It’s a tee. It’s a dress. It’s the new Graphic T-shirt Dress.

A Goblet Full Of Elixir - Tonic for the Human Soul

CONTENTS

1. That Rare Bird Of Paradise

2. The Greatest Test Of Life

3. A Dangerous Addiction

4. Playing The Game

5. Deprogramming

6. Baring Of The Soul

7. Mastering The Art Of Zen

8. You, The Innocent

9. The Real World

Preface

Man is a creature with many needs. Food, shelter, clothing are common to most inhabitants of the animal kingdom. Yes, even clothing. After all, the fine wool suits we wear and the fine fur we value have all been acquired from animals we presume to be lesser than we humans. And what about leather? Surely all these had the common purpose of clothing those from whom they were acquired. Semantics if you please.

What is uncommon is the human species’ desire for emotional satisfaction, be it in the form of achievement and appreciation, or of recognition, or of prestige and stature, or even of just being loved. Emotions are what make us different from other animals and emotional bonds are what we humans constantly strive for.

Yes, man needs more than food, shelter or clothing. These are physical in nature and can easily be quantified and put to measure. Not so our emotional needs. These are intangibles and impossible to quantify. Do you know how much love is enough for you?

Nevertheless our endeavors to acquire emotional bonds are a deep rooted instinct much the same as the tiger’s instinct to hunt. And the older we get the more desperate we become in our endeavors. For we do not have the faintest idea of how much is enough.

But it can be said without much doubt that we humans will never be satisfied with what we have, and this is truer of our emotions. At the same time we are such a fallible race as to be quite naïve from our birth to our dying day as to believe that natural instincts will be fulfilled naturally.

It is not so, let me tell you, and it needs an awakening of the senses to really understand that emotional bonds are not to be acquired naturally, but by our own endeavors. Along with our senses, we also need to refresh our thought processes so that new thinking on age- old subjects is given new life.

I have tried to put on paper in the following pages some thoughts on things that affect our emotions the most, the things that propel us to have emotional bindings.

Enough has been written on things such as food, clothes and shelter and therefore I truly feel that because we are very much the susceptibles to our emotional cravings and as much as our craving to fill our empty stomachs, some things should be explained about intangibles as well.

Not with the purpose of showing who’s the fool, but with the singular goal of reawakening our senses to fresh thinking on oft discussed and taken for granted matters.

Which I hope you will be in total agreement with me by the time you finish the last chapter, that really, things are not what they seem to be, and maybe we are living in a fool’s paradise.

This book is about going down to the zero levels and making new thoughts hurl confusion in our minds. Not with the aim of confusing, but with the object of changing.

So that when we again feel the cravings, we understand what to do. Without regretting afterwards, and without feeling remorse. The purpose of this book is to make us believe in ourselves, in our own judgement and in our own true emotions.

But enough said, its time to get down to brass tacks.

Before we do however, it would be prudent to keep in mind that a full life is not possible without the satisfying of true and God given human emotions. Remember always, as you turn the pages, this book is finally about having for yourself, ’ A Full Life ’!

Chapter 1

That Rare Bird Of Paradise

We often underestimate the value of friendship. Friendship is that rare bird of paradise which cannot be bought at any price. Although many do try to. Without knowing that the friendship they think they have bought, or gained, by doing so is not really what I would term friendship.

What I am talking about is a friendship in the real sense of the word. The real term denotes a relationship that is lasting, a relationship that is binding without suffocating, a relationship that is based on mutual trust, and a relationship that can weather any type of storm.

How does one buy friendship? I need not tell you, there are many ways, some subtle and some not so subtle. But the common factor in such friendships is that they are temporary, they are suffocating, and they are mutually trustful upto only a certain point. The point where mutual interests and mutual gratifications are commonly shared. Beyond that you can safely kiss friendship goodbye. After this point it is now more a relationship of mutual tolerance and selfish motives rather than what I would say is friendship.

Friendship is the Golden Gate of San Francisco, through which pass people with common dreams of wealth and success. Friendship is, simply put, a true state of common and binding as well as long lasting dreams of two people whose lives are pointed either in the same direction or even in opposite directions.

In today’s world friends are hard to find in new avenues. One has to then take refuge in friendships born out of professional relationships and in relationships that arise out of needs of individuals in mutual despair.

Friendships are true only when they are born out of long acquaintance developed through togetherness. Even if this is the jet age one cannot say friends are made the way fast foods are made nowadays. Some things will never change. Friendship is one such thing.

It is often seen that people will go to any lengths to acquire the shield of relationships they term friendship to please their deprived egos and to gain some emotional security. Which only shows and further reinforces my firm belief that friendship is one of the greatest needs of the animal kingdom, particularly the human species.

Therefore it is ironical that many of us give undue concession to our needs and sacrifice the same for things of temporary substance. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going after things we strive to gain for our personal benefits. My only concern is that friendship should not be the unwitting sufferer. For it is a fact that one cannot have the cake and eat it too. You give with one hand and take with the other. Give anything but not true friendships.

Once one gains some maturity in life it becomes difficult to break ground in our endless emotional quest for true friendships. So it would be far more realistic to value what we have gained in the past in more leisurely days and continue to sustain the same. Yes, sustaining is enough, true friendships will not need care and compassion, if it did, it would not be true.

But this does not mean that one can take a devil may care attitude to friendship, no matter how true. One has after all a duty to perform, albeit a small one. One has to be constantly vigilant to this kind of attitude, and one has to see to it that one has given what is one’s due in terms of duty from one’s side. The duty of supporting a friend when in need.

Yes, supporting without the remotest thought of gaining anything in return. This is the true test of true friendships. Think back on your life and try to recapitulate on your performance in this regard. If you feel guilt at recapitulating on certain instances concerning certain people then go back to the act of new sustainment for now you know whose friendship you value.

That is one of the advantages of true friendships, you can always go back. Time is an immaterial thing and this is one thing in adequate amounts. But this does not mean that one can be complacent and take for granted. Not at all. It means rather that one has to put in more effort to perform new sustaining duties, and in this rejoice.

Rejoice in your good fortune in having a true friend. In true friendships it is not a question of how much or who should be the first to give. If you know in your heart that it is a friend you value, then the question is only of giving and giving. If it is a true friendship, you will be reciprocated in equal measure.

