“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Monday, September 28, 2009


I am listening.

The loudest, the most persistent

is the hum of the ceiling fan.

Cawing crows

Horning cars, rumbling trucks

Voices from across the street

Parvati moving about in the next room -

And the slow intake of breath into my lungs.

I turn my ears inward.

Conscious of myself tapping at the keyboard

The cursor blinking.

The little black line, going on and off

On and off, on and off

And waiting, patient.

I am emptying my mind – or so I would like to believe.

************* Balachandran V, 28.09.2009, Trivandrum.

Few days back, a friend of mine – I will call him an'internet friend' or 'blog friend' or 'Orkut friend' - I understand he is studying at a seminary to become a catholic priest – asked me what I think of catholic priesthood or priesthood in general. He is preparing a paper; perhaps he is answering questions he asked himself. From what little correspondence I have had with him, he appears to me as a gentle, sincere, likeable boy.

I replied to him briefly – that I am what is generally called a non-believer, in all the sense that I do not believe in myself either, that 'belief' means pulling down shutters, blinds, curtains, that I would rather keep myself open and let everything flow through me rather than cling to, clutch to anything, anyone, that i do not think people need an intermediary to communicate – with whom? God? I would rather say, with oneself. I told him that all this talk about God has alienated humans from Nature, if anything should be worshipped it should be Nature, Mother Earth, life. I think of all the violence, sorrow and deception that religions have brought to humanity and the world. The concept of God – your God, their God and mine – how this belief in a supernatural power that loves and hates us , reprimands, punishes and wreaks its wrath on us is so pointless, absurd. That the force that propels us to believe is simply the fear, the insecurity, the truth of our helplessness, our insignificance. And our cowardice to face it.

Among my relatives and friends, there are devotees of Amrthanandamayi, Sai Baba, Ayyappa, Jaggi Vasudev, Ravi Shankar, faithful church-goers, devout Muslims. Each of them swears by his/her belief, benefector. There are those who swear by J Krishnamurti too. All of them have one thing in common. They have ANSWERS. Or so they believe. It has brought fame, fortune, peace and tranquility to them; or so they believe.

And I – I am unable to understand why I cannot be like any of them, to find comfort and peace and security by believing in someone, something. In the journey of my hitherto life, what i have learnt tells me that intrinsically I am alone, and all the rest is make-belief. Images flash before me- of deaths, of great tragedies – moments of great joy and love too – I stand apart and look at it all – where am I ?

I am reminded of the verse from Bhagavd Gita – 'Dukheshu anudignamana sukheshu vigathasprha-' but that too is something to be achieved, something to be yearned for – how different can it be from yearning for jewellery or a Rolls Royce car? All are adornments, aren't they? It is the wish to change from the existing state to an exalted one- The facial expressions of the TV swami who quotes slokas and the woman sitting in the luxury car at the traffic signal are amusingly the same – smug.

In the latest issue of 'Vanita', the Malayalam women's magazine with the highest readership in the world in its category, there is an article by Anoop Menon, a cine actor. It is about a young girl he knew, Gopika, who died of cancer. It is a beautifully written, unsentimental piece – how ironical that the article should be in such a magazine that promotes accumulation of wealth and beauty!

In this turmoil, in this great flux, this state of movement and stillness, I sit before my laptop, gazing at this mystery called life – or is there a mystery? It is all just this, isn't it, just this being here?

************* Balachandran V, Trivandrum 27.09.2009

Oh, I also told my friend to watch the movie, 'Doubt'. Meryl Streep. A Must See, you too!


  1. Thanks…n really surprised to see u’r quick reply…. I admit all u said abt …priesthood ….intermediary… probably absurd ….u say u’r “generally called a non-believer, in all the sense that I do not believe in myself either”…but dear bala uncle, i can’t believe tis….’coz da way u write in u’r articles n da poems ….dat brings a lot of serenity n peace ..joy to ma mind as well as all those go thru…so its smthing a great task u do even its smthing more than a believer can do…so in ma view in all da sense u’r a strong believer though u may not agree…ya true u gives some answers….i would like to quote dayabai..” people asks me what are u doing... I would say its not mere doing rather it being …being with ma little frnds…” whatever u say u’r being itself is prompting me to believe… thanks…

  2. Dear Thomm, Perhaps I am finding peace and harmony in my non-believing way. To have no mental, moral, spiritual, cultural, political, communal crutches is to be free...But again -from clear blue skies to dark clouded skies and back and to and fro - life is going on and I am just amused...

