Sunil's Blog – Mistico Indio

Ruminations of a poet and philosopher

Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

Posted by Sunil on February 24, 2013

By Sunil Kumar

I have completed “” years on the planet. Happy Birthday to me! Coincidence; me shares a birthday with the founder of Apple, Nike, one of the Beatles; the CM of an Indian state, film-makers and writers. Whoever thought of the concept of celebrating another year of existence on the planet was a crank; or a genius.

What predicates existence(specifically mine!) The story of the world around me; the legions of people in the world (including myself) now in an avatar of profligate extension of their own selves. Many of them in verbose flow; despising and earnestly loving the pomp and the show. Paper, music, social networks; endless blabber. Television shows; defenders of the faith, ideas in stasis; the slang states of India and beyond. (English sure is a funny language, malleable, adaptive; a million dialects).

Dripping blood; vineyards of the soul. Poetry; philosophy, prose. No interconnected thoughts in a linear collage. BBFN! I will meet myself again!

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Freedom

Posted by Sunil on August 15, 2012

Freedom

By Sunil Kumar

The London Olympics ended this week. A dazzling spectacle; brilliantly choreographed and executed. Our sixty-sixth independence day, but do we really know the price of freedom? Souls lost so that we can have a shallow symbolic event; I feel happy for a national festival and everybody goes to sleep. How can we define the idea? What are we really free from? Want, anger, sacrifice, desire. Greed: never, industry, politics and the vast majority of people are building temples to Mammon.

I will not generalize and try to put everybody in the same bracket; that is foolhardy and limiting. As Jiddu Krishnamurti said, labels are defeating. Hate is a waste. How then can I or anybody rise from the confines of our daily lives and truly live the selfless life. If freedom means the independence to think; then I am truly free.

Never mind the constant charade of the world; its relentless din; the desire to create an impact. Aug 15 comes every year; the ritual of flag-hoisting is thrust upon us as a jingoistic call to arms; an opportunity for people to make speeches, mouth hollow promises and revel in their own self-importance. A place in the sun; for a few minutes; disperse and deliberate.

We were slaves; history informs, of the British. No longer; now in a free state; marketing, slimy sycophancy and economic imperialism have taken its place. Reality can be factually bleak. Yet, big institutions have been built; our economy has been growing at more than some percent per quarter; facetiously called the Indian rate of growth, so the West can give us aid with caveats.

Television shows fashionably quote the outside world. We speak the language of the colonizer, adopting it as our own. So, is freedom more than that; a way to end deprivation, corruption, create an ideal world. Food to eat; my humble self tells me that is good; but does everybody have enough? Coffee table discussions trying to find a meaning and a solution; hypocrisy where everybody quotes the poor to feed the rich. Plans drawn up to benefit the world’s less fortunate are self-defeating; where does everything end up; in the pocket of the industrialist or the politician.

This independence day, I take a pledge; to be free of confining thought; limiting abstractions and a self-imposed patriotic din.

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What Dreams May Come

Posted by Sunil on May 1, 2012

By Sunil Kumar

Waking consciousness is maya, the real world is an illusion. For most of you, this may seem like philosophy, and for everybody of us in the real world including me engrossed in the action of the real world, this seems to be a fallacy.

But according to quantum physics, and the indecipherable laws of the universe, nobody knows whether the real world is actually there or an illusion. I know it is there when I don’t get food to eat, or I get injured. There is a whole host of other things. But, on a more profound, sub-atomic level, everything is actually uncertain, an illusion.

Maybe then the laws of the Indian shastras, other esoteric traditions, and belief in the paranormal is true. Now, to the main subject of this post, a dream.

Dreaming is defined as “a sequence of sensations, images, emotions, and thoughts passing through a sleeping person’s mind”. According to another source, dreams embody a synthesis of our being that is manifested at both the physiological and the psychological levels.

Many books talk about the astral plane, something beyond our daily consciousness, which we communicate with at more profound times. Similar ideas have been described in many spiritual traditions, including India, Egypt, the Catholic monks, or the Sufis. A lot of people have had revelations.

ESP, clairvoyance, the bending of the spoon et al. We have to credit the modern world today as it has discovered ways to make money out of such phenomena.Paranormal regression, karmic cleansing, movies, investigations and other thoughts. So, do as you dare. Catch all ya Readers later.