Just as you have gone back and recapitulated, now go forward and think of the people you are sure will come to your funeral. The sure-shots. I can assure you without knowing who you are or where you hail from, or even your standing in this world, that there will not be many you can be sure of.

But of those you are sure of, keep them in your heart and imprison them in your soul. These are your true friends. Never sacrifice them or their friendship for anything in the world. I can guarantee that you will never again make another friend such as them. Not in this life.

These are the people you should treasure and these are the people whose relations you should always and consciously sustain. Because these are the friends who feel for you, who hurt when you bleed, who rejoice when you laugh.

Treasure them throughout your life, and give them the greatest of priorities. In times of trouble and in times when you need safe harbors, these are the friends you need. Yes, true friends are as rare as birds of paradise, they cannot be bought, they can only be made through close association for long periods of time.

Today in maturity you do not have the time, and today in a competitive world you cannot trust enough to develop close associations. In other words, today in maturity you cannot make true friends. Therefore value those you have and be secure in the thought that you have people whom you can depend on. Friends you can trust your life with, and friends who will never let you down.

Chapter 2

The Greatest Test Of Life

How sweet is the word and it makes me sometimes wonder how it was coined in the first place. Or is it because we have been so accustomed to identify it with the sweetest of relationship that we find the word so apt?

Whatever the case may be, love is in the words of all romantics, as rejuvenating a feeling as a dip in icy waters at dawn. Love breaks all resistance, so they say. And love improves all things bad is what is universally believed.

Yes love is a belief. Yes love is a balm. And yes love is all that the romantics say. But in our hearts and in our minds, love is more often than not, a response.

A response to our individual desire for sustaining our barren emotions in times of sorrow. A response to our craving for our individual acceptance in time that are normal. And a response to our question of our own standing among the human race, leading one to believe in oneself all the more and making life a colorful tapestry of our joy.

If love is all this and more, then why do we mortals still burn in despair at not finding true love? Should not love be the greatest thing we should all strive for?

Why do we still mourn our fates in not getting this golden key to paradise? Is it really our fates that dictate who should be blessed with the gift of love and who shouldn’t? These are questions which all have to answer.

And the answers are not what one would normally want to get. The answers are not what one would expect. The answers can be damning. And they can be self- inflicting wounds on those that dare to question. You have been so used to the expected answers but rest assured that I am correct in saying that they are all the wrong ones.

Now refresh your mind and hear what I say. Prepare yourself for an awakening. A rude awakening if you please. And I will not apologize. All I can do is prepare you.

The reason why true love is out of many’s reach is simply because they are the damned. Damned in this life at least. And the damning is not due to any heavenly body’s powers, it is due to only their own lack of courage.

Cowards all those who lose. Cowards all those who damn themselves and burn in the pyres of life. For as long as they live and until the moment they die. No matter how much wealth you have acquired, no matter how much charity you have given and no matter how much success you have tasted, you are a failed human if you have not tasted the sweet sensation called love.

It is cowardice that has prevented you from accepting in your heart that you have fallen in love from the moment when you are deadly sure. Cowardice prevents you from exploring the limits of your feelings, and excuses come in all shapes and sizes to make you think a lot when actually what you should have been doing was to feel with your heart.

For those who crib and complain of fate’s or Cupid’s ignorance, all I can say is that you have wished death on yourself. True love is noticed once in a life- time, and when it does, one has to grab the opportunity lest it slip from your hand forever.

Love does come unbidden and love comes unannounced. Love comes in deliberate ways and one should be human enough to welcome it. But what does happen is that the welcome is shallow and full of pretense, hiding itself behind a coward’s mantle and with excuses galore.

Lost love is what will follow in the words of the damned. And they seek consolation in the belief, their own belief, that they have been given a raw deal by life. Oh yes, they begin to feel the proper martyr, never realizing that their chance has gone forever.

A chance of a life time literally. Never again will they walk the path of roses and emotional attainment the brave do. They have failed in the greatest test of life. A human life.

Therefore all who listen, and all who wish to be human, let not your cowardice damn you forever. Lose not that which is the most valuable gift of life for the sake of your own lack of courage.

Love comes in deliberate ways and when it does, let your heart take reign. Listen to your heart and keep your mind at bay. Do not hide behind superficial and hypocritical excuses that you make to yourself. Love once lost cannot be regained in a life- time.

Precious is this love and brave should be your attitude. No need to analyze and no need to brainstorm such a feeling. All you must do is to face the fact and the reality and bring courage to your actions.

But no matter what, don’t let it pass you by. Leaving you in the cold and that too forever.

Chapter 3

A Dangerous Addiction

Man has three needs and all three have to be satisfied if he can lay claim to a balanced life. Or a full life. Physical needs are easy enough to understand and therefore attempt to fulfil. Emotional needs are more difficult to fulfil since these are after all intangibles and therefore goals are impossible to define. The third need basic to all humans in order to live a full life, is what is known as spiritual needs, but quite akin to emotional.

The law of the land is a phrase much used in history and everybody understands this to be the laws governing behavior in the land they live in. More difficult to realize is that there is another law basic to all humans in which- ever land they live in. This is the law governing our everyday actions as well as our thoughts and this is the law defined by our own conscience.

Even if one is a child there are certain things which are clear as daylight even if these have not been spelt out. And for a more mature human, wrongs and rights are really not so indistinguishable as some would have us believe. Trust our conscience to show us the difference.

Actually, this intangible power we have named ‘conscience’ is for a true believer, the real and only religion. But since we humans need to put down all we want to believe in quantitative and tangible forms, we have very conveniently created religion. Religion is therefore not the end but rather the means by which our spiritual needs are satisfied to some extent.

At the same time we would be far better off if we could be aware of the fact that following our consciences’ dictates would ensure much better spiritual satisfaction. That we don’t, is of course the reason we look for substitutes to fulfil our spiritual cravings. But would anybody admit to this?

I guarantee not. Of course if I were to question as to why one has not done such and such an unholy act I would certainly get quite a few logical replies, but I can assure you that all the replies would be refuged in self deceptive excuses.