    Its like that John Lennon song -'Imagine'. Actually, it is so easy to free oneself of the burdens that one has been carrying around for generations. Then, there is that incredible feeling of lightness...

    Whatever be the philosophy that guides you, please make sure that it is all-encompassing, sans barriers and borders. Then you might realize that love is best in its naked, pure, flowing form... that it does not need religions or faiths to reaffirm its existence... If there is one thing that is so universal, it is Nature. Look close at a flower or a blade of grass. Meditate upon it. You might know.

  3. dear balaluncle, u'r right....other day i ws reading kundera...The Unbearable Lightness of Being...the deapths n heights can be realized only thru da luv...n in its naked form...nw wanna get realized da real pure genuine luv aprt frm da masks...whatevr be da philosophy....tis time i agree witgh u... again thanks..

  4. oho..thomachan asked me the same..and i compltly forgot it in the turmoil..nw im to give him my insight..me..who havnt seen the church door for ages..

  5. hi
    i can relate to it. though i would like to call myself a believer.. i prefer to keep my mind open. to embrace everything. let everything wash on you.. bringing all its colors... the moment you accept you are of a particular faith... you enter a closed room... the other day i was travelling by train and i saw a nun seated close by reading a book. SHe must be reading a gospel related literature right?i dont know. thats what you would think.. does she read the gita? does she read John Grisham? Does she read Gandhi? I wondered... The minute you say i accept 'it' it seems many roads close for you and I dont like that. When i say I have done the AOL course, they bracket me into a category. the other day i was reading J krishnamurthy and i was asked. how can you read that? he didnt believe in God! well i am not sure if that person ever really read JK !!! So If i am reading My experiments with truth, I cant read Kamasutra!!! I understand what you wrote... I feel that too..

  6. K, We are in a minority! This questioning, non-attachment should include not only religion but philosophies too. Not to identify with any particular faith requires not courage; it is just to be so. Therefore JK or Osho or YK or Nietzsche are people like us, who ventured out to their own individual streams of thought. One may read them, understand them, reflect on them with the same equanimity and detachment as one would with Gita or Bible. To imitate or copy or follow them would be no different from being a Hindu, Musalman etc.

  7. I really loved this peice Balanji. You've very rightly said that the only thing that needs to be worshiped is nature earth.

    Last few days I was in Tamil Nadu and one day I was travelling with a local offical in one of the villages in Vellore district. On our way back he asked 'madam are you a hind'? I was amused at the question but said yes a Hindu, and then hen took me to a temple. I then aksed if i were a Muslim or a Christian... he said I wouldn't have taken you.....I clicked some good picks but did not feel like going inside...

  8. 'The facial expressions of the TV swami who quotes slokas and the woman sitting in the luxury car at the traffic signal are amusingly the same – smug.'
    smug is a word - shows how in your mind you interpret, and bracket people from diametrically opposite pursuits - betrays you too believe in smething-and judge by that yardstick. you too have taken a position.
    God! man needs a God and searches for him - each her/his own way. religions, scriptures after a certain point are aids. God - one has to find within himself. believe me, he's there.
    but this is something i wont try to convince anyone with words. at some point in life-some nirvanic moment the truth will hit you like a ton of bricks. u'll be a different person after that.

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  10. @pjk: Smug:Marked by excessive complacency or self-satisfaction.

    I was not taking a position, but observing how seemingly complacent both the Swami and lady were. I was smiling at the similarity. I was not being critical or judgmental; i was comparing my own state of uncertainty, of self-doubt, of never being able to find answers - with those two. I do not envy them, either. If only I could take a position on something! I am being slammed eternally from one side to another, a boat in a storm...

    You may be right. Perhaps one day I too might learn that God exists. There have been innumerable moments in life when a sense of absolute peace enwrapped one. Then, in one's mind a feeling of great humility and gratitude wells up. It is not to God or such another entity. The gratitude is to life itself. Thats when one would like to leave these shores...


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