Archives for the month of: September, 2013

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Australia was no less exotic than Madagascar. The flora and fauna were out of this world with its Marsupials and bird-life. the startling range of parrots from the Gala to the Rainbow Lorikeet to the Cockatoos both Sulfur Crested white to gorgeous black, the enchanting morning calls of the pied Magpies and laughing Kookaburra and the sinister black Ravens in the Out Back. Every mammal reared its young in pouches on the abdomen, be they mice or giant Wombats or Kangaroos in all sizes and shapes. The extinct Tasmanian Tiger or the Tasmanian Devil were all a naturalist’s delight. Plant life also never ceased to amaze from Eucalyptus gums in the ‘bush’ to extraordinary blossoms. The red Outback with stunning geological features like Ayer’s Rock were awesome.

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Sydney in my view is the world’s most beautiful city with its waterways and stately homes, the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and its spotless cleanliness, quite unmatched anywhere in the world. The people who made this happen, the remarkable Anglo-Saxon convicts exiled, sometimes for mere shoplifting, were also the best specimens of the race, torn away from their clammy, cold and wet if sophisticated northern island, to populate the land. Hats off to them for creating the Lucky Country, much like America.

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Not so lucky were the native aboriginals who were hunted down and confined to reserves. The guilt is more marked in Australia than what white Americans may feel for the displaced Indians. What remained of the after – ‘Dream Time’ culture of the aboriginal Australian were only the exotic names of Canberra, Kangaroo and boomerang. and numerous other names of towns and quarters.

So yet another experience unfolded in ‘Down Under’ as my poem seeks to bring out.





The diagonal missile

Of a great white bird

Alights on the tallest


declaring its Cockatoo crest



An Anglo-Saxon out there

Pruning his garden with pride

revises the universe

After Dream-Time has passed.


Trumpeting the morning air

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The unreal Pied Magpies

Pinch milk bottles

In faithful pairs.


In the bush flits

No aboriginal form

Though an ancestral spirit

Ungainly flutters distantly;

A black raven’s soulful caw

As it plunges

To puncture

The eye of an imported Marino.


On the peripheries

Across a great bridge bulge

A highway of cars

Provides a context

For pubs and cricketers,


Qantas-Airways-FleetAs too, the Kangaroo

Bouncing through the air

Like a boomerang

Is neatly sealed

As dog-food in a tin,

Or impressed on the tip

Of a Qantas’ tail-fin.


Pretty red roofs in a row

Well tended avenues

Of plum and cherry,

Pink cheeks and fair hair

Together lie,

Into each others’ affairs

Taking care not to pry,


The greatest good

Is keeping politely to yourself,

Counting out change

With nimble fingered efficiency

And the pronounced necessity

To thank and be sorry

And thank once again


As the thoroughbred bulldog’s

Subtle resemblance

To its master

Grows more striking

Than the Kookaburra’s hysterical laughter.

laughing Kookaburra Credit :

laughing Kookaburra
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After devoting a 100 posts to spirituality and nature, i would like to begin with my impressions of  foreign lands where I was posted which impacted my being in fundamental ways. The first is on the exotic island of Madagascar, off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean – more a sub continent than an island. Everything about the  land  was extraordinary and mysterious. The people were a rare racial mix of Asian and African, which we do not see anywhere else.  The original inhabitants from far away Indonesia became the first colonizers after the pre-historic migrations of the Mongoloid races moving from the Asian continent to the Americas when the land masses had yet to separate, becoming the American Indians and of course before Columbus and Cook.

The remarkable Malagache originated from Indonesia coming in reed boats ( the book Kontiki Expedition dwells on the phenomenon ) , touching the southern Indian land mass and then moving into the Indian Ocean to discover the great virgin uninhabited island. In the process they acquired several Sanskrit words including the word for God ( Hari) into their language  which is closely related to the Malay group of languages.

In the cool highlands of Madagascar one is surprised to find the upper class aristocracy being  an  entirely light-skinned Mongoloid race, Later they inducted African slaves from the mainland and thus the two races mixed and merged in quite an extraordinary way.