No, most of us would rather take the path of tried and proven, and in this, religion is the way. Religion cloaks people with the mantle of truth, of duty, and of goodness. But only for a short and frozen period. In fact many a time, religion gives one the freedom to feel secure from the tireless dictums of conscience.

So you can see that religion is actually an opium. Dulling our perceptions of the real truths and making us believe in self- defeating half-truths. Therefore, not to allow religion, which is actually a means towards a safe spiritual harbor, to act as an opiate, one must at all times realize the lurking dangers.

Religion is many a time called science by the articulate and by those who are deemed wise. It is true that anything that has to put up with a lot of systems in the process of doing things, even praying, can hypothetically be called a science of sorts. And isn’t it a fact that the sciences of astrology and that of astronomy are all too familiar ingredients of most religions?

Do miracles exist, do they really happen? These are the perplexing questions put forward in today’s times by even hard nosed news leaders whose art is based on realities, magazines like Time Incorporated. Does anybody doubt that miracles are the offshoot, and many a time, the stuff of religion?

Well it is beginning to look like the world is headed for another of those frightening religious eras. Take Islamic fervor for one, And then take Hindu revival for another. Maybe Time Inc. is only trying to bring Christianity into the picture before it fades from the picture. At least as far as further victories are concerned.

So it definitely is looking like religion is becoming a habit that will eventually become deadly addictive, the new LSD. And did LSD help anybody? Will Islamic fervor and Hindu revival bring any added benefits? Forget benefits, we better prepare ourselves for a return to the wilderness. Christianity will not be a passive onlooker either, were they ever, in history?

For an aware person religion cannot be allowed to be addictive. Be as religious as you like, just keep in mind that Budha taught us about peace, tolerance, universal brotherhood, a millenium ago, and look where mankind is today. Religion has become one more from Pandora’s box to set man at man’s throat. And all those religious gurus must have envisaged religion salving the wounds caused by racism, casteism, principalism and countless other such things, even if all are not Isms. More likely, religion has spawned one more ism, that is, fanaticism.

Fanaticism – the most dangerous one of all. No ordinary human can remain immune to this disease. At least for AID, there will probably be a cure in the future, but for this dreaded disease called fanaticism the only cure is by exorcising the anger and the basic primal nature of violent humanity. Exorcising can be very painful, let me tell you. The bloodshed that follows will in fact force one to exclaim that this sort of exorcism is more like excision.

Therefore let not religion drug you and become your master. Be as religious as you like, after all there are spiritual needs to be fulfilled, but refrain from entering the portals of the gate where the atmosphere in caverns to follow inhabited by addicts of religion cause you to be compulsively trapped as one more addict.

Oh I know it’s a blessed relief to believe that there is somebody up there. God, we all call him, and no doubt His is a blessed presence in our lives, but is there any need for anybody to go to the extents some of us do to gain his attention?

I would think not. Believe in Him with all your heart, it can only help, even if it is only insignificant you, you yourself are involved in this belief. But the fact of the matter is that most of humankind becomes trapped in the trappings of Godly, or holy, systems proscribed by supposed knowledge givers, read that as religious leaders.

It is not that one becomes a trapped frailty if one were to follow the dictums, in fact one should do so, so that there is less of uncertainty, what happens unfortunately is that one tries to if not outdo, then keep up with one’s neighbor. As is natural when there is excessive competition, even if it is to show one’s greater holiness, although the frail one will say it is to gain more of God’s attention either for atonement for sins commited, or for future gains, it is still the truth that there is reached a point when newer and more complicated systems are brought into play. How else can one show the greater goodness, and that too spiritual, if the rules are all that simple?

No matter how much one shrieks that this is not the right thing; the things being done in God’s name, it is like a drug addict stating that LSD is no good for health.

So don’t be the religious addict, believe in your private God, its good for health, don’t join the flock, only remember you are one of the aware, do good, think good, stay good, that’s what Godliness is all about. But since we are still frail flesh and bones with a tendency to bleed horribly at the slightest injury, we need a spiritual superior to guide our thoughts, so believe in God.

If we die and find ourselves having to answer to the Almighty as to whether our preference is heaven or hell, isn’t it nice to be prepared? Why take the risk? Enact your life through as much goodness as is possible. And derive strength from your belief in your God, but don’t be an addict and don’t put yourself in a situation where you are likely to fall into the pitfall of bondage through religion.

Chapter 4

Playing The Game

Is politics an emotional need? Its like saying, is man an animal? In today’s world, this is after all a book of the twenty first century, or near about as would make no difference, and in this day and age, politics is only a name for all things we do even in our private lives, leave aside the professional part of it.

Politics is the name we give, and the game we unconsciously play all the time, the name we give to many of our everyday acts by which we work and play. We are diplomatic with our wives, far sighted and diplomatic in our profession, our professional colleagues, we feel, are playing politics with us, there is politics involved in the admission of one’s children to good schools, we say, and all government jobs, transfers, promotion involving our friends we believe are politically motivated. And so on and so forth.

Well yes, you will have to admit that the world has become highly political today, why else do papers sell, we are the eager buyers, when one third of the contents are political in nature. Even that news item about that crooked businessman being charged with corruption has political overtones, no wonder the story is so juicy. Millions of fanatics are caught in the throes of politically motivated religious tensions right this minute throughout the world.

You think the price of sugar has gone down due to the goodness of the government? Read tomorrow’s paper, somebody will point out in conspicuous print that it is only a political ploy to win votes in the round the corner elections.

The drift of all this is simply that, since politics is playing such a big part in our everyday lives, we cannot be mere spectators, although we would like to think we are, but actually what is happening is that we are also being politicized unconsciously to such an extent that we are forced to become political in our thinking which will no doubt affect our innermost emotions, and reflect on our everyday actions. Maybe its all for the good, isn’t it a good thing to cultivate diplomacy with the boss? Or with the wife? Less chance of our feet getting stuck in our mouths.

Somebody had said a long time back that man is a social animal, well let me coin another phrase, which hopefully will be quoted by all and sundry, ‘man is a political animal.’

