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 —

Image credit: Michael Gadia at

When The Leaf Trembles

We all want conducive, beautiful environments of laughter, joy and ease. Spring is beautiful.

However, storms do come in our lives. There is no point saying they shouldn’t. They come. There is no point saying he should not do this, he should not do that. He does what he does. There is no point saying this should not have happened this way. This is the way it happened.

Storms come.

And when storms come, leaves do shake and tremble. So when a storm comes in your life and you can feel your inside shake and tremble, it is ok. It is but natural. When a storm comes leaves do shake and tremble. So please be kind to yourself. That you are shaking and trembling inside, does not make you weak. Are you even aware that you are shaking and trembling? Please be aware. That is where your strength lies — in awareness.

And if the leaf falls down and becomes mulch, that is ok too. For you are not only a leaf. You are the mud, you are the bark of the tree. You are the sap. You are the sky. You are the sunlight. You are the sun. You are the worms at the root of the tree. So if a leaf falls down and becomes mulch, that is ok too.

But while you are a leaf, be only a leaf. There is no need to be anything else at all. There is no need to heal anyone, no need to educate anyone. There is no need to be anything more, or less, than what you are. So for example, if you are a daughter, be a daughter. Nothing more. But be a daughter to the best of your ability, with joy, and then leaf it at that. When you are the admin of a Facebook group, be the admin of the Facebook group, as best as you can, and then leaf it at that. As best as you can, not as best as what someone else can.

Wherever you are, know how you stand, in what capacity you stand. Within yourself, always stand in full capacity.

Be kind and gentle to yourself. Be true.

Image taken from YouTube: Kaal Boishaakhi Jhor . Kaal Boishaakhi are storms that come in the April season in Bengal. It is wonderful and gorgeous for those who have good homes. It must be what it must be for those living outside.

Find Your Own Resolve

This piece written spontaneously one day has helped me tremendously in navigating relationships and keeping focus.

Now I am an adult – I must eat my own food, clean my own clothes. Whether I can contribute in anyone else’s life or not at least I should be able to feed myself – no grown animal is fed by other animals. The parent-child relationship expired long ago. The brother and little sister relationship expired long ago.

Your mother is under no obligation to be strong so that you may be inspired. Your brother is under no obligation to be interested in your projects. Roam the land and do what you have to do.

Put yourself out there – let it bring you whatever food it will. Nobody is under any obligation. And surely not your intimate partner.

Meet whatever animals you encounter on the field, or go sit in a hole – do whatever you have to do – and light your fire in the night and meet the next day.

What are you searching for? The wind, the grass, the leaves, the sky, sound and water are your companions. And one day the body will fall and become carcass. You will be the wind, the grass.

Find your own resolve. Find the drive in your body to go find the wind, the grass. Get up and go every morning. No one is stopping you. Find your own resolve. No one is imprisoning you.

Be the lone horse grazing the land, the wind in her mane. You are under no obligation to wipe out your father’s pain, your mother’s pain, your brother’s pain and make them shine. Learn to live an independent life. You are under no obligation to wipe out your friend’s pain, that you feel oh so intimate with. You are under no obligation to fix anything. Grow up. Learn to live an independent life.

Be the lone horse grazing the land, the wind in her mane. No one needs to be strong and sparkling for you. You do not need to wipe out pain from this planet. You do not need to make anyone see any sense.

Live your joy. Live your energy. Romance the wind.

A Different Durga For This Mahishasur

He just sat there receiving all the arrows I was unleashing at him.

“I don’t like you,” I said, in no uncertain terms.

I had been feeling such distaste, such dislike for him that I would not even look at him at the dining table. After a few days of receiving this treatment, he asked me directly, “Why are you avoiding me? Why are you not even looking at me?” That itself was an act of Durga. It’s not easy to approach a person who seems to wish you didn’t even exist.

He approached me, he didn’t confront me as an adversary. It’s not as if he was all calm, compassion and composure. He is human. However, he is also home to Durga, just as all humans are.

So here I was, sitting on the bed, resting my back against the wall, and there he was, sitting on the chair, a little distance away — and I wasn’t mincing words. I was saying exactly what came to my mind. He did not budge. He just sat there receiving all the arrows of pain I threw at him. Even in the middle of pain, even in the middle of saying all kinds of unkind things, I was grateful to him — for receiving all that I had to say that day, in that manner. It was a different kind of valor he demonstrated.

My brother runs one of the foremost forex risk management companies in India. Serve the country, unto Him our best, serve The Guru – these mantras power him every day. Productivity is on my brother’s mind and tongue almost all the time. You can often hear him talking of achievers who inspire him, “That person works so many hours a day! Amazing. How does he do it?”