The flora and fauna is equally unique and startling. Forests of baobab trees are surreal, almost as if Salvador Dali had painted them or imported straight from Alice in Wonderland. Man’s earliest ancestors the Lemur monkeys are only found here, whom the Malagache believe, not surprisingly, to be their ancestral souls. Their variety is a naturalists’ delight, ranging from tiny owl like creatures of the night to a variety of colourful species.  

credit : wikipedia commons

credit : wikipedia commons

The Malagache have the most exotic customs for housing their dead. Besides every home, whether a stately aristocratic mansion or a hovel one finds a small mysterious colourful doll-like house which is actually a cemetery where deceased ancestors lie in coffins ( not underground). My secretary, a fashionable smart lady fluent in French, once a year would take leave to honour her ancestors, which involved redressing the embalmed bodies in fresh clothing and carrying them ceremoniously through town, with band music, before returning them to their colourful little cottages, freshly attired in silks  amidst mysterious, if nerve-wracking singing throughout the night. Even the name of their capital city is a unpronouncable – Antananarivo. to complete the exotica the land is totally Francophone.




Over the rainbow

In Madagascar,

People always in whispers

Cupping their laughter in their palms,

 Seething with anger in their calm,

Came in reed boats

A thousand years ago

From the Indonesian archipelago.


The extinct Elephant Bird

No longer lays its eggs on the sea-shore,

Though Paradise Fish cavorting in the ponds

Still change colours to become

Phosphorescent warriors pouting and glum,

Like queen Ranavalona who was known

To have thrown down her lovers one by one

From the palace walls

When her lust was done.


Tangerines never had a golden glow

As in the Zoma markets of Antananarivo

Where fossils of giant molluscs

Are sold with amethysts and agate

As precious paper weights.


The churches resound

 With stirring psalms

Secretly for the ancestors

Lying embalmed,

Waiting to be dressed anew

In silken shrouds in their tombs,


Ylang Ylang - perfume plant

Ylang Ylang – perfume plant

As Gondwanaland drifts

With its wonders, The Malagache

Are hushed in a trance

Before wide-eyed lemurs

Leaping in the Boabab gums,

risen like dumb ancestors

From the fragrance of Ylang Ylang,

Over the rainbow

In Antananarivo.

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The great lyrical and musical compositions of the mystic-poets of 16th century India have commanded the hearts and souls of devotees over the centuries and influenced and inspired present day composers and poets. The poetic compositions are sung by all the renowned singers of India set to different melodies of their choosing. One lyric has of late been casting his spell through his compositions on devotional love, similar to Meera, Sur, Tulsi, Raidas and Kabir. Narayan Agarwal in the tradition of  the devotional movement of the 16th century calls himself Narayan Das ( disciple) much as Tulsi was Tulsi Das and Sur was Surdas and Rai was Rai Das. I have tried to translate his lyrics which when set to music have moved me deeply with their fire of devotion, intensity of love, and poetic beauty, stirring the soul. I cannot say I have done full justice to the poem in question, as in translation it loses its linguistic magic, yet I hope and trust that it has retained the essence and spirit of  the devotional passion expressed by the poet. This being my 100th post, it is also a tribute to the Soul, the Indweller ( Antaryami ) within my being.


                            MY  HEART IS A THRONE

( hriday hamara singhasan hai, Jispe Shyam biraje


My heart is a throne

On which my Lord sits,

My lips are cushions

For him to recline,

Credit : ISKCON

Credit : ISKCON

My lashes are a swing

On which he sways,

His name is a song

I can never forget

Whose rhythms are my life,

Thus on my heart, lips and lashes

Back and forth as  my Lord moves,

My desire to behold him 

spreads like a fragrance

From limb to limb

And every pore, turn by turn begins

To call out his name,

My body then turns into a harp

Whose strings hum with love

As my Lord rests on his throne

 In my heart.


Krishna, the Indigo Lord (Shyam)


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All one pointed

One point is all

As varied shapes look alike,

Alike is varied all.