Man is a political animal, no less, because it is not beyond even a shortsighted individual’s observation to see that man is ignited beyond control when things turn really political in the main. For instance, during elections in small towns. More so in villages. Oh yes, there is a proper alignment of forces all right, with one becoming either a loyalist of this party or the other, and it’s a difficult situation really, with very little chance to escape the alignments. Even if one professes to be apolitical.

The short but intense interludes of local political activities during such times literally send people into emotional frenzy. No matter that there is very little in the way of gaining. It’s almost like watching a football match in which the local club is playing. Can any spectator just remain one, without the emotions getting aroused to dizzy heights?

So let there be no doubt that politics is affecting us day in and day out without making us all the wiser in the knowledge of it being so. Our subconscious selves are being continuously bombarded with the intellectual need to take political sides, and let me assure you that this taking of sides will take place sooner than later, and quite consciously too. It is very difficult, if not impossible to escape the experience that millions of fellowmen are feeling simultaneously.

Is this so because we are all followers in nature, the whole ninety percent of humanity? Or the ninety-nine point ninety-nine percent? Maybe it is so, I think this is best answered by oneself after searching within without presumptions, without biases and without prejudice.

Search within yourself for the answer to this one, and don’t worry, nobody’s looking, so there is no need for the ego to come into the picture, find out for yourself if this is so, and don’t worry, no one is expecting an answer from you. You are all alone in this, and you are only seeking the answer for yourself.

Politics is the name of the game today, and money is the goal. Not necessarily that money is the goal one wishes to attain through the playing of politics, but necessarily, politics also comes into the picture as an important part of everyday life in today’s world. The ways of making money are many, I believe, but the affectations of politics on an individual’s emotions are similar in many respects.

I do not mean to confuse rather I would like to convince even the nay- sayer that man is political in nature and that politics is a part of life today and will be forever, and that it will play havoc with one’s emotions if one is to keep on fighting this truth. No one can remain immune to the effects of continuous bombardment of the senses by the thing called politics.

So be clear about this and plan accordingly to fulfil this emotional need too, as you would fulfil spiritual need by praying and religion, as you would fulfil your hunger by eating. Enjoy this escapade for this is one thing where you don’t go hungry if you don’t work, this is one thing where you will not have guilt at not being religious, really this is the one thing you will really enjoy doing because it is so intellectual.

But be clear about the whys of not being able to escape the fact. And anyway why do you want to escape, there is so much to be enjoyed. It is only not understanding that this too is a part of modern emotional needs that prevent people from partaking of the intellectual joys. It is only the fact that people do not understand completely the effects.

We are talking about, or rather, searching for ways to fulfil emotional needs so as to have a fuller life. A life without regrets, and this is an important lesson for the modern individual. Accept the fact that you are as political an animal as you are social. And you will be on the right track to becoming more aware of the nuances of modern life and its complex methods of emotional harassment.

Be aware that modern life is demanding more from you in more ways than have been experienced by our forefathers. Play the part of the modern animal in full awareness and see how your life becomes less complex, and emotional pangs are better understood. Its really very simple, if you are to love life, you will have to accept that politics is an integral part of this life.

So can one have a fuller life without this knowledge? The knowledge that will hopefully propel you into the right actions with pleasure so that you enjoy the fulfillment of one more emotional need.

Chapter 5

Deprogramming

Herpes Zoster is a common enough word nowadays and this viral infection’s ways and means of torturing the affected are known that much as to have led to the development of specific anti virals. Still one has to keep up with the torture of painful boil like symptoms along the nerve pathways from whose domicile the virus has begun to multiply and manifest itself. In spite of this knowledge and the availability of panacea, many sufferers still go to faith healers to have a lion’s head painted around the periphery of the affected parts with the belief that the spread of herpes will be stopped and eventually got rid of altogether.

No amount of convincing these believers that the virus will anyway complete its life cycle within seven to ten days and they will be cured anyhow, will turn them from their conviction that the lion’s -head painting is the only cure.

The above is just one example among millions of beliefs people have which are based on lack of knowledge and education. And there are another million or so beliefs that are due to the handing down from generation to generation those things known as customs, values and tradition. Many a time education and knowledge are still not enough to rid people of such beliefs.

People live by their convictions, it is said, but my, oh my, do they compromise when the going gets tough. Hardly can the word ‘conviction’ be applied truthfully at such times. People simply do not have beliefs in their beliefs, they are convinced, their belief is true. Why I am saying the same things in so many words is because of the fact that beliefs if true, do not really need to be put to the test of questioning inner convictions if what the belief is all about is really true.
The belief in God is so universal, no matter what name God goes by and it is actually a beneficial belief if not taken to the extreme, and usually this is actually a beautiful thing for an individual’s morale, that it has ceased to be a belief. It is more a part of life, discounting the minority atheists who anyway would ask help from some Almighty or the other if the plane they were travelling in were to catch a couple of air pockets. Needless to say God will not be the name given to this Almighty.

However the beliefs spawned by God’s worship, namely religion, is what has become something to fear. The belief that one’s religion is better than the other’s or that one’s religion’s gospels go against the grain of others’ has become truly a cause for antipathy, antagonism and most often an excuse to go to war.

Similarly, beliefs such as one’s cast and creed being superior to others’ are also a revolting truth of the times. Fortunately, unlike religion, there are positive signs of more tolerance and understanding in downplaying, and in some cases, the getting rid of altogether, such negative beliefs.

All that I am trying to prove is that belief is not only a personal thing, though many would like to so believe, beliefs can be terribly communal, national or even universal. Where in it can become somewhat uncontrollable, much like the making of mob psychology. One gets swept along with the tide so to say, and one can well imagine where it will lead to, if, heaven forbid, it is going in the wrong direction. More succinctly, if the belief is of negative or antagonistic impact.

Therefore it would be the right thing to keep beliefs what they are claimed to be, that is, personal. No way should beliefs be allowed to rule the heart in such a way as to fuddle the head. And no way should one be extremist in the acute sense of the word in standing up for one’s beliefs.

One’s convictions or principles, or belief, whatever you call it, is something that has to be understood to have been embedded in raw and fertile minds from the time we were born, from the time we could not even think coherently. Handed down from generation to generation, from the dictums that make up our society, from literature that has made the rules of civilization down the ages.

