“Above him there was now nothing but sky- the lofty sky, not clear yet still immeasurably lofty, with grey clouds moving slowy across it. ‘How quiet, peaceful, and solemn, not at all how I ran.’ Though Prince Andrew- ‘not as we ran, shouting and fighting, not at all as the gunner and the Frenchman with frightened and angry faces struggled to mop us up- how differently do those clouds glide across that lofty infinite sky! How was it I did not see that lofty sky before? And how happy I am to have found it at last! Yes! All is vanity, all falsehood, except that infinite sky. There is nothing, nothing but that.”
- Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
Today I feel humble and small staring into this wide sky. The sky has endless time and patience- whether I whine, howl, beg, implore, pray, or curse, it listens. The sky is impervious to everything but the truth because it is the truth- a clear (what you see is just a reflection) essence flowing forever endlessly.
Poor Barrack Obama with your weight of the world, poor Thiago Marques with your visions of grandeur. Pity be the gargantuan ego’s dreams of saving the world and everyone knowing it was him who did it. Dedicating one’s life to that overused word ‘change’ and missing the whole thing. For these ‘heroes’ the future is everything, and the hope of that abstract achievement is a living death more horrible than the deaths of the entire world he is trying to prevent. To bleed with every bleeding soul in the universe is a waste of a perfectly good clump of blood and soul. It is not your end result that will matter, it is your life that matters. The process is everything, the way, The Tao.
For every height that is gained new dangers menace us. O’ we cured the disease? The virus will quickly evolve. O’ we can finally lower the death toll with better equipment for war? The enemy will make a better bomb. And at the end of the day, we are all going to die. The essence of life has made no “progress”; truth has not changed at all from the beginning- like the sky.
Here, where side-by-side the Hindu’s move in an endless throng, I am learning a new defense system: anonyminity. On this crowded colorful bus everyone is simply trying to live. The way is endless- everything lies ahead. This here busy craftsmen does not worry about the fitness of things, about the behavior of his fellow man, or about injustice and justice but simply adapts. He flows with the living stream. Cows wander the streets because cows are as good as people; this same logic causes a majority of West Bengal to be vegetarian. My neighbor Panaan is not vegan as a social stance, but rather because most of his neighbors are and he is not so different than the goat and since he himself would not like to be chewed, it doesn’t seem right. We bow to each other here, not embarrassed or humiliated, but humble.
In a poem, Robert Frost writes “You'll wait a long, long time for anything muchTo happen in heaven beyond the floats of cloud, And the Northern Lights that run like tingling nerves.” America is a baby compared to India, a country flowing out of that Ganges that allowed the first human civilization. There is so much potential beauty in one’s life, every single persons, our duty is to explore it. Before helping any other life we must help our own because it is the eternal blessing. Once close-up those villagers the ‘hero’ is trying to save will be seen as the same as him with worries, defects, ambitions, frailties, a wanderer along the path, like yourself. From what I see, to the Hindu there is nothing certain, nothing at all except the unimportance of everything including himself, and the greatness of something incomprehensible but all-important.
If anyone has Facebook I have posted a few pictures up of the Suryapur Village-life which defined the first month of my trip. Now I live a modern lifestyle in the more urban Barrackpore and also hope to get some pictures of these means up soon. But try to see those pics because my girls are there! Every evening after my English classes I am coming here to literally sell my body, dancing like a sweaty swine for the slightest cheek dimple. My time with these deaf girls has given me a whole new respect visual stimulation and feeling, than conversation and logic.
I am inspired and disheartened by the resourcefulness of the Hindu. Eleven year old Rahuli is a beautiful happy child, but his father is a mason earning 80 rupees ($1.50) for Rahuli and his brothers and sisters. He wears the same shorts everyday. Poor boy.
Everyday I see something I have never seen before, getting more and more used to the spices, and growing more and more grateful for whatever caused me to be born in well-off New York. I went to India because I wished to live deliberately and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived.
I will not bother you with a short composition...
Hail Nautilus Queen
climbing the hill-skull
founding a museum out of every village.
I myself amd hell-
I march on my soul up Main Street
for any brief epitome.
A poor fool,
the son of the sun
and the son of darkness
blowing my conchshell very loudly
giving my brothers joy.