Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Palanquin Bearers

Lightly, O lightly we bear her along,

She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;

She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,

She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.

Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,

We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Softly, O softly we bear her along,

She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;

She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,

She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.

Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,

We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

-- Sarojini Naidu

Monday, January 17, 2005

Walk Alone

If they answer not to thy call walk alone,

If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,

O thou of evil luck,open thy mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,

O thou of evil luck,trample the thorns under thy tread,

and along the blood-lined track travel alone.

If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,

O thou of evil luck,with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heartand let it burn alone.

-- Rabindranath Tagore

Friday, January 14, 2005

vital statistics

What's your name?

Maqsood Qureshi

Where do you live?

In an igloo, if it's snowing! Old City nosy!

Define yourself in a few words.

Idealistic. Misfit. Lounge Lizard. Eccentric. Pervert. Scarecrow. Egghead. Skirt Chaser.

A pet peeve?


What do you love doing?

Reading. Hacking. Sleeping. SMS-Sex.

What do you love about Hyderabad?

Its heritage.

What do you hate about Hyderabad?

People: their mind-set.

Dream date.

Aishwarya Rai + Twinkle Khanna + Vasundhara Das

Your dream?

I want to be a pilot.

Favorite movies?

Parallel Cinema or anything starring Dilip Kumar, Anthony Hopkins and Robert Redford.

Favorite bedroom line?

Are you allergic to mosquito-repellents, honeypot?

The wildest thing you have done.

Fantasized about aliens of the SAME sex!

People who have inspired me:

Osho. Charles Sobhraj.


I'll tell you later.

Your anthem.

I'll tell you later.

What's your favorite poison?

I believe in assisted suicide.

Plagiarized: "Think you have the style, spunk and attitude to be a Rocking Rookie?" --The Times of India

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Richard Bach

"A tiny change today brings us to a dramatically different tomorrow. There are grand rewards for those who pick the high hard roads, but those rewards are hidden by years. Every choice is made in the uncaring blind, no guarantees from the world around us."

"Character comes from following our highest sense of right, from trusting ideals without being sure they'll work. One challenge of our adventure on earth is to rise above dead systems -- wars, religions, nations, destructions -- to refuse to be a part of them, and express instead the highest selves we know how to be."

-- One / Richard Bach

Neither belief nor disbelief . . .

"What I am saying is: neither belief nor disbelief is needed -- because you don't know, so how you believe? and you don't know, so how can you disbelieve? When belief and disbelief are both dropped, there is silence. When belief and disbelief have both disappeared, you are open to truth; then you don't have any prejudice, then your mind is no more projecting. Then you become receptive. Neither believe nor disbelieve. Just be watchful, receptive, open! -- and you will know."

-- Walk without feet, Fly without wings and Think without mind / Osho

Question: Who are you?

Answer: Whomsoever you think, because it depends on you. If you look at me with total emptiness, I will be different. If you look at me with ideas, those ideas will color me; if you come to me with a prejudice, then I will be different. I am just a mirror. Your own face will be reflected. There is a saying that if a monkey looks into the mirror he will not find an apostle looking at him through the mirror. Only a monkey will be looking through the mirror.

So it depends on the way you look at me. I have disappeared completely so I cannot impose on you who I am. I have nothing to impose. There is just a nothingness, a mirror. Now you have complete freedom.

If you really want to know who I am, you have to be as absolutely empty as I am. Then two mirrors will be facing each other, and only emptiness will be mirrored. Infinite emptiness will be mirrored: two mirrors facing each other. But if you have some idea, then you will see your own idea in me.

-- Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic / Osho

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The 100th Monkey

A story about social change by Ken Keyes, Jr.

The Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30years. In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkey liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant. An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.

This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists. Between 1952 and 1958 all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable. Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.

Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes -- the exact number is not known. Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Let's further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.

THEN IT HAPPENED! By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!

But notice: A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea...Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes. Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.

Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.

But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!

This is an excerpt from the book by Ken Keyes, jr. "The Hundredth Monkey."

The Prince and the Magician

Once upon a time there was a young prince, who believed in all things but three. He did not believe in princesses, he did not believe in islands, he did not believe in God. His father, the King, told him that such things did not exist. As there were no princesses or islands in his father's domaines, and no sign of God, the young prince believed his father.