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Thought Police

Posted by Sunil on May 1, 2012

By Sunil Kumar

(Now for all my genuine followers and the other folk, here’s a new post)

There is much to be said about divinity, inspiration, creativity and all that jazz. When we are caught in the vacuum of our own existence, a sort of cocoon, nestled in our rather intriguing connection with the universe.

What is spiritual living? By the way, what is religious awakening?The narrow rituals taught to us by our forefathers, religiously followed and imposed by our peer group, people in authority or the narrow bunch of fanatics who have not thought anything beyond their own limited existences.

Our daily lives are mundane, blindly following society’s gigantic strictures, which they violate at will, cannot really understand and indulge in a collective gasp of idiocy. Genius is an interesting word.

Let us consider Srinivasa Ramanujan, the mathematical prodigy. According to legend, he attributed his prowess to the his family goddess, or his own eclectic visions. Einstein, Niels Bohr and some other scientists of the Western tradition felt some profundity in the conception of the universe. Richard Feynman, also a scientific maverick, was sometimes found in strip clubs or sometimes playing the bongo in Brazil.

I have only considered material scientists here. There have been many interesting individuals in art, literature, engineering and a whole host of other fields. In India, the spiritual visionary, who saw something more profound and other-worldly than the mere mortal. So, what is the narrow scope of defining a “genius”? A normal man slaving to earn his daily bread is also an example of intellect at work. To find an idea that penetrates deeper into the narrow confines of our apparent reality or modifies perceptions, is that beyond normal?

Or, are all of us visionaries. Some people in the world would like us to believe so, some would not. Every day, the media manufactures our new thought for the day, creating a twenty-minute superman or superwoman. 24×7 channels, blogs and the internet create a global ideas network. So, what are we, stardust, flesh-and-blood buffoons, or divine messengers. They can also interpret dreams online, some site which can tell you and me that what you dreamt of yesterday was a massive connection into our unending psyches.

Deja vu: the experience of seeing things already seen. Some people believe that it is related to malfunctioning of the brain, reincarnation or temporal-lobe epilepsy. Clearly, it can be self-induced, and like everything on the planet, there is scope for interpretation. Profound visions, ideas and feelings can take hold of you at any time, whether you are walking on a noisy, bustling, squalid street in Bombay or close to a London pub, or a Delhi garden.

Spirituality, from the Latin spiritualis, literally means ideas connected to the spirit, that are probably immaterial, although most people who overtly practice this vocation have been some of the most material and revenue-generating marketers the world has ever seen.

So, in a narrow sense, what could be spirituality? What is an answer? Is it beyond our limited comprehension? Are all the rules created by these different monastic orders, the so-called leaders and gurus a mere window dressing. The answer is still out there. Till then, I’ll keep thinking and writing.

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Worshipping False Godmen

Posted by Sunil on August 28, 2011

By Sunil Kumar

Religion is the opium of the masses.
– Karl Marx

There is probably no other country in the world as obsessed with religion as India. From the Buddha to Christ, and the Hindu pantheon, we have the Almighty as a 24×7 support system.

The most interesting aspect, however, is the rather earthly scandals that seem to engulf our Godmen. Although rational education has inculcated a degree of scepticism and derision for organized faith, yet the sheer commercial savvy and global reach of our religious purveyors has to be admired.

All of us are intrinsically self-obsessed. For many, it is a struggle for money, prestige or sheer survival. Feeding on insecurity is a marketing gimmick our gurus learnt early. Faith is a personal ideology, something we discover after internal trials, negotiating with God and internal struggle.

The obsession with organized religion stems from our inadequacy to think. Liberal agnosticism can only be inculcated in people whose creative faculties are not impeded by mumbo-jumbo: candles, incense or the muezzin’s call to prayer.

Also, an unshakeable faith in the superiority of one’s own religion is a sure-shot call to conflict. Most ideas are man-made and diligently adopted by the masses. If God truly made us in his own image, then surely he could have given us the ability to constructively sift through ideas.

Money,cellphones, glamour and a need for instant fame drives today’s superficial generation. When inane talk shows, feuding soap operas, and incessant scandals occupy our mindspace, quiet reflection and the ability to connect with a higher power is sorely missing.

Turek vs. Hitchens Debate: Does God Exist? from Andrew Ketchum on Vimeo.

