Table of Contents
  Index
PART I: Snow in Srinagar 
  Exile
  Reaching Srinagar
  The city of fame
  Rainy afternoon in ...
  Up the Sindh river in a doonga
  Snow in Srinagar
  Chilai Kalan
  Crossing the Vitasta
  Journey into the Himalayas
  Ishbar evenings
  Pony ride in the Liddar valley
  Views of Haramukh
  My father in Hawaii
PART II: Ten Thousand Years of Solitude 
  The Fire in the Waters
  Records of our lives
  Threads
  Ask Krishna
  The Conductor of the dead
  A Wounded bird
  The riddle of Isha
  Patanjali's song
  The hidden path up the hill
  Inner Sarasvati
  Naming things
  On high desert
  A small beginning
  Uncovering
  Seeking answers
  Nachiketa's dual
  Quantum implications
  Chance and necessity
  A Boy and his dog
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Patanjali's Song

1. The First Season

The first season is the provocation to gather
and to fly
we shall yoke our bones
to see the centre of cyclones
eye to eye 

Five winds stroke and roar
and bathe the life on our green
the plants bear different fruit
their beginnings were similar though. 

At night the cry is enclosed in voidness
when the eye remembers. 

The season mellows into a warm glow
the leaves rustle to the breathings of the earth. 

My equus shakes for me to stroke it to get still
it has no wish to drink
I know we have to stop to think
as we streak through the woods. 

There is another gait when we glide
when I am going with the wind.
My friends break their horses differently
but we are all expert horsemen. 

You may ride hard or mild
if you have learned from the master gamesman. 

The master rides unconcerned
perfect in his knowledge of the season
and its moods
he fills the green with his music
and word. 

We know the harmony of our journey
as ripe fruits fall
and a chill creeps upon us. 

We run along for warmth
the lake is almost still
breathing with its waves. 

We feel the pleasant warmth of the season
the light of joy
we have seen the dream of the sun
we know the lesson of the evening
we have heard the music of the dance. 

The reins float
flowing with the movement of the horse
like fish in the wake of a powerful ship. 

How pure is our memory now
how beautiful are the flowers
small and big orchids
a tribute to the gardener's art. 

The winds are hushed now
the season in its golden prime
the grass is green with gloss
if this was once a desert
the first flower must have bloomed in awesome glory. 

2. The Garner's Rites

Gautama bends at the wheel
clearing the spokes
of dirt, grease, rust, mud and rain. 

Dust courses about at the prayerfield
blurring the shine of the car's top
crows caw
and fire leaps up beating against fire
the wood crackles. 

The wheel moves like a windmill
turned by the fire
the garners walk on the circular track
grinding the earth into fine dust
beating their drums
keeping in step with the turning wheel. 

Dancing is the first rite
the shaft turns
a little faster now. 

The fire leaps up and crawls about
visible and beyond the flame
observed by the priest in his crystal
it changes colour
as the rites go on. 

The meaning of the song lies not in words
the singer does not know the language
he has given the breath. 

He now quickens the steps
he is the seven time master
of the tournament
of the eight fold dance. 

The first figure is moving back and forth
lightly gliding.
The second is to swing neatly
without impeding other dancers
who may shake after their own fashions. 

The dancer sees his own movement
form a pretty ripple on the wave
his step appears to force the others
the energy unimpaired
movement flowing by its nature. 

The ballet's intensity increasing
the steps in harmony
faces showing ecstasy
bodies springing over the ground
music is the master now
with its invitation to flying. 

The postures hang in the air
like a galloping horse reined in
the double causes no torment. 

The beat of the drum is unceasing
and the dancers float about
with the wheel's revolutions. 

There is a lessening of the burden of the bones
the flesh is fit for gathering
each garner is like a strong machine
poised for the flying leap. 

3. The Song Of Power

A shape emerges out of the leavings
and a current courses through the form
filling him up with power. 

Other shapes now arise
each glowing in translucent palpitation
with an unhurried elegance
their speech is forced
by their inner power
it is loud and clear
their breathing deep. 

Forms change
as currents find new channels
like water bursting when it is dammed too long
like trees growing and shedding leaves
driven by their inner warmth. 

The shape utters many animal sounds
sees own birth
knows the constitution
of life
and lo here he becomes unseen
moving and listening like the air. 

He knows when he will kiss the worms
his face shows intense feeling. 

He is strong like an elephant
he sees afar
he has the knowledge of the earth
of the stars
of their motions.
He knows the centre of desire
he can cease hunger
he can sit unmoving. 

He sees his brother within him
truly he has power
he has solved the puzzle of the mind
of the taste of pleasure
of its essence. 

There are more diversions. 

He can change his shape
float on water
become luminescent. 

He has heard the sound of his heart
he can fly
emerge in his pristine nakedness
refine his strength
to adamantine hardness. 

He is a great athlete
master of his body
he can move it like his mind
he mirrors things. 

Power has many attendants
and many demands.
Can we measure the pulse of power
know its pace and form
all its moods
its aloneness? 

4. Flying

Happiness is a bird flying. 

The gardener has grafted peaches on the appletree
the fruits hang side by side
the birds feast on them together
the same ants walk them. 

Birds are flying away
at an unchanging height
sometimes they vanish in the haze
 sometimes they look like foils
Flying in echelons. 

The leader looks like the last
each held in position by the formation
always between two movements
fixed while moving. 

Fixity to flying and back to fixity is the law
but rest and motion are mysteries
the bird flies
yet it moves not. 

Only space flows
for a bird cannot see itself
and reflection can have more reflections too. 

The lonely bird takes its place in the flock
its position so well defined
so much combined
that the flock is like one flying monster
later the bird is again alone.
Clouds may trick our vision
the lonely bird cares not for hazards
no sleep assails its limbs
its flight is full
its flight-field the sky. 

A speck in space
soon free of its companions
perfect master of its flight.

 

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