Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Untitled Poem




Fresh breeze of autumn fills my lungs today:

As if I woke up in yonder woods,

As if my dream was now so true,

As if I realized my solemn wish,

It felt like I could spread my wings

And fly away, freely, liberated!!

Life seemed not so burdensome

Looking at the year gone by;

All those moments that have been spent

Seemed to come back in my memories again!!

Everything around me glowed in bright spirits,

Good times have made their way from eternal oblivion;

But then, will it last? The pessimist in me woke up again!



-Siddartha Pamulaparty

Oct 21, 2008.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bhagavad Gita Chapter Two: Notes

  • The Bhagawan begins His discourse in II:2.
  • II:6 Arjuna in a fix between what's right and what's wrong. He is a cloud, suspended between the sky and the sea.
  • II:7 Arjuna does the best; Surrenders himself to Bhagawan.
  • The Great Lecture starts in II:11. II:12 is a great sloka:
na tv evaham jatu nasam
na tvam neme janadhipah
na caiva na bhavisyamah
sarve vayam atah param
  • First mention of the 'soul' in II:13.
dehino 'smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati
Important Note: The soul is mentioned as 'that', not called as 'aatma' so far.
  • II:14, some important concepts: Sense Perception ( माथ्रास्पर्शाह ) , Tolerance (तितिक्शः )
  • II:15 speaks about 'Eligibility for Liberation' (अमृतत्वाय)
  • II: 16 Word to Word Meaning: Never of the non-existent there is endurance; Nchanging quality there is of the eternal; Of the two, verily observed conclusion in deed of them, of the truth, by the seers.

nasato vidyate bhavo

nabhavo vidyate satah

ubhayor api drsto 'ntas

tv anayos tattva-darsibhih

  • II:17 to II:39, Bhagawan defines the 'soul' and describes its characteristics briefly.
  • He speaks about 'duty' and its importance. The soul is indirectly mentioned as एवं , अयं etc which means 'this''. II:38 says: "Fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress; loss or gain; victory or defeat; and by so doing you shall never incur sin".
  • II:13 to II:39 also has explanation by 'Analytical' study, i.e. सांख्ये (saankhye), which literally means 'that which describes things in detail'.
  • Definition of Yoga after II:39: Yoga means working without fruitire results; it means freedom from bondage of work!
  • II:41 defines the word व्यवसायात्मिका , the 'resolute faith that will elevate one to the highest perfection of life'. In simple words, fixed in determination.
  • Another word that means 'determined' is from II: 37 कृता
  • In II:42, Bhagawan mentions the Vedas. The context is a little sarcastic about the bling followers of rituals with wrong goals.
  • In II:44, He mentions the samaadhi (समाधि) , which means "fixed mind" i।e। fixed on understanding the self।
  • II:45 mentions about 3 modes (guna's) : "sattva", "rajas" and "tamas". But above these three is nithyasattvasthaha (नित्यसत्त्वस्तः) meaning "a pure state of spiritual existence".
  • II:46 gives an analogy: of Vedas as Wells, and Gita as the Great Reservoir of Water. It says about "knowing the purpose behind the Vedas".
  • II:47, my favorite and one of the most popular slokas: " karmanyevaadhikaarasthe ...". It speaks about "rights" ( अधिकारस्ते) and "cause" ( हेतुः) and "attachment" (संगः)
  • II:48 defines the state of mind in Yoga as "being equipoised in success and failure and becoming equanimous"
  • II:49 defines Conscious Surrender (बुद्धौ शरणम)
  • II: 52 mentions Delusion (मोह)
  • II:54 Arjuna's question, one of the ideal questions. Some important words here are स्थितप्रज्ञः (fixed consciousness) , समाधिस्थस्य (of the one situated in trance) and स्थितधी: (one fixed in consciousness of Bhagawan)
  • II:55, Bhagawan defines the state of pure, transcendental consciousness (i.e. स्थितप्रज्ञः ) . (It becomes clear that "mind" is to be used to realize this state. Purification of the mind is required, however).
  • II:56 defines how a Muni (मुनि) must be: (i) No agitation (विग्न) during दुखः (ii) No interest (स्पृहः) during सुखः (iii) free from attachment (राग) , fear (भय) and anger (क्रोध) (iv) steady mind ( स्थितधी:)
  • II:57 and II:58 defines the word Prajnaa प्रज्ञा which means Perfect Knowledge.
  • II:60 warns about the dangerous senses. (This could be the reason why I am not able to feel what I ought to, in my spiritual endeavors).
  • II:61 Offers what is ideal i.e., control and restrain the senses.
  • II:62 Beautiful Verse:

ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंस: संगस्तेषुपजायते ।
संगात्संजायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते ॥

Meaning:

"While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them,

and from such attachment lust (desire) develops and from desire arises anger."

  • II: 63 Continued from the earlier verse:

क्रोधाद्भवति सम्मोह: सम्मोहात्स्मृतिभ्रमः।
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति ॥

Meaning:

"From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderement of memory.

When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost and when intelligence is lost one falls

down again into the material pool."

Siddartha Pamulaparty

(Based on notes made in 2003/2004)

Oscar Wilde - A Tribute




"Oscar Wilde once told Andre Gide that he had put his genius into his life, and only his talent into his art. " - So goes the first line in the Introduction in the book "The Works of Oscar Wilde" published in The Wordsworth Poetry Library Series, published in 1994 by Wordsworth Editions Ltd., Hertfordshire, England, printed in Denmark by Norhaven.

I bought the book in New Delhi on 07th June, 2004. Long back, I think about 15 years ago atleast, I accidentally came across a book titled "The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde" at my grandfather's bunglaw room in Warangal. I read the La Belle Donna Della Mia Mente in the book, and I could now, looking back all these years, say without doubt, that this was what influenced me and brought me into the world of English Poetry. Later on, I came across the book once again in 2000 in my college library. Every line in this poem is my favorite and amazes me everytime I read it. For example, here are a few lines that show the "genius" of Wilde, although he would not admit it, and say it is merely his talent from the poem La Belle Donna Della Mia Mente:

1) My limbs are wasted with a flame,
My feet are sore with traveling,
For, calling on my Lady's name,
My lips have now forgot to sing.
2) She is too fair for any man....
...Fairer than Queen or courtesan
Or moonlit water in the night.
3) Her little lips, more made to kiss
Than to cry bitterly for pain,
Are tremulous as brook-water is,
Or roses after evening rain.
4) O twining hands! O delicate
White body made for love and pain
O House of Love! O desolate
Pale flower beaten by the rain.

Perhaps it is just talent for the witty Irishman, but for mortals like me, this is genius.
This poem will always remain my most favorite.

However, there are more that I came across later and I would like to put a few of them here in this post.

a) Thou knowest all; I cannot see.
I trust I shall not live in vain,
I know that we shall meet again
In some divine eternity.
-- -- (The True Knowledge)

b) ... Yet, though my lips shall praise her without cease
Even to kiss her feet I am not bold
,...... -- -- (Madonna Miad)

And then there is this master piece, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol", where we see a new, much more matured poet in Wilde. Here are some very very very inspiring lines from the poem:

1) "...And though I was a soul in pain,
My pain I could not feel"
2) "...The man had killed the thing he loved,
And so he had to die."
3) "...Who watch him lest himself should rob
The prison of its prey."
4) "...He only looked upon the sun,
And drank the morning air."
5) "The loftiest place is that seat of grace
For which all worldlings try;.."
6) It is sweet to dance to violins
When Love and Life are fair:
To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
To dance upon the air.


Ultimately he says in this Ballad:


And all men kill the thing they love,
By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!


Inspired by Wilde, I might have written many lines in my own stupid poems so far.
However here are a few I would like to capture, for my own reference, as I wrote in the blank pages of the Wilde book:

* As the wild flower gets wilted in the fangs of time,
So is the lover punished and love is called a crime.

