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\”Shoonya is not nothingness, it is niswabhavta..\”
This line that I heard through my uncomfortable headphones made me immediately stop in my tracks as I was taking my daily walk a few days ago. The man who was saying it was Krishna Nathji, an author and Buddhist scholar. While I usually shrug off many philosophical thoughts as impractical for everyday life, this one just struck a chord.
In simple terms, swabhava is your inherent nature and niswabhavta, according to Krishna Nathji, is the awareness that everything is in relation to something else. He explains that nothing in the world has an inherent nature of its own like how water takes on the colour of the things around it. Our appearances, thoughts, feelings- everything is clouded to an extent, either by genetics or our conditioning. Understanding this is reaching the state of shoonya. I was enamoured by his words and listened till the very end.
During his talk, he also gave an example of how women are put on a pedestal, and expected to be always pious and virtuous. Then, when you see a woman who\’s not this way, it upsets you. In reality, though, there\’s no ONE definition of who or what a woman is. She just is. Isn\’t that a liberating thought? I am sure there are many of us who have tried to mould ourselves, trying to fit into imagined natures, denying ourselves the joy of just being. When we realise that there isn\’t really an ideal, there isn\’t a \’true\’ nature, we can finally reach the freedom of being unencumbered by expectations of any sort.
You can like makeup and physics at the same time. You can be extroverted and still need your weekends under the sheets, watching Netflix. You can have grandchildren but still indulge in silly crushes on the latest film stars! There\’s no one definition of a \’true\’ woman, in fact, there is no definition at all. We are all shaped by our life experiences and our awareness at that point in time. All that we have to do, is just be. As long as you reflect upon the consequences of your actions and their impact on those around you, you can be whoever you want. The possibilities within this awareness are endless and you are free to change your mind at any time!
You can be everything. You can be nothing. You can be anything in between and yet, nature will have a place for you.
Aiming for Shoonya gives you that power.
“We shape clay into a pot, but it’s the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.”(LAO TZU)
Vaidehi is a teacher and mentor who is extremely passionate about pedagogy, writing and the arts. read more...
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I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
She was sure she was dying of cancer the first time her periods came. Why did her mother not explain anything? Why did no one say anything?
Sneha still remembers the time when she had her first period.
She was returning home from school in a cycle-rickshaw in which four girls used to commute to school. When she found something sticky on the place where she was sitting, she wanted to hide it, but she would be the first girl to get down and others were bound to notice it. She was a nervous wreck.
As expected, everyone had a hearty laugh seeing her condition. She wondered what the rickshaw-wallah thought of her. Running towards her home, she told her mother about it. And then, she saw. There was blood all over. Was she suffering from some sickness? Cancer? Her maternal uncle had died of blood cancer!
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