But then, one day, the prince ran away from his palace. He came to the next land. There, to his astonishment, from every coast he saw islands, and on these islands, strange and troubling creatures whom he dared not name. As he was searching for a boat, a man in full evening dress approached him along the shore.

"Are those real islands?" asked the young prince.

"Of course they are real islands," said the man in evening dress.

"And those strange and troubling creatures?"

"They are all genuine and authentic princesses."

"Then God must also exist!" cried the prince.

"I am God," replied the man in full evening dress, with a bow.

The young prince returned home as quickly as he could.

"So you are back," said his father, the King.

"I have seen islands, I have seen princesses, I have seen God," said the prince reproachfully.

The king was unmoved.

"Neither real islands, nor real princesses, nor a real God, exist."

"I saw them!"

"Tell me how God was dressed."

"God was in full evening dress."

"Were the sleeves of his coat rolled back?"

The prince remembered that they had been. The king smiled.

"That is the uniform of a magician. You have been deceived."

At this, the prince returned to the next land, and went to the same shore, where he once again came upon the man in full evening dress.

"My father the king has told me who you are," said the young prince indignantly. "You deceived me last time, but not again. Now I know that those are not real islands and real princesses, because you are a magician."

The man on the shore smiled.

"It is you who are deceived, my boy. In your father's kingdom there are many islands and many princesses. But you are under your father's spell, so you cannot see them."

The prince returned pensively home. When he saw his father, he looked him in the eyes.

"Father, is it true that you are not a real king, but only a magician?" The king smiled, and rolled back his sleeves.

"Yes, my son, I am only a magician."

"Then the man on the shore was God."

"The man on the shore was another magician."

"I must know the real truth, the truth beyond magic."

"There is no truth beyond magic," said the king.

The prince was full of sadness.

He said, "I will kill myself."

The king by magic caused death to appear. Death stood in the door and beckoned to the prince. The prince shuddered. He remembered the beautiful but unreal islands and the unreal but beautiful princesses.

"Very well," he said. "I can bear it."

"You see, my son," said the king, "you too now begin to become a magician."

-- From "The Magus" by John Fowles

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

By Hans Christian Andersen

THERE were once five and twenty tin soldiers, all brothers, for they were the offspring of the same old tin spoon. Each man shouldered his gun, kept his eyes well to the front, and wore the smartest red and blue uniform imaginable. The first thing they heard in their new world, when the lid was taken off the box, was a little boy clapping his hands and crying, “Soldiers, soldiers!” It was his birthday, and they had just been given to him; so he lost no time in setting them up on the table. All the soldiers were exactly alike with one exception, and he differed from the rest in having only one leg. For he was made last, and there was not quite enough tin left to finish him. However, he stood just as well on his one leg as the others on two; in fact he is the very one who is to become famous. On the table where they were being set up were many other toys; but the chief thing which caught the eye was a delightful paper castle. You could see through the tiny windows, right into the rooms. Outside there were some little trees surrounding a small mirror, representing a lake, whose surface reflected the waxen swans which were swimming about on it. It was altogether charming, but the prettiest thing of all was a little maiden standing at the open door of the castle. She, too, was cut out of paper, but she wore a dress of the lightest gauze, with a dainty little blue ribbon over her shoulders, by way of a scarf, set off by a brilliant spangle as big as her whole face. The little maid was stretching out both arms, for she was a dancer, and in the dance, one of her legs was raised so high into the air that the tin soldier could see absolutely nothing of it, and supposed that she, like himself, had but one leg. 1

“That would be the very wife for me!” he thought; “but she is much too grand; she lives in a palace, while I only have a box, and then there are five and twenty of us to share it. No, that would be no place for her! but I must try to make her acquaintance!” Then he lay down full length behind a snuffbox which stood on the table. From that point he could have a good look at the little lady, who continued to stand on one leg without losing her balance. 2

Late in the evening the other soldiers were put into their box, and the people of the house went to bed. Now was the time for the toys to play; they amused themselves with paying visits, fighting battles, and giving balls. The tin soldiers rustled about in their box, for they wanted to join the games, but they could not get the lid off. The nutcrackers turned somersaults, and the pencil scribbled nonsense on the slate. There was such a noise that the canary woke up and joined in, but his remarks were in verse. The only two who did not move were the tin soldier and the little dancer. She stood as stiff as ever on tiptoe, with her arms spread out; he was equally firm on his one leg, and he did not take his eyes off her for a moment. 3