* Dream, you are with me right now
As I lie down weared in my bed.


Just a snapshot, a tribute to the one who gave me a life in the world of poetry, although it is an ant's life.


-Siddartha Pamulaparty
Dt: 25-Jan-2009.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bhagavad Gita Chapter One: Notes

Below are some of my notes I found recently, which I wrote down some years back, attempting to study the Geeta.

Here are the notes for Chapter One:

  • Observation of the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra
  1. Kurukshetra is described as a piligrimage. They call it the Dharmakshetra, the place where the Dharma will prevail.
  2. Diplomacy of Duryodhana has been lauded.
  3. First sloka to name the Bhagawan Krishna is 14th. (I:14). The name used here is "Madhava".
  4. Mention of Hanuman in I:20. Importance of Hanuman is signified rightly, i.e., Hanuman is a symbol of victory, as Rama was served by him during the crisis in Ramayana (as told by Valmiki).
  5. Arjuna's Plight explained in I:29 and I:30
  6. Arjuna's doubt about the 'purpose of war', is similar to my doubt about the 'purpose of my life', which seems like a war, a battle every day. (I:33, 34, 35)
  7. I:36 speaks about Fear of acquiring 'sin'. Very appropriate to everyone now.
  8. I:37 shows Ignorance. Question "Why?"
  9. From I:38 to I:42 explains why certain traditions are important.
  10. I:45 is about 'Giving up' and the associated blues.
  11. A brief summary: The total names of  the Bhagawan Krishna are 8. They are: (i) Madhava (ii) Hrishikesha (iii) Achyutha (iv) Krishna (v) Keshava (vi) Govinda (vii) Madhusudhana and (viii) Janardhana.

-Siddartha Pamulaparty
(Sometime in 2003/2004)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Disappointing Trip - Chennai

Unlike the last time when I went for my H1-B stamping, this time around, going for H1-X stamping was via a train journey. I was glad that it was not in a plane, where even though the time it takes is much much less, the trouble in commuting to and from the airports, sitting with legs twisted in the economy class of the planes, I reckon I could avoid in a train journey, happily sleeping in the night while on the move. The other advantage was not to spend a forlorn night in a hotel, which I always hated. Satisfied with this and also the fact that a lot of cost to the company could be saved, I embarked on this trip.

Catching the Chennai Express on the 06th January, I was looking forward to a special sojourn in Chennai the next day, once I complete the formal interview at the US Consulate. Earlier in the day, I heard from a senior colleague about a Lord Jagannath temple in the outskirts of Chennai, which was a miniature model of the original temple in Orissa's Puri. I resolved that I will at any cost visit this shrine and since it was an auspicious day, the Vaikunta Ekadasi, a darshan of the Lord of the Universe would be an ideal way to spend my time in Chennai. Presently, on board the train, I gave a call to Madras Cabs to arrange for a personal cab on an hourly basis for me. It was set and done. I then immersed myself into the book "Hotel" by Arthur Hailey, which I have been reading for almost a fortnight now. Mine was a side-lower berth in the two-tier AC compartment. As time flew by, an elderly lady from the adjacent seat requested me if I could swap her Upper Berth with my lower berth. Owing to the fact that she could not climb up, I readily agreed to her request. Soon I set my stuff up on the berth and started for an early nap, as I was totally tired and my eyes were burning.

It was around 06:10 am when the train finally entered the platform 5 of the Chennai Central station. I was kind of glad to look at the familiar station after a pretty long time- almost 4 years now. I quickly rushed past the crowd and took a left turn and bought a cigarette at a road-side vendor and lit it. The sky was overcast with clouds and it seemed it would rain. I was not sure if it's going to be good or bad, if it rains, I mean. After a couple of puffs of the Goldflake Kings', I thought I could not use it anymore and then moved on walking towards North on the street in search of the hotel Bhima's Inn, suggested by my father. I found it on the right side of the street after passing a half-a-dozen blocks. The reception clerk suggested there was only AC rooms and charge was around 450 INR. I took the room and ordered a cup of tea.