All the religious babas feed into the very material anxieties afflicting our tortured psyches. Philosophers often attribute maya(the feminine principle) as the reason for the soul existing in material reality. Most of the followers of spiritual superstars are naive and gullible women(and men).

If the Parish, the Temple, the Mosque, or the Agiary did not give you the right solution, then all our godmen certainly can’t. Religious rituals, round-the-clock adherence to some established community norms cannot salvage our mental peace, only real-time practical thought can.

Although atheism has become fashionable, and some even consider mocking established religion as good, there has to be a healthy balance between organized thought, faith and our own ideas. In the mad rush to be fashionable and cool, most of us do not seriously think about spirituality and the soul.

An old adage said: man is known by the company he keeps. When an incessant rush to ape sportsmen, filmstars, and the neighbors becomes an intrinsic part of our psyche, our true religious heart takes a backseat.

Most of us hanker for the quiet, sylvan surroundings that help us connect with our inner selves.

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The Foreign Minister’s Visit

Posted by Sunil on August 28, 2011

By Sunil Kumar

Blood is thicker than water. All of us agree that the India-Pakistan relationship is drenched in red, albeit of a different hue. Whenever our distinguished foreign ministers meet, there is a lot of talk and practically no substance. Promises are made, only to be broken at the next moment.

Our opinionated intelligentsia, millions of media personnel and distinguished analysts indulge in systematically undermining the Indian nation-state. As cry-babies, we constantly bicker on our inept bureaucracy, inefficient police and archaic laws. But, practically little actually changes. When Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s first woman minister of foreign affairs landed on our shores, the media was agog with stories of a feminine touch: Roberto Cavalli shades, Birkin bags and pearls. We also had the vision of a peaceful detente between two old foes: India and Pakistan.

When blood is spilt on the streets of Mumbai, there is absolute apathy from the state and the government. How can a woman’s accessories be more important than the thousands of people who lost their lives, crores of property destroyed, and the sheer negligence of our lawmakers?

Our diplomatic entourage, with our distinguished foreign minister, erudite foreign secretary are busy planning their next plum assignments. When the Indian nation-state is bleeding from a thousand cuts, why don’t they arm our police with more weapons, fence our borders and create a more robust security infrastructure?

As honest tax payers, the least we can expect from the government is concern for a hassled population. In some time, Mumbai is set to be the most populated metropolis in the world. The strain of living in an urban jungle is already evident in the collapse of many civic institutions, pressure on land, resources, lakes etc.

When we talk of building world-class cities, and bringing our country at par with the rest of the world, the least we can expect from the media is attention on serious issues and not frivolity. My empathy is for the millions of traumatized citizen who have been brutalized by the senseless violence emanating from across the border.

Admittedly, an eye for an eye makes the world blind. But when you are already bleeding, somebody has to take guard and sock it back. When a journalist with the courage to take on the oil mafia is gunned down in broad daylight at an avenue that is supposed to be one of Mumbai’s safest, what precedent does it set for everybody else? We have to assume the reign of terror will continue, and those in authority will accept our neighbor’s sweets.(Bombs come with the package)

Moral posturing, and preachy news bytes have not gotten us anywhere. When will India wake up and smell the coffee? Maybe, in our next birth, when our sins are washed away at Haridwar. (Ahem, beg your pardon, even the ghats at Varanasi had to face militant ire).

India earnestly waits for a savior. Not the supermen of Bollywood, or the religion inspired concept that has led to more misery, and blood than anything else. But the next practical realist who can actually save our souls. Till then, waiting for a new beginning.

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The Agony And The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

Posted by Sunil on August 27, 2010

By Sunil Kumar
Link To Mike Daisey Facebook Event

God bless Chinese protocol.

Watched a wonderful monologue yesterday. Wozniak coded and Steve Jobs designed in a company full of maverick creatives. This makes you wonder, if the First World sends its “shit”(read:IPAD) to the Third World(read China- second biggest economy) and relentlessly exploits it, what indeed is the future of globalization? Obama wants jobs in the U.S., Indian IT companies want to be self-effacing, cost-effective chopshops and China wants to widen its trade surplus. We all have problems with our daily lives.