Then the clock struck twelve, when pop! up flew the lid of the snuffbox, but there was no snuff in it, no! There was a little black goblin, a sort of Jack-in-the-box. 4

“Tin soldier!” said the goblin, “have the goodness to keep your eyes to yourself.” 5

But the tin soldier feigned not to hear. 6

“Ah! you just wait till to-morrow,” said the goblin 7

In the morning, when the children got up, they put the tin soldier on the window frame, and whether it was caused by the goblin or by a puff of wind, I do not know, but all at once the window burst open, and the soldier fell head foremost from the third story. 8

It was a terrific descent, and he landed at last, with his leg in the air, and rested on his cap, with his bayonet fixed between two paving stones. The maidservant and the little boy ran down at once to look for him; but although they almost trod on him, they could not see him. Had the soldier only called, “here I am,” they would easily have found him; but he did not think it proper to shout when he was in uniform. 9

Presently it began to rain, and the drops fell faster and faster, till there was a regular torrent. When it was over, two street boys came along. 10

“Look out!” said one; “there is a tin soldier! He shall go for a sail.” 11

So they made a boat out of a newspaper and put the soldier into the middle of it, and he sailed away down the gutter; both boys ran alongside, clapping their hands. Good heavens! what waves there were in the gutter, and what a current, but then it certainly had rained cats and dogs. The paper boat danced up and down, and now and then whirled round and round. A shudder ran through the tin soldier, but he remained undaunted, and did not move a muscle, only looked straight before him with his gun shouldered. All at once the boat drifted under a long wooden tunnel, and it became as dark as it was in his box. 12

“Where on earth am I going to now!” thought he. “Well, well, it is all the fault of that goblin! Oh, if only the little maiden were with me in the boat, it might be twice as dark for all I should care!” 13

At this moment a big water rat, who lived in the tunnel, came up. 14

“Have you a pass?” asked the rat. “Hand up your pass!” 15

The tin soldier did not speak, but clung still tighter to his gun. The boat rushed on, the rat close behind. Phew, how he gnashed his teeth and shouted to the bits of stick and straw. 16

“Stop him, stop him, he hasn’t paid his toll! he hasn’t shown his pass!” 17

But the current grew stronger and stronger; the tin soldier could already see daylight before him at the end of the tunnel; but he also heard a roaring sound, fit to strike terror to the bravest heart. Just imagine! Where the tunnel ended the stream rushed straight into the big canal. That would be just as dangerous for him as it would be for us to shoot a great rapid. 18

He was so near the end now that it was impossible to stop. The boat dashed out; the poor tin soldier held himself as stiff as he could; no one should say of him that he even winced. 19

The boat swirled round three or four times, and filled with water to the edge; it must sink. The tin soldier stood up to his neck in water, and the boat sank deeper and deeper. The paper became limper and limper, and at last the water went over his head—then he thought of the pretty little dancer, whom he was never to see again, and this refrain rang in his ears:—

“Onward! Onward! Soldier!

For death thou canst not shun.”


At last the paper gave way entirely and the soldier fell through—but at the same moment he was swallowed by a big fish. 21

Oh! how dark it was inside that fish; it was worse than being in the tunnel, even; and then it was so narrow! But the tin soldier was as dauntless as ever, and lay full length, shouldering his gun. 22

The fish rushed about and made the most frantic movements. At last it became quite quiet, and after a time, a flash like lightning pierced it. The soldier was once more in the broad daylight, and some one called out loudly, “a tin soldier!” The fish had been caught, taken to market, sold, and brought into the kitchen, where the cook cut it open with a large knife. She took the soldier up by the waist, with two fingers, and carried him into the parlor, where every one wanted to see the wonderful man, who had traveled about in the stomach of a fish; but the tin soldier was not at all proud. They set him up on the table, and, wonder of wonders! he found himself in the very same room that he had been in before. He saw the very same children, and the toys were still standing on the table, as well as the beautiful castle with the pretty little dancer. 23

She still stood on one leg, and held the other up in the air. You see she also was unbending. The soldier was so much moved that he was ready to shed tears of tin, but that would not have been fitting. He looked at her, and she looked at him, but they said never a word. At this moment one of the little boys took up the tin soldier, and without rime or reason, threw him into the fire. No doubt the little goblin in the snuffbox was to blame for that. The tin soldier stood there, lighted up by the flame, and in the most horrible heat; but whether it was the heat of the real fire, or the warmth of his feelings, he did not know. He had lost all his gay color; it might have been from his perilous journey, or it might have been from grief, who can tell? 24

