Friday, April 30, 2010

Words of Kabir

Five Senses: The curtain between me and my Beloved
आप खोये हरि मिले, हरि मिलत सब जाय ।
अकथ कहानी राम की, कहे सौ कौन पतियाय ॥

I lost myself, I found my Beloved, finding him the games
of illusion all ended; strange are the ways of my Beloved
but there is none to heed what I tell.

दास कहावन को कठन है, मैं दासन को दास ।
अब तो ऐसा हो रहूँ, पाँव तले की घास ई ॥

To declare myself Your slave would be too audacious on
my part; just make me a slave of Your slaves; Nay! even
this is asking for too much. Just let me be the dust under
Your Lotus Feet.

The difficulties of the Path
हाट हाट हिरा नहीं, कंचन का नहीं पहाड़ ।
सिंहन का टोला नहीं, संत बिरला संसार ॥

Diamonds are not to be found everywhere; neither are
there mountains of gold; as lions are but a few in the
forest, so also with the Lovers of God whose existence
is rare.

Fear of what the Future holds
राम ही किया सौ हुआ, राम करे सौ होय ।
राम करे सौ होयेगा, कहे कल्पो कोय ॥

All that happened was ordained by Him, all that is happening
in the present and all that shall be in the future too shall be
by His wish and will alone,

Futility of Arguments
सबसे हिलिये, सबसे मिलिये, सबका लीजिये नाम ।
हाँ जी हाँ जी! सबसे कहिये, बसिये अपने धाम ॥

Greet all with love, move in the crowd with love, address
everyone with respect, say 'yes', 'yes' to one and all
(to any suggestions that are offered) but in the end pay
heed alone to the voice of your own conscience.

True Bravery
शीष उतारी भू धरे, ऊपर धर दे पाय ।
दास कबीरा यूँ कहे, ऐसा हो तब आय ॥

One who dies for God, his great good fortune is beyond
comprehension of the worldly people; being forever united
with God he is forever free of Maya (illusion); Maya sits in a
corner moaning her loss.

Words of Kabir & other stories by Sam Kerawala, 2008.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Anaxagoras, by D. H. Lawrence

When Anaxagoras says: The snow is black!
he is taken by the scientists very seriously
because he is enunciating a ‘principle’, a ‘law’
that all things are mixed, and therefore the purest white snow
has in it an element of blackness.

That they call science, and reality.
I call it mental conceit and mystification
and nonsense, for pure snow is white to us
white and white and only white
with a lovely bloom of whiteness upon white
in which the soul delights and the senses
have an experience of bliss.

And life is for delight, and for bliss
and dread, and the dark, rolling ominousness of doom
then the bright dawning of delight again
from off the sheer white snow, or the poisoned moon.

And in the shadow of the sun the snow is blue, so blue-aloof
with a hint of the frozen bells of the scylla flower
But never the ghost of a glimpse of Anaxagoras’ funeral black.

— D. H. Lawrence, ‘Anaxagoras’

Monday, April 26, 2010


Please sign the following Petition requesting The Hon’ble Minister of State for Environment and Forests (I/C) to maintain the moratorium on issuing further environmental clearances for mining activities in Goa.

Dear fellow Goans/Indians

We have a challenge in our hands! We need to demonstrate to the government of Goa and Central Government, especially to the Minister of Environment and Forests, Mr Jairam Ramesh, that no matter where in the world we goans are, we care about the issue of mining in Goa and we are determined to bring it under control.

The petition with great difficulty has finally gone past 600 signatures and that is because the website had many technical difficulties from the very beginning and as a result I know many of you tried to sign and failed and we lost many signatures in the process. The technical difficulties have finally been resolved.

This is an appeal to some of you who tried and failed, to please try and sign again and mobilise your family and friends to also sign up this petition. It is urgent and very important!

The challenge is to get at least a 1000 signatures until the end of this month. We cannot wait any longer.

To sign just click on the goanvoice link below and follow the instructions carefully. Takes just a minute or so...!

