Bhairav where he has extensively expanded on each of the 112 shlokas and ways of going beyond space and time that Shivji gives. I have cursorily glanced at both these versions. Both are very nice. There are others too.

Sri_Vijnana_Bhairava_Tantra
Book of Secrets - Osho
Vijnana Bhairav - Lakshmanjoo

Personally, I am satisfied with these 18 pages in Zen Flesh Zen Bones and do not feel the need to delve into other more scholarly discourses. I really like the way the authors of Zen Flesh Zen Bones (with the help of a teacher Lakshmanjoo, in Kashmir), have pared down the verses to bare minimum words. It makes the spirit of the message that much more accessible to me. It enables me to stay near silence, near him – unentangled with words and form.

The Science of Shiva – Observe. Experience. Receive fully.


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Image credit: Shiv Shakti by Updendra Ratra

Beauty is Everywhere. Sitting Quietly, Waiting To Be Seen.

“How do you define beauty?” my friend asked.

“I don’t. I experience it”, I answered.

That still is the best I can say – I don’t define beauty, I experience it. Nevertheless, I see her question as gently asking “tell me more about beauty”.

Beauty emerges from the womb of awareness. Beauty is a seeing. When it happens, it brings with it a sense of expanse. ‘Vani Murarka’ blurs away somewhat and unseen I penetrate the ‘thing’ being seen as beautiful and drink in the beauty a bit. A certain oneness occurs, a feeling of having been nourished.

“I love you.”

Love is a verb in this sentence. This means that love involves some action. What action does love involve? Seeing beauty. To love someone or something is to perceive beauty in that person / thing. Seeing beauty is to perceive the very being of that thing / person, and by that seeing we are expanded.

What have I loved in the purest way in my life so far?

The sky.

Whenever I have loved the sky, I have never wanted anything from it. I did not ask it to acknowledge my love for it. Nor did I want to make it my own. I have simply been enamored by it. I have wanted to be immersed in it and by that wanting itself, felt expanded.

I have loved some people deeply too. There are times when I perceive the person I love deeply to be existing in every atom of this universe. At those times the same thing occurs, I am enamored by their beauty, by their very being. The result is, I feel expanded and grateful for being able to perceive that way.

To see someone somewhere (say 19 Park Street for example) requires us to go there (to 19 Park Street) – either physically, or by technological means such as the television, or simply by our mind. When I have seen the person I have loved in every particle of the universe, that seeing has taken *me* to every particle of the universe – and by that I have been blessed.

Beauty is a blessing. It is a blessing that exists everywhere, every moment, available to us to partake of. When we are not feeling expansive, our mind is focused on something where we do not perceive beauty – but right beside that something, beauty is sitting quietly, ever present to be seen.

So here we are on Facebook, reading posts about cow slaughter, or protection, or Donald Trump or Modi or whatever else that disturbs us – and right beside that post, in that post, beauty is sitting quietly waiting to be seen.

For the screen on which we read is beautiful – lit by its numerous tiny bulbs hidden inside and all its wonderful technology and science, every aspect of which is *so* grand, which powers the screen and the whole internet. Be enamored by the screen – the material it is made of, the manner in which text and images are transmitted to it for display, the collective human action present past (and future), and every atom and every zero and one that dances together to make it all happen. Sublime.

And beauty exists in the text that we read. Every letter is beautiful. See one letter carefully. Its shape is beautiful. Its typography is beautiful. That letter encapsulates a sound – that is so fascinating. Each word of the post you read, *whichever* post, is beautiful. They may have been strung together to convey a thought of hate, but each of those words can be used to convey a thought of love too. What we choose to receive, the thought of hate or the seeing of beauty, is our choice.

Pause a second. See a letter. This last one – “e”. Look at its shape – e. The way it loops around and then points us to the next letter. Feel that movement and its sound – ee. See the word it was in – one, or shape. Each word so fascinating and wondrous –

one

shape

Ponder a second on the meaning of those words, “one”, “shape” – each has the capability to take us to a wide open place in our mind. I just happened to pick these two words at random. They came my way as I was writing. Any word that we may pick up holds within itself a wide open expanse, if we enter it.

Within letters and words the stream of humanity itself is hidden – all our forefathers, known unknown. For how does language evolve and emerge? These letters and words just got made, naturally over time, organically, by the power of a great natural collective mind. No law was passed, “one” shall mean this, and it shall be pronounced thus, for which these letters that hold these sounds will be used. No law was passed. It evolved under the skilled chisel of a grand collective mind that flows across time. This same grand, wondrous, sublime mind has been gifted to each one of us too.

And these words created by this grand mind empower me to reach out to you. These words empower you to receive my thoughts. And in this moment, we are one.

What did I do here? I saw the beauty of the screen on which I see what I type. I saw the beauty of the letters and words I use. Pause a second and see anything, there is beauty sitting quietly in there.

What is beauty, but a seeing.

What is beauty, but a receiving.