He looked at the little maiden, and she looked at him; and he felt that he was melting away, but he still managed to keep himself erect, shouldering his gun bravely. 25

A door was suddenly opened, the draught caught the little dancer and she fluttered like a sylph, straight into the fire, to the soldier, blazed up and was gone! 26

By this time the soldier was reduced to a mere lump, and when the maid took away the ashes next morning she found him, in the shape of a small tin heart. All that was left of the dancer was her spangle, and that was burnt as black as a coal.

The Lady, or the Tiger?


by Frank R. Stockton

In the very olden time there lived a semi-barbaric king, whose

ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by the

progressiveness of distant Latin neighbors, were still large,

florid, and untrammeled, as became the half of him which was

barbaric. He was a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an

authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied

fancies into facts. He was greatly given to self-communing, and,

when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done.

When every member of his domestic and political systems moved

smoothly in its appointed course, his nature was bland and genial;

but, whenever there was a little hitch, and some of his orbs got

out of their orbits, he was blander and more genial still, for

nothing pleased him so much as to make the crooked straight and

crush down uneven places.

Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become

semified was that of the public arena, in which, by exhibitions of

manly and beastly valor, the minds of his subjects were refined

and cultured.

But even here the exuberant and barbaric fancy asserted itself

The arena of the king was built, not to give the people an

opportunity of hearing the rhapsodies of dying gladiators, nor to

enable them to view the inevitable conclusion of a conflict

between religious opinions and hungry jaws, but for purposes far

better adapted to widen and develop the mental energies of the

people. This vast amphitheater, with its encircling galleries, its

mysterious vaults, and its unseen passages, was an agent of

poetic justice, in which crime was punished, or virtue rewarded,

by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance.

When a subject was accused of a crime of sufficient importance

to interest the king, public notice was given that on an appointed

day the fate of the accused person would be decided in the king's

arena, a structure which well deserved its name, for, although its

form and plan were borrowed from afar, its purpose emanated

solely from the brain of this man, who, every barleycorn a king,

knew no tradition to which he owed more allegiance than pleased

his fancy, and who ingrafted on every adopted form of human

thought and action the rich growth of his barbaric idealism.

When all the people had assembled in the galleries, and the king,

surrounded by his court, sat high up on his throne of royal state

on one side of the arena, he gave a signal, a door beneath him

opened, and the accused subject stepped out into the

amphitheater. Directly opposite him, on the other side of the

inclosed space, were two doors, exactly alike and side by side. It

was the duty and the privilege of the person on trial to walk

directly to these doors and open one of them. He could open either

door he pleased; he was subject to no guidance or influence but

that of the aforementioned impartial and incorruptible chance. If

he opened the one, there came out of it a hungry tiger, the

fiercest and most cruel that could be procured, which

immediately sprang upon him and tore him to pieces as a

punishment for his guilt. The moment that the case of the

criminal was thus decided, doleful iron bells were clanged, great

wails went up from the hired mourners posted on the outer rim of

*the arena, and the vast audience, with bowed heads and downcast

hearts, wended slowly their homeward way, mourning greatly

that one so young and fair, or so old and respected, should have

merited so dire a fate.

But, if the accused person opened the other door, there came forth

from it a lady, the most suitable to his years and station that his

majesty could select among his fair subjects, and to this lady he

was immediately married, as a reward of his innocence. It

mattered not that he might already possess a wife and family, or

that his affections might be engaged upon an object of his own

selection; the king allowed no such subordinate arrangements to

interfere with his great scheme of retribution and reward. The

exercises, as in the other instance, took place immediately, and

in the arena. Another door opened beneath the king, and a priest,

followed by a band of choristers, and dancing maidens blowing

joyous airs on golden horns and treading an epithalamic measure,

advanced to where the pair stood, side by side, and the wedding

was promptly and cheerily solemnized. Then the gay brass bells

rang forth their merry peals, the people shouted glad hurrahs, and

the innocent man, preceded by children strewing flowers on his

path, led his bride to his home.

