Ribhu

That in which there is no appearance of maya (illusion),
In which there are no effects of maya (delusion),
In which there is neither knowledge nor ignorance,
In which there is neither Lord (Isvara) nor individual (jiva),
In which there is neither reality nor unreality,
And in which there is not the least appearance of the world–
Ever abide in Bliss, without a trace of a concept (sankalpa),
In That itself as That itself.
                                                                                                       – Ribhu Gita

The sky was gloomy, nearly like dusk due the marauding dark clouds and pouring heavy rains this morning.

My colleagues complained about the weather as I imagine most would but I bit my tongue as I wanted nothing more but to be under the covers in my bed left alone armed with a cup of tea and a book whilst care freely swirling in and out of sleep with the windows open listening to the heavy downpour. I don’t listen to any music while I read except the music of the rain, thunder, howling winds, waving branches and rustling leaves.

Regardless, I hadn’t much of a choice at this point except to hope that the “bad” weather perseveres until my lunch hour where I could escape to my car, which I ensure to park under tree shade not only to avoid the heat but to fully experience the music of the rain.

Sure enough it did.

At 11am, I scurried to the kitchen to tuck away a few morsels of food and disappeared out of the office through the rain and into my car.

I was chuffed that I could get forty minutes of rain and solitude but I hadn’t a book. I had, however, Nome’s Song of Ribhu audiobook. Nome’s calm yet resounding voice, I believe, was fitting for reading the Gita.

I put on the first disc and reclined my chair, eyes half closed feeling nothing more than the cool breeze and the light spattering of rain. As soon as Zia Mohiuddin Dagar’s vina started playing, I was instantaneously transported into the dream world and very rapidly into deep sleep only to be startled back to being half awake by Nome’s voice. “I” was oscillating between being awake, dreaming and deep sleep by merely grasping on to the thin thread of Nome reading the Ribhu.

Could it have been a momentary discarding of the”I” and an acknowledgement of That Itself?

Anything momentary cannot be real hence this too is to be discarded.

 

I have always liked Nome.

 

Laks Indrakaran

Norfolk, VA

Hiatus

It has been a long while since I’ve written on here. Since my last post, I was hired full-time and moved into my own place. The entire process of settling into a new house and new job, in a new field and in a new country, had sapped me of any energy to pursue my interests. I have also decided not to get internet, so as to get away from internet addiction and to try spend more time reading, gardening or just sitting doing nothing.

In the last several months of living alone and with very little distractions, I had come to face a few overwhelming obstacles, for lack of a better word. Some of which I thought I had put behind me and some of which I had predicted will crop up but was not prepared for.

For the first time, I am faced with loneliness at what seems like its rawest. Although I predicted that loneliness would eventually loom like dark storm clouds and not easily shaken off, I was none the less surprised at times, at how overwhelming it can get. I still do not feel at home in my current surroundings and am hoping that this will only spur me on to truly appreciate Advaitic and Buddhist views on the unreality of “my” desires. Perhaps the growing disillusionment will lead to caring less about worldly existence? I would go through frequent phases of consuming a Bukowskian amount of booze (lacking all poetry or insight. Fights are not my style) and doing very little else. The overwhelming ennui and silence oddly did not lead to me reveling in listening to the birds and sounds of the rain while consuming the vast quantities of books I had accumulated over the last decade but it instead lead me desperately looking for distractions.

Despite all that, I do believe I am gradually beginning to enjoy the quiet and hopefully soon I will have more to write. I have just started reading Michael Comans‘s absolutely brilliant book The Method of Early Advaita. It is unmistakable that Comans knows what he is writing about. I have only read the first half of his chapter on Gaudapada and have found his commentaries profoundly revealing.

Laks Indrakaran

Norfolk, VA

Discarding

Q: How can I want the inconceivable?

M: What else is there worth wanting? Granted, the real cannot be wanted, as a thing is wanted. But you can see the unreal as unreal and discard it. It is the discarding the false that opens the way to the true. – I Am That – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

When I first met, a particularly bookish friend, he told me that he was getting rid of most of his books and have always lived on as little as possible. That inspired me to begin questioning my own careless amassing of objects, even items that were given to me as gifts. I was soon told about the Hojoki, by the same friend. The Hojoki is a poignant Buddhist text with powerful apocalyptic imagery describing the temporal world. Some would use the rather tired and cliched term “impermanence”, which has been so frequently attached to so many so called spiritual texts but I’ve rarely come across anyone who takes it seriously enough.

