Archive for the ‘The search for the self’ Category


These are times for new beginnings. Beginnings are not events that can be taken for granted. They are offerings to us for our past Karma’s and we are then held responsible to seize the offering, nurture it, worship it, and see in them immensity that we are, not letting the petty ups and downs blind us to the dazzling potential of what the universe offers provide we set out sights higher.
With the rising dawn, I see a new beginning.

Are we the product of the contradictions of the Universe ?

Deepak Rajgor sent this post, and I wonder if anyone has any comments before I try and answer him ?
“Many a times in your blog you have mentioned that universe is amoral. It exists in unending contradictions. Are we the cause of those contradiction sir? As we try to understand onself, we get to stage where one question almost gets solved and another quest starts…we comphrend ourself…we contradict…
Thoughts are unending, we contradict… ..Are our thoughts or sum of all our thoughts get impregenented in unending universe?…. Are our sublime feelings vibratory? Do our feelings and thoughts make universe of what it is and what it will be? Is universe an effect or is universe a cause?
I am still trying to understand this. Can you please share your thoughts? Can you simplify?
Awaiting a reply so that I understand…”
Thank you.

The song, not the singer

Thank you HSK for reminding me “A simple lesson: problems arise when artist becomes bigger than the art”
Yes, absolutely
words that dissolve the speaker
or colors that overwhelm the artist
films, where the director is merely the gardener
tending to the process, and praying for rain and sunshine
and watching the film grow organically
In the recent art installation David Adjaye and I did for Swarovski
both of us walked in and were astonished and exclaimed
“oh my God !” How did we create this ?
The truth was we did not
somehow our energies
and all the energies involved
collected and created the art work
Our passion is the spice which both catalyzes
and sparks the Universe
beyond that, we wait
and watch it emerge

TED :Getting rid of Shekhar Kapur to break with the past and make the moment a purer adventure

At the TED conference, when I got up to speak – the first thing I did on the podium was tear up the notes I had made over two days on what I would say. I think many thought this to be a dramatic gesture for effect – but it was completely true for me. I think the idea of putting yourself in a state of panic to vanquish the mind, and through that to allow the possibility of words of greater truth to flow through, without judging and analysing those words is an exciting and adventurous way to be.
I did not succeed. Guess why ? Because I had previously agreed to show clips from my films. And standing there on the dias, I realized how little I wanted to speak about them. I had the need to let them flow away. They were impeding the flow of discovery of the truth of the moment now…
and I came off the Dias with a frightening thought – am I losing interest in film, or merely getting rid of an addiction to past successes that have little meaning now ..
I am very passionate about Paani. But I wish the pressure to make Paani was not because of the successes or failure of my past films, but as if I had never made a film before. I would like the adventure to be pure by getting rid of Shekhar Kapur

Simplicity of action

and He spoke these words :
were you in control of your birth
and will you be in control of your death ?
or the birth and death of your loved ones
could you even control the lives of those you loved dearly
or even you children ?
did you think in your arrogance that they were your children
and not mine ?
did you even control your own nature before you tried
to control the nature of that which surrounds you ?
and you speak to me of words of wisdom ?
and I tell you that wisdom lies in action without illusion
in action without desire
in action without fear
in action,
pure and simple
are you willing, He said
to accept the mere simplicity of this ?
(from: my conversations with Death)

Extreme vulnerability

in those first moments
of waking in the morning
of extreme vulnerability
and extreme clarity
of extreme potential
for true insight
and action
just for a few moments
the ego battles back
with addiction
to memories
not real
but false interpretations
with waves of fear
of the loss of control
hitting against
the clarity
that seemed so real
and yet so
out of reach
as the
of the day begin
and gone
is the amazing spinning
of being completely
out of control
to be
child again
once more

The search for Yoga

The following question from Deepak R is very valid : who is saying it (yoga) is higher? does the one who says it has a higher goal experience life from a lower place? is such a higher goal which draws compassion from us momentarily the one to chase? do we chase another fleeting experience in an attempt to freeze it forever? did you meet the one who experienced and reported this?did you find the yogi?
Fascinating question you are asking Deepak R. In fact you are questioning whether any spiritual goal is just another addiction and an illusion in itself. Another manifestation of fear of ageing and dying. And I really love to way you put it – “do we chase another fleeting experience in an attempt to freeze it ?”
I can only answer for me. First I agree. Lets assume there is nothing about us that is higher, and that what we aspire to is nothing but an illusion/desire for some form of immortality. Of course there is nothing higher. But nor lower for for the lower to be perceived as real there must be a ‘higher’ ? The descriptions can only exist in context of each other. So nothing lower and nothing higher. Everything just is. Nothing immortal, but then nothing mortal either. In fact a vast nothingness. No individuality, no time, no distance. Nothing measurable except in out own imagination. No beginings and no ends.
Now to Yoga. What I was trying to say is that Yoga is greater if one aspires to do just that. To lose ones individuality. To pass into a vast nothingness. And to be in harmony with the vibrations of the Universe. To do any form of Yoga for mere benefits to health is to lose the essence of it. Health is a side benefit.
Like how children play games. The focus is play. the side benefits are learning social role playing skill sets and physical excersise.
Your last question : “did I find the Yogi ?” I am not sure I have the tools yet to do so. How would I recognize one ? I may pass a Yogi that sits on the streets of Mumbai in the form of a beggar – how would I know ? And I ask myself, if I really had the tools to find a Yogi, why can’t I search for one within myself ?

