Temporal Moment

Thoughts while waiting in a temple queue.

People from all walks of life are around me, with their own stories and problems in their hearts, the most heart wrenching of complaints and the most miraculous of wishes can be found in this room. Among all this gravity, children run and play. I used to be like them once, this open hall with adults as dynamic obstacles would be the board for countless new games. This temple on a hill in Pennsylvania, though thousands of miles away from the homes of the people who stand here right now, is no different than any other temple in place and time.

And then my gaze goes over the idols, the decorations, the ritual and every step it contains within as the coordinated acts of worship, the chanting, the music, the symbols and everything that makes a religion what it is. Someone must have created it at some point – it was surely conceived by the imagination of a highly creative individual of the time, an imagination cleansing itself of the pride to praising something greater than itself. And now thousands of years later, people do this, parts of it but in a similar spirit – names and titles and facts have faded but there is still a link I see in this moment. What is all religion and tradition but a way to honor the art of one’s ancestors? And, can art even exist without them?

Today, I see the beauty in the lifeless carved rock. There is a lump in my throat, I feel insignificant in front of that unknown sculptor’s patience and belief in something so abstract – that it cuts through time and space and sweeps away my entire existence, something which I have comfortably rationalized to myself even when it stands on a weak and often faltering foundation. This is the truth of the greater abstract within which my lie of a little existence lies.

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Sea First

I reached Pondicherry at the end of a day which was just a long and tiresome bus journey through the villages of the Indian South. I remember a distinct smell in the air a few hundred kilometers even before I had reached the town and realized that this must be the smell sailors and adventurers talked of in their books and journals (or maybe my mind was making things up in excitement).

Despite reaching way late into the day I decided to do first what I was there for and head out to the beach. It was night and the beach lights dissolved right where the rocks broke the waves. The roar of the foam and the steady humid wind had some kind of a silence hidden in them. In front of me was a palette of black and dark blues, dotted in a few places by distant boats crawling across the horizon. I wanted to say something to myself but there was a lump in my throat. I had never felt this small yet happy and probably never will. Everything I had read about the sea came to my mind and at that moment I stood there and wept like a little girl. It was so beautiful.

You can just sit and look at it forever

You can just sit and look at it forever