Category Archives: religion

Sun in the mouth

And the truth scorches and singes
the pink open flesh of your mouth
with its pungent yellow taste, so,
speaking the truth is not so easy
with just one tongue, anyway.

Seeing might have been closest
to truth and as Plotinus said
the eye would not be able to see
the sun if it was itself not sun
and so seeing was understanding.

The Egyptians called the eye
with the circle of the iris
with the pupil in the centre
as the sun in the mouth
and that was their truth.

Cyclops must have had little
to see in this vast world and
deprived of the whole truth
and that was his loss, his tragedy.

Even Argus with all his eyes
couldn’t escape in the end.
How much truth, how many eyes
of how many senses would it take
to tell the truth to the lord of the third-eye?

A king of a Tamil temple city
raged mad to know the truth
of the scent of a woman’s hair.
Since money bought truth
he made ready, a thousand gold coins.

And a poor poet still married to faith
prayed on to Shiva, the lord of struggling
survivors, lord of births and lives and
deaths, lord of poor poets who gave him
a poem to be sung at the king’s court.

A savant there picked a mistake like
peeling the scab of a healed wound
and said that the poem was wrong.
He said that any woman’s hair
did not have a natural scent.

The lord of dances and grey ash
and cremation grounds came down
to challenge this stubborn man who
extended his truth, even if the woman
was the consort of the lord.

He would not budge even if the lord
threatened to open his third eye,
the eye in the forehead which would
reduce him to bone-white ashes
as light as the wispiest clouds.
The court cowered in fright. . .

But in arrogance the savant said
a mistake is a mistake
even if it was the lord
of the forehead-eye.

O’ saint-bard and master of many wily words
What do you know of truth or love,
or the scent of a woman’s hair?
On the nights of naked sky and
a fragile quarter moon, my lord,
he of the deep blue throat,
he of the rivers in his hair,
he of the third-eye, comes to me.
Before he tears the blankness
of my womb, before he traces
the length of my spine, the curve
of my thighs, before he strokes
my cheeks, he buries his head
in the thousand and one nights
of my long tresses and he says
it smells like the wind-lost voices
of his childhood summers.

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Justice is . . .

(For Indians only. . .)

The first lesson we are taught about life
has something to do with dharma and karma.

“Dharma”. “Karma” two good appetizing
and rhyming words they may come in handy for classic poets.

Dharma they say is indefinable,
it is all encompassing
and yet untranslatable.

Dharma they say means
Justice, Integrity, Veracity,
Righteousness and Legitimacy.
Almost enough meaning for a word.

And you carry it on with yourself.
Dharma makes a versatile lucky-charm.
All your life, you blame things you don’t understand
on the word no one has ever understood.
Sometimes highly frustrated with the cruelty
and apathy of everything, you even resort to blaming karma
and you begin to trace past lives, ancestry
you bother about the enormity of trivialities
you start worrying about the petty lineage of everything
you happen to come across.

this insanity deludes you as you fret and fume over
descent—pedigree—wretched caste—and above all proper
marriages and the legitimate sons
and then it all comes to you

the truth, the truth about all this ****
the truth about Dharma
You remember the man,
the man Dharma,
for—the medium is the message.

You realize he is a bastard,
an illegitimate son.
Justice is Dharma.
Dharma is a bastard.
So you know Justice is. . .

Well, whatever. But still, blotted.
Blemished. And with Scandal for a middle name.
Perhaps all your hopes die and you stop all your expectations.

Or, perhaps you suddenly throw back you head
and laugh and laugh. . .
Whatever you chose to do
the truth hits you
when she whispers

‘Legitimacy is Illegitimate.’

(First published in Muse India)

The Gods wake up

Another worst things with the Gods is that
They sleep most of the time—
                          (they don’t even dream).
If you happen to go near heaven:
It is a very noisy boring place.
And all that you get to hear there are—
Thirty three million synchronized godly snores.
                          (The Goddesses snore too).

The Gods sleep right through the prayers
Performed by the Brahmins—
                          (maybe they find it boring).
Births, Marriages, innumerable yagnas,
Brahmins take the center-stage, all the
Gods skip. Also, “Om” is now obsolete—
a kind of recurring mosquito buzz.
                          (Besides, Om is ©opyrighted).

At times, the sleeping celestials do stir.
Gods always get excited over funerals—
                          (they are kind of necrophilic).
The loud drums lead the dead to eternal sleep,
Ancient noises herald the escaping life.
This deeper music shakes the skies.
That’s when the Gods wake up.
                          (Just to receive the dead.)