By the time I completed my bathing, did my morning Sandhya Vandanam and was ready, it was around 8:00 AM. There was still time for the cab to come and pick me up. I cross-checked my Green BEP file and all the documents were in order. I tried to switch on the Television, but nothing was on the screen, except a blue background. I quit. Just went on thinking about the trip later this afternoon to Kannathur, on the East Coast Road. I prayed to Sri Vishnu, to see that things went in order so that I could make the trip possible. I received by SMS the cab number and the driver's name and phone number details from Madras Cabs at around 08:30 AM. I was thinking, if I should leave my bag in the hotel, come back after the interview and thence start to the temple or rather check-out and leave the bag with Saravanan- the driver, in the cab. By around 09:00 AM, I decided on the latter. I gave a call to Saravanan and informed him to pick me up at Bhima's Inn instead of the Chennai Central. He said he would reach here by 10:00 AM.

By 09:30 AM I packed up and checked-out of the hotel. I waited in the lobby till it was 10 o'clock and gave a call to Saravanan. He said he could not find the hotel. I suggested he wait in the Central parking lot and started walking briskly, fearing it would ruin my dress-up for the interview, if it rained. Luckily it didn't and I found Saravanan, ready with his Indica in the parking lot. Boarding up the rear seat, I asked if he understood any Telugu or how good his English is. He said, he understood a little bit of English, but no Telugu. I had to manage in a mix of English and bits and pieces of Tamil that I managed to remember.
I explained to him in this mixed language, about the plan: first drop me at the consulate, my appointment time being 11:30 AM, I said I should be out by 12:30 or worst case by 01:00 PM. I suggested him to have lunch while I was in.

Saravanan then cruised the Indica across the parking lot, taking it out in the slow-moving traffic from the railway station and then along the main road. I realised they have blocked the space between the road dividers just opposite to the station, near the Medical College, and he hence he drove further East-ward and finally managed to take a U-turn. The familiar roads were nice to watch, as he crossed past the bridge opposite the Central, and there it was finally, the Thousand Lights. He said he would park the car in the lane adjacent to the Oxford Press and I went on to join the ever-long queue at the consulate building. I realized it was just about 10:40 AM when I enquired the time from a Wipro employee from Cochin here with a similar BEP file as mine. In the due course of time, finally it was the time to enter into the building.

Once inside the first building, had to wait for what seemed to be an hour to get my files and documents verified. The gentleman at the counter threw out all the degree certificates original petition papers and stapled the application forms and arranged them in the green file signalling that the other documents would not be needed. He took all my fingers' impressions on the electronic machine and suggested I proceed to the inner building for the interview. I moved straight to the inner chambers, as it was very familiar by now, this being my third trip into the consulate.

I was asked to go straight ahead and join a small queue where the interviews were being done. I was glad it was not at all like the last time, when there were a lot of people in the same area where now, almost only 10% of people stood. While standing in the queue, I looked at the TV screen which was showing the CNN-IBN channel. The breaking news, as the channel dubbed it, was "Satyam--India's Enron". Curious I followed to read the marquee in the news below and got the story. I thought this was worse than what anyone expected. I, for myself, thought earlier that the Satyam stuff would be over by the end of a couple of quarters. This was too early and too damned shocking in the way that it happened. Before I could totally digest it, it was my time for the interview. This time around it was a lady officer, who appeared very friendly and noble. First thing she asked me how things were at my company, I just said, things were great, and added a "so far" after a pause. Both of us smiled after a moment later to this response. She asked some very simple questions for the formal process' sake and said everything was set and I could proceed. Thanking her, I left the consulate in search of Saravanan.