Dissimilar  similar,

Familiar unfamiliar,

In circles to a point,

Point to circle, circular,

Moving round and around

The singular, again

And again, the diverse

Arise and fall

To the singular point

Of the decimal, circular

Patterns at the heart

Of atom, cell divisable, part


neel after 2 days

It is quite remarkable how an infant is reared to adulthood. A baby at birth looks so fragile that parents hardly believe that it could survive from one day to another. We have most of us known or are in the process of experiencing the challenges which parents face when a baby is brought back home from hospital care – the cradle, the frequent changing of diapers, the feeds, the allergies, the fevers and constant threat of infections. The odds appear insurmountable. Yet as if possessed by some superhuman maternal and paternal powers they are up to the challenge. Parents become dedicated slaves to a natural force, from wakefulness to slumber and the process never ends, continuing from stage to stage, from rocking in a cradle to crawling, to a toddler, to teaching linguistic skills and imparting learning. Each walking adult represents the miraculous outcome of that enormous dedication of decades of unrelenting care and meticulous rearing which we take so much for granted when looking at a crowded street of ‘self reliant’ grown ups. It is simply amazing if we sit back and think about it.

myna with youngWalking in a park I happened to see three Starlings (Mynas) together. The chick now nearly adult would scramble up to one parent and opening its beak wide, flutter its wings to arouse sympathy, begging for a feed.

The parent, ignoring this  normally irresistible pleading, just walked ahead foraging in a pile of rotten leaves and earth for worms. I noticed that it was not actually foraging but putting up a mock show to teach the youngster what needed to be done beyond demanding a feed beak to beak. I also noticed that slyly it was looking back from the corner of its eyes to see if the message had penetrated the thick avian skull! Before long the little Myna began to imitate the process, not very clear what it was looking for. Days later I saw a happy threesome foraging away for worms. The young bird had come of age in nature’s fast-forward for the animal kingdom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAgain I observed how my pet Budgies diligently reared their young in the nest box. Both parents taking turns would gently pry open their tiny beaks and proceeded to regurgitate processed seed. I also saw how the father later began to feed the mother who now never left the nest box regurgitating into her beak so that she would be fed and be able to feed her chicks as well. Later again when the chicks developed feathers and left the nest both parents would be on either side showing the chick how to pick up seed on its own, by demonstrating through mock pickings with a stern eye on the chick to see if it followed suit.

beta with spawnThen in my fish tank, the Siamese Fighting fish Beta Splenden, after wrapping himself sensuously around the female forced out her eggs, fertilizing them instantly by spewing out his seminal discharge and as the eggs rained down both male and female forgot their sexual antics and quickly began to pluck them as they fell to rush up to a bubble nest created by the gorgeous male, to deposit them one in each bubble of sticky saliva. Then the lady was chased away after a night of orgiastic embraces had exhausted her of all her eggs. If she was not then removed she would have been killed by her paramour. The male considers himself the sole caretaker of his brood. He then kept tending the eggs, mending his nest and diligently picking up falling eggs to replace them in the nest. When the fry burst forth from the eggs he would chase them and gulp them up and returning to the nest spit them out into it. Once they were freely swimming his work was done and then he would allow himself proudly to be surrounded by them. Until this stage was reached he would be fasting. Later when it was time to feed the fry with dry fish food a problem arose – they refused to see it as food. I was then advised to introduce smarter fry of another species the Platy who readily accepted fish food from birth. Once these were introduced the Beta fry learnt from them how to snap up the fish food.

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The point here is how every adult whether man, lion, eagle, whale horse or whatever needs instruction on what it can feed on. and where to find it. What may take years to learn through instinct or a process of hit and miss, is quickly grasped in moments through emulation, imitation and duplication. The acquisition of skills can only take place when there is instruction, which the word education encompasses in a larger context. The knowledge that we acquire through a liberal education, learning about skills, acquiring abilities and scientific knowledge in a matter of years, what it has taken mankind millenia to acquire. The specializations that combine to create human technologies, culture and civilization are skills that have to be imparted from generation to generation.

A bird will never know what and where to forage and would die of starvation if the parents died before it could learn those skills. A lion cub would never survive if it never learnt to hunt. The most helpless  of them all, yet the most intelligent, the human child, requires decades of learning to become more than a mere savage.

