Touch The Bark of A Tree

Does the tree cry inside,
as it grows,
pushing aside the very earth
that nourished it?

“You are so calm!”
she said.

Touch the bark
of a tree.
You will know
many unknowns.

“Oh how you flower, tree!”

Work happens not in summer.
Work happens not in spring,
or in August.
That is just delivery time.
Gather the bounty.

Work happens in the night
when its stark
and its chill
and we are shorn.

Come on, come on!
Let’s be a tree!
Let’s gather round
Into a field —
Privately.


Image credit: Michael Gadia at Pixabay.com

The Car Horn

Quite like a rod would physically penetrate the chest, the sound of the car horn penetrated me. It hurt. It hurts whenever I hear a piercing loud car horn.

I am sitting on the terrace at home in a small town near Bangalore, called Udupi. The sound of traffic is constant almost all day long. It is loud specially when a train arrives and people board buses, autos with their particularly grating and rolling sound, and personal cars for the final leg of their journey. You see this road on which I have taken a place on rent, leads to the Udupi railway station. It is called Railway Station road in fact, and is actually very beautiful, with the overflowing bounty of greenery.

Not even a year has passed since I came here. Ten months back it was much quieter — or maybe I was then comparing with noise levels in Bangalore and Kolkata where I had just come from. Right now, while I write just this sentence, it is quiet. I can hear a variety of birds chirping.

They say, ‘be mindful’ (as in mindfulness practice). I find it easiest to be mindful of sound. To listen to a piece of music and notice each note of each different instrument is so deeply satisfying. It feels like the ear is taking crystal clear snapshots of falling droplets of sound. This is why car horns, mo-bike horns (not to mention the almost-criminal Bajaj Pulsars) are all the more unpleasant and jarring to me.

However, there is one thing that I am extremely grateful for. I have noticed while driving, at times someone behind me seeking to go ahead, honks a very short honk once or twice and leaves it at that. If I do not notice, they do not repeat themselves incessantly. Instead, they wait patiently for the opportunity to pass. This I have encountered only in Udupi-Manipal, not in the metros. In the general din of traffic it would be easy to not notice this polite request. It seems my attempts at mindfulness practice might have enabled me to notice it.

I am grateful that there are people who drive this way, with such decorum, despite the general trend of screaming on the road via the horns under our palms. To such people, when I do notice their gentle hoot, I give way immediately — feeling a silent appreciation for the stranger behind that driving wheel.

There are so many ways to be social, so many ways to participate in a community, so many ways to express the beauty in us.

View from the Udupi Railway Station leading into Udupi. On a peaceful afternoon right before the first monsoon rain.
View from the Udupi Railway Station leading into Udupi. On a peaceful afternoon right before the first monsoon rain.

Reader Feedback on 12 Drops of Silence

Anita Nihalani is a yoga teacher in Assam. A Maths post graduate, she is also a prolific writer and poet. On reading 12 Drops of Silence she emailed me this response. I am grateful and elated, feeling somewhat of a trembling at her kind words — sharing the happiness with you.

Words were put in bold by Anita ji herself.


‘12 drops of Silence’ is a treasure to cherish, it is not a book that you read once. It is to be read again and again when ever mind is in peace or wants to be in peace. I read it in one sitting and was overwhelmed with so many emotions which can not be expressed in words.

A blob of love is a short and sweet poem. While reading it one can get the experience of meditation.

Article about trees is also very fresh and connects the reader with nature.

Reading about colours was an altogether different experience. Like white and black are two side of one coin, all opposite values are complimentary to each other.

Yes, maybe we are pollen grains, small and cute… waiting to bloom somewhere someday…

To be with nature is really a gift to ourselves, which we should give more often. The face painted with green grass and blue sky is very soothing.

Beauty is not to be seen it should be experienced. When we have steady mind, alert sight, beauty is everywhere. How nicely you have described the presence of beauty in everything around us, in the words and letters also.

They speak in silence is a beautiful poem, silence is the womb of this universe, trees grow in silence, rain comes making noise but snow falls in silence. To be able to feel this very silence is meditation.

The tree is my guru, is a thought provoking article. Trees are powerful, they come and go with same grace. They grow and dissolve in same spirit.

