Bharati’s “Vision” – Part 2: The Wind

Bharati’s vision was a vision of Maha Shakti, one of the two-fold powers of Creation –
Shakti in Nature, in the body of the world. He praised the various forms of Shakti in Tamil mantras, the most powerful poetry of a unique style and unparalleled diction.

The following continues from “Vision” (1):

A canopy is raised over the porch of a house, with a (thatch) roof made of coconut palm fronds.
Seven or eight bamboo sticks are placed across  and attached to each other with strings, on which a thatch is constructed by laying the fronds of the coconut tree.
At the edge of a bamboo stick, hangs a little string.
The cord is about the length of a chann (the length between the thumb
and the middle finger of the hand when spread).

One particular day, the string is swinging gaily with apparent enjoyment. It doesn’t seem to have any worries, not even the slightest.
At times, it would hang very quietly with no movement. It wouldn’t respond even if you called.
Today, it is not like that; it is in a joyful mood.

We were friends; we often make conversation with each other.
“If you talk to a string, will it answer?”
Just try talking to it; you will see whether or not you get an answer.
But you would have to talk to it when it is in a happy mood. Otherwise, it would simply not be responsive – with a long face, like women.
Be that as it may, this string will talk; there is no doubt about it.

…Did I say it was a single string? There were two strings.
One was of the measurement of a chann; the other was of a three-quarter chann.
One was a male, the other was a female; they were husband and wife.
They were in a joyful mood – exchanging passionate glances, smiling and amusing themselves with fun-talk.
I arrived there at that time.
‘Kandan,’ was the name of the male.
‘Valli Ammai’, was the name of the female.
(We can name pieces of string, like we do humans).

Kandan approached Valli to put his hand on her; she moved back a little. At that very moment, I reached them.
I asked, “How are you Kanda? Are you doing well? Perhaps I have come at the wrong time? Should I go away and come back again?”
“Oh, you old-fashioned man! Would I be embarrassed even in front of you? Why, Valli, are you angry that Iyer saw us both flirting with each other?”
“ Ok, ok. Don’t ask me anything,” said Valliyammai.
Kandan laughed, clapping his hands, jumped and embraced Valliyammai – even when I was beside them.

Valliyammai started shrieking, but she was happy in her heart. Don’t we feel happy when other people see our enjoyment?
It was satisfactory for me, too, to watch this “fun.” What is wrong with telling the truth? Isn’t it a great joy to look at the enjoyment of youth?
As Valliyammai screeched more, Kandan left her alone.
After a few moments, he went back and embraced her again,
Again screeching, again leaving; again embracing, again screeching; it went on like this for a while.
I said, “Why, Kanda, you are not even saying a word to me? I will come back some other time; shall I go?”
“Oh, you old-fashioned man! You are just watching “fun.” Just stand here a little while longer. I just have to settle certain matters with her. After that, I am thinking of talking a few things over with you. Don’t go away, stay.”
I stood and watched them some more.
After a little while, the woman, forgetting that I was standing there, in her state of enchantment, left her embarrassment.

Immediately, there was singing; beautiful thukkadas; one mettu for one line.
A couple of sangathis. Then another song.
When Kandan finished singing, Valli would start. One after the other – Kolahalam! (a great happy occasion!)
They would be singing for a while, without touching each other; then, Valliyammai would go and touch Kandan. Kandan would approach to embrace Valli; she would run away from him. Kolahalam!
After a long time, Valliammai was intoxicated.
I left the place to drink a sip of water in the next house.
Both of them didn’t notice it.
When I came back, Valliyammai was sleeping.
Kandan was expecting for me.
As soon as he saw me, he asked, “Where have you gone, old man? You didn’t even tell me.”
“It looks like Amma is in good sleep?”

Aha! At that time, the string exploded and there emerged a Divine figure; how could I ever describe the magnificence of the Deva?
There! the Divine Wind appeared!
I thought his body would be huge and broad (vimmi visalamaga);
it was like a diamond needle, in the form of light!

“Namaste Vayo, thwameva Pratyaksham Brahmasi.”

Oh, Wind! I Salute thee! Thou art the Brahma which appears before the human eye!

When he appeared, the entire sky was filled with the heat of a burning life-force (praana-shakti), and its combustion was blowing everywhere.

I prostrated, falling under his feet a thousand times.

The Deva said:
“Oh, Son! What did you ask me? Are you asking whether the small string was sleeping? No.
It is dead.
I am the praana-shakti.
The body that is associated with me is active; without my touch, it is a mere corpse.
I am the Life (praana). The small string has lived and enjoyed because of me.
When it became tired a little, I let it sleep – die.
Sleep is Death. Death is also sleep.
When I am present, neither one exists.
I will come back and blow in the evening, and it will come back to life.
I am the one who awakens and moves the string.
I am the Son of Shakti. Worship me and remain alive!

“Namaste Vayo, Thvameva Pratyaksham Brahmasi.
Thvameva Pratyaksham Brahma Vadhishyami.”

It is impossible to praise the Wind.
His glory is unending.
The sages glorify him in words: “Pratyaksham brahma.”

We worship praana-shakti; let him save us.
We worship apaanan; may he save us.
We worship vyaanan; may he save us.
We worship udhaanan; may he save us.
We worship samaanan; may he save us.
We praise all the doings of the Wind.
We pray to him.
Glory to him!

