This Wonderful Grace…

 

 

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When I was in school, we were taught an enchanting story in my mother tongue. I must have been eight or nine then.

I still remember the awe and wonder in me, as the teacher described in her melodious way, the cabbage soup that Martin the cobbler offered to an impoverished mother and baby. You see, Martin had been waiting for God to come to him that day. Instead of serving the Lord any food, he ended up giving whatever he had to three visitors. And then  in the end of the tale, he understands when he sees a vision, that the Lord himself had visited him…I can still feel the goosebumps of that absolutely marvellous story..

It was serendipity which ushered the story back to my life. Fascinated with Matthew 25:40,  I had requested the dear sisters to give me a photograph of the Lord. They gave me not one but two lovely framed ones.

(One, I keep at my working place and another in my living room. When life feels burdensome, all I have to do is to look up at Him. Grace flows so abundantly and kisses me with new life and vision whenever I lift my eyes to Him.)

And that very day, I happened to pick up  from the library, a collection of Tolstoy’s stories. I opened at one page randomly  which had a story : ‘Where Love is, God is..’

The first two lines made my memory buzz like a honey bee. Hey! What was this? My eight year old self screamed in joy…Martin! It is Martin and his cabbage soup! In an ecstatic five minutes, I re-read the wonderful classic, realising that it was Tolstoy’s magical story telling skills that had  been embedded in my memory all the while!

And at the end, when Martin waiting for Christ throughout the day in vain, understands that the Lord had been at his home in reality….he opens his Bible,  and he reads where it opened….

Matthew 25:40

‘In as much as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.’

It was written by Tolstoy in 1885.

It was a translation that we studied in Malayalam! The power of  the story- translated into a language  in a small land, so far away from Russia- was so enchanting that almost four decades later, I still remembered every nuance.

He watches and smiles….and does a  lovely magic at times, to show us the way! I can only bow in reverence before such wonderful grace!

 

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Poems of Sagacity : Prof Veerankutty,(Translation from Malayalam)

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1. For You

**

It is good,

That God  has kept

My mind

In an unseen place.

Even you  won’t be able to discern,

The love I have,

( For you, dearest)

Which is hidden inside it.

**

2. On Aging

**

On aging,

My words shall not

Regret painfully-

That they have to

Recline forever

Inside

A dictionary.

After all,

The memory of having spent

Their youth

Indulging in poems

( About you, dearest)

Is constantly with them.

**

3. Till The World Ends

**

Language was drawing

Its very last life- breath.

Then

Someone whispered,

‘ I love you.’

And  the heart beat

Started again.

The heels pulsed with

Energy,

To leap

Till the world’s end.

**

4. Dying

**

Dying

Is like the parting of ways

After a  lover’s tiff:

Shall never disclose

Where it is headed for.

**

5.  The Secret

**

What the Rain was shy to reveal,

Was written  down by the Lightning.

But Thunder turned out

To be a tactless confidante!

Blurted it all,

Noisily

To everyone.

**

6.  With God

No lightning flash,

Or any lit lamp,

Hereabouts.

Then from where

Has this light arisen?

Look-

When no one is around,

An infant in the cradle

Is gleefully playing

With God!

**

7. The Fence

**

Behold!

The thorny fence

Has sprouted flowers:

Much loftier

Than all the  hate-filled sounds

We made

Over that border!

**

8.  Love-Grape

How bitterly

You rued

The day when you

Got a pimple

On your face!

I longingly looked on,

As sweetness welled within,

At that

Love- grape

Ripened by God.

**

9. Visit

**

Like sunshine  falling on water

You entered my life.

Like the dew drop on a leaf

You left me behind too.

Yet I am grateful to you-

For those few moments of togetherness:

When you made our embrace,

Look like pure crystal.

**

10. Corrigendum

**

What I had perceived

While staring at the darkness

Turned to be all lies.

The light

Revealed the truth.

**

 

 

 

The Secret Brew

 

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As she flies, smiling, I whisper the contents of the brew into her ears:

Excellence

A mighty brew:

( Cognate of Character)

Remember this now-

Moment by moment,

Day by day

Month by month

Year by year

Never letting go of your dreams

Standing tall when laughter arises from all sides,

Heedless of all  mockery but your goals

Gritting your teeth

Keep moving onwards.

