Monday, 15 January 2007

Makar Sankranti

January 14th/15th has been pious, festive and cosmic. I'm glad to be living in a country which is so conscious of astronomical movements that it closes its banks, businesses and schools and instead prays to the heavens at this time.
Makar Sankranti is a time of Sun worship.

I accidentally watched a film on the TV. It happened to start in my field of vision and I was gripped firstly by its visual style, then by the story. It was called ‘The Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within’ written and directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi. I'd never heard of it before. Apparently it comes from the world of gaming.

Anyway it got me thinking about my piece 'Array' and about recent conversations with Stephan Harding at Schumacher College (whose new book 'Animate Earth' has recently appeared) and David Abram (whose book 'The Spell of the Sensuous' has been influencing me for the last ten years.)

One of the final sequences in the movie particularly caught my imagination. It reminded me of those sumptuous ISKCON paintings in which the soul of each living being is pictured as a small golden light glowing in its heart. In the movie the soul force is pictured as a little light, like tinkerbell, floating up to meet other souls in a field of stars. As this inner fairy rises out of the body of a scientist, he gasps, 'It's warm!'

I can't see any stars from my Bangalore city centre apartment but on Makar Sankranti I'm reminded that they are there.


So it’s good that at least we are beginning to acknowledge our mother and our siblings on this planet. This is a small beginning in the search for intelligent life.

The contemporary re-acquaintance with Gaia is useful in helping to alleviate some of the suffering caused by self-centredness. It reminds us of the more-than-human world.
But it does not go far enough. In fact it is the Sun that sustains even Gaia.
The Sun is the Father
And our Mother, his Daughter.
And he himself just one amongst councils and communities.
And each one of us is, to oneself, a star
Making the lights of others almost invisible.

seen from far away
appears as an insignificant pinprick.
But it is experienced as heat.

Stars are burning crucibles
Creating from their bodies the material of life
And giving rise eventually to spirit.

While we are consumed in the sunshine of the self
We do not feel the heat of the countless stars around us
But in the cool detachment of the moonlight
We can broaden the mind to see the millions of souls hanging in the heavens
And know that each is a fire in space.

That is unless we light the night as if it were day.

Falling into the Milky Way
I see my own little heat as if from afar, as a point of light.
And if I lose that viewpoint, I lose my place.
And it will not be long before I am lost altogether
Blinded by my own fires.

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