I, on the other hand, find all this talk of productivity totally disenchanting. It prevents me from being productive. I need lots of easy breezy air to caress my mind, for me to produce something of worth. The actual produce, be it words or lines of code, may take only 15 minutes, but my mind needs to be fertilized by hours of just-be.

I was working for my brother those days, helping him with his website — and I was hating it. Also, my self-esteem was sobbing in the dungeons. I had been searching for what work to do, and again and again, as much as I tried, I failed. Frustrated with myself, and with my head hissing, “Achieve! Achieve!” every time I saw my brother go to office, I felt shitty. He was innocently doing his jig, but it made me feel lousy. “Perform!” my inside would say, “See, he is going to office. You are doing nothing.”

Eventually light dawned on my dark mind. I wrote this to Marie Forleo one day, who taught me to honor my strengths

Now over the last few months I’ve reached a place where I sit at my desk every day. In those morning hours when I’m at the writing desk, I feel so totally at home and me. I write, or I read — deriving pleasure from it in the same manner I used to when I was a child, when I did not have to make anything of myself. I know something worthwhile will come out of this.

Recognizing, accepting, and honoring my personality also helped me unravel some knots in my relationship with my brother. He is an action-oriented person successful in his business. That makes conventional sense in the world. I used to try to perform, in his manner and in the ways of other achievers, and it was a constant struggle. Now I know that the nature of my doing is different — slow, meditative, like a tree, where the bulk of action is happening invisibly.

In recognizing my strength, initially I was all virtuous, self-righteous, and indignant about it, thinking ‘This is the truly wise way to be’. I thought my brother is not adequately wise. Now I understand, that is his natural self – action-driven. There is no reason for me to be intimidated by action-driven people and by the achieve talk. I can be my way. He can be his way. I’m now able to accept him and his way to be, I’m able honor it, just like I wish myself to be honored.

I don’t know what that Durga did that evening, by not fighting back, by just receiving arrows from the depressed and frustrated Mahishasur in me — but he did something. Maybe he opened up just the slightest possibility for this Mahishasur to find her Durga within.

Articles directly related to this one:
1. Achieve! Achieve! But why?
2. Honoring Our Personality, Honoring Our Uniqueness

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Seeing Us With Wonder

I have seen how vast and wondrous you are and that is a permanent. Your present behavior does not change that in any way. You are hitting out wildly in the dark. That will not dent me because I am vast and wondrous myself. I am light. Hitting wildly at light does nothing.

It gives me joy to perceive myself as vast and wondrous. It connects me to something gentle to even glimpse you as something more than your present behavior – something that permeates this whole universe. This joy, this gentle feeling is mine. I will not trade this for any other victory.

Do you wish to be my friend? Tell me of your feelings. Tell me of yourself. Tell me what pains you, what gives you joy. Do not tell me who behaved how. Do not tell me what is right or wrong. That conversation does not go anywhere.

Friendship means equality. The exalted goal of *every* relationship. Only when we know we are equal can we be one. If there is something other than equality, it means there is something other than love that is also present in the relationship (love is always present). That something else must be removed, for only love to remain.

Irrespective of when you were born and when I was born, we are equal. Even if this body came out of that body, we are equal. Irrespective of our earnings, achievements, occupation, education, irrespective of even words and thoughts we are equal. Irrespective of how you spend your day and how I spend my day, we are equal.

You may be my nephew or niece, you may be my parent or brother, or a stranger who left a lasting impression of whichever kind, but we are equal.

To my niece, nephews, to all friends younger than me – how can I ask you to touch my feet? You are vast, wondrous, infinite! I do not need you to touch my feet for me to feel love for you. I wish only to see your vast, wondrous beauty. I would much rather you stand up for yourself, as my equal. It’s much more fun that way. I love and respect you. I cannot ask you to bow down to me. Please know that you are lesser to no one.

To my parents, brothers and all friends whose bodies took shape before this body – sooner or later it gets rather stale, being ‘elder’. I am sure you have experienced that. It’s much more fun to have a friend. I do not need to touch your feet for me to feel love for you. I would much rather hug you than perform robotic compliance. I would much rather see your vast and wondrous beauty.

I am the wind, you are sunshine. We can only hug each other.

Let us meet and see each other with wonder and child-like curiosity. As a flower is meant to be seen.

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The Lotus Cannot Be Condescending

Lotuses are found in white and pink colors in general and they grow in shallow and murky waters. ~

The lotus cannot have a condescending attitude towards the waters it grows in. If it does that, it will not be able to grow and bloom. It won’t be any fun either.

