Krishna and Meera have been visiting my mind, now and then, for quite some years now. It was 18 or 19 years ago – I cannot quite recall; the two years (1998 and 1999) seem to have become one in my mind – when they first appeared and with Fimh and my best friend. After a few years of semi-silence they appeared again and now it’s been a decade and a half with a few missing years, here and there. I used to imagine at some point that I could write a whole book about Meera but I can’t. Yet Meera and Krishna have appeared in very odd dreams or as very tantalising images - or maybe it’s all a delicious piece of imagined reality or my delusions? I don’t really know but I don’t really think that’s what it is. This year too Meera visited and I kept asking her questions, and it was Krishna’s Birthday, and Fimh absolutely insisted that I write about what transpired. So here is a part of it:
Janmashthami 13th/ 14th August –
There is a time when silence is sharper and clearer than any possible sound. The silence rings away in my ears and thuds away with my heartbeat – especially when I am waiting and waiting, and waiting some more to hear what I want to hear, to sense what I wish to sense, to feel what I want to feel and some of what I don’t know and cannot expect – the footsteps, the embrace, the whispers and his voice murmuring near the nape of my neck, the sense of touch from The One who has caressed my mind and soul, the whispers through the night, listening with my very being so as not to forget later, fighting, arguing, laughing, teasing and being teased in turn – and I don’t care then about weeping with the departing strains of his voice and the fainter notes of his flute as I see dawn riding in through my windows and hijacking my dream – or was that my reality? Was he here? Was he not? Did I not hear him? Did I not feel him? Why was he here, and why did he leave?
What? – What is it that you’re asking me? Do I see him? – You ask me.
Yes. I do.
Why can’t you? – You ask me. To that I’ll give you different answers depending on my mood.
…because you don’t have the eyes – I’ll say. Because you haven’t tried hard enough. Because you think you can see him with the same eyes that you see the world. Because you think you can hear him the same way you do your listening in the world. Because you’re too full of what doesn’t matter. Because you are blind and maybe deaf? Oh, I’m so sorry – I have offended you. Well it’s because you haven’t loved him like I have. Because I love him – I see him. I see now that you’re all teary-eyed and you are hurt and you are angry and offended – all at the same time. There, there. You love him? Maybe you haven’t called him loud enough? Any louder and you’ll sound like a tuneless foghorn? – You say. Oh, no! – I don’t think you should sing. Well then, maybe I sense him because I’m mad, and utterly deaf and blind to the world. And so I feel him in communion with my body, spirit, soul, mind and everything about me – till there is no space or place that is private or “just” mine or me any longer. I don’t know what this “me” or “I” is apart from that which recognizes him, knows him, adores him and worships him. I don’t know of any “I” or “me” which doesn’t adore him.
Just seconds ago you were relieved – and almost smugly happy that I had called myself mad – how do I know that? – I could see it on your face! – and now you call me a saint, you silly girl?! Would you rather have me be sick and mad or are you calling me a saint?
I’m no saint.
I’m evil and cruel and depraved and a wretch in more ways than you or anybody else can count, and many have counted and told me why I am disgusting and they have seen the better sides of me. Oh, it doesn’t matter if I haven’t acted upon every terrible thought or feeling in this life. They are all there in me from other times and other places, and they – the thoughts, feelings and selves and voices erupt from within me like macabre monsters and self-righteous angels and demons and they are all in me. I'm not stupid, you say? - Oh, I’m stupid, vapid, inert and mindless in so many countless ways too. You would be horrified to see all the selves and parts of me which move around about me and which I know prowl about in me with their mangy bad breath trying to spit at this “me” which you see (which you want to be – and only because I see him and can sing out my love for him) and which want to consume me with their evil.
What is evil? – You ask me?
That thing which feels no love and senses no love and which knows no love – that is evil. That thing becomes evil. It becomes putrid. It rots itself, and it tries to rot and corrupt everything else that comes close to it or that which it sees as easy prey. There are worse things than just murdering a person – even yourself – with a sword or dagger. It’s to rot from the inside.
