In India the concept of ‘Darshan’ is central to worship. Darshan means vision. When greeting a celebrity a person says ‘I am honoured to have your Darshan’. Going to a temple, devotees in a crowd will raise themselves on their toes and crane to somehow manage to get a Darshan of the deity on the altar. Once that is achieved the devotee sighs with relief, his purpose of visiting the temple accomplished. A groom will tell his beloved bride on the nuptial night while lifting her veil ‘at last I have had your Darshan dear’, with a smile. In the Gita one saw in an earlier post how the hero Arjun pleads with the Avatar (divine incarnation) to let him have a Darshan of his true universal form, though once he sees it he is fearful and unsettled and asks Krishna to resume his earthly human one.

We all want to see a new city on a tour, a famous painting or sculpture at a museum and are then satisfied that we have done it and the visit is a success. Likewise we are curious about the mysteries of nature, biology and physics. We want to know with our mind’s eye about it. But often we may not fully comprehend the mystery and as it becomes less familiar we are awe-struck. When like in Arjun’s case it goes even beyond that, awe turns into fear and perplexity as the unknown, unfathomable and incomprehensible reality unfolds before us.

It has often struck me that we are perpetually asking for evidence of God, because we cannot see Him or because He doesn’t show himself despite our fervent prayers – No Darshan! So we keep looking around for evidence with our little minds trying to piece together whatever we can collect to strengthen our faith before we lose it.

Provoked by such thoughts I composed a poem which I am sharing with you. It has a touch of science fiction as well – the one looking for clues is an alien who arrives on earth and tries to figure out what kind of beings live on the planet. At the close of the poem the alien is really us looking for the evidence – but have we the courage to face It when we find It?


              P U G – M A R K


From the pug-marks

In the forest –

Difficult to imagine

A tiger.


The caterpillar like prints

Across undulating dunes

Are actually a scorpion’s

Leading to its lair.


A settlement

With door knobs

And shoes, caps and rings

Piano keys and buttons

Steps and pillows

What is it that moves here?


A tailor bird’s nest

Leaves few clues.


What does the  subtle separation

Of chromosomic factors

Into male and female,

Their perpetual union

To stir gene pools tell?


The way things come in twos

Eyes and ears, hands and feet

Lungs and kidneys

In pairs, what do they tell?


Flowers and thorns

Models of  leaves

For every season, every clime.

Every shade of green,

Elements and compounds

Intricately structured complexities,

What do they tell?


This pug-mark

Who dares pursue,

Where does this trail lead,


This awesome double – helix

Fingerprint, this maze

Of neutrons and electrons,

What tell-tale hand

Has left its traces



But if in the forest

You follow and seek, beware,

It is not just a pug – mark

That you will see,

When you face the tiger there.