Lotus – called by many names in Hindi/Sanskrit is considered to be kind of an ideal to aspire to. One of the words for the lotus is “pankaj” – that which is born of muck. Pank means keechad, muck. The “j” in pankaj means “born of”. That which can grow, bloom, be beautiful even in the midst of murky waters, that whose leaves are such that the water rolls off it without wetting the leaves (i.e., it does not absorb stuff from this world) – sure, sounds like a nice ideal.

But the lotus, the pankaj, cannot look upon its murky waters as muck. If the lotus is feeling happy (which, going by the fact that it is blooming and smiling with the wind, it must be feeling) it must be feeling only gratitude towards the waters it is growing in – it cannot look at it as muck. It must be surely realizing and acknowledging that the water and muck is holding it in place, giving it a place to grow, bloom and share its beauty with the world.

It is aware that it draws crucial nourishment from the murky waters to feed its stem, leaves, petals. It is aware that a lot beyond the murky waters also sustains it. The winds, the sun, the night and that which powers all of this, powers the lotus too. Even then, even though its true source is something more than the minerals from the murky waters, it can only feel gratitude towards the waters it grows in.

It cannot be a Lotus and be condescending of, nor contemptuous of where it grows.

P.S.: Blue and purple lotuses exist too. Our world is beautiful and wondrous.


I had saved the white lotus pic as a wallpaper from the internet many days back. The purple/blue lotus is thanks to a friend, from his visit to Thailand.

My Niece Unlimited

A conversation transpired with my niece recently. She was pulling at my swimming goggles.

“Don’t. It will break.”, I said.

“It’s elastic.”, she replied.

“It is rubber.”

“But it stretches.”

“Sure. But everything has a limit.”

“What is my limit?”, she asked.

“You would have to find that out.”
Then I added, “Actually you are infinite.”

“What do you mean by infinite?”


“How is something unlimited?”

“When it has no beginning or end.”

“So I will not have an end?”

“No. You are unlimited.”

“So I will not go to heaven?”

“Why not? Of course you will go to heaven. But you do not have to end to go to heaven. To go somewhere you just have to go there. To go to Bhopal you just go to Bhopal. You don’t have to end to go to Bhopal.”

“I didn’t know I am unlimited.”

“Now you know.”

“Then you too are unlimited.”

“Yes. Indeed I am.”


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One Single Human Here

The suffering on this planet –
it is one single pain
What are you fighting against

One Single Human Here

The suffering on this planet –
it is one single pain
What are you fighting against
What are you defending against
In your homes
In your offices
In seats of governments
On the streets

Really really feel your pain
Every sliver, texture
And you shall know
There is no my pain your pain
Man, are we connected!

Out of frantic “thinking” heads

Feel in your body
Feel that black ink
Feel it shifting

experience it
observe it

and you will find

a vast open space
and you will find

for you will find

pain is a sensation
pain cannot kill you
and you will find

freedom from pain
and you will find

we are one.

there is
one single human here.

to my family

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. ~ Richard Bach

gratitude overflows
from my eyes

take me to your feet
that i may …

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. ~ Richard Bach

gratitude overflows
from my eyes

take me to your feet
that i may
speak to you,

far from you
my heart lies,
and broken

yet with me, you are
you say
every moment,

in the sorrow in the joy
my friend you are
my family

and the truth
in my heart
remains unspoken

yet you know, and i know
and we reach
across to us

and the bond that seemed
sown again,

~ vani murarka

fallen warrior of relationships

meet the world then
shining again –
grand warrior of
love sword hanging
from the hip.
arrows of kindness
and compassion,
shield of detachment …

he said this and she said that –
many forms of verbal attack.

all i want to know is –
how to dodge?
to hit back? no.
take the slap? no.
all i want to know
is how to dodge?

to dance and dodge
to skip and dodge
to laugh and dodge
all i want to know is
how to dodge?

and what of arrows
lodged inside
deep in the past?
how do i pull out n cast
them all aside?
not fester ignorant into
blisters that erupt suddenly
burn me n friends n family …

bent no more,
not even sore,
meet the world then
shining again –
grand warrior of
love sword hanging
from the hip.
arrows of kindness
and compassion,
shield of detachment …

but all these are
just ideals now.
a battered self
i am right now.
in defense i shout,
return attack.
or silently pout,
internal whack.

yet where to head out,
i now do know.
but reach there how?
i do not know.
many pointers the
teachers show.

i will try a few
something will ensue.
to a new land now i go –
for no one and to
nothing show.

only that i may
meet you anew,
my bond with you
i may renew.

as i find me
i shall find thee,
this is not simply
a theory.

as truth i sense this
in my heart –
so stand again,
again i start.

~ vani murarka