I was no better either, as I was often in a fitful state acquiring books rapidly, not to mention my penchant for nice clothes. Before I knew it, I had acquired a massive library, enormous enough that, should It topple over, it would have been fatal and yet most of the books remain unread. A pointless maiming.

It was in moving out of the UK and again out of Malaysia that I felt the lightness of not only discarding my belongings but many of the preconceived ideas and identities that “I” clutched on to. Leaving London and Malaysia also meant leaving behind a cultural and psychological narrative that I clung on too with tooth and nail. I do, however, still reminisce about the good old days.

Upon arriving in Virginia Beach, my friend wrote to me mentioning Fumio Sasaki’s Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living. A book on getting rid of possessions and modern Japanese minimalism.  A very well written book with excellent advice and a lighthearted yet thorough treatment of psychological traits that allow for possessing objects. I did, however, find Sasaki’s repetitive admiration of Steve Jobs very jarring. Steve Jobs is certainly not the hero of minimalism that Sasaki believes. Sasaki also does not fully address data hoarding , in fact he encourages digitizing all information in view of storing them. Aside from that it is a brilliant book. I had come across Nagisa Tatsumi’s The Art of Discarding from Sasaki and read it straight after and it too is a brilliant book, with lots more examples and easy to follow advice. I highly recommend both books for anyone considering living on no more than just the essentials. This includes getting rid of gadgets and reducing if not getting rid of the internet and smartphone. There  are several books that deal with doing away with gadgetry but I believe the most convincing are Jerry Mander’s Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television and Eric Brende’s Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology. I cannot recommend these two titles enough. They have given me a whole new world view on technology and proved to be great stepping stones that lead my private research into the effects of technology on people and the enviroment.

Aside from books on discarding objects, I have been reading my Nisargadatta Maharaj collection some of which for the first time and some I have been coming back to again and again over the past seven years. I have only two small rows of books on my shelves now and of which the majority are recorded dialogues of the three Maharaj’s (Nisargadatta, Ranjit and Siddharameshwar) and Ramana Maharshi. The rest being a few books on Pure Land and Zen Buddhism, six Loeb Classics translations of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus and a few translations of the Yijing.

Reading Maharaj and books on minimalism in tandem felt appropriate as I am no longer only discarding objects but also examining ideas such as the existance of objects, birth, my body, likes and dislikes, hopes and regrets and basically every-“thing“ in the field of consciousness in view of discarding them all.

Laks Indrakaran

Virginia Beach, US.

 

Absolute Nothingness: An Interview with Joel Biroco

During a gloomy winters evening in 2010, I met Joel Biroco at his flat in East London and  have remained friends till this very day. I spent a great deal of time with Joel, discussing the Yijing, Daoism, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta among thousands of other things.

I can vividly recall all the time spent drinking pots of exotic loose-leaf teas in his garden overlooking the unobstructed horizon, spotting geese flying in chevron, watching out for the neighbors cat at sunset while trying to identify the stars and constellations. Trudging round Walthamstow Reservoir and Epping Forest looking for banded demoiselles , little white egrets and cormorants, while lugging a heavy rucksack filled to bursting with an assortment of lager and stout tins and burning through a large pouch of Golden Virginia. Meeting mutual friends at charming old London pubs trying to keep abreast of the many interesting conversations to the point of forgetting our surroundings and being embarrassingly chucked out at closing time (they still let us back in the next time! occasionally with friendly reminders but to very little avail!). In the last year we spent good amount of time going on pub crawls in Bloomsbury, Soho and several parts of sub-urban East London whilst making interesting friends along the way or being told historical facts about the area. It is impossible to condense or eloquently express the details of my formative years spent in such lively good company and so I will leave it here for now.

Gyrus, whom I met through Joel on a few occasions in the pub, has recently published a very good interview with Joel on his  recently resurrected blog Dreamflesh. I cannot recommend it enough. Both Gyrus and Joel have carried out a remarkably refreshing discussion on Advaita non-duality, philosophy, psychology and the occult. I was barely able to read the interview sat-down due to over-excitement and unavoidable nostalgia. I need not say more, read it for yourself.

https://dreamflesh.com/interview/absolutely-nothing-joel-biroco/

Laks Indrakaran

Kajang, Malaysia.