Saravanan was asleep in the car when I found him about a couple of hundred metres walk from the main road into the lane. I gently woke him up and got to know that he did not go for lunch. I suggested he have it, since we were going to be pretty late when we end up the day's trip, with he finally dropping me at Chennai Central. He said he'll have it somewhere on the ECR. I excused myself for a moment and lit up one more cigarette and like earlier in the day did not feel like finishing it off. And I thought it was time to the trip I was looking forward to. I gave him instructions on the destination and he once again cruised the car into the traffic desert.

It was around 01:30 PM when we reached the Lord Jagannath Temple at Kannathur. To reach here, you need to take a left turn, almost immediately after crossing the ECR Toll Gate. It could be roughly around a half kilometre. The watchman, who also spoke only Tamil gladly welcomed and with a sorry note on his face, somehow communicated that the temple was closed and would open at 03:00 PM again. All the fervour with which I came all the way drained out. I thought I would wait till the temple opened in the afternoon and asked Saravanan to go ahead for his lunch. I was anyways fasting today.

I then washed my feet and strolled around the sanctum sanctorum, after seeking permission from the watchman. It was a very pleasant temple and everything looked excellent. After spending a few moments here, I asked the watchman the way to the beach. I was told that in this area, the Sea Water was sweet, just in the area that was close to this temple. I asked the watchman about this and he did not seem to acknowledge it. Anyways, I walked through the sand towards the beach and as I did, the sound of the ocean water hitting the sand, the hissing sound when the tide swept back, the melodies when tide upon tide rushed through the Bay into the land grew louder and louder.

I could see a lot of fishermen's boats, their motors dismantled from them and kept aside from a distance. As I came nearer, there was a flock of crows that were pecking a dead fish which probably landed on the shore, thrown by the water. I walked across the beach a little further and went into the water. The tides were mild and seemed to grow nastier as time went by. I thought it might not be a good idea to taste the water to check if it was sweet, as it looked mighty dirty. After a few moments of encounter with the great water body, I returned back to the sand and sat over a fisherman's boat. It was a very pleasant afternoon indeed, the sky overcast, the water with a lot of mystic sounds and the cool breezes swirling around. Seemed perfect. I was for a moment wondering if Vishnu could show up from the water in his earliest of the avatars as the Matsya and bless me on this auspicious day. However, in vain, I started back toward the temple. By the time I reached Saravanan was back. The watchman said the temple would not open till 04:00 PM. I then thought probably the Bhagawan did not want to see me, after all. May be He thought I was not deserving for His divine darshanam yet, and probably He is signaling that I am not yet prepared to seek what I always wanted from Him...liberation.

In utter disappointment, yet with a hope to come back some other time, I started back with Saravanan driving me back to the Central. It was around 4:00 PM when I was inside the station. After surveying here and there for a little bit, I came towards my favorite shop, the Ramakrishna Math store and bought the CD of Bhakta Ramadasu Keetanas sung by Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna and another CD of the original speeches of Swamy Vivekananda at the Chicago event in 1969. I then bought a couple of sweet boxes from Anand Bhavan store and again got immersed into the novel "Hotel". Soon it was time for the Charminar Express to start and there I was back on my seat, getting on the berth for an early sleep again.

Overall, despite the Visa thing, the trip left me disappointed, looking at how unfortunate I really am, unable to have the darshanam of Jagannatha and that too on the auspicious day of Vaikunta Ekadasi!! What a waste this life of mine is, in deed!!

Longing

Early in the morning,
When a new day is born,
I wake up in your memories
I feel you in my heart….

And that’s when it starts aching:
I’ve been longing
For belonging
To you and I keep
Singing this Song…

I spend the day at work
As if lost in day-dreaming
I got a lot of friends there
Who tease me that I’m crazy…..

And that’s when it all makes sense:
I’ve been longing
For belonging
To you and I keep
Singing this Song…

It soon grows dark in the sky,
Dawn it is, time to get some sleep,
But I lay awake- deep in your thoughts
When I close my eyes, it’s you in my dreams again….

And that’s how it goes each day of my life:
I’ve been longing
For belonging
To you and I keep
Singing this Song…

- Siddartha Pamulaparty
(Dt: Jan 13, 2008)