Aspirations,

Sweat of your brow

Time well used

Talents polished golden

Humility, contentment

Strength

Dreams

Passion and truth

Mix in love and friendship,

(Untouched by self centred pollutants)

Breathe deep

Courage and then,

Fly.

(Remember this too

When the wings are tired:

HE walks with you,

The ONE who put the dream in you-

Never doubt,

Fly.)

***

 

That Unassailable Law

giving

I have been rather an untutored pupil in the practice of the spiritual law- “In giving do we receive”.  But on reading books by many mentors on the subject, it became clear to me, that every one of us are either following it or not, every moment of our lives.

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, one of the greatest vernacular writers, also known as a Sufi among writers for his humanistic approach to life, once commented that prayer can also be synonymous with giving water to a thirsty creature. Today, in the newspapers I read that a young man was beaten for hours together in a running train, by three passengers because he dared to drink water from one of their bottles, without asking. Evil then can be interpreted as denying a living creature a sip of water and assaulting him for daring to quench his thirst.

Life has taught me that many people find it very hard to give- freely of their love, time, intimacy, affection, kindness, laughter, even money. They are miserly by nature. Stingy with sharing anything significant for their own umpteen reasons. Fear- of loss of control, of intimacy, of being seen for their true selves, whatever it may be…fear prevents them from understanding that great spiritual law. And the harder they hold on to whatever they have in inscrutable negativity, like Ebenezer Scrooge or Marley, the more the chain links are getting forged- preventing them from being free to enjoy a  meaningful and full life.

On days that I have bitterly despised those who have wronged me (my version of course!), complained about lack of whatever I really deserved, looked at my resources with fear of them dwindling away leaving me struggling, my energy level had proportionately tumbled down to the depths. Life did not seem worth living on those days. What difference would that make anyway, the cynical voice would argue from within.

And then, like a ray from heaven, one call would come from somewhere, pushing me out of my own little self,  to do some work which involved another’s welfare. Whether it was attending to someone in distress or arranging help for a child in need, or a matter of creating a policy or action agenda for bettering lives of others… it focused my energy onto something positive, outside my own narrow self. And then, miraculously my energy level would soar sky high, as if an ineffable divine energy  source was buoying me upwards,  and then connections would form, the correct people, the correct information, the perfect help coming in…not just pouring in but cascading in harmony. I would be used as an instrument, to do my little bit in a chain of fortuitous events.

It was then that I learnt the way. On severe painful occasions, all one has to do to start a blessing of happiness would be to willingly and sincerely do an act of service. Giving away from your money, clothes, books, time, even your blood- anything for another less fortunate, would miraculously turn the focus of that divinity towards your own bereft self- replenishing you laughingly, as if whispering, ah, now smartie pie, you have caught on…Vivekananda, I remember,  had spoken about this unassailable law too.

Life  might have placed us all in different battle fields- metaphorical or real. But surely, to know that to drink  a joyful sip of water, one has to be part of giving a joyful sip of life too- is a battle secret worth knowing and practicing.

Happy Giving!

Gratitude

A lot of people mistake spirituality for superstitions. Either they are scared of an angry father figure of a God or they are sure of doom awaiting , if they dared to do something rational.

In my perspective , an attitude of gratitude makes a person spiritual. A constant complaining culture has destroyed many budding spiritual flavours in many souls. They take delight in cribbing, bitching, hoarding, manipulating, destroying, and then calling out His or Her Name!

Ironically, the most blessed people are those who do not hesitate to whisper ‘ Thank You’, even when the tunnel is dark. The magic is that every Thank You , throws a glimmer of light, and a new pathway opens up suddenly. When they embrace joy and gratitude, they again whisper ‘ Thank You’, and the light increases in its warmth and engendering abilities. The best thing is, they do not even know that they are being spiritual.

Someone great said, that the greatest prayer ever uttered was ‘ Thank You.’

Thank You for the sufferings-those have taught me valuable lessons

Thank You for the lessons- those have taught me right and wrong

Thank you for the love-it makes everything simple by giving immense strength

Thank you for teaching me to draw boundaries-predators do not encroach anymore into my life energy

Thank you for insight-it makes me see good and evil so clearly and shows me the disguises both wear often.

Thank you for clarity-to call a spade a spade and a good soul a good soul and a depraved soul a depraved soul.

Thank you for children-their smiles are priceless

Thank you for the power of the pen- for the words are soldiers who fiercely guard my truth and my life

Thank you…endlessly