Instinct is important, it teaches the bird how to make a nest ( there is no school for this) but before that instinct can come into play the rearing is vital for survival – nurture precedes nature. Every generation will require that nurture. But equally Nature will ensure nurture – the maternal or paternal instincts which drive us frantically to provide progeny with nurture, care and protection even if it were to be at the sacrifice of ones life. So in the end Nature ensures nurture and nurture ensures survival.

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Random thoughts must be heeded, for we do not know how they arise or whether the source is in the brain. Inspiration, intuition, a creative impulse, even a complexity like the outlines of a poem may have their origins in the conscious mind or emerge from the depths of the subconscious realms, the repository of greater memory, or yet be a quantum wave aligning with our mental electricity.

Such thoughts must be carefully honed, observed and shared and where possible acted upon for they may have a divine or other worldly source and are precious. They need to be captured quickly, like poems, on the photographic plate of our mind before they dissipate and disappear for good, never to recur. For instance I had one such unique thought today which I cannot for the life of me recall.

We need to urgently jot them down, capturing them, and share them. In sharing they can indeed be enhanced by complimentary feed back. As unilateral, they may be important but when metamorphosing into a multilateral thought may become yet more significant, like when you serve a ball in Tennis and await the return which is when the Game begins.



Ingo Swann, who died this year, was one of the most remarkable psychics of our times. Considered a pioneering figure in ESP related ‘remote viewing’, his remarkable feats so impressed the establishment that the prestigious Stanford Research Institute (SRI), Princeton, Mind Science Foundation, San Antonio and several others involved him in their ESP research programmes. The results were of such outstanding quality that the CIA ( concerned about the Russian Intelligence Organizations’ own research in the field) engaged him in what came to be known as the ‘Stargate Project’ for 25 years before abandoning it in 1995, with a change in command, on account of the results being vague and ambiguous for the purpose of intelligence gathering.

The range of ESP connected abilities attributed to him included first and foremost, ‘Remote Viewing’, then psychokinesis, mentally influencing growth of plants, influencing temperature in a controlled environment, ‘out of body Travel’ ( thereby detecting a ring of tiny asteroids around Jupiter, subsequently confirmed by scientists) and influencing stable magnetic fields of a super cooled  junction in a quark detector (considered an amazing feat by scientists).

ingo swann

Ingo Swann

In his book ”Natural ESP – A Layman’s Guide To Unlocking The Extra Sensory Power Of your Mind” ( Bantam Books 1987 ) he holds that potentially an ESP ability is present universally and is not unique to a psychic. In the book he seeks to show how anyone can develop this ability by employing his methodology for ‘remote viewing’ through drawing, sketching and doodling.

The parts of the book which interested me were not the exercises to teach ESP techniques to the common public but his deeply insightful metaphysical observations about the source and context of the phenomenon. Being an adept in the field and a gifted practitioner of the ‘art’ no one would be better qualified in providing a scientific and philosophical context for ESP

He opens by asserting that the study and practice of ESP has been stagnating for over a century since interest was first aroused in scientific circles, mainly on account of remaining in a traditional groove of enquiry fettered by labels which were not really relevant and the use of verbalization ( rather than the use of sketches and doodling) which restricted and inhibited the process rather than revealed the true nature and source of ESP.

In the course of the extensive experiments and demonstrations at the prestigious institutions he was associated with, he came to the realization that what was equally important was the mental processes as much as the results for providing a clue to the nature of the phenomenon. He therefore began to focus attention on his own mental activity to determine what was happening.

A particular experiment finally became the ‘clincher’ which opened the window to reveal the truth – Swann says ”as a result of it, my life was never to be the same”. In this experiment in ‘remote viewing’ two objects were placed in a container directly above his head which he was expected to view ‘remotely’ while he was strapped to a chair with electrodes. He then ‘remote sensed’ and sketched the following symbols which arose in his conscious mind;  (1) U T    (2)  dn-L  He wondered whether these were distorted letters from Arabic. The actual objects were  (1) a card with the figure 5 and (2) the words 7 U P . Those conducting the experiment however immediately realized what had happened. Swann’s remote sense had viewed the objects upside down – join u and T and the figure 5 appears – reverse dn – L and you get 7 UP.