This was the king's semi-barbaric method of administering

justice. Its perfect fairness is obvious. The criminal could not

know out of which door would come the lady; he opened either he

pleased, without having the slightest idea whether, in the next

instant, he was to be devoured or married. On some occasions the

tiger came out of one door, and on some out of the other. The

decisions of this tribunal were not only fair, they were positively

determinate: the accused person was instantly punished if he

found himself guilty, and, if innocent, he was rewarded on the

spot, whether he liked it or not. There was no escape from the

judgments of the king's arena.

The institution was a very popular one. When the people gathered

together on one of the great trial days, they never knew whether

they were to witness a bloody slaughter or a hilarious wedding.

This element of uncertainty lent an interest to the occasion

which it could not otherwise have attained. Thus, the masses

were entertained and pleased, and the thinking part of the

community could bring no charge of unfairness against this plan,

for did not the accused person have the whole matter in his own


This semi-barbaric king had a daughter as blooming as his most

florid fancies, and with a soul as fervent and imperious as his

own. As is usual in such cases, she was the apple of his eye, and

was loved by him above all humanity. Among his courtiers was a

young man of that fineness of blood and lowness of station

common to the conventional heroes of romance who love royal

maidens. This royal maiden was well satisfied with her lover, for

he was handsome and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all this

kingdom, and she loved him with an ardor that had enough of

barbarism in it to make it exceedingly warm and strong. This love

affair moved on happily for many months, until one day the king

happened to discover its existence. He did not hesitate nor waver

in regard to his duty in the premises. The youth was immediately

cast into prison, and a day was appointed for his trial in the

king's arena. This, of course, was an especially important

occasion, and his majesty, as well as all the people, was greatly

interested in the workings and development of this trial. Never

before had such a case occurred; never before had a subject dared

to love the daughter of the king. In after years such things

became commonplace enough, but then they were in no slight

degree novel and startling.

The tiger-cages of the kingdom were searched for the most

savage and relentless beasts, from which the fiercest monster

might be selected for the arena; and the ranks of maiden youth

and beauty throughout the land were carefully surveyed by

competent judges in order that the young man might have a

fitting bride in case fate did not determine for him a different

destiny. Of course, everybody knew that the deed with which the

accused was charged had been done. He had loved the princess, and

neither he, she, nor any one else, thought of denying the fact; but

the king would not think of allowing any fact of this kind to

interfere with the workings of the tribunal, in which he took such

great delight and satisfaction. No matter how the affair turned

out, the youth would be disposed of, and the king would take an

aesthetic pleasure in watching the course of events, which would

determine whether or not the young man had done wrong in

allowing himself to love the princess.

The appointed day arrived. From far and near the people gathered,

and thronged the great galleries of the arena, and crowds, unable

to gain admittance, massed themselves against its outside walls.

The king and his court were in their places, opposite the twin

doors, those fateful portals, so terrible in their similarity.

All was ready. The signal was given. A door beneath the royal

party opened, and the lover of the princess walked into the arena.

Tall, beautiful, fair, his appearance was greeted with a low hum

of admiration and anxiety. Half the audience had not known so

grand a youth had lived among them. No wonder the princess loved

him! What a terrible thing for him to be there!

As the youth advanced into the arena he turned, as the custom

was, to bow to the king, but he did not think at all of that royal

personage. His eyes were fixed upon the princess, who sat to the

right of her father. Had it not been for the moiety of barbarism in

her nature it is probable that lady would not have been there, but

her intense and fervid soul would not allow her to be absent on an

occasion in which she was so terribly interested. From the

moment that the decree had gone forth that her lover should

decide his fate in the king's arena, she had thought of nothing,

night or day, but this great event and the various subjects

connected with it. Possessed of more power, influence, and force

of character than any one who had ever before been interested in

such a case, she had done what no other person had done,--she had

possessed herself of the secret of the doors. She knew in which

of the two rooms, that lay behind those doors, stood the cage of

the tiger, with its open front, and in which waited the lady.

Through these thick doors, heavily curtained with skins on the

inside, it was impossible that any noise or suggestion should

come from within to the person who should approach to raise the

latch of one of them. But gold, and the power of a woman's will,

had brought the secret to the princess.

