Monday, May 24, 2010

'Happiness comes after unhappiness'

God is in the small things. In the smile of a new-born baby and in the gaze of my grandmother whose face is lined with a smile. I can’t see God everywhere. I feel Her in spaces small and large.

What stops us from being sexy, as well as religious; materialistic, as well as spiritual; happy, as well as sad? We’ve forgotten that our Gods, Rama and Krishna, were princes and wealthy. They lived in luxury and their women, Sita, Kausalya, and Urmila were regal. Jewels, personal maids, expensive wardrobes and luxe living surrounded them. Ayodhya was a kingdom encouraging masculinity and war; Mithila, Sita’s home, encouraged education, world philosophy and equality between the sexes.

We can hold on to faith and still live in luxury. We have a warped notion of spirituality and truth as being states of deprivation. In a society that’s aspirational, like middle-class India, one is seemingly from the West (material wealth) and the other homegrown (spirituality). We’re caught in this mire and coagulated confusion.

Hanuman on my crotch makes me uncomfortable. Maybe Durga on my kurta or my sari pallu works for me. My body is my personal space and even God doesn’t need to validate my sexuality. To be open to adventure, to hold on to the bubble of laughter; never to despair and to remember anger and darkness — these are emotions cut from the same cloth from which beauty and harmony are woven. To be conscious of my breath and the feel of my feet on the pavement anywhere in the world.

To be happy means that one has to also experience unhappiness. I can’t be happy anywhere like the yogis and gurus. I need my home, room, garden and rhythm to find my inner flame. I’m easily distracted and need to consciously focus and withdraw from external stimuli to remember that I have every right to be happy every minute of my life.

Times of India, May 14, 2010

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