the fear of emptiness
that hollow sinking fear
that grip of panic
that first realization
the moment of waking up
that there is nothing
there was nothing
but the mind trying to hold
fantasies and memories
to somehow connect
those fantasies
those memories
to the coming day
how will I survive it ?
if I will survive it?
with the same lies I tell myself ?
as I move the day into a construct
of reality
of importance
of memory
of addictiveness
of lies
to myself
if only I could get out of bed
and go to the temple
as I had promised myself a year ago
or to the gym, 5 years ago
so that the hormones in my body
provoked by faith
or by excercise
could erase that cloying feeling
of emptiness
from my mind
but wait …..

….but wait
my computer
my window into the world
my website
where people write wonderful things
maybe the news !
thank god for Google
the window into the world
something to pre occupy you
ahh – the american economy has collapsed
ahh – bomb blasts all over the world
ahh – politics
ahh – analysis
ahh – statistics
ahh – dramatics
ahh – the distractions of the day
but wait !
life has value
what am I talking about ?
this stupid mind
all those crazy thoughts
about emptiness
for there are e mails to answer
writers to meet
taxes to pay
papaya to eat
lassi to drink
my child to hug
(she hates that in the morning)
films to make
great congratulatory
telephone calls to answer
beautiful girls to fantasize
and there is facebook !
ahh, there is really so much to do
ahh, the body rhythm is normal
ahhh, the day has begun
ahh, the emptiness has gone
aah, the distractions of the day
yet again the battle has been won !
my ego has survived
for this single day
for surely
as it has done for
as long as memory
the battle will begin the next day
at 5 am again
till then a truce is called
the truth ?
why is it so painful ?
each day
the lies I tell myself
more devastating
more desperate
as emptiness creeps
like a slow moving hot lava
to engulf me
cruel and stinging
without any empathy
no sympathy
like a million screaming crows
cawing in my ear
screaming loudly
liar ! liar ! liar ! liar!
there is nothing
deep in to the void
giving up
letting go
of memory
of the past
of addiction
of the future
of the fear
just a falling
if I just let go
if I just let go
if I just let go

34 thoughts on “emptiness

  1. Hi Shekhar,
    Very interesting, very contemporary and yes, very 4AMish! 🙂
    I sometimes wonder why we don’t have interesting TV programmes on contemporary Poetry…serious, funny, quirky…
    If reading sessions in Delhi, Mumbai etc can pick up…TV should be a good medium for showcase. And SMS, live TV should work well for feedback, ratings etc.

  2. Shekar this reminds me of your film Drishti with Dimple Kapadiya under direction of Govind Nihlani, I recently saw that movie….amizingly my dvd library person hand over me these two films, Anuranan and drishti when I asked for art movies:)

  3. Lol Shekhar kya kahu lol
    I wish you could read a poetry i wrote lately, if u ever get time….
    though my hindi is like vietnamese torture i do try to write lol
    Take care

  4. Hi Shekar
    I came to your blog through one of the articles on blog. It said your blog was an elusive one and you dont seek publicity. Whats the point in having a blog at all in the first place, if you dont let those people see it, who are interested in you and your sensibilities!
    BTW, I am 31 and remember you only for Masoom and Mr India, and those serials on TV, where you featured. Where are you nowadays? India, UK?

  5. vaah vaah vaah…. aur kya kahoon?
    all about the ‘mind’, but so soulfully written!
    the mind is so strong because it is ultimatley a sapno ka saudagar. that is how it has a hold on us. it shows us dreams, makes us feel all forms of emotions and passions–some of them get fulfilled, others don’t—then it shows us more dreams….
    and yes it feeds our ‘ego’, which is a fuel for our survival in this world.
    but ultimately, are we our mind? almost certainly not.
    i feel life is a struggle between the mind-driven ego and the god-associated soul, and it is upto our free will as to which will prevail in any given situation. however, the more we feed one, the more the other one dwindles and this is how some realise god whereas others become diabolical.
    we all have two lives: one inner which is the soul’s realm, and one outer which is the mind’s.
    should we completely condemn one and embrace the other? difficult question and no unanimous answer…i feel one has to find one’s own balance,…. and also there is plan for each one of us so no point fighting it too much.
    one thing is for sure, were it not for the mind, there would not be great artists/poets/film makers/writers/scientists/ arcitects….
    no mind= no maya. are we ready for that state as yet, as’humanity’. do we not want to suffer some more and experince the pleasures of pain?
    love, shivani