And not only did she know in which room stood the lady ready to

emerge, all blushing and radiant, should her door be opened, but

she knew who the lady was. It was one of the fairest and

loveliest of the damsels of the court who had been selected as

the reward of the accused youth, should he be proved innocent of

the crime of aspiring to one so far above him; and the princess

hated her. Often had she seen, or imagined that she had seen, this

fair creature throwing glances of admiration upon the person of

her lover, and sometimes she thought these glances were

perceived, and even returned. Now and then she had seen them

talking together; it was but for a moment or two, but much can be

said in a brief space; it may have been on most unimportant

topics, but how could she know that? The girl was lovely, but she

had dared to raise her eyes to the loved one of the princess; and,

with all the intensity of the savage blood transmitted to her

through long lines of wholly barbaric ancestors, she hated the

woman who blushed and trembled behind that silent door.

When her lover turned and looked at her, and his eye met hers as

she sat there, paler and whiter than any one in the vast ocean of

anxious faces about her, he saw, by that power of quick

perception which is given to those whose souls are one, that she

knew behind which door crouched the tiger, and behind which

stood the lady. He had expected her to know it. He understood her

nature, and his soul was assured that she would never rest until

she had made plain to herself this thing, hidden to all other

lookers-on, even to the king. The only hope for the youth in which

there was any element of certainty was based upon the success

of the princess in discovering this mystery; and the moment he

looked upon her, he saw she had succeeded, as in his soul he knew

she would succeed.

Then it was that his quick and anxious glance asked the question:

"Which?" It was as plain to her as if he shouted it from where he

stood. There was not an instant to be lost. The question was

asked in a flash; it must be answered in another.

Her right arm lay on the cushioned parapet before her. She raised

her hand, and made a slight, quick movement toward the right. No

one but her lover saw her. Every eye but his was fixed on the man

in the arena.

He turned, and with a firm and rapid step he walked across the

empty space. Every heart stopped beating, every breath was held,

every eye was fixed immovably upon that man. Without the

slightest hesitation, he went to the door on the right, and opened


Now, the point of the story is this: Did the tiger come out of that

door, or did the lady ?

The more we reflect upon this question, the harder it is to

answer. It involves a study of the human heart which leads us

through devious mazes of passion, out of which it is difficult to

find our way. Think of it, fair reader, not as if the decision of the

question depended upon yourself, but upon that hot-blooded,

semi-barbaric princess, her soul at a white heat beneath the

combined fires of despair and jealousy. She had lost him, but who

should have him?

How often, in her waking hours and in her dreams, had she started

in wild horror, and covered her face with her hands as she thought

of her lover opening the door on the other side of which waited

the cruel fangs of the tiger!

But how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! How in

her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth, and torn her hair,

when she saw his start of rapturous delight as he opened the door

of the lady! How her soul had burned in agony when she had seen

him rush to meet that woman, with her flushing cheek and

sparkling eye of triumph; when she had seen him lead her forth,

his whole frame kindled with the joy of recovered life; when she

had heard the glad shouts from the multitude, and the wild

ringing of the happy bells; when she had seen the priest, with his

joyous followers, advance to the couple, and make them man and

wife before her very eyes; and when she had seen

them walk away together upon their path of flowers, followed by

the tremendous shouts of the hilarious multitude, in which her

one despairing shriek was lost and drowned!

Would it not be better for him to die at once, and go to wait for

her in the blessed regions of semi-barbaric futurity?

And yet, that awful tiger, those shrieks, that blood!

Her decision had been indicated in an instant, but it had been

made after days and nights of anguished deliberation. She had

known she would be asked, she had decided what she would

answer, and, without the slightest hesitation, she had moved her

hand to the right.

The question of her decision is one not to be lightly considered,

and it is not for me to presume to set myself up as the one person

able to answer it. And so I leave it with all of you: Which came

out of the opened door,--the lady, or the tiger?

The End

Hsin Hsin Ming: the Book of Nothing

Hsin Hsin Ming - verses on the faith mind of Sengstan (Sosan) 3rd Zen Patriarch, translated from the original Chinese by Richard B. Clarke, Zen teacher at the Living Dharma Centers, Amherst, Massachussets and Coventry, Connecticut.

* * *

The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinion for or against. The struggle of what one likes and what one dislikes is the disease of the mind.


When the deep meaning of things is not understood the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail. The way is perfect like vast space where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess. Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things. Live neither in the entanglements of outer things, nor in inner feelings of emptiness. Be serene without striving activity in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves. When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity your very effort fills you with activity. As long as you remain in one extreme or the other you will never know Oneness. Those who do not live in the single Way fail in both activity and passivity, assertion and denial.

