Richard Linklater’s waking life is a visual depiction of a seeker of reality who finally merges into it and disappears. The film starts with a young kid playing a game in which his destiny is suggested to be dreaming. The kid moves out of the game and starts floating in the air as if in a lucid dream. Then he finds himself growing up and talking to various philosophers, experts, people at random and friends. He finds himself in many strange situations but after every one of them he finds that he was merely dreaming. Sometimes he is one of the characters, sometimes merely a witness, sometimes an onlooker and sometimes merely watching a TV show—all in a dream. Towards the end he finds himself talking to a person in a bar playing Foosball–who tells him about a novel by Philip K. Dick. The novel tells about falsity of time and space and reality which dawned upon the author all of a sudden. The kid asks about the method to wake up and the person tells him to simply wake up! He wakes up on his bed and finds himself dreaming. He then again discovers many things like time, space, quantum mechanics, language, psychology, biology, society and life. Finally he finds out that he has been meeting same people mostly…and those people didn’t have any substantial reality other than shadowy personas projected by his memories, fears, desires, habits, likes and dislikes. He finally reaches to his home where his destiny was revealed to be the dream. Realizing that there was no destiny whatsoever he starts flying once again to disappear and merge into reality. Into his own Self.
अजीब दास्तान है ये, कहाँ शुरू कहाँ ख़तम
ये मंज़िलें हैं कौनसी, न वो समझ सके न हम
ये रोशनी के साथ क्यों, धुआँ उठाचिराग से
ये ख्वाब देखती हूँ मैं के जाग पड़ी हूँ ख्वाब से
मुबारक तुम्हे के तुम किसी के नूर हो गये
किसी के इतने पास हो के सब से दूर हो गये!
किसी का प्यार लेके तुम नया जहाँ बसाओगे
ये शाम जब भी आएगी, तुम हमको याद आओगे
When mom shouted, I ran to dad for solace,
When dad was angry, I looked for mom’s embrace,
When both of them scolded me I looked for God’s grace,
When God rebuked me,
Reincarnation: do you believe in it?
I have written on reincarnation many times before. I feel Karma need not have reincarnation to be valid. Karma works well as a stand alone principle too. Last year a theory occurred to me which was associated to another theory which occurred to me some 8 years ago. This theory suggests that reincarnation doesn’t happen as is shown in most stories. This is just a theory like other theories which you already know. I don’t believe anything firmly.
Facts should be paid attention to: no two personalities in the world are same. The fact that your thumb prints will not match with anyone else’s is true not only for living persons but also for all the persons who have lived in the past. This clearly tells us that nature doesn’t repeat. All personalities are unique. Now the big question is: who reincarnates?
Since no two personalities are same–even if your habits, feelings and visions are similar to a person who lived 100 years ago–you are not that person. You can’t be that person. Nature doesn’t allow it. So what exactly reincarnates? Memories?
The life which is present in you-consciousness is the same life which was present in a person living 100 years ago–so it’s obvious to understand that life doesn’t reincarnate. Then what does? Is it only memories from past? Maybe that is what reincarnates. Maybe there is a gigantic pool of memories and some of them get materialized at a point of time and sometimes it happens that these memories are vivid and create illusion of personality’s reincarnation.
The arguments given in favor of reincarnation include: people have certain great skills right from birth because they had invested time into certain things in previous births. This seems justified because the world is being run by cause-and-effect. You have to work hard at something to earn merits so it’s not possible that someone has some gifts just by chance.
But this explanation creates more problems than it solves. Why am I suffering? Why am I so vulnerable and sensitive? It’s because of the previous birth? When did my first birth happen? Why? Nobody has an answer for these.
The theory of destination which occurred to me last year is simpler. Life and universe on the whole use collective pool of memories known as Karma. Various individuals have destinies which are very intricately interwoven in a complex way with each other and the universe is evolving. Some people are destined to be geniuses. Some others are destined to be enlightened spiritually. Some others are destined to die early. Some others are destined to be millionaires or rock stars and so on. Destiny is a super-force which supersedes all but God. Some constellations focus at a certain point and certain memories get attracted to that place and those glued memories create a body at that point and a universe is born.
Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?
Not a very long ago I did a post on WordPress usernames and got to learn about many amusing stories. I have always been interested in stories behind names. My first names have been Anand and Vikas. Anand has been used in school, college and workplace mostly, whereas Vikas has been used by family members and relatives. I was also given a monastic name Chaitanya Das when I took renunciation.
These are all Hindi/Sanskrit names. Vikas means growth or development today. My maternal aunt named me so. When I was born she named me so saying that everyone grew in a way after my birth. I met her today but I have never told her that she didn’t understand the meaning of the word quite clearly else she wouldn’t have named me so. Vikas is used mostly in terms of growth related to material things. For example–you may use it in context of GDP growth of a country or for increment in the literacy rate and so on. I can’t complain as she was merely 18 years old then and neither did she nor anyone else grasped the meaning of the word clearly.