Idle

If I had all the money I’d spent on drink, I’d spend it on drink. – Sir Henry from Sir Henry at Rawlinson End

I figured a brief explanation is in order due to the prolonged inactivity on this so-called journal. Since my last post, I have arrived in Malaysia on the ominous Friday the 13th at Midnight. I had hoped to immediately set-off on adventures around South East Asia without really considering the reality of my non-existent bank account.

Having spent all my savings on drink during my final two months in London, I haven’t even enough to make it to the adjacent town. However, this has been an opportunity to remain idle and rest. Being mostly inactive, there has been little to write about. I spend most of my days idling, reading, walking, haphazardly planting and gardening, and entertaining our three cats. I was hoping to stay off the internet and computer more than I currently am but I am sure this won’t last for long as I have very little reason to go online these days.

The urge to write this post was also partially to justify my in-activeness as not just laziness  or defeatist but largely due to not knowing how to move forward. In the last few days I have come to see this situation as potentially an opportunity to just do nothing. My teacher had emphasised constantly “When you don’t know what to do, best to Do Nothing”. If I remember correctly he was echoing WuWei 無爲, a tenet that is primarily advocated in the Daodejing 道德經, Zhuangzi 莊子 and the Yijing 易經.

I have made a start on the titles listed below. I believe they are good books to have during this forced but much welcomed idleness. Books that requires the reader to reflect for a good duration of time and with little distraction. I’d be very happy to correspond with anyone who knows better or want to discuss these titles. My contact details here.

I believe Nietzsche had expressed a dimension of WuWei (Do Nothing) very well. I have quoted the aphorism below. I had mostly misunderstood Nietzsche (assuming he was a nihilist) until a friend linked me to an illuminating article.

On the hygiene of the “weak.”- Everything done in weakness fails. Moral: do nothing. Only there is the hitch that precisely the strength to suspend activity, not to react, is sickest of all under the influence of weakness: one never reacts more quickly and blindly than when one should not react at all.-A strong nature manifests itself by waiting and postponing any reaction: it is as much characterised by a certain adiaphoria as weakness is by an involuntary counter-movement and the suddenness and inevitability of “action.”- The will is weak and the prescription to avoid stupidities would be to have a strong will and to do nothing.- Contradictio.- A kind of self-destruction; the instinct of preservation is compromised.- The weak harm themselves.- That is the type of decadence.- In fact, we find a tremendous amount of reflection about practices that would lead to impassibility. The instinct is on the right track insofar as doing nothing is more expedient than doing something.- All the practices of the orders, the solitary philosophers, the fakirs are inspired by the right value standard that a certain kind of man cannot benefit himself more than by preventing himself as much as possible from acting.- Means of relief: absolute obedience, machinelike activity, avoidance of people and things that would demand instant decisions and actions. – Will To Power.

Laks Indrakaran

Kajang, Malaysia

The Musing of One Who is Uncertain

This is largely an endeavor to stay off social media and the internet as much as possible. I decided to set up this simple blog as a way of keeping myself on the internet without having to subscribe to all sorts distracting means of modern communication yet within reach of all who I consider my dear friends that I met during my 8-9 years of residing in London, United Kingdom.

The title The Uncertain is simply because I am truly in a position of uncertainty and this offers a chance to reflect and write about the situations and lessons that unfold from here on. My flight to leave the United Kingdom permanently, is on the 3rd of January, 2017 and am uncertain if I’ll ever return or where I will be residing on a permanent basis. Regardless of where I end up, I do invite you all to visit me and if I have the space Ill be willing to accommodate all of you whom I have met.

If you are interested in my musing about my interests in relation to the situations I find myself in or my drunken rants, then please do visit here when you find the time and feel free to comment or share your views. I am hoping to be able to stay in touch with you all and it is, as I have said to you all on several occasions in my last two months, a great sense of loss in having to be apart from you all.

I highly encourage my friends to get a Protonmail.ch email account through which we could communicate with end-to-end encryption keeping out surveillance. I can be reached on laksi@ theuncertain.net.

Laks Indrakaran