  6. Honestly Shekhar, the whole problem is with 5AM in the morning. If you wake up at a more earthly hour like 7:00, the mind will not have a spare moment to dwell. I always feel extremely sorry for myself if I have to wake up anytime before 6:30!
    Jokes apart,
    fantasies and memories.. and trying to connect them.
    so that the hormones in my body
    provoked by faith
    or by excercise
    could erase that cloying feeling
    of emptiness
    from my mind
    I know exactly what you mean. I guess there is a little bit of our selves that resides with a little bit of other people and that’s what makes human emotions so universal. When I feel low I feel I am probably the only person who reacts and feels the way I do. But then poems and posts like these tells me I am just another person undergoing what everyone does at some point in life. It is very reassuring.
    That is the beauty of today’s connected world. You can share your innermost world and emotions with absolutely anyone anywhere. Internet camaraderie and friendships are very different in nature from real life ones they have no baggage, no barriers, no expectations. They are extremely fulfilling.
    Think of it this whole spiritual concept of communicating through a medium that cannot be seen, cannot be felt. It sounds so fantastic but it is realised already in today’s world through the internet. There are people who you don’t know, you haven’t met, you couldn’t tell from adams, yet you know are tuned into to their essence. It is truly fantastic. I love the world we live in.
    Take care and have a wonderful day and if I may add do keep up your 5 year old promise to go to the gym 🙂
    Warm Regards,
    P.S My father would also love to smother me in the mornings and I too HATED that. Morning blues a normal kiddie thing?

  7. Dear Shekhar:
    Are these the words of a man who has lifted the veil behind which are endless layers of more veils and are these exhortations to the inner fears, shouts into the void of an existential nihilism to challenge for answers that can never be formulated? Not in this life, not in all the journeys to nowhere and everywhere. Who controls these inner battles, fans the flames of our self doubt, races us to the finish line? Will there ever be a finish line or is it all just an illusion? Is this titanic struggle to be noticed, to be relevant within a universe that reduces our thought processes to infinitesimal nothingness worth the endless pain of confrontations we cannot win? How can the moments of elation and the crushing stretches of sadness all be absorbed by a mind that tries to comprehend what god does not want us to understand? All the neurons we are firing create mere flickers in the dying embers of creation’s narrative that never had any beginning and will be devoid of an ending. Are not the fools the lucky ones who bathe themselves in the bliss of ignorance whose demarcation lines are linear and clearly visible? I don’t believe we really have choices and just walk over to the other side of the road where all is orderly and chaos has been pushed back by the large hand of reason. Those among us who are questioning, probing, doubting, raging against this beast of incomprehensible thoughts are forced to toil on and stumble and stagger, knowing that there will come a gliding through those fields of enlightenment, picking the flowers of this fleeting but fierce happiness to have glimpsed the challenge of being. The long stretches of floundering that will inevitably follow can then be crossed with the calm demeanor of a sage.
    Kind regards.

  8. was thinking…….once i read this particular blog a few times……….
    all human beings except the most tired ones who work themselves to the bone and pass out like logs until the next sunrays wake them….feel this in the deep of the night ! WHY ?
    for patients who are unwell it is the night that is the worst time…..illnesses are heightened at night.
    is it that the daylight ( human interactions, work, connections with the world, usefulness, creativity……etc )is our ONLY identity ?
    is it our karmas, manipulations, grey areas that take charge of us when we are ungaurded ( in deep sleep )………..?
    is that where the sages have an edge over normal humans………they are at peace at ANY hour (day or night is undistinguished when you are in deep meditation…they cease to be) because they have withdrawn from karmas altogether….??

  9. Shekhar,
    Dont panic ! Even when the feeling of emptiness creeps all around us like Lava , it is still something. And when we let go , yes ,we do fall – and we fear because the ego ‘I’ cannot see where it is falling.
    The great Unknown is the great Void. The only way out is to transform the ‘I’.
    guess how ? by truly ( not cosmetic) finding solitude and asking oneself ‘what am I’? and replacing the answer with ‘ I am not material , rather spiritual ‘..
    You may find repeating ‘Om’ prayerfully , really helpful in those moments of panic – Om is the Great Void, the gap in us – we will understand what it is , if we keep repeating it.
    Om tat sat ( Om , eternity, truth )

