Monthly Archives: March 2016

Sakura Or Under the Cherry Blossoms (in progress)

Sadder than blossoms swept off by the wind, a life torn away in the fullness of spring.”

–  Asano Naganori

Saki stared up into the sky, her almond-shaped honey-brown eyes wide with awe, watching as the blossoms shook in the soft breeze of a cloudless pastel colored day one fine summer when she was eight. She laid flat on the fresh cut grass in her backyard, arms and legs sprawled outwards, directly under the branches of the cherry blossom tree, the solitary tree, that somehow or other grew smack in the middle of her rectangular shaped back yard. She inhaled deeply its subtle fragrance and closed her eyes as the sun shone warmly on her face. It was mid-morning, when the heat was still bearable and she could feel the dewy moisture in certain spots on the grass soaking through her white dress.

A rustle in the tree caused her to open her eyes and scan for signs of life amid the thick petals and haphazardly sprouting branches of the tree, which she had long ago decided to address by the nomenclature, Okasaan. Her own mother told her that she was named Sakura after the tree because when she was born it was spring, on a day that the cherry blossoms all over Japan bloomed in seeming celebration of her birth. Her mother recalled her magnetic gaze, remarkable even as a child, and the sweetness of her smile when she finally seemed to recognize the creature that bore her for those nine months when she, Saki’s mother, carried her in her belly. She, Saki’s mother, had said that Saki must know that though they are now two beings, their blood and their breaths were commingled and that their souls would always be connected as only a mother can connect with her child.

Okasaan seemed always a part of Saki’s life. As a baby her mother would sit on the wooden bench to the right of the tree and sing melodious lullabies in a faraway voice that sounded as if it called from a dream:

[Sakura’s Lullaby]

As the moonlight shines upon the field,

And daisies dance beneath the sun,

Run my child on flightless wings,

For your time on earth has just begun.

We each are given a span of time,

That we may call our own,

Until Mother Nature recalls her child,

To a place at once familiar, yet still unknown.”

Saki’s mother would take her under the cherry blossom tree mornings and evenings, when they would greet the day with beaming smiles and hail the moon as she ascended the sky. Her mother told Saki that we were all travelers on earth. Time is the vehicle that will take us to our destination when we are ready. Saki listened in silence to the teachings of her mother and thought about them when alone. She would commune, again in silence, with her other mother Okasaan, and touch her bark to hear her voiceless answers.

As Saki lay in the grass dreaming, Mai, her mischievous feline friend, leapt from the lowest branch of the tree onto the ground strewn with pink petals and settled down beside her. They often mused together, Saki and Mai, inseparable since the day Saki was brought home to the frolicsome kitten. Mai would follow Saki as she crawled about their home seeking new adventures in every corner, and as she hobbled here and there in her first steps as a toddler causing mischief, and finally as she ran gleefully indoors and out engaged in the secret games of her childish imagination.

[Sakura’s Dream]

As she lay upon the grass and the petals rained softly on her face and Mai purred affection into her ears, Saki sank into a deep sleep wherein she dreamed the dream of the cherry blossom tree. In the dream she sat cross-legged in front of Okasaan, as she was wont to do on occasion. But this time Okasaan had a human face. It was not the face of her, Saki’s, own mother nor did it resemble any other human face she had ever encountered before. Saki did not fear the tree for she had a gentle face and a kindly smile. Saki noticed Mai resting on one of Okasaan’s branches, as carefree as the wind, her face nuzzling the branch lovingly.

Suddenly the branches all shook at once and Okasaan’s blossoms fell helter-skelter all around Saki. A voice, at once thunderous and soft, fluid and harsh, rumbled uproariously in laughter. It was the voice of Okasaan Saki realized, as she gazed into the eyes of nature itself.

Do not be afraid my Sakura,” spoke the voice.

You know me?” Saki exclaimed in wonder.

Of course, I know all of my children. I know Mai too. Her paws tickle when she climbs me,” she continued, shaking with laughter as Mai scurried hither and thither on the branches, attacking the falling blossoms in felinic glee and then stopping to lick her paw every so often

You have played under my protection in this yard for eight long years now. I have watched you grow in innocence and in wisdom. Your mother has taught you well. She has the gift of intuition, as do you Sakura. Do you know why you dream of me?”

Saki wrinkled her nose in thought intently for a few seconds. “Perhaps I have not the gifts of my mother after all.”

Okasaan smiled. “Why do you name me mother?”

Because you have protected me from the rain, and sheltered me from the sun. You listened to my thoughts, and gave me branches to climb. Because you have been here all my life.”

I am mother to all living things. You all belong to me. You are my child Sakura, as you are your mother’s.”

Saki felt the truth in this.

Do not be afraid. Your mother will always be waiting to shelter you.”

Saki heard a voice calling to her in the distance. It was her, Saki’s, own mother. She awoke at peace and turned to gently nudge a still dozing Mai. “Let us go Mai. Our mother is calling.”

**

The evening of that summer day sees Saki’s mother seated on the wooden bench beside the cherry tree. She sits motionless and gazes rigidly at the moon. She is alone. That same evening Mai slowly treads towards the tree. She sits in front and stares at Okasaan expectantly.

Many days have passed with Mai still sitting, still waiting. She no longer eats or heeds the call of Saki’s mother. After a week, Saki’s mother finds Mai nestled by the roots of the tree, motionless.

 

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On Death – Khalil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke, saying, ‘We would ask now of Death.’
And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

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Welcome to the Ball

Welcome, welcome, welcome all,

Welcome, welcome, to the ball.