To make a long story short, Steve Jobs designed what he thought people wanted. So he shifted base from California to Utah, Texas, Singapore and finally to China. Since most of the world is “uber-cool” and Apple is apparently one of the trendiest computing companies around, technology geeks and newbies lapped up everything he had to offer. His company went from trendy to trash to top of the heap. And he achieved this with a few geniuses and a lot of bozos.

So how important are First World dynamics to the economies of the Third World? If blood-sucking capitalists can make life miserable for a regimented communist society, democracy has no hope!

Opinionated, boorish, sadistic – relative perspectives. Most of the world seems to be in a narcisstic frenzy – to reach some level of gratification and not self-realisation. Conversations are inane, they are cosmetic additions to a protective ego sheath. Combine Jung, Freud, Vedanta, Tao and the most primal urge – the will to survive in a competitive world and you have a lethal cocktail – my attempt at psycho-babble.

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The City of Djinns

Posted by Sunil on August 10, 2010

By Sunil Kumar

I walk through a mausoleum. Distant voices, eerie past. The modern city merges with remnants of a bygone age. Global terrorists and spoofs. The sands of time in a splitsecond. What is eternity? The imagination of poets and philosophers or the miasma of a daily grind.

Well-manicured gardens with sycophants in the city of power. Find the soul in this city. Ostentatious celebrations reek of falsehood – Really?? Analysis probably leads you to a dead-end.

Wasn’t I reared on history, ghosts and the celebration of life? Slang – crass, no unfamiliar? Commercial, carnal cities on the Arabian Sea are probably worse. Who are we to judge? Do cities have a heart? Adios to buried politicians, seats of power: back to life alive, positive, meandering, incredible and interesting!!

[Apologies to Monsieur Dalrymple ]

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Mammaries of the Welfare State

Posted by Sunil on June 29, 2010

By Sunil Kumar

End of an average day. As I search inwards for meaning, the outside world forces me to reconcile to short-term crass reality. Actively trying to ignore the riot of colour assaulting me, my brooding subconscious is searching for meaning.

Pretense is important, it probably gives us all a reason to exist. The very process of thought intrigues me. Thread of fate- divine or manmade? Flip from an idea to another. I write for myself, then reexamine – whether it fits into your linear reality.

Walk with me – helpful old men in an other-worldly old library in South Mumbai – trying to find some white poet who went through my brain Sar, then disappeared. London – old, haunting and enchanting. Conformance is such an ingrained virtue.

(I promise not to think too much about this post- Me to me)

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New York, I Love You

Posted by Sunil on January 29, 2010

By Sunil Kumar

Waiting for the Summer Rain: Copyright: sunilkumar21.wordpress.com

As I settle into a cushy sofa seat in another nameless multiplex, the human condition is again brought to the fore by a kaleidoscope of spontaneous, surprising and imaginative stories from one of the cultural capitals of the world, ‘New York’.

Language is a potent formula – if I speak yours and you speak mine, there may or may not be an interconnect – or so some of the directors of this anthology would like us to believe. [Diamonds, art, bellboys et al].

This is not a movie review – very interesting in parts, the feeling of loss, betrayal and angst set me thinking about how the world has changed or maybe has always been the same.

Elation, despair, betrayal – common human emotions – replayed everywhere – but a very big yes to the visuals here – the rarified confines of one of the richest cities in the world.

If you love life, then transformations happen or they fade away like the destroyed canvas of an unknown vagabond.[The meaning of loneliness – forgotten ideas in huge megapolises].

Maybe (emotions) have nothing to do with it. Speculative minds can write, fight wars, gloat over spilt milk and never say never again driven by automation from above.

Death To Immortality

Asato ma sad gamaya.
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya.
Mrtyor ma amrtam gamaya.

Lead me from the unreal to the Real.
Lead me from darkness unto Light.
Lead me from death to Immortality
Source – The Upanishads

Can time stand still – or is realisation of higher truth the preserve of a select few? A self-help manual or a site for the introspective types – Use every second well to prioritise and mobilise your life.

“No learning is acquired by anyone unless he wants to learn it, and believes in some way that he needs it”. – A Course In Miracles

If I believe in the soul, the nameless invisible entity that seems to be the saving grace for many religions of the world, a construct that has lent itself to innumerable systems of philosophy, fatalism, grinding and self-inflicted imagined misery – what is the final goal? – OR was it all a non-dualistic illusion?

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