* *

To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality. The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth. Stop talking and thinking and there is nothing you will not be able to know.

* * *

To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source. At the moment of inner enlightenment there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness. The changes that appear to occur in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance. Do not search for the truth; only cease to hold opinions. Do not remain in the dualistic state; avoid such pursuits carefully. If there is a trace of this and that, the right and wrong, the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion. Although all dualities come from the One, do not be attached even to this One. When mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when a thing can no longer offend it ceases to exist in the old way. When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist.

* *

When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish. Things are objects because of the subject; the mind is such because of things. Understand the relativity of these two and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness. In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable and each contains in itself the whole world. If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine you will no be tempted to prejudice and opinion.


To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult, but those with limited views are fearful and irresolute: the faster they hurry, the slower they go, and clinging cannot be limited: even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray. Just let things be in their own way and there will be neither coming nor going. Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed. When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear, and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness. What benefit can be derived from distinctions and separations? If you wish to move in the One Way do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas. Indeed, to accept them fully is identical with true Enlightenment. The wise man strives for no goals but the foolish man fetters himself. There is one Dharma, truth, law, not many; distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant. To seek Mind with the discriminating mind is the greatest of all mistakes.

* *

Rest and unrest derive from illusion; with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking. All dualities come from ignorant inference. They are like dreams or flowers in the air; foolish try to grasp them. Gain and loss, right and wrong: such thoughts must finally be abolished at once. If the eye never sleeps, all dreams will naturally cease. If the mind makes no discriminations, the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence. To understand the mystery of this One-essence is to be released from all entanglements. When all things are seen equally the timeless Self-essence is reached. No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relationless state.

* * *

Consider movement stationary and the stationary in motion, and both the state of movement and the state of rest disappear. When such dualities cease to exist Oneness itself cannot exist. To this ultimate finality no law or description applies. For the unified mind in accord with the Way all self-centered striving ceases. Doubts and irresolutions vanish and life in true faith is possible. With a single stroke we are freed from bondage; nothing clings to us and we hold nothing. All is empty, clear, self-illuminating, with no exertion of the mind's power. Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.

* *

In this world of Suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self. To come directly into harmony with this reality just simply say when doubts arise, "Not two." In this "not two" nothing is separate, nothing is excluded. No matter when or where, enlightenment means entering this truth. And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space; in it a single thought is then thousand years.


Emptiness here, Emptiness there, but the infinite universe stands always before our eyes. Infinitely large and infinitely small; no difference, for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen. So too with Being and non-Being. Don't waste time in doubts and arguments that have nothing to do with this. One thing, all things: move among and intermingle, without distinction. To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection. To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.


The Way is beyond language, for in it there is

no yesterday

no tomorrow

no today.

Saturday, January 8, 2005


Blogging is a vogue-thing these days--but I didn't give it a try--I'm the old-school-tie-type--had three web sites: maqsoodqureshi.com/net/org offline now--I don't web author anymore--anyway, my niece inspired me--she wants me to write short stories like Jhumpa Lahiri--but Jhumpa is educated--I'm functional illiterate!--moreover, I can't write stories--I'd write monologue!

I live in Hyderabad--it's a flyover city and the IT-capital of India--everybody is IT-literate here--my milkman is my Internet Service Provider--he's two cows and thirty two routers!

Friday, January 7, 2005


Never been married--single but busy--straight male--certified by the American Vet Clinic--I'm human-friendly and extraterrestrial-compatible--I believe that by the end of 2005--it'd be possible to download promiscuous girls from the Net--by the way, my sense of humor is rustic, mediocre and often outrageously-grotesque--if stark, graphic details of necrophilia, headhunting, cannibalism, bloody-shirt-stuff etcetera don't offend you--and--if hardcore satire doesn't seriously embarrass you--read on:

I believe in pro-life hoopla--have adopted a newly born illegitimate baby lizard. She's terribly camera-shy--otherwise I'd definitely posted her snap here--anyway, Mother Lizard is missing though--she must've eloped with her paramour again--I guess!--And-er-you always thought infidelity was a human trait eh?

Comment posted by H.S
at 1/7/2005 1:43:00 PM
LOL .. Blog On !

Comment posted by Striver
at 1/7/2005 1:35:00 PM
Nice to see yet another blog by a muslim. : )