August 14th, 2006

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Rules at Lalbagh...

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Lalbagh also has its rules...has anyone seen them? If so, how many people observe them? I see plenty of plastic bags, I see fishing poles, bidis and cigarettes, stray dogs,....all the time! I wouldn't like to comment about the rest of the list....surely carving "Krishna loves Alka" on the trees comes under the purvey of the last rule?....

IMG_0231 Lalbagh has rules, too, has anyone seen, or observed, them?
  • Current Music
    KedAram...ithu oru pon mAlaip pozhuthu
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Reincarnation....

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asakiyume asked me what my personal views on reincarnation were.

Like all Hindus, I grew up with the concept of reincarnation, right from Krishna's words as he gave the Bhagavath Geetha to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra...

"parithrANAya sAdhoonAm vinAshAyacha dushhkrithAm

ddharma sansthApanArtthAya sambhavAmi yugey yugey"

(To save good souls and destroy evildoers, and to re-establish the moral order "dharmA", I will be born from age to age.)

Even our everyday conversations are peppered with phrases like "intha janmatthuley nadakkAthu"(that's not going to happen in this birth") and "ettu janmathukku marakkAthu" (won't forget for 8 births) and "entha janmatthuley varapporey?" (in which birth are you going to come?)....

But I realize that my rational belief in the indesctructability of matter sort of conflicts with my ideas about reincarnation. I *think* that with the right effort, following the "right" path of non-attachment, one can be freed from the cycle of rebirth...but can the number of souls decrease like that? If they do, how does one account for the vastly increased human population in the world? And what about other forms of life? The jAtakA tales of Buddhism and our own mythology are full of tales of people who are born as other life-forms...I have heard an elderly grandaunt scolding, "If you persist in wrondoing you will be born as a worm!"

Traditional Tambram belief holds that several million good-doing births are required before a soul takes birth as a human being, and  an apparently contradictory  belief holds that only sinning souls HAVE to be born in "the world of death" or maraNa lokA, and that the gods in Heaven often undergo the "punishment" or "trial" of being born on earth. The shorter the life-span on earth, the less evil the soul has accumulated.....all this is confusing to me. How can the SOUL accumulate evil or good if it is above all of it and eternal?

So....*I* don't go into root causes. I look at my life right now, and feel that I am far, far, far more lucky than I have done anything to deserve..therefore (modest simper) I must have been a real SAINT in my last birth...and I (almost all the time) believe that I must conquer my attachments, my baser passions (esp that TEMPER of mine!!) and I will be freed from the cycle, and become a liberated soul....but at the same time, there is the nihilist in me that says that everything is random and there is not going to be any difference...so reincarnation, for me, is a subject about which my thoughts are still evolving....

What do YOU think?

If ALL Americans (I chose them because they, more than any other country, are associated in my mind with their automobiles) get into their automobilies once again...that's re in car nation.....

I can hear your groans!
  • Current Music
    kAdal deepam onru EttriLey en nenjil
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Oppression of women...

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I am AMAZED at the sheer number.

I always thought that it was my generation which had angst about being decanted into arranged marriages. But I have been talking to several women belonging to generations one or two older than mine...and I am amazed at how many of them feel, quietly but none the less strongly, that their talents were laid waste by marriage. Yes, they didn't complain (they mention it now only because I talk about it and ask them), and made the most of the life they were taken into...but almost every woman I talk to shows me something treasured from the past; a piece of lovely writing, a prize won for music at school, some painting done and salted away...and they mourn the lost opportunities. They loved their husbands and families, but wished they had been able to pursue their interests. And when I realize how some matriarchs have managed large families and hordes of servants, I wonder at the tremendous management skills they possess, too.

How sad that the word "kalyANam" in Tamizh means, all that is good and beneficient..and it was a form of oppression for so many women.....

Talk to the "old" lady near your home, next to your flat, sitting next to you on the flight.... You will most likely find a person of varied talents, a keen brain that has had not much  chance to interact with the world and hold its own. At the very least, you will hear history come alive as she describes her life and customs and mores of her day...

Here's hoping that one day someone will talk to ME like that! ( I don't consider myself old  yet,and I hope I won't at 70.... though someone just said she was going to use me as an example to "get her own granny into blogging"...sad compliment, she obviously considers me ANCIENT and is amazed that I have any brain activity!)
  • Current Music
    mukesh...sArangA theri yAd mein...
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Snobbery...

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Just wrote about this to a friend....

Snobbery comes in various guises; quite apart from the usual I-am-richer-than-you financial snobbery. There is ancestor snobbery--I-had-more-illustrious-forebears-than-you. There is intellectual arrogance; I-am-brainier-than-you. There is appearance-snootiness....I-am-more-beautiful-than-you.  And now, apparently permeating urban Indian society....English-arrogance, I-have-a-better-command-of-English-than-you. People tend to be respected just because they are articulate in English and can use the latest jargon with ease. I find this snobbery in all fields. This is so sad. There are so many great people out there who just happen not to be able to express themselves in English, and whose facets remain hidden as they are tongue-tied and uncomfortable in the language. Why are we so English-snotty?

Whatever the type of snobbery, it makes me feel a fraud, and makes me uncomfortable. I like people who are comfortable with themselves, happy, and warm-hearted. Modesty (the real thing, not the fluttery, fluting false version) in a person really does enhance my respect. Truly, "nirai kudam thaLumbAthu"...an adage in Tamizh, literally, " the full water-pot doesnt' slop over".

How sad, that I have to post this in English...that there is no Tamizh LJ!!
  • Current Music
    sArangA again...love that song!
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