(A Translation from Bharati’s “Vision” – Katchi: Wind)

Scenes from Bharati’s “Vision” (Kātchi)

 

1. Shakti

Bharati’s “Vision” is a picture gallery of the Universe. They are portraits of the cosmic objects (Jagat Chitram). The picture gallery consists of the two worlds, the Earth and the Heavens; they display the “Joys” of the Earth and the “Divinity” of the Heavens. They are vignettes of the Joys and Divinity. They are manifestations of the infinitesimal aspects of Shakti. Bharati realized that the powers of the Divine can be achieved by the human – the light (wisdom) of the Sun, the strength and knowledge (arivu) of Indra, the energy and vigor of the Agni, the life-force of Vayu (kārru), the truth, clarity and purity of Saraswati – all these powers can be captured in the human body and mind.

The Joys:

“The World is Sweet.The Firmament in this world, the Wind, the Fire, the Water, and the Earth are Sweet.

The Sun, the Moon and the Stars in the sky are all sweet.

The Rain, the Lightining, and the Thunder are Sweet.

The Sea, the Mountain, and the Forest are sweet.

The Rivers are Sweet.

The metal, the tree, the plant, the vine, the flower, the ripe and the

un-ripe fruits – are all sweet.

The Birds, the Moving objects, all the Animals and the aquatic organisms are also good.

Men are very sweet.

The Male is good, the Female is sweet, and the Child is joy.

Youth is sweet and the Old is good.

Life (uyir) is good and the Death is sweet.”[1]

The Divinity:       

Prakriti (Shakti) is the form of Nature; the world that we see is the body of Vishnu. The soul that permeates through the body is Vishnu. . . The Vedic seers directly perceived and worshipped Vishnu, Indra, Suryan, and Rudhra. As the World is the body of Vishnu, they worshipped the World. . . The Within and the Without are One (and the same).”

As the Rishis of the Vedic period discerned the objects of Nature as their inner self, they were not afraid to confront the forces of Nature:

“A violent storm hit the Earth; the Seers stood in front them. A thousand lightning struck (the Earth) like swords; the world shook; there was a deafening noise like the planets broke into pieces. The Rishis fearlessly chanted mantras. Isn’t Nature the body of the Rudhra?”[2]

Shakti is Infinite – limitless, endless.

It shows movement in immobility.”

“சக்தி அநந்தம் – எல்லையற்றது, முடிவற்றது.
அசையாமையில் அசைவு காட்டுவது .”[3]

“However you look at it, it is a wonderful entity which has no beginning or end. It is (capable) of breaking thousands of crores of planets with a little nose.It is so fine and minute as to paint colors, patterns, and designs in the petals of a small flower; it has the determination, strength and patience (neLNeh;ik) to wait for many, many thousands of years to originate a little flower.”

“எப்படிப் பார்த்தாலும் ஆரம்பமில்லாமலும், எப்படிப் பார்த்தாலும்
முடிவில்லாமலும் இருக்கும் அற்புத வஸ்து.
கோடானுகோடி அண்டங்களை ஒரு சிறு மூக்கினால் உடைப்பது .
ஒரு சிறிய மலரின் இதழிலே வர்ணம் தீட்டுவதற்குப் பல்லாயிர
வருடங்கள் இருந்து பழகும் நெடுநேர்மை கொண்டது ;
பெரிதும் சிறிதுமாகிய முதற்பொருள்; பராசக்தி.”[4]

The Vignettes:

“The snake charmer plays the flute.

We have heard that ‘sweet music is sorrowful’.

But, although the music of the snake charmer is sweet,

it is devoid of sorrow.

This music sounds like a scholar arguing (about something).

An eloquent speaker (nāvalan) building meaningful small words, one on top of the other.

What is this snake charmer arguing about?

“Thāna-thanda thāna-thanda thā – thana

Thāna -thandana thāna -thandana thā –

Than-danathana than-danathana thā”

He plays like this – changing it in many different ways – in winding, continuous spirals.

What is the meaning of this?

A child began to explain the meaning as follows:

‘I adorned Kali with flowers

And, a donkey has come to eat it.’

I built this body for Parashakti.

And, the disease, a consequence of sin (pāvam) has come to eat it.

I surrendered (under the feet of) Parashakti.

The disease has disappeared.

Parashakti has begun to exist in my heart as the form of light.

Hail to Her! (vāzhga!)” [5]

“The snake charmer plays the flute.

Did the music originate from the flute? Did it originate from the holes (of he flute)?

Did it initiate from the breath of the snake charmer?

It originated from his heart. It exited through the flute.

The heart doesn’t sound by itself. The flute doesn’t create music.

The heart doesn’t adhere to the flute.

The heart adheres to the breath. The breath adheres to the flute.

The flute sings.

This is Shakti’s Play (Lila).

She sings in the heart. That sounds through the holes of the flute.

Attaching the un-related objects and creating music in it – is Shakti.

The begging children make a loud cry for food.

Who tuned the flute of the snake charmer and the voice of the begging children into harmony (sruti)? – Shakti.

A man asking for jarigai (gold thread woven at the border of old silk saris) shouting and passing by, in the same sruti.

Ah! I found the (underlying) meaning (of all this)!

The same Shakti plays in the life-breadth of the snake charmer, begging children, and the Jarigai man.

 

The instrument(s) are many. The musician is one.

The forms are many. The Shakti is one.

Hail to Her!  (vāzhga!)” [6]

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Bharati — Katchi: Branch 1 –“Joy”

[2] Bharati: The Poetry of the Vedic Rishis – Maruthu (The Storm) — Epilogue

[3] Katchi (Vision): 2. Shakti (1)

[4] Bharati: Articles: Philosophy — Navarathri

[5] Katchi (Vision): 2. Shakti (6)

[6] Katchi (Vision): 2. Shakti (7)