The second name was Anand. Ananda means bliss so Bliss is my name. Vedas and Upanishads describe attributes of absolute as Sat, Chit and Anand. Absolute is Truth(Sat), knowledge(Chit) and Bliss(Anand.) My maternal grandmother named me so as she felt blissful after my birth. Anand was my goal and I have always liked this name.
Chaitanya Das means servant of Chaitanya. Here Chaitanya stands for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who was a great devotee of lord Krishna. Bhakti tradition uses names where Das is used as suffix. Chaitanya literally means conscious or aware.
If I had the choice to pick other names I would have passed on it.
As I was helping some kids with reading comprehension I came across autobiography of Helen Keller. She was an exceptional lady and her story is a legend in itself. One chapter in particular draws my attention at this point. It was in the late 19th century that she tried to write her first story. First she received positive reviews but soon enough she was accused of plagiarism. Though it happened subconsciously she accepted that she had assimilated some elements from another story which she had heard a long time ago and she reproduced some of it while writing her own. Thereafter she did her best to be as original an author as possible.
Something similar happened with a work by Nietzsche. I read this a long ago so I don’t clearly remember the details. Maybe it was Thus Spake Zarathustra. Sigmund Freud commented on this. The book was published posthumously by Nietzsche’s sister. He had heard the passage in his childhood and it remained latent into his subconscious. He reproduced it in full when writing the book. The commentary mentioned that it was impossible that two authors wrote same paragraphs and it was also not possible that Nietzsche being the original thinker he was could have intentionally copied the passage.
I feel rules about plagiarism might have been more stringent in the 19th century but it’s really not possible to be totally original in the strictest sense. There is nothing original under the Sun as Goethe said-all great thoughts have already been thought and you have to just rethink them. I feel infinite universes keep repeating infinite possibilities for infinite number of times. Even in the narrowest evolution of civilization you see many copies of same useful ideas over and again. It’s better to create than to keep worrying about being original.
I must have been about 3 years old by then. Certain events get inscribed into your psyche and don’t leave you for long. I had so often heard about Malti aunt’s bichhua(belt ladies wear around their waists over sarees in Indian villages and towns) that I was perpetually curious about the incident. Since my studies first and job later on took me away from settings where such incidents were narrated I hardly had an opportunity to inquire about it. What was this about? What had happened which caused such discussion that a 3-year-old had a strange memory and it remained a mystery for him forever? I used to think that bichhua meant some ornament worn in feet until I came across her recently. Since my cousin’s wedding is soon going to happen she is there and I visit them often. I told her about the event and its peculiar memory I had. My relatives do express surprise that I retained a memory since such an early age. She narrated a few things which consolidated the prior memory I had.
Pen met man.
They hired a ship.
Had a pleasant trip.
Honey and Moon.
Jungle and swoon.
They travelled far and wide,
Saw drama, pangs, throngs and tide,
There was no goal,
The ship got a hole,
Started to sink,
Plenty to drink,
No more meat,
Keeping mind stables,
Inside a bracket,
Saying bye to each other,
Blather leather, honky and thither.
How beautiful that Alpha and Omega have gone to sleep now.
That echoes of mayhem rest in their own hearts.
Stealthily treacherous dungeons have thrown a bucket and two towels.
Murmuring and coughing has subsided.
How beautiful indeed that smiling cherubic knows no bondage and suffering.
Myriads of stories are still sleeping inside stainless steel.
Bountiful, generous and gregarious gluttons have gone with the wind into the oblivion of stars forever.
Nonsense makes more sense than sensible sensualists.
Ether speaks through open windows,
In slithering decaying dancing drunk melodies.
From there it comes here,
From here it goes there.
Bouncing back and forth.
Calling alpha using omega,
Beta theta Catherine Zeta.
‘टपरा तलाशा ‘
तलाश पूरी हुई
तमाश पूरी हुई …
अटकी तुम्हारी तो वफ़ा का वास्ता ;
सट्की तुम्हारी तो ‘दगा’ दे दिया
हुआ यूँ कि कभी ‘ये’ दिया
और कभी ‘वो’ दे दिया
‘हग’ अंग्रेजी में था तो मुकम्मल था
हिंदी में हुआ तो ‘बेजा ‘ दे दिया
‘गुजारा ‘ तो बोले जिंदगी थी
न गुजरी तो ‘उम्र ‘ का ‘फलसफा ‘ दे दिया
‘कागजों’ पे उकेरा तो ‘लफ्ज’ कहलाये
जो न उकेरा उन्हें तो ‘मरहबा’ दे दिया
एक ‘दाद’ दी तो महिफिलें रंगरेज हो गयीं
दुत्कारा तो ‘अँधेरा ‘ दे दिया!