Yes if we can hear there is music in every breadth, there is music in the depth of our being…
“In the silence” is a marvellous picture. The blue-green sky studded with stars, Flowing stream and image of a woman in white, in the shadow of a green tree… is that you.

Infinite womb is also very inspiring and deep. The space is still and infinite, it is the origin of each and everything on this universe. One has to experience this to understand this amazing vast cosmos which is in and out of everything. Everything is happening in this space, nothing is good or bad. It is. This feeling is a great boon if one can feel even once.

Last article – Our Five friends the five elements is very knowledgeable. Fire, water, wind, earth and sky, they all are within us and without us. These elements make our physical body as well as our mental body. They are gross and also minute.

Reading this book is an experience in itself, I congratulate you for these precious pearls of knowledge. While reading I remembered Khalil Gibran. Your writing reminds me of him.


Anita ji writes mainly in Hindi. One of her poems was published on Kaavyaalaya recently. I highly recommend it. This page has links to all her blogs, each one a gem.

Other kind friends and strangers have also posted their feedback on 12 Drops of Silence, some on Amazon.in, some on Amazon.com.

With Flourish, Judiciously

Dear Reader,

Coming soon, to the device already in your hands – my first book “11 Drops of Silence”.

This is the book cover. I will share more about the book as I go further along the self-publishing process.

11 Drops of Silence - book cover

I hope the silence that is our womb, the source of all words, continues to bring joy and nourishment to you. In that context, here is today’s post on fun, joy, reading and writing.

With love,

Vani


By teaching me to read and write my parents and school teachers have empowered me beyond measure.

To be able to connect to other thoughts beyond the limitations of space and time, to be able to share my thoughts beyond physical presence and time is such a tremendous power. A power to be used well – judiciously and with full flourish.

It matters what I read. The health of my mind matters. What I put into my mind impacts my mind and every mind on the planet. It impacts the whole.

It matters what I write, what thoughts and words I harbour, the thoughts and words I and put out. Thoughts and words travel far.

I must do both, read and write, with responsibility, while of course having fun with it all. Fun, joy is the purpose. Fun, joy is the means.

Circles Of Harmony

Products Of Calm

From August to December last year, almost every morning, I went for a different kind of a walk, engaged in a different kind of meditation.

Corals In The Deep
Corals In The Deep. 9.7in x 9.7in. ₹2,500. Click to buy.
Ocean Song
Ocean Song. 9.7in x 9.7in. ₹2,500. Click to buy.

When we sit down to meditate, eyes closed, bang! all the cacophony of our mind becomes apparent and most of the time is spent being buffeted around by all those innumerable thoughts and pointless inner dialogue. Walking is an age-old way of calming the mind. Scientists, writers and all kinds of creators through generations have turned to walking everyday as a means to keep their mind clean and efficient. It is easier than sitting meditation since untamed energy has some place to be used – in the physical movement. In fact walking meditation is officially a part of some meditation programs.

Yin Yang
Yin Yang. 9.7in x 9.7in. ₹2,500. Click to buy.
Forest Joy
Forest Joy. 9.7in x 9.7in. ₹2,500. Click to buy.

Coloring and writing is another kind walking meditation. The wrist and I go for a walk on the paper. Coloring being wordless, brings on a quiet of its own. My brother gifted me a coloring book last Rakhi and I took it up wholeheartedly as the designs by the artist Cynthia Emeryle were exquisite.

Peacock Group Dance
Peacock Group Dance. 9.7in x 9.7in. ₹2,250. Click to buy
Emerald Ocean
Emerald Ocean. 9.7in x 9.7in. ₹2,250. Click to buy.

It was a rewarding experience as I got to experiment with making different color shades and combinations. Each time it was somewhat of a discovery for myself, what colors I will choose. While I kept coloring, I used to try and keep awareness on my breath. Of course the Brownian Motion of the mind would take over at times. However, doing this each day for so many days had a tangible positive impact on how I processed challenges, specially challenges of relationships. Often if I was having a hassle with someone, if I sat down and did some coloring for some time, it calmed me and I responded to the challenge differently than my first instinct.

