Wednesday, July 12, 2006
On Shakespeare Sarani in Calcutta, opposite where the British Council was earlier located, is the Sri Aurobindo centre. A large sign-board over the pavement in front of the centre displays a quote from Sri Aurobindo. For a long time, this said:
All problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony.
I don’t suppose one could get any deeper or more profound than that! As if, if there was just one thing to say to about life, then this is it.
Harmony – ultimately it’s a question of whether one wishes for harmony; so that, whatever else may happen or not happen, one can go on putting the onus of harmony on oneself. Harmony within, and harmony externally, until one’s whole being is simply harmony.
And of course there are those who choose to remain content with disharmony. This morning I received a mail from a gentlemen who wrote:
“Lack of freedom (and consequently lack of markets) is (a) policy that impedes development and causes poverty. The other is uncontrolled breeding - the balance between resources and people is what causes poverty. Until markets and a more sane attitude towards uncontrolled breeding is taken, I am afraid that all efforts towards poverty alleviation would be futzing around in the margins.”
It saddened me to read this. Because my study, work, experience and relations with those in poverty all say something else; and because the statement also says a lot about the person saying it – about his disharmony, which never fails to make me shudder and despair.
I have learnt the value of silence, and so instead of engaging in an argument, I prefer to remain quiet. What one thinks or says – really does not make any difference to the truth. The question is whether one has an aspiration for truth – rather than a desire to assert oneself, unmindful of what is obscured in one’s perception. The question is whether one reaches truth, as being. And when one does know truth, then one becomes silent, and the heart beats quietly, with compassion.
Painting: Harmony, abstract art hexagon oil painting, by Curtis Verdun