I do not remember when the feeling of transience ( of being a bird of passage ) actually first occurred to me.Perhaps after I crossed the age of 40 when I started thinking about it all coming to an end,abruptly. It is the abruptness that came home to one and it is to beat it that one starts cultivating the feeling of transience.It is as though one wanted to be one up on life , being prepared for the end. Just like in John Donne’s poem where the poet tells Death not to be proud because when you are ready and conscious of death its sting no longer works.
It is believed that the shortcut to the road to knowledge and enlightenment is self-isolation.
This is the Hindu’s way of thinking ,which has come to be accepted as the only way of finding your way out of the morass of confusion that surrounds you .Nevertheless it has a validity of its own although one is not sure whether by being self -aware you will attain enlightenment. Do we know for certain that all those who have attained enlightenment have done so after attaining higher levels of self-awareness ? One is not really sure. And then there is the difficulty of defining what enlightenment is . Granted this is known and we are fairly certain what we mean by enlightenment ,we may proceed to accept the theory that self-awareness may lead to attainment of enlightenment
.Perhaps we are entirely befuddled by confusion the moment we come out of the womb .We continue to be making our way through a world of uncertainty and chaos ,which we are continuously trying to interpret according to the limited logic operating in our pea-sized brains .Out of this we try to arrive at logical positions because we cannot rest till we arrive at a position . The uncomfortable question that is haunting us all this while is whether it is necessary at all to arrive at any position. What if we do not try to set our mind at rest by giving up the pursuit of knowledge or enlightenment ? Because there is no fixed position you can take and once you think you have arrived at a position ,that is not the end of the story. There are other questions,other postulates ,other parameters. It is like the miasma that you come across on a hot sultry day on the highway .As you approach it there is nothing and further down there are further miasmas.
We may look at death as cessation of consciousness , the subject experiencer becoming a part of the object that is experienced. Looked at this way death does not mean obliteration but only an extension of the subject’s existence. I look at death in yet another perspective.A person who is born becomes an Idea in Time and continues to exist as an Idea even after death.Thus all those who had lived and died before us are not obliterated but remain rooted in existence although they have ceased to exist in space.
I have often thought why people living in very small houses tend to be more closely bonded together than those staying in sprawling mansions .Obviously the theory that living in penury is a causative factor for solidarity among people and the smallness of the living space brings them together in fighting their common enemy-poverty. This is apparently a facile explanation for the bond that exists amongst people living together in tiny houses . What occurs to me is that more often it is the physical space in which they live together that builds the emotional relationship. We have often seen that in case of illness of the near and dear ones the poor people rally around their kin with surprising amount of material and moral support. You will not find this in the rich families.
One explanation for this could be that human bonds are built stronger when people are ,most of the time , within seeing distance of one another. If in a one-room kitchen dwelling unit a family of five or six members are staying together they live in close proximity to one another most of the time ,within seeing and hearing distance of one another. This also causes some friction some times but as one would observe in the Indian villages the fights do not last long and the warring parties come together at the earliest.
When we were children we were eating our meals while squatted on the floor as the women of the house would serve food into our plates. As we grew up we adopted the western system of eating on a table.
I now find that squatting on the floor gives us a novel perspective, a unique line of vision in a world of standing people .Our sense of space suddenly becomes enriched with vast new spaces released into our visual perspective. Our vision becomes linear with furniture legs and table cloth frills .When we raise our eyes we look at the ceiling fan with a curved perspective , a breath taking angle from which we see the fan as a kind of crooked oval object with its shadow playing on the intersection of the floor with the wall. Then all those people seem to be strutting about in the room like midnight shadows shuffling their large sized feet grotesquely disproportionate to their comically lean torsos and tiny faces stuck up on them.
The keyword that is coming to us now is “frame”. Again and again we think of frames, when we come into consciousness and space. New space would mean a new frame, the circle of consciousness that would touch objects in our proximity which would impinge on each others consciousness and join and participate in common space. These days when I think of frames I think of beauty that would arise out of framing objects in different planes of existence. The tree by the lake and sun beyond would join the frame, the frame of my consciousness. I look at the sun through the waving branches of the tree. It is as though the tree touched the sky and the hills. In my photograph everything comes together, united in a common space of consciousness…