  10. Dear Shekhar,
    I can so totally relate to what you said above and I also keep wondering how to find a deeper understanding of all the things we do and around us. You are very lucky that you get up at 5 – I often keep working on my laptop, watching things on youtube, so many films for which I have bought DVDs and haven’t watched, about 40 books that I bought in Hyd and paid 200 dollars as excess baggage to get to the US – they need to be read too, so I often stay awake till 3 or so sometimes even till 5, and then I am back up in another 4 hours. I can’t sleep as I feel like I am wasting my life during that span but it is very important. Yesterday I went to a great mixer between the Junior Associates on Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Whitney and it was so wonderful. It was an event called “Democracy in America – The National Campaign” at the Park Ave Armory and anyone could stand on the podium and give a 1min speech, vent out anger or say whatever they liked. Some were happy, many concerned, most of them just enjoying the evening and the huge public art exhibition, talking about if there was a system of governance better than democracy.
    I found these great quotes on ’emptiness’ and I hope you like them:
    The definition of emptiness as “infinite possibility” is a basic description of a very complicated term. A subtler meaning, which might have lost on early translators, implies that whatever arises out of this infinite potential—whether it’s a thought, a word, a planet, or a table—doesn’t truly exist as a “thing” in itself, but is rather the result of numerous causes and conditions. If any of those causes or conditions are changed or removed, a different phenomenon with arise. Like the principles outlined in the second turning of the wheel of Dharma, quantum mechanics tends to describe experience in terms not simply of a single possible chain of events leading to a single result, but rather of probabilities of events and occurrences—which, in an odd way, is closer to the Buddhist understanding of absolute reality, in which a variety of outcomes are theoretically possible.
    “Whatever depends on conditions is explained to be empty…”
    Yonghey Minghur Rinpoche
    Source: exerpt from “The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness”
    After 48 years, I have said nothing.
    Buddha (563 – 483 BC)
    Source: The life story of Shakyamuni Buddha
    Our bodies are given life from the midst of nothingness. Existing where there is nothing is the meaning of the phrase, “Form is emptiness.” That all things are provided for by nothingness is the meaning of the phrase, “Emptiness is form.” One should not think that these are two seperate things.
    Tsunetomo Yamamoto
    Source: The Hagakure
    Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men. Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because men are not prepared to receive them: for such seeds as these cannot spring up anywhere except in the good soil of freedom, spontaneity and love.
    Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)
    Source: New Seeds of Contemplation
    Best Regards,

  11. Sir,
    I would like to amuse you with this conversation between Khankhanna Rahim and Tulsidas:
    “Chalan chahoo sansaar ke Milan chahoo Kartar,
    Keh Rahim kaise bane dou Ghoda Ek Savaar?
    Milan Chahoo kartaar ke To pakde rahiye terr,
    Tulsi to ban jayegi Duo ghoda rathe Ek”
    You want to walk the world and Meet the Almighty
    says rahim How do you wish to ride two horses at a time?
    Do you wish to Meet Him keep holding your reins
    Tulsi says that way you make two horse and ride a Chariot..
    I wish I am able to understand in the right perspective.
    Sir for you it seems now (Arjun needs a Krishna) time to revisit Bhagvad Geeta.
    Domesticated and aspiring for Moksha?
    Vinod Agarwal – victim of vedanta too early too soon. Happy in the myth human form is bestowed to those who are luckier than the luckiest!! Struggling to find a purpose…

  12. Is this not the quagmire of converging the human mind and the Divine mind in each of us? Just within this blog community are folks who are so deep, spiritual & “in the search”, yet ensnared in the conflicting tides of everyday realities…personal, professional pursuits that support and/or propagate absolute consumption, materialism and excessive indulgence.
    Is this then not the real question — How does one inject one’s divine mind/intelligence (if you are so blessed to possess that) into all sphere’s of everyday life – personal & professional? Without separation. Seamlessly. Without having to drop the veil on one to raise the other. Without having to juggle between the conflicts within your own self. Is there potential for such convergence in every one of our lives? Can they co-exist meaningfully? The way you interact with your neighbors, family, friends, daily service providers etc…to the intrinsic manner in which you do everyday business, steer your professional path to make a difference, drive decisions, take leadership, move agendas forward etc.
    Perhaps many of the stark global crises – in the political, financial and social realms –
    would not exist if deep-rooted consciousness [of converging the duality of the mind] prevailed amongst the political, financial leaders and social elites. Too Utopian, I suppose?

  13. Kavitha, beautifully put question. Something I have grappled with for a while now.
    When you begin observing ‘maya’ objectively as an observer and not a participant, you are still possibly doing this rooted in an ‘ego mind’. One that is reminding you of your ‘maya’ bringing back memories,aspirations,ambitions as Shekhar beautifully puts it.At the core that ego mind is ‘desire’. Importantly I think to ‘desire’ includes not only the ‘materialistic pursuits’ of life but also ‘the spiritual kind’. When one ‘wants’ to walk the spiritual path ‘in search of’, such a journey is still made in the ‘ego mind’ because it stems from a desire. And ‘desires’ by their instrinsic nature introduce conflict and fragment the mind. This is what your question is centred around as well- conflicting interests.
    Your ‘ego mind’ thinks of ‘spritual quest’ as a separate activity to be conducted in isolation outside the realm of daily existence or ‘maya’. That is the fallacy.The only ‘logical’ way it seems to me you can go about dealing with this is by submission- unconditionally to the present as-is.Accept the present as is and you defeat desire (to change it) which means you silence ego (which thrives on desire) and hence you kill conflict.Once the conflict dissapears your question in that state will no more be relevant. Everything will ‘co-exist meaningfully’, just that you will perceive ‘meaningful’ different from what your mind does now.
    Having said that I beleive recognising and unlearning the ego mind at will and employing it for practical use only when necessary – is possible. Part of the trick in my opinion is to recognize how ‘wanting it’ can actually be counter-productive to the pursuit.
    Is it easy to do?
    My answer -: Do you consider ‘maya’ easy business ? 🙂