It would be foolish to think that what we call our beliefs are things of our making and that we are the superior for having certain beliefs. Chances are that a million more similar two legged Homo-sapiens have the same beliefs, you don’t have any extraordinary superiority over at least a million others, so why display superiority as reflected in fiery thoughts and fiery actions when your beliefs are challenged?

If only you, one among millions, realize this, then rest assured again that this is nothing extraordinary. Probably thousands more will soon be getting a similar awakening and then a million more. Is there a superman out there among the masses? Not at all, and so naturally one has to accept that similarities in reasoning as well as awakenings of the mind are bound to occur among many of the masses.

Mass programming maybe the word and mass deprogramming maybe the need. Deprogramming of deeply embedded beliefs in the psyche of millions will surely not achieve the end of beliefs as such, but the realization that people can be tolerant of each other’s diverse beliefs can surely be achieved. And that no belief, however personal, is that extraordinary a thing as to warrant extraordinary reactions. All one has to be is to be among the awakened.

Chapter 6

Baring Of The Soul

No two ways about it, marriage is the greatest thing to jangle and bring to life all those God given emotions. Even if it is not the greatest thing to have happened to our lives. A point of debate no less, but not in this instance.

The last thing I would like to do is to talk about marriage and its associated problems. For those married, I would be only reinforcing their feelings that marriage must have come too soon, too much in a hurry. For those yet to savor the delights of this customary partnership, I would be labeled a cynic.

Therefore each to his own, and make marriage merry. Or be damned, it doesn’t matter whether one is damned merry or whether one is married merry. Both are one and the same. It would really take a married person to understand what I am trying to say. The unmarried can continue to believe as they wish. Like they say, married or be damned, or be damned sure married.

And when one becomes married, one can be sure that it is damned sure, for a long time to come and in the majority of instances, for the rest of your life. Yes don’t go by those newspaper headlines saying that even Princess So and So has separated from her husband, I must tell you that they are a bit different from the rest of the pack. For more ordinary folks like you, me, and the Rockefellers, married means married, no less.

It is literally a life time thing, in the first place emotional bindings are hard to come by in this material world, and for the other, its damned expensive to unmarry. So even if one has tons of cash one still has to be wary of sacrificing a good thing. The good thing being in most cases, the cemented bindings of emotional attachment. No, you cannot buy this at Harrods, or in most other places. This is such a bond as is developed through long hours of closeness, and is such a strong bond that even the obnoxious smell of dried, caked, and baked sweat will not prevent one from sharing the same bed for hours.

Where else will you find such acceptance? Definitely not at Bloominglade’s. And really on a more serious note, this is why the emotional bonds become so strong. Basically we are talking about primal instincts here. Do you think Primates of yore could add two plus two? No they went more for emotional ways.

So emotions are the most in view after marriage. Almost showcased one could say, my oh my, its difficult to hide feelings day in and day out. Dare if you can, but let me tell you, you will be one fangled and jangled Homo Sapien. And anyway what type of marriage would it be if we were to keep dark and deep secrets from our partners? Secrets of the soul no less. Deep emotional secrets.

So you can well see why I say with such surety that marriage brings out the best in us, or the worse. Maybe at first, before the closeness born out of togetherness, comes to be the fore, we do try hard to seem otherwise than what we really are. Rare is the person who has enough of self-respect and confidence to show himself / herself, or more accurately, expose, his / her true feelings in the initial stages of marriage. No matter how frank one believes oneself to be, it would not be quite realistic to expect that one’s soul will be as frank in exposing at short notice. And always keep in mind that the soul is a different matter from all other things, such as intellect, persona and habits. So when we say that the soul will have some reservations about exposing itself just because of some legal bindings, we really are admitting that dark and deep secrets, or even harmless ones, will remain hidden for as long as the soul feels comfortable enough to confide.

And that is the beauty of marriage. There is ample time and enough opportunities to develop confidence, in the process, the partners become each other’s confidants. No more then can the soul remain shy, and take it from me, it will definitely not. Soon enough you have a situation where secrets are rapidly and with amazing ferocity, brought out from the nooks and corners of the soul. Oh yes, not only is there a question of baring the body in marriage, there is also equally important, the baring of soul. This is where emotions come to be showcased. The soul’s language is emotion. Just as the brain’s is logic.

It is really a good thing to so bare and dare? The soul, I mean. The emotions specifically? It has been said that in marriage there is little place for honesty, but there is ample scope and need for diplomacy. If this is a truly honest statement I would like to think that this is the work of the brain which speaks in the language of logic born out of experience. But as I have repeatedly tried to emphasize, the soul is equally outspoken after some time in marriage. And cannot be disregarded since the persistence with which it carries on in all our waking as well as our sleeping hours can not be even remotely challenged by the brain.

This is why it is not so easy to go by simplistic statements after marriage, not if we are to have self-fulfillment. No doubt it’s a selfish motive, self- fulfillment, I mean. But I always have believed that it is not a good thing to fight against nature. One has to flow with the tides and adapt accordingly. Do you think we have evolved from apes to men because of our own strength? Not at all, the evolution has taken place primarily because Homo-sapiens have from time immemorial come to terms with the awesome consistency of nature, and so have always tried to adapt themselves, in the process, evolving.

That is why I say to all those married, if you would want more self -fulfillment in your life, not only in your married life, but in your life in all its magnitude, do not fall prey to the wisdom of those who would have us imprison our souls in dark and danky depths. Ultimately one can be sure that despair will follow, and one will, after having conditioned oneself so much, for so long, not have the slightest idea of what is it that so despairs.

So as I write these pages I am constantly reminding myself that my objective is to include one more among the aware, and constantly I bring my self back to the thought that maybe it would be much better to remind the reader to remind himself/ herself that you are not as aware as you think you are, not by miles if you accept conditionings and habits as part and parcel of a normal life.

Now don’t even accept what I say, question constantly yourself if what I write here is actually what you yourself think or feel to be accurate enough to describe the languages of your individual hearts, your one and only brain, your exclusive souls? If you differ in opinion, I am really glad, for then you will think deeper on these mere words, but all said and done, I rest assured that there is a lot of truth in these mere words. Don’t feel challenged by what I say, rather you must disagree. By doing so, disagreeing, I mean, I can assure myself that these thoughts have been implanted in your conscious and unconscious mind, and that at opportune moments will manifest their truth, or at least their validity, and make you think afresh.

