The more I look at life, the more it seems like some strange grand fest. What is it celebrating? In whose honor does it dance so wildly, who knows? All what I see around are myriad faces, laughing, smiling, loving, crying, wailing, killing, raping, warring, murdering, hating. Doing all sort of things.

And I look at all these fanfares, and all these elaborate rituals that I see being performed, and all these careful considerations one is involved in every step of life, and wonder what this life really is. I am amused at apparent lack of any purpose behind the individual acts of such expressions.

Since ages, men more learned than this author have tried to put forth their own opinions about what life really is. They have left volumes of works for us, the posterity. Works that resemble more like accounts of grand feasts they so frequently had with the dreams of their hearts, clothed in languages that are more allegorical and poetic, and less like some technical white paper.

And in these works, there is to be found the promises of heaven, the hopes of redemption. The soft beckoning of paradise. Some men, born of horrible pains of labor, brought up in the hope of eternal happiness, jump forth in utter frenzy and start looking for El Dorado, some for the philosopher’s stone, and some wander away, naked and grimy, to mountains, or to monasteries. They leave behind their family to wonder at this sudden violent storm that wrenched away their beloveds.

High on hopes, and drunk on a grand vision, these men unfurl their sails to strong winds and hit the seas. Little do they know that they have set for the horizon where the sun sets; that the horizon only seems to be. It only seems to be. The limit beyond which our mortal eyes cannot peer, an illusion of a crossover to the kingdom of God. They sail on, but the sun seems ever so distant, and the horizon always over there, where the sea meets the sky.

Little do they know that life comes to an end where the “kingdom of God” begins. And with that all their frigging around would come to an end, too.

And one fine day, they realize they have sailed back to that same old and musty dockyard, from where they had started. Oh, what an agony! “All our damned efforts, and all our sweats, and all our apostasies, and all our fervent prayers, and all our attempts to master our senses came to nothing! Nothing.” – would rise a cry- guttural and melancholiac, from the depth of ones being.

So intent were they on crossing over that darned horizon, that they had missed seeing the golden yellow ball of fire peeking out of the sea line, everyday, spreading its passionate flares across the green waters. They had missed the play of dolphins along the way – the dolphins that were swimming along the ship, attracted by the fanfare, wondering what the heck these sailors were up to. They even shooed away the gulls that were sitting atop the mast.

Oh, they were serious seekers of eternity, you see. They had little time for mundane events of their lives. The sun rises everyday, what is so special there to gawk at it, with such reverence and awe?

For them the lure of eternal happiness was more than the spurts of joy that gushed forth their unpretentious, bleeding heart, at the sight of cavorting dolphins. They had denied all the love their wives and lovers had offered them. They had wiped out all memories of their children, looking out with sad, tearful eyes, standing on the threshold of their little house.

They have become the enemies of senses. They have become the enemies of life. And now, with belly full of hatred and decadence, morality and negation to everything that is life, they seek God beyond the horizons, beyond this dirty, horrible assemblage of blood and bones that is begotten from the utterly disgusting acts of love. They wish to be cleansed off the Original Sin.

They have assumed so much pride in their own sense of morality, that, once, one of them had considered getting all of humanity castrated. And another one had solemnly pronounced, “If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out”.

They have amassed volumes on how men should conduct, in public and even in private. They have spoken copiously on what men ought to and ought not to do. The user’s guide to living life.

They forget that these senses are the ones without which they could not even comprehended the idea of salvation; without which they cannot even pronounce, “Neti, Neti! Not this, Not this”; without which they cannot even raise their hands to offer any prayer, whatsoever.

But there are men whom the cold, ugly hands of decadence haven’t yet touched. They are no warmongers. And yet, they continue with their travails along the snowy mountain paths. They too are explorers, seeking ecstasy.

Why do men, these seafarers, really bother? Why cant they just keep on dancing, drinking and whining about their latest fashions, love lives, their career, their children, their marriages, and every other thing that pops up in the mind? Why do they have to live every moment of their lives cussing their mothers’ womb, and looking up to the sky for redemption? Why do they have to give up life, and seek the cold corridors of the mountains?

Come home, O sailors of destiny, come home to your loved ones.

Allow yourself be smothered by the warmth of your lover. Do not go out seeking your destinies. Come, sit with me along this river and dip your legs in the cool water. Watch these fishes playing around, pecking at the flesh. This sun – warm and vigorous beating down on our being, green meadows stretching as far as our eyes can see, maidens roaming around in idle pleasure, and children playing around, oblivious about the ethos and pathos of this world we live in.

If you ask me I would tell you this: Life is a paradox. The more you try to unravel the riddles, the more entangled you become. The more you ask why, the more questions you beget.

Why, haven’t you heard that old, tattered Zen Master crying out, “Seek not, ye pupils . . .”? Haven’t you seen that perplexed man – down the block I stay, standing in stupor that Sunday morning, musing whether he should shed tears for the dead children he saw in his dreams or should wail for this one child who lies dead before his very mortal eyes?

Life is such a dream. To seek the Dreamer is to cede the dream.

//Sometime in 2002