Why does ‘the moment’ not last ?

In response to Kavita’s inspiring story of how she is meeting the challenges of battle against Cancer, Trupti asks a very valid question :
“You live as routine…
You breath as routine..
One day you come across such inspiring story and it stirs your soul and makes you feel inferior, you get excited and restless.
Next day you become normal…
Shekhar, why does this feeling lasts only till we hear another story? Why can’t we immerse this feeling in our soul forever and really live life with the thought “every day could be your last”. After all that will help you to get over all your inhibitions”
Very valid question Trupti, that questions the fundamental way we learn ( and that is important because I do not think we were born that way) to live. Living in fear of what may be, unable to let go of an interpretation of the past ( and it is only a very prejudiced interpretation). Is it because our mind is afraid to let go of that fear, because if it does, the ego will lose control of ‘us’, for a fearless mind is a mind that is able to live completely in the moment, in the present. Probably with much more humility than the ego will allow. As in Kavita’s case, as she says, the one way she got over the fear of death from Cancer was to concentrate on the joy of creativity of the moment. So Trupti’s question is very valid. Why do we need a near death experience to learn that the moment is the truth ?
Not always though. The first time you fall in love (well, every time), you feel a release from the constriction of time, of the future, so lost are you in something completely extraordinary that is happening to you. Or a musician at the moment of composition, or a singer lost in his/her song, a dancer lost in the dance so much that that the dance and the dancer become one
The word ‘lost’ keeps coming up. To lose yourself. To lose your identity. Your individuality. Like a person of great faith lost in worship. All moments when you experience moments of fearlessness – and are pulled into the eternity of the ‘now’.
But why can it not last ? Anyone care to take up Trupti’s question ?

If you want peace, take a pill

And the Sage said to me :
The search for the self is not
a search for peace
for if you want peace
take a pill
listen to great music
meditate or breath deeply
have sex
or make compromises
stillness and peace are not the same thing
peace is the opposite of turmoil
and in search of peace you will forever struggle
between turmoil and peace
running away from one
and not comprehending the false nature of the other
the fear of pain
the welcoming of the storm of chaos
the excruciating numbness of of the heart
when faced with loss of what is most desired
the staring into the mirror,
to watch your body
or that of a loved one
crumple into a helpless edifice of death even before it comes
the mind bending anguish at
the inability to find meaning beyond words
it is this that you must comprehend
from a temple of assumed invincibility of youth
into a crumbling edifice of your individuality
before you heave at the squeaky gates
of My kingdom
to face that immense emptiness
more fearful than anything
your unimaginative ego
could have ever comprehended
beyond that emptiness
i will wait for you
with just one drop
of compassion
to fill
your parched soul
From : my conversations with Death

And I thought judging “India’s Got Talent’ would be easy !

I thought, hey ! this should be fun. Go in and sit on a chair and just say whether you liked an act or not, and get paid for it. I saw other directors do it and it looked pretty easy. Just shows how little I know myself. For all my writings on the search for the universal self I forgot my emotional self and how and why I am a director.
I just could not stop myself from getting emotionally involved with the contestants, their dreams, their lives, their courage in putting themselves on the line in front of the whole nation and face applause or ridicule.
I could not stop myself from admiring and responding from some place very deep inside me to those that came on the show with disabilities, for they mirrored my own, albeit hidden from view and without physical manifestations. I could not help responding to the humility with which many of the contestants presented themselves, sublimating their ego completely to their art, or their performance. And I could not help resenting the ego that we judges often showed as if the show was about us and not about the contestants.
I found a new India out there, and India that we in urban areas do not usually come into contact with. Our media ignores that India. This is the aspirational India, the India of laborers and artisans who came to the show with centuries of tradition handed down from generation to generation. It was Indians that live a life of economic and social oppression, and yet are able to find such dignity and art in their expressions. It is the India that seldom gets noticed and I thank the producers of the show for that opportunity.
I apologize if I come across a bit weepy and emotional on the show. Through this show I was reminded of my roots, of who I really am, and where my true beliefs lie. They lie amidst the humility of my people, my country.
And I thought judging a talent show would be easy !!!