This I say in the middle of the chapter on marriage because I know that there will be many such opportune moments in your life, and because there is a lot of time in which to ponder. And a lot of time to keep on gaining experience. I did say that marriage is most probably forever, and I did say that one begins to bare more and more as time passes. I am confident in these words, and here at least there is no point to debate. Oh? You don’t agree do you? Do you say that as time passes and more experience is gained, you begin more to hide than to bare?

I would at first thought be tempted to agree with you because your logic is irrefutable, but can I just say that what needs to be bared has already been bared in times gone by, before you have gained the experience by which you say that one learns to hide? Henceforth what you will be hiding is just your own self fallacies and that too from yourself. Delusion is another word for such things. In marriage this is the real and ever present danger, self delusion. I would rather prefer even self- aggrandizement to self- delusion.

It is actually due to self- delusion that we often have to wallow in pits of ignorance as to why self-fulfillment is so elusive after marriage. Be self-grandiosing, be selfish, be anything but a hypocrite to yourself. Dare to bare, and the devil take the hindmost. But at the same time do be aware that daring is almost an acronym for foolhardiness.

As in most matters let us also give an opportunity to our common sense which at most times we do not care to give conscious thought to. Bare all you want and be sure that this, the baring of emotions, is a just and wise road to self fulfillment, taking a short cut for temporary self delusionment, or taking a wrong turn by following blindly the logic of our scheming and sometimes self excusing brains, is not the way to self fulfillment. Not after we are married.

The soul needs as much attention as does the heart, although it is much more easier to identify the needs of the latter. But after marriage you cannot disregard the soul’s cries for emotional fulfillment. The soul wants to be heard and it will always speak in the language of emotions. Can you think of any other way than fulfilling the soul’s needs to satisfy your innermost and quite often, hard to identify, emotional cries?

And the process of satisfying has to start from the point of identification itself. Now I have hopefully made it clear that the identity of the soul’s needs have to do with the fulfillment of the emotions. This can only be achieved if we first accept that these emotional cries have to be heard and brought out from those deep and danky depths. They have to be viewed in the daylight of our awakened senses and accepted for what they are, without deluding from the plain truths.

Now that we have dealt at some length on the why’s of the need to be boldly daring while baring, we will logically have to also follow up with the how’s. Let me be the first to admit that I am as ignorant as the man next door on finding ways and means to completely attain self-fulfillment in this regard, and all I can profess to know is that some ways have to be found. It is an universal feeling that emotions need to be handled wisely. It is also equally universal in nature that this cannot be done all the time. So first of all it would be wise to accept this universal truth, so that there are less disappointments due to big expectations.

However this does not mean that cynicism and skepticism should be allowed to play lord and master. Even if totally, emotions cannot be handled as well as they should be, there will be many an instance after marriage when a little advance knowledge of such needs as emotional showcasing and their hunger satisfying demands, will help the concerned individual tremendously in the process of streamlining priorities. The priorities being, one, the acceptance of needs in our conscious thoughts, two, the identifying them as being purely emotional in nature, where logic will not help as expected, and three, the fulfillment of self by expression that is quite visible if not voluble.

Take it from me, it is sometimes better to cut the tree that blocks one’s view constantly than to worry about what the environmentalists will say. Selfish if you please, but have I ever professed that man is anything but a selfish animal? And in a matter such as self- fulfillment how can we think otherwise? Repercussions? Well yes, every action is bound to have an equal and opposite reaction, but in marriage at least one can be sure that the reaction is going to come from one’s closest confidant. And can one aspire for the fruit without having had to climb the tree?

Of course we are among the aware, or at least among those aspiring to be so. Therefore we at least have a good idea about the tree in the first place, so that we don’t get into dangerous spheres. Similarly we are the ones who should be able to claim that we are aware of the fact that in marriage, emotions not only come to the fore, but that they should be forcibly brought out of the closets. How else can they be handled?

So knowing all this, we can safely say that any reaction, whether equal, opposite, or stronger, or similar, stemming from our own bravery in baring our souls’ needs in the form of emotional cries, we can handle with due grace. Without hurting our precious egos, and without deluding ourselves. This then is the arduous road to fulfilling ourselves in a more complete manner even after we are married.

Did I say, ‘arduous’? I should maybe be more honest and prepare you better by saying that it will be probably one of the toughest thorn filled rocky roads you will come across in your life. But I must also state that if this road is traveled even half the distance, you will have sighted on the horizon the rose and pink sunrise over green mountains which you thought you would find in more heavenly abodes. A sunrise promising a beautiful day.

This is the same sunrise you will see again and again in the course of your married life, always promising better days leading you to believe in the saying that marriages are made in heaven.

Chapter 7

Mastering The Art Of Zen

Do you know what exactly is meant by the word, “psychopath”? I don’t, neither do I have a dictionary besides me to see what the authorities describe it as. But I do believe that a psychopath is in many respects similar to a ‘sociopath’. Which means without mincing words, one who has deviated from normal social behavior. Or better still, normally accepted social behavior.

Now this is where the confusion arises, what exactly is ‘normally accepted behavior’? It’s like asking, ‘what is your favorite food?’ Would you be horrified if somebody, maybe a Korean, said ‘Dogs’? Or maybe a Chinese told you, ‘Snakes’? And if you were Chinese, would you be astounded to know that the Englishman prefers potatoes mashed to the delicacy of monkey’s brain?

It’s really a large world out there, and it’s really a huge amalgam of vastly differing societies that inhabit the planet earth. What is socially accepted in one society is hardly referred to as sociable in another. Have you heard a man burp loudly in contentment after a hearty meal in the presence of guests and the guests burping equally loudly in return to display their satisfaction of the meal provided? Take my word for it, this is very much a sociable behavior among a section of society today, and remember it is not a primitive society I am talking about.

Therefore we have to concede that when we talk about society, we are actually today narrowing our concept of society. In other words the society we refer to in everyday language is really not society as such in the larger sense of the word. You, me and all of humanity live within confined bounds of our perceived societies. And when the society of another is brought to our knowledge with its differing characteristics, we feel quite emotionally torn at the differences.