  14. the questions unanswered
    the thoughts existent and the very existence
    dazzle the being
    of his very self
    A miracle to himself
    the idea of quest
    And the existence of ideas
    evil or pure
    the feeling of understanding and knowing
    Ability of expression
    Mirroring the understanding of the self
    Is a quality unknown
    Happening from where or for what
    The existence of God and
    salvation of being
    are thoughts too bold
    enamour the being
    of his very own self…

  15. Hi Shekhar
    Loved your poem “emptiness” … and after I read it, I found this “No Thought of the Day” on Osho.com which is where I log in as part of my daily start-up :
    Osho – No-Thought for the Day
    “There are only two types of people in the world: those who try to stuff their inner emptiness, and those very rare precious beings who try to see the inner emptiness.
    Those who try to stuff it remain empty, frustrated. They go on collecting garbage, their whole life is futile and fruitless.
    Only the other kind, the very precious people who try to look into their inner emptiness without any desire to stuff it, become meditators.”

  16. Hey Shekar. Thanks for the blog. I try to read it whenever I get time and you always come up with very interesting and intriguing topics.
    I would love to hear your thoughts on Sartre and existentialism. Also what do you think about atheists like Richard Dawkins and Russell. I am very intrigued to know your thoughts on these topics.
    -A big fan

  17. I congratulate you for making a film on ‘WATER’ which I hope will be an eye openning for the massses.
    Kapoor sahib I am a hindi Poet and with god’s grace I have attemped a poem ‘pani re pani’. I am eager to send the same to you duly recorded in cassette ,so that you may have the idea about the Tune to be sung out,in case the same meets your approval.
    A senior citizen at this end is anxious to know your address for sending the duly recorded cassette.
    Sikander Smarpit

  18. Hi Shekhar
    Your poem says a lot, some by means of words and some by means of emotions underneath those words. I wanted to share one poem I wrote long time back in the spur of the moment. Don’t know its purpose hre but somehow feel that may be it would somewhere connect with the words you mentioned…just a hope…
    nothing is better than a bike ride early morning
    nothing is better than shaking hands with a friend after a long time
    nothing is better than being innocent again
    nothing is better than not letting past decide the future
    nothing is better than seeing your kids grow up
    nothing is better than letting the other one win sometimes
    nothing is better than a walk with your dad at dusk
    nothing is better than to play with your dog in the morning
    nothing is better than sun in the morning and moon in a clear sky
    nothing is better than to realize you are in love again
    nothing is better than living in the present
    nothing is better than being self motivated
    nothing is better than to sleep after an enormous physical effort
    nothing is better than to feel your own breath
    nothing is better than being alive
    nothing is better than to realize that you will die soon
    nothing is better than to know that we are here only for a short time
    nothing is the key.
    in nothingness is everything.
    nothing means to weed out the unnecessary.
    nothing means to live intensely.
    nothing is everything.
    nothing is nothing.
    AND NOTHING matters eventually.

  19. This void this emptiness will always be there is’nt it? no matter how much you get in life its still there… something that always keeps coming at you, something that you keep missing… is it that it is something you dnt have or is it that it is our nature to long for what we dnt have or cannot have?
    I dnt know .. maybe you do…
    Take care

  20. You have to be just a waiting, an intense waiting, with a great longing — almost like thirst, hunger, not a word …. It is like the experience of people who have sometimes got lost in a desert. At first, thirst is a word in their mind: “I am feeling thirsty and I am looking for water.” But as time goes on, and there is no sign of any oasis — and as far as the eyes can see, there is no possibility of finding water — the thirst goes on spreading all over the body.
    From the mind, from just a word, `thirst’, it starts spreading to every cell and fiber of the body. Now it is no longer a word, it is an actual experience. Your every cell — and there are seven million cells in the body — is thirsty. Those cells don’t know words, they don’t know language, but they know that they need water; otherwise life is going to be finished.
    It comes … it certainly comes. It has never delayed for a single moment. Once you are in the right tuning, it suddenly explodes in you, transforms you. The old man is dead and the new man has arrived.
    – OSHO

  21. Shekhar, this post of yours has been living with me now since you wrote it and I suspect will for long.
    What about the emptiness is that you fear? Is it the prospect of cold indifference of it all at the end?

  22. I could relate so well that it brought a smile to my face… i was googling “facing emptiness” and was feeling quite empty

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