Thank you for your cooperation!
Carmen Miranda

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Attan ami sogle Bamon (in Konk'nni), We are all Brahmins now

This poem by Sant Tukaram (Tuka) encompasses our current existence in Time. Being has changed over Time as well as Place. As you read it, I doubt whether you will not conclude that in a sense we are all Brahmins now. --venantius j pinto

From Tukaram: Says Tuka (Penguin Clasics)
Translated from the Marathi by Dilip Chitre, Pune
Tukaram was born in 1608 (in Dehu) and disappeared at the age of forty-one, leaving behind nearly 5000 poems (abhangs).

(from the above book)
Dilip Chitre was born in 1938 in Baroda, India. Among his published works are two collections of Marathi poems--Kavita and Kavitenantarchya Kavita -- a collection of short stories and an anthology of contemporary Marathi poetry in translation. He is also (was) a painter and a film-maker. His feature film Godam won the Jury's Special Prize at the Festival des Trois Continents, Nantes, France.

Dilip Chitre lives (lived) in Pune with his family.
He passed away on 10 Dec, 2009, leaving behind his wife Viju. (vjp)

People display their own daughters like goods for sale
And marry them off to the highest bidder
This is the done thing in this Age of the Infidel Kali
Virtue is the beggar, vice is the king
Drop-outs from decency
Brahmins lie and steal

They have wiped off the sacred mark on the forehead
And they now wear trousers and leather things
They occupy seats of power
And mete out injustice to the poor
They write inventories of the pantry
Thinking of ghee, oil, and soap

They become the hired servants of the corrupt
The warrior strikes at the suffering masses

The merchants and the labourers
Were born low to begin with

It is all a superficial show
Hiding the ugliness within

Says Tuka, have you dozed off, my Lord?
Run to their rescue, be quick.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A poem from Ryokan 良寛

I appreciate very much the analogy Ryokan makes between the echo and our lives in this world.


Yo no naka wa
nani ni tatoen
yamabiko no
kotauru koe no
munashiki ga goto

Our life in this world–
to what shall I compare it?
Its like an echo
resounding through the mountains
and off into the empty sky.
(Translated by Steven D. Carter)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Endo and Johnston talking on Buddhism and Christianity

A conversation between novelist Shusaku Endo, Jesuit theologian William Johnston). Endo and Johnston talk on Buddhism and Christianity. Endo was a Japanese Catholic, and their conversation reveals how a dialog flourishes, although within specific convictions, and lived belief. A short excerpt below.

Endo: There are vast differences between Buddhism and Christianity. Buddhism talks about abandoning the self. It talks about getting rid of all attachments and it even claims that love is a form of attachment. We can never say that. Moreover, the Buddhist approach to evil is quite different from ours. Then there is the question of reincarnation versus resurrection. Again, Buddhists claim that the Buddha is working dynamically at the core of our being, and we say that the Holy Spirit is working at the core of our being. Are we saying the same thing or are we saying different things? There are endless questions.

Johnston: Yet I believe that you yourself have the basic answer. When I was in the United States a few years ago I heard a Catholic priest say that the interesting thing about Endo is that he is fascinated with the person of Christ. He is always talking about Christ, struggling with Christ, trying to understand Christ, experiencing the presence of Christ. Now it seems to me that the main thing for a Christian in dialogue with Buddhism is a deep commitment to Christ and the Gospel. If this is present, other problems will solve themselves. Besides, when we come to dialogue, we must distinguish between Christianity as a living faith and Christianity as theology…

Endo's conversation with Johnston, gives a stirring sense of what it means to dialog, and what a dialog may raise in attempting to understand ideas, issues, and notions in religion, as also on other subjects.This, I consider very valuable to existence—the ability to make analogies. For dialog to be meaningful, one has to find differences and be able to understand them, accept them, and be reconciled with the interaction. The distinction that is made between Christianity as a living faith and Christianity as theology is also what maintains the comprehension of the body in togetherness—the kenotic body. One could say the same about a kenotic Buddha body.