Welcome good Sir, care to tarry a bit?

Come along, dear madame, here’s a chair, do sit.

Hello! the Misses Gray, how lovely you do look,

From youngest to eldest, by hook or by crook.

A daub of crimson upon a powdered face,

A yard of satin, do their flesh embrace,

wrapped snugly around their impressive girth,

welcome dear ladies to the house of mirth,

To a house now filled with smiles and gaiety,

From amongst the genteel ranks of high society.

From maid to madame to boys and girls,

from gowns to tuxes and endless curls,

I welcome you all to this spectacular fete,

Unmatched, unknown by any of your set.

 

 

 

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Essays of Schopenhauer

Psychological Observations

“religion on the whole is a real masterpiece of training—that is to say, it trains people what they are to think; and the training, as is well known, cannot begin too early. There is no absurdity, however palpable it may be, which may not be fixed in the minds of all men, if it is inculcated before they are six years old by continual and earnest repetition.”

***

The doctor sees mankind in all its weakness; the lawyer in all its wickedness; the theologian in all its stupidity.

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Essays of Schopenhauer

Religion. A Dialogue.

Vigeat veritas, et pereat mundus

Let Truth flourish, though the world perishes..

**

“religion is truth allegorically and mythically expressed, and thereby made possible and digestible to mankind at large. For mankind could by no means digest it pure and unadulterated, just as we cannot live in pure oxygen but require an addition of four-fifths of nitrogen. And without speaking figuratively, the profound significance and high aim of life can only be revealed and shown to the masses symbolically, because they are not capable of grasping life in its real sense; while philosophy should be like the Eleusinian mysteries, for the few, the elect.”

**

Pascal: God is everywhere centre and nowhere periphery.

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Essays of Schopenhauer

Short Dialogue on the Indestructibility of Our True Being by Death.

“Transcendental knowledge is that which, going beyond the boundary of possible experience, endeavours to determine the nature of things as they are in themselves; while immanent knowledge keeps itself within the boundary of possible experience, therefore it can only apply to phenomena. As an individual, with your death there will be an end of you. But your individuality is not your true and final being, indeed it is rather the mere expression of it; it is not the thing-in-itself but only the phenomenon presented in the form of time, and accordingly has both a beginning and an end. Your being in itself, on the contrary, knows neither time, nor beginning, nor end, nor the limits of a given individuality; hence no individuality can be without it, but it is there in each and all. So that, in the first sense, after death you become nothing; in the second, you are and remain everything. That is why I said that after death you would be all and nothing.”

**

“When you say, I— I— I want to exist you alone do not say this, but everything, absolutely everything, that has only a vestige of consciousness. Consequently this desire of yours is just that which is not individual but which is common to all without distinction. It does not proceed from individuality, but from existence in general; it is the essential in everything that exists, nay, it is that whereby anything has existence at all; accordingly it is concerned and satisfied only with existence in general and not with any definite individual existence; this is not its aim. It has the appearance of being so because it can attain consciousness only in an individual existence, and consequently looks as if it were entirely concerned with that. This is nothing but an illusion which has entangled the individual; but by reflection, it can be dissipated and we ourselves set free. It is only indirectly that the individual has this great longing for existence; it is the will to live in general that has this longing directly and really, a longing that is one and the same in everything. Since, then, existence itself is the free work of the will, nay, the mere reflection of it, existence cannot be apart from will, and the latter will be provisionally satisfied with existence in general, in so far, namely, as that which is eternally dissatisfied can be satisfied. The will is indifferent to individuality; it has nothing to do with it, although it appears to, because the individual is only directly conscious of will in himself. From this it is to be gathered that the individual carefully guards his own existence; moreover, if this were not so, the preservation of the species would not be assured. From all this it follows that individuality is not a state of perfection but of limitation; so that to be freed from it is not loss but rather gain. Don’t let this trouble you any further, it will, forsooth, appear to you both childish and extremely ridiculous when you completely and thoroughly recognise what you are, namely, that your own existence is the universal will to live.”

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Essays of Schopenhauer

Thinking For Oneself

 

It is what a man has thought out directly for himself that alone has true value. Thinkers may be classed as follows: those who, in the first place, think for themselves, and those who think directly for others. The former thinkers are the genuine, they think for themselves in both senses of the word; they are the true philosophers; they alone are in earnest. Moreover, the enjoyment and happiness of their existence consist in thinking. The others are the sophists; they wish to seem, and seek their happiness in what they hope to get from other people; their earnestness consists in this.

**

When one considers how great and how close to us the problem of existence is — this equivocal, tormented, fleeting, dream-like existence — so great and so close that as soon as one perceives it, it overshadows and conceals all other problems and aims; — and when one sees how all men — with a few and rare exceptions — are not clearly conscious of the problem, nay, do not even seem to see it, but trouble themselves about everything else rather than this, and live on taking thought only for the present day and the scarcely longer span of their own personal future, while they either expressly give the problem up or are ready to agree with it, by the aid of some system of popular metaphysics, and are satisfied with this; — when one, I say, reflects upon this, so may one be of the opinion that man is a thinking being only in a very remote sense, and not feel any special surprise at any trait of thoughtlessness or folly; but know, rather, that the intellectual outlook of the normal man indeed surpasses that of the brute — whose whole existence resembles a continual present without any consciousness of the future or the past — but, however, not to such an extent as one is wont to suppose.

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