So emotionally torn that we do not want to accept. Does this happen among differing societies in different lands, among different peoples? Not always. Many a time the unacceptance is within the same people, the same country, the same societies, except that the societies are further sub divided into many more. In fact people then start to defend their own forms of social behavior as the better one than the next. Simply put, people start becoming emotionally involved.

There is no doubt about this fact. People are affected very much the emotional way by the varied dictums of their societies as well as by the dictums of differing societies. Well then, can one expect otherwise? Not in such a world where the differences are too vast and the societies are too many. But definitely one need not be unduly worried at such a state of affairs. After all if you cannot change it, then you will have to learn to live with it.

But really we have to look at it a little differently in that we need to look around us only and not the whole wide world as most do. We have to, all said and done, live within our own specific societies and this is where we have to be more objective. Social expectations are the backbone of social interactions and since no man is an island unto himself, everybody has a duty to perform towards the fulfilling of expectations of his/her own social group.

This makes the task of understanding accepted social behavior more convenient. At the same time we must keep in mind that there can be many offshoots or sub divisions of the same. More likely, a specific society is only one more sub division of a larger one. Then if this is so, we will have to replace convenience with practical.

Yes, the key word is ‘practical’. Is it a practical thing to live upto expectations all the time? In all instances? And how much of self-sacrifice is needed for this? Is it practical for our own ends? Then it begins to look like we might have to debate the meaning of practicality. Or rather we will have to question as to the objective of the said practicality.

No one will dispute that man needs society as much as society needs him. The point of difference lies in the fact that the many laws of society are largely unwritten and therefore there can be considerable differences in opinion. One could cite for example that old people and teenagers have a difficult time coming to a point of consensus on the matter of sex. This can happen within the small unit of society called family, or within the larger unit of relatives and friends, or within the social structure of a neighborhood, and also within the particular community.

Similarly there are innumerable cases of differences among varied topics concerned with social behavior such as money, work, leisure etc… among peoples of similar societies. All this is not leading towards the inference that people are incompatible, or that its hard to adjust to socially acceptable behavior, but the facts are being made clear that one has to be very much the objective person while fulfilling social expectations.

In other words, we are heading for increasingly troubled times in terms of coming to grips with the hard truth that increased individualism arising from greater knowledge, will not necessarily mean that we will be living freer lives. There will always be society to contend with. And society dictates that we put a hold on our individualism.

This can create havoc with our emotions, on the one hand we see ourselves as individuals with the freedom to express our emotions, while on the other, we cannot break away from the shackles of a social God without being labeled ‘sociopath’. Or at the least, ‘incompatible’.

Therefore the question arises as to how we go about the business of our modern lives in the light of our increased individualities, as people with newer thinking and yet remain immune from the emotional disturbances caused by the concern of maintaining acceptable social behavior. We must not for a moment be under the wrong impression that the worthwhile decisions affecting our own lives will remain always as our own wise decisions. No way can this be possible if we are to accept that we have to live within the bounds of socially accepted behavior.

Certainly we can be excused for thinking that the decisions we make are ours only and that we alone are responsible for them. It is easy enough for anybody to think so without qualms. Unfortunately we can only excuse because of the fact that men are frail creatures with habits that range from self-delusion, to aggrandizement, to self-forgiving.

Yes we can forgive but we cannot condone such thinking as being true. Every decision we make in our lives is due to not only our clear and logical thinking but also due to muddy thoughts of what others will feel and how one’s standing in society will be affected by the decision.

Does this occur as a subconscious mindset? Of course it is very easy to say yes and sound wise but I must say no, we let society dictate our actions, and play with our emotions quite consciously. Does this limit our potential? Again it is easy to say yes and sound intelligent but again I will say no, our potentials are not limited but rather kept at bay till such a time as is deemed correct.

The conclusion of all that’s been said is that we cannot ignore society no matter how individualistic we are, but at the same time we cannot blame our shortcomings on the inhibitions set by social dictums. We are our own masters all right, but we cannot always have things our way. If you have things your own way for at least fifty percent of the time, you should be a happy man/woman. The other fifty percent of the time that your ways are not totally accepted you should learn to take pragmatically. By doing so you will have mastered the art of Zen, wouldn’t you be proud to know?

Zen is such an art as would make us into perfectly balanced creatures in terms of our frustrations, our joys, our achievements, and our humanity. In short, in terms of our emotions. Isn’t it nice to know that one can achieve so much by just coming to terms with the hard-boiled truth that one has to compromise with society?

Not surrender mind you. That would be cowardice leading to loss of self-respect, inner anxieties and futile behavior. In short, a jangling of emotions. Live upto the role you were meant to play in the drama of life, surely you have by now known your strengths and weaknesses. Surely now you have measured the amount of water you are in. Surely now you know your individual standing in the world, in society?

Fine you are not satisfied with all that you have. Fine you would like to wade a little more deeper, but have you forgotten that there are certain limitations on each one of us? Be it king, or be it pauper. Be it me or be it you. Let us not escape into fantasyland and fool ourselves. Oh yes so you can paint, but can you be another Picasso? So you can write, but can you become another Tolstoy? No doubt the world is filled with highly competitive people nowadays and surely you are one of them, and surely you can climb Everest, but is that what you want to do? Would you not rather fulfill those desires that you have secretly cultivated and based on your secret talents, which only you know you have?

Do you really need to be better than the other man? Do you need to show society a thing or two? Show them what you are capable of? My Lord, if we continue in this vein there’s no telling where it will all lead to. Its better to know one’s true capabilities and stop at that rather than trying to top the other guy and look better among society peers. Try all you want to become a better person, in all that you do, try out your hand at all things you want to try, but never ever make the mistake of thinking along the vein above. Stop that.

Can you change society? Yes of course you can, and so can a million others, but be patient and be truthful to yourself. Do you really want to? If you do, all the luck to you, but wait a while. Its not going to happen overnight. Live your life the way you want to, make more of your personal decisions your own, but give some consideration to those around you. Remember always that one man’s meat is another’s poison, so it’s going to take some salting and a little bit of weeding to change the scenario.