In India, Catholicism, and Christianity is often subjected to the notion that it is a patterning of belief on “some” western paradigms. Those days if they existed in any sneering way, have been quite gone with the bread of the firngi. Te firngi gele, te undde kabar zale
ते फिर्र्ण्गी गेले ते उंद्ध्ये काबार झाले (The foreigners [the Portuguese] are gone, (and so) the bread is over (ref. to the quality and kind of bread earlier available in Goa; now to mean time is past and so things have changed).

But embraced and comforting ways of existence do not have to be completely erased either. Let people live or arrive at whatever their destination in their own time. Period. Talking further on the idea of conducting a dialog—my wedding ceremony was conducted in the Indian rites of the Catholic Church, and created a huge anguish in certain people who could not comprehend the reasons, meanings, symbologies and its significance to me as well as to the community. This was and has not a secret, they having know me, my leanings which I have been expressive about in all my ways including what was and not expressed in the vows, and meaningfully—gently, as also on occasion in a pointed and blunt manner. I can understand that in lived, worshipped,cultural spaces one seeks comfort in ones being, with being on being; being in being, and being with being.

A revelation of Divine Love to Julian of Norwich

The fourteenth-century mystic Julian of Norwich says upon being showed a little thing in the palm of her hand by the Lord. She looked at it and thought, but within the eye of her comprehension: What may this be? The answer she received was: It is all that is made. Dame Julian marvelled how it may last, and thought "it might suddenly have fallen to naught for littleness." And her understanding was answered to as: It lasteth, and ever shall, for that God loveth it.

As Dame Julian further put it:
I saw three properties. The first is that God made it, the second that God loveth it, the third that God keepeth it. But what is to me verily the Maker, the Keeper and the Lover---I cannot tell; for till I am substantially oned to him, I may never have full rest nor very bliss; that is to say, till I be so fastened to him that there is right nought that is made betwixt my God and me.

(as read/summarised from Eknath Easwaran's section on Kavi (poet, the poet as an artist), in 1000 Names of Vishnu. pub. by Jaico, India)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dhonyavad from Dhanyavad (Thank you)

In the Konk’nni language, dhin'vastam/ dinvas(tam), means to be grateful, appreciative, thankful; Dinvas(i) is the one (upkari) who is thanking/ conveying gratitude, as in Hanv tuzo upkari; tuje upkar mantam.

Also: dhi/dhinv, to delight. nourish, satiate. dhin' vastam;
dhin, perception.


Dhonyavad from Dhanyavad, dhanyavAdam. praise, thanksgiving, give applause, being glorious. vad, vAd, to utter.

Dhan means wealth, money, riches, fortune. It appears as a prefix as in, Dhangar (shepherd, Shepherd), Dhandevata (Mammon), dhanko (wealthy, girest Konk), dhandhanya (dhanya = grains, seeds, corn, etc), and Dhanapati (pati /poti = Lord, master, husband, as also leader). Wealth in those days was livestock as well as grains. dhan appears as a prefix in other .

Dhonyavad has to have its origin in the dhan/daulat of Dhanapati, the Lord of wealth aka Kubera (God of the Fields). In the Christian sense perhaps the materialistic wealth/ materialistic success, aspect was blunted. I surmise Dhanya was given a connotation (to mean all things coming from a specific bounty/things bountiful/the horn of plenty—graces, blessings, success, and including to cover all bases, the fount of all our materialistic aspirations) and added vad(a)/ 1. a path, a choice (to move in grace), a way (seeking help), 2. wisdom (ved(a)>>vada); theory. It is a word that reaffirms one being. Unlike thank you, it configures your relationship in the spiritual sense.

To conclude, Dhan(a)pati: pati/poti is ones lord, master, a leader, a husband--not only in the earthly married sense, but one who husbands resources as in a higher power. Dhonya+vad.


In the past it was not uncommon to hear Goan women say something on the lines of, Mozo poti ani mozo soglo to. (My Lord and my all). This even when said in English was not meant lightly, and I know one woman who was so exuberant when she said to me pre-marriage what her soon to-be husband would mean to her: My lord and my all.

pati (husband), apatitA (to be without husband, be in a state without a husband).