What is love? – You ask me? Why am I smiling? – You ask me? Love means different things to different people. I smile at what different people call love. But you called me a saint, not seconds ago! That is what I’m saying too. I am not a saint.
Lust, greed, sloth, avarice, rage, resentment, anger, apathy, violence, mindlessness jostle about for space in every other cell that I carry in me. They are imprinted in me. They flow like sudden poisonous, malodorous lava spewing from ugly volcanoes lying dormant, which I think are dead and they catch me unawares, and right when I am convinced that I am holier-than-thou and deserve my Lord. Did you know that?
You call me a saint?!
“Who is this person?!” – I scream at myself.
“Is this me?” I ask in a whisper.
It is me.
Yes. It is.
And yet - He saves me from myself – from those mangy-breathed monsters I carry within me, which want to feed upon me and leave me to rot with no love or memory of love. He with his flute and with that insouciant feather and humour and everything else that makes him him. Each of my cells of terrible memories, each of those horrible and twisted strands that carry the tides and imprints of evil, malice, resentment, spite and vicious rage – all of that upon which I have acted somewhere, sometime – aeons ago, ages ago, many or more summers ago even – it doesn’t matter – but even those, even those horrors and the numerous insipid, petty, ghastly vulgarities and inanities in me are washed over by gigantic, tremendous and complete waves of love and tenderness for him and from him.
Which comes first? – His love or mine – You ask me? – I do not know that. How does that matter, you silly girl?!
I lose myself in him. I find myself in him. I melt with him. I am cast asunder from him. There is bliss – infinite, ineffable, eternal, and there is the utter and absolute agony – of the sort you maybe cannot imagine in separation, in estrangement, in abandonment – in being tossed aside like a tiny, insignificant, ugly, cheap, unwanted raft by the mighty, expansive, gorgeous and churning oceans. And there are in betweens too, aren’t there?
How does he love…? – You ask me?
I wonder too. He stands before me. He smiles. He speaks. He sits. He teases. He is cold. He allows an embrace. He is vulnerable. He ignores. He is aloof. He talks. He laughs with his eyes. He banters. He is brusque. He listens. He responds. He is quiet. He laughs. He is silent. He thunders. He shoots lightning forks at you which are beautiful and can burn. He reaches out his hand for you to touch – maybe once or maybe twice – and that is what you want to remember. He quarrels. He sulks. He talks like the adorable young boy he once was about his loves. He is insouciant (yes, like his feather! – You remember). He is naughty. He is wicked. He is irritated. He plays his flute. He talks of the heavens and earth. He shows you glimpses from his universes. He makes you laugh. You carry that laughter, that beauty, that love and the memories through strange days and stranger nights as time spins about like a spinning wheel. He caresses with a caress, like no other and the only one you want or will ever desire. He tells you about dharma, artha, karma, kama, karuna, gyana, bhakti, prem, moksha, shanti…You want to know more and more, and everything about him. He looks at you with those deep eyes almost mirroring your love, tenderness and bizarre desire.
What, then? – Then what?!
Then – he is gone. He leaves. With not a backward glance. He leaves you bereft. Shaking, screaming and wailing, and out of your mind. What? – No, of course not. That does not make him cruel. No! Are you out of your mind? Why would he want to be with me all the time? Can you not be reasonable? He has many things to do and he loves many – don’t you know?! And even if he wants to be alone? Is he not allowed to get bored by me and my prattle and my love? What about the Gods and Goddesses? – You ask. Speak up, you incoherent girl – I cannot hear you when you mumble beneath your breath. Hahaha! Shiva and Shakti, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Rudra and Tara - they do not get bored of one another! That is what you say? - You must ask them. I am not Lakshmi or Parvati or Durga or Tara. I am Meera.