In that instant Swann realized that there was a faculty within him which had observed the objects without the verbalization filters or internal editing in his conscious mind being activated. He arrived at the grand realization that the inner faculty had its own logic and rules of observation, working on a different mechanism of its own rather than a reliance on the physical senses. He named this faculty within us as the ‘ESP Core’, the psychic mind. He also realized that studies of ESP so far had concentrated on the notion that the mind ‘goes out’ and senses the target, whereas the truth was that the information is actually streaming into the mind from outside. The sensing mechanism plugs into a Universal Field of information which is beyond time and space in a ‘second reality’ beyond the physical plane. the information comes into the mind without the use of the physical senses.

He enumerates three broad categories of ESP:

(1) Sensing of physical objects ( as in the experiments of ‘remote viewing’

(2) Receiving a new idea as in inventions and creative acts

(3) Mystical insights, intuition, hunches etc.

He then postulates the concept of the Mind Mound which is ‘overgrown’ ( like in archaeological excavations) by presumptions, preconceptions inculcated by culture, education, beliefs, memory, imagination, ideas,and uncontrolled thoughts, impeding the passage of ESP signals into the conscious mind and acting as barriers. Within the mound lies hidden the ESP Core. The barriers are erected by the mind to maintain rationality and protect its own vital functions from getting overwhelmed by information streaming in from the Second Reality. This resistance can be identified as the ego which enables the physical entity to survive in its own material reality. Without the barriers the conscious mind would be inundated by more information than it could handle. Yet occasionally, vital ESP signals like strong intuition, creative ideas, foreboding, awareness of loved ones being in trouble or danger,etc are allowed through with barriers inactivated when vitally necessary.

Over the years, given his own abilities and experiences he concluded that our awareness of the physical world and our thinking experience of it is not the only form of consciousness we possess. There is a second consciousness, the ESP Core which integrates with both the physical world and with the Second Reality beyond it. By now I could guess what would be coming next.

The ESP Core he then calls the Deeper Self. The Second Reality, inevitably, he links ( as I expected him to) to concepts propounded by scientists and Quantum physicists and thinkers as the Quantum reality, the Implicate Order ( David Bohm), the Zero Point field ( Lynne Mc Taggart), the Cosmic Web ( Fritjof Capra). The Deeper Self or the psychic mind he states may not exist only in the brain but indeed extends beyond the physical body.

He then equates his idea of the Deeper Self with Rupert Sheldrake’s ‘Conscious Self’. Sheldrake, the renowned biochemist and plant physiologist, states that this is not merely derived from matter. As he puts it, while the Conscious Self interacts with the motor field of the body and the changes taking place in the brain through the body’s interaction with the environment and circumstances of life, yet it remains ‘over and above them’. The properties of the Conscious Self cannot be reduced to matter, energy and motor fields but derives from another reality beyond time and space. It has properties unlike a purely physical system and it is this that accounts for parapsychological phenomena we encounter on the physical plane.

It becomes obvious that Sheldrake’s Conscious Self and Swann’s Deeper Self, in traditional, theological terms is none other than the Soul, the Oversoul, the Superself, the divine Self and Cosmic consciousness. This begins to match the Hindu concept of the soul which I have laboured to explore and present throughout this blog. This soul according to the Gita is not the AGENT of action but the quiet unobtrusive motivator and witness. Swann’s conscious levels of the mind in the upper reaches of the Mind Mound constitutes our ego, which is the independent AGENT of action influenced but not controlled by the Deeper Self. His ESP Core is indeed the soul, situated both within us and extending beyond into the Universal Consciousness. The Second Reality beyond space and time that he speaks of , from which the ESP inputs arrive, are none other than the Universal Consciousness  (Brahman, Cosmic Web etc).

Swann’s researching the ESP phenomenon thus reveals valuable insights which parallel Eastern Metaphysics and provide an understanding from the psychological and scientific angle and the philosophical and metaphysical angle of the paranormal and ESP phenomena occurring in our daily lives.

The ESP Core ( the Pineal gland, the Third Eye, the Ajna Chakra ? ) is the seat of our soul aligned to our physical body and its ego component in the brain, seeking to reveal the paranormal and extra sensory truths derived from the cosmic Web, as intuition, creativity and the paranormal abilities of ESP, when we, the ego are willing and able to listen.





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