Sunday, October 5, 2014

White sands

Thirty-two little
White tigers
Protect the tongue
Lest it should slip
From the grainy
Heavens of white sand
Home of the wistful clouds
Sought by misty eyed seekers
Retreating back
The tongue speaks
A patois of that land
Suffused with a calming silence
Understood by those
Whose toes have mingled
In those sands
Of a timeless desert

The messages are clear
But lost on ears of stone
That follow the chimes
Of gems set in yellow ore
Marble mausoleums
Housing ignoble thoughts
Ring the perimeter
Of the white sands
A reminder to those
Entering this abode
A nursery of sorts
For lofty ideals of peace and glory
Monuments full of
Leather bound papers
Encyclopedias of secular or
Non-secular knowledge
That fail to convey
The taste of a single drop
Of practicality
Offended by centuries old dogma
Letters written in powdery
White sands, etched deeper
With time, no easy task
Deciphering its directive
Shorn of an individual agenda
Instead with a universal hope
Of ascent to a mind
With transcendence over the five lilliputs
Who don’t live in an
Imaginary land
But in everyday
Nothing lilliputian
About the moat that’s built
Protecting a welcoming fortress
At the doorstep of the white sands
If there is a drawbridge to be found
Transcendence is in four small steps
A snow leopard’s leap
Is as rare as they come
There is proof
From times past
Man has sought
To build these bridges
The great pyramid
That points to the sky
Firmly rooted
To a sandy dune
A temporary stop
For a Pharaoh
On his timeless journey
Sans his throne
Sweat drops from
A forehead chained
To a slaver’s ingot
Of fool’s gold
Made to last
The pyramid has done its job
If the Pharaohs’ were here
They would be proud
Secretive chambers
Where only the essential
Ornaments are spirited away
But declined at the immortal’s portal
The mistakes that
Are repeated to this day
We are all Pharaohs
Living in pyramids of clay
Steeples, shingles, tiles
Or stone
Everywhere you look
One can hardly see the mud
But not the sky
Which is saved from this revolving
Spectacle, untainted blue
Has never been defiled
The sky seeks neither
Cloud or rain, a temporary keeper
That brightens the ground
To match itself
The soul is an occasional
Visitor, to the white sands
A pause in the journey
To the eternal abode
One need not leave
Body and breath
To steal a glimpse
Of what awaits
Not the seeker of pleasure
But the giver of relief
For others stuck in a morass
Of thoughtless actions
By minds that kill
Even a grain that escapes
From the heavens
They call the white sands
Not a question of
Here or there
But how do we
Seek it now
And live out the rest
Of life’s ticks
In greater joy
Than what a Pharaoh’s gold brings
The jewels
Buried deep in the
Heart and mind
Bring hope
And understanding of unanswered prayers
On an otherwise futile ground
That is fertile
Only for transient thought experiments
The essential box
Of tools, surprises
Even the greatest skeptic
With its pulsating life
This is not where we seek
The white sands
But it is an essential prop
To reach that hallowed ground
The initial step,
Offering the tools
Not for consumption
And greed
But to heal first
The wounds inflicted
On mother earth, the first among equals
That has birthed us all
There is a lesson to be learned
From even an insignificant bee
Bringing honey to its queen
And pollen to seed another meadow
The work isn’t ours
But enjoyment is claimed as a right
To those who see
This as contradictory
The right tools
Are given to find a way
To end the misery
Of not knowing the unknown
When sugar dissolves
In water, it keeps
Its taste, without
Giving away its color
When the body
Is lost in thoughts
Of the white sands
It sweetens the burden
Of this toolbox
That lives and breathes
Our joys and sorrows
Gains and losses
That are stored in the mind
An agitated paradise of calm and fury
Where does one seek shelter
When it storms within?
Stormy clouds
Are stitched to the sky
By an unseen force
Announcing its presence
To a thunderous applause
Only matched by
That precedes this show
One stitch breaks
A whole cloth falls apart
The fabric of life
Has many fragile ones
The raging storm within
Quelled for a time
In a starless night sky
That equipoise brings
A giant spider web
Its ambitions extend
To the universe itself
Which can be made big or small
By the power that exists within
The hurricane of thoughts
A drop would suffice
To squeeze the universe
Into a tiny land
A compressed place
Where everything one knows
Is preserved on a nano scale
Taking the second step
The universe is but
A drop in the mind
Which has room for thousands more
With this creative might
Illuminated by mind’s light
Which among the thousands
Houses one’s hearth?
A confusing picture
If one forgets
To look at
The reflection of the one
That is the source of all
Why thousands?
Millions of such places
Dissolve in a flash
That stays lit
Every nook and cranny
Of the one abode
The great white light
Before rainbows dissect it
Into lesser sights
Doesn’t flicker anymore
Showing the grandeur
Of the white sands
Lest one forget
It is only a way stop
But an important third step
On the road to the higher mind
Whose layers go well beyond
Scales that tip into infinity
The moat is bridged
And the fortress breached
On the final step
Where the mind is no longer a merchant
Weighing and evaluating
A comparative world
Against a very rough scale
Of changing fortunes
The mind turns into a grain
In a vast land
Where the rainbows unite
Creating the illusion of white sand
- N. Seshadri