Carrot Patch
Carrot Patch. 9.7in x 9.7in. ₹2,250. Click to buy.
Cocky!
Cocky! 9.7in x 9.7in. ₹2,250. Click to buy.

These are 9.7 inch X 9.7 inch watercolor and brush ink artworks. Most took 5 or more mornings to complete. Price includes framing and shipping costs. If you are in Kolkata you will receive the painting framed and ready to hang. If you are elsewhere the painting will be mounted and shipped secure within boards. You will have to get the glass and frame added.

Partridge Party
Partridge Party. 9.7in x 9.7in. ₹2,250. Click to buy.
Russian Ludo. 9.7in x 9.7in. ₹2,250. Click to buy.
Russian Ludo. 9.7in x 9.7in. ₹2,250. Click to buy.

You can see bigger clearer pictures on Facebook. There are 24 in all! Here is the link to the store. This is a perfect way to bring joy and color to your space this festive season.

Three Blind Mice
Three Blind Mice
Leo
Leo
Flutter
Flutter
They Love Blue
They Love Blue
Dalmatian Clock
Dalmatian Clock
Secret Cats
Secret Cats

They Speak In Silence

Spring speaks using words
(also known as flowers)
Winter speaks in silence

The day speaks using words
(also known as birds)
The night speaks in silence

I honor my night,
when it comes,
(also known as sadness)
I turn inward, to silence

I honor my night,
when it comes,
every month
(also known as periods)
I turn inward, to silence

It happens there,
The true work –
In winter, at night
In silence

It happens with a tool called
Awareness –
The way to hear the silence

~ vani murarka


Image credit: Photograph by Melmak from Pixabay.com

अगर सुनो तो

in the silence - michael z tyree

तारे जड़े हैं ज़िन्दगी में
अंधियारे बिछे हैं ज़िन्दगी में
और साँसों की लहर
सहला जाती है …
अगर सुनो तो

~ वाणी मुरारका

इस कविता का अंग्रेज़ी में अनुवाद (मेरे ही द्वारा):

stars are studded
in our life
darkness laid out
in our life

and the gentle flow
of breath,
ever soothing…
if you hear it

Image Credit: In The Silence – pastel painting by Michael Z Tyree. You can view the full painting and purchase prints here.

This Expansive Silence

What do I have in me that is of value, that I feel is worthy of being shared with the world?

All that I feel is of value in me, a bouquet of thoughts and experiences, ever taking shape, ever fading away, some staying longer than others, they all distillate into a single feeling – a feeling of expansive silence.

This silence is not the oppressive suffocating kind which occurs out of deadlock and frozen communication. This silence is deeply nourishing and loving. It permeates the being and expands into a gentle sense of awe and gratitude. A sense of wholesomeness, of being connected to the universe itself.

It is this expansive silence that accords value to every thought, every experience that I find worthy of being cherished. It is the essence of every speck of beauty that I encounter.

How do I make an offering of expansive silence to the world?

Will you sit quietly with me at the edge of a lake?

To sit quietly with someone is an intimate sharing.

Calling The Dark Night, on the City Diwali

Oh! Dear Night Sky
Moonless Black
Come back, come into my life
Hold me in your dense dark womb
Nourish me with your naked wisdom
My heart cries out for you today

My eyes are chained
to frenzied light
Ears drum with screams
of celebration
Oh! Night Sky embrace me now
in your Silence
that I may sink into you

I shall bring but just one lamp
of my heart
As my offering to you
May it join your many stars
Friends I have not seen for long
Friends who showed me
the vastness to which I belong

Now I’m cut away from land
And I’m cut away from you o Sky
In a “Flat” all dimensions
Have been squashed out
Dried powder of rituals remain
Yet your memory too remains

Kali come to me today
I no longer gasp with fear
At the thought of seeing your face
I have met you inside me
I have seen you inside out
I’ve partaken from your bowl
I seek your power once again
In the midst of frenzied lights,
blaring sounds,
that today, more so resound
Show your beauty that’s been forgotten
been forsaken

You shall prevail, that I know
More that we shall fail to see
the gift of the dark
it will not go
Now in you I rest this call
Come take me, once for all
The one you love, you know I do too.

~ vani murarka