Society is a nice thing to have around, don’t go rocking the boat so hard that others are endangered, if not physically, then at the least, morally. Nobody is stopping you from being the navigator but keep at the back of your mind that some expertise is needed. Expertise which can only come with a bit of knowledge, a bit of practice and a bit of experience.

So till you are ready to go on your crusade along the seas of changes, expect some rough weather in between. Of course the rough weather shouldn’t let you down but be prepared for any eventuality anyway. In the meanwhile you would feel far more secure with your emotions if you were to be a bit more pragmatic.

By being so you would be doing your emotions a great favor and you would understand that one more important emotional need can be fulfilled by just accepting your society for what it is, in the process that emotional need we call acceptance, would be satisfied. Making us into happier persons.

Chapter 8

You, The Innocent

I have always believed that children are the living images of God. Their innocence is the single most important factor for making me think so. Although nowadays this innocence takes very little time to be polluted, I still go by the fact that the pollution is not due to their conscious behavior, but rather due to external unrealized effects.

Children arouse emotions in almost everybody, because no one can remain immune to their innocent ways. There is a child lurking in each one of us and it is only that we need to adjust to social expectations of an adult society that we hide the child in us in some way or the other. But our response to the ways of children is precisely because the child in each one of us cannot hold itself back.

The language of children is very much emotional. They have neither the logic nor the experience of maturity. What they feel with their basic natures, they blurt out in various forms, whether volubly, or otherwise. They are not the ones to hold themselves back and they are never going to consciously rein in their emotional wants. Because of this fact, no adult when having to face the emotional cries of the child, can for long keep his own emotions under control.

Although it does seem at times that adults generally ignore the emotional outpourings of children, but this would be a superficial outlook. No matter how much it might seem so, rest assured that the emotions of adults have been aroused and it is only the thoughts of acceptable behavior or more likely, status building behavior, that prevent adults from reacting in similar ways as the child.

By doing so adults are doing themselves harm, not grievous of course, but quite un self-fulfilling. Adults must realize that unlike the spoken words, emotions are not so eloquent, but that everybody has them. And these emotions need attention. So that when a child is inside your space, you must never ignore the fact that one way or the other, you need to respond if at least to satisfy your emotions.

Yes, children demand response, but what usually happens is that the response comes in the form of hypocritical put-ons. This is really not what is prescribed if one is searching for ways to be totally fulfilled. If children are part of your space, then you better be prepared to bare yourself a little more. Not to please the innocent child, but to attain greater fulfillment.

You have a child buried deep inside your psyche, and this is the real you, before all those polluting effects took over to make you ashamed to admit even to yourself that you loved yourself more then. Now is the time to see children and feel reawakened at your loss, and then do something about this.

Children will then act as catalyst to change the way you behave and bring out the child in you. You will be much happier if you can accept that you will always be part child throughout your life, and if you can do so, you will be much more happier than the ninety nine percent who have no idea of what they are missing. Imagine that what they are missing does not need to be searched for anywhere on earth, but within themselves.

Children are God, and you should be the worshipper. Here one need not take the word literally but rather in a symbolic way. All this God wants is a response, in the form of truthful emotional feedback. And one can be safe with the thought that its innocence will prevent it from harming you in any way at all because of your emotional exposure.

Be safe in this thought and take more care in responding to the actions and the needs of the children of the world in the non-hypocritical methods that the child in you proscribes. Truth is beauty and isn’t it nice to not only be truthful but realize that your truthfulness will wipe out some of the rancor deposited in your heart through years of pollution in an adult infested hypocritical world?

Chapter 9

The Real World

Every man or woman has two families in his/ her life. At least the complete men and women. For I stand by my belief that no person is a real person in a real world until and unless marriage vows are taken. A person spends some fifteen years in a carefree environment where responsibilities consist of just getting good grades in school or college. Fifteen years are spent securely in a father’s hotel and comfortably eating in a mother’s restaurant without a thought of paying rent or of paying the bills. It’s an unreal world and the person is therefore still not real.

Soon after graduation the next step is generally working to earn a living, but even in this phase of life a person still only has himself to think of. Whether he / she can subsist on a meal a day or whether he/ she would like to live in a shanty one room flat (maybe one cannot call it a flat), is entirely of one’s choice. There is no need to think of others. Therefore it is still only a make believe world and the person is still not a complete person.

Now comes marriage, and along with it comes the dawning of realization about what is meant by the word. ‘Responsibilities’. Oh yes one could still live on a meal a day, but can the family? Will they compromise on their comforts? They would be foolish to do so. And normally they don’t. In the process burdening the once free bird with responsibilities of near and dear ones. Now the person starts to be more the complete person having to deal with the burdens and tribulations of a real world and not because of his / her own whim but rather due to the compulsions of having to think of others’ problems.

So now that I have dwelt at length on why I say that a person has to be married in order to be a complete person, and hopefully made myself clear, I must now come back to the original topic of two families of men and women. While it is true that father, mother, brothers and sisters are important units of any person’s family, it is also a fact that after marriage, these same people become only as important in terms of family as grandfathers and grandmothers. Which is to say that they become a little more of a distant family.

Nevertheless they are the closest relatives of all. Except perhaps for the wife/ husband and the children. In other words it becomes somewhat of priority game, but one in which nature will be the referee, in being so, the natural chain of things will sooner than later bring out the truth that the first family is one’s own, that is, spouse, children, one self. The other family, how soon it becomes the second family, is lost in terms of the once secure closeness.

Because of the very real closeness, the real responsibilities, the trials and tribulations faced jointly, and the sharing of the same, all in toge

A Goblet Full Of Elixir - Tonic for the Human Soul

amar b shrestha

Joined December 2007

  • Artist
    Notes

Artist's Description

Man needs more than food, shelter or clothing. These are physical in nature and can easily be quantified and put to measure. Not so our emotional needs. These are intangibles and impossible to quantify. Do you know how much love is enough for you?

Nevertheless our endeavors to acquire emotional bonds are a deep rooted instinct much the same as the tiger’s instinct to hunt. And the older we get the more desperate we become in our endeavors. For we do not have the faintest idea of how much is enough.

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