Sometimes I wonder whether it is the right thing to write. When one writes, one defines, one pledges. And therefore it becomes important as to what one is writing and where the words are coming from. I try to still my mind and absorb its wavering nature to tune into truth. It is a necessary step. It is somewhat like going to a temple. One must quiet one’s mind by going around the deity. And the deity must be to one’s right for one’s right side is the dwelling of the timeless and one’s left belongs to nature.
We are thus made of two parts - a still and timeless part and a changing transitory part. And when we express we must go around that which is ancient and eternal and allow the transient to express that which it sees through the inner eye. Honesty therefore is a primary criterion.
To the extent that a word is honest, to that extent it is purifying. The inner eye is awakened in meditation when the noise of the world around is quelled. And yet when one expresses something with honesty sometimes an overlap occurs. The truths that have been heard align themselves with the truths that have been seen. It is as if a single path is becoming visible. The path is seen. As it is described honestly the fog seems to lift shedding light on a few more yards. Towards such an end, it seems like a useful thing to write - at least useful in the writer’s own search.
And yet sometimes when the vision blurs between what is seen and what is felt, one must dare to express - it is as if one is testing the waters. Without venturing one cannot know the depth of the waters ahead. The path of a trodden truth has both a distance and a depth. And this depth is felt between the words, in that which is unsaid. It is felt in the vibrations that the words carry more than in their meaning. In fact the truth of every word is hidden in the womb of its apparent meaning. The honesty of the writer gives birth to this felt truth behind the expressive shell.
The courage of a writer must come from his own self. My master seldom encouraged such writing. He saw how easily an ego gets attached to one’s writing. It is a struggle to face appreciation for the words that flow through one’s instruments (body and mind). For every appreciation is a test to see if one will develop an egotistic shell around oneself. It is very easy to think that one has written. And yet everything that one writes rings hollow when the words are not imbued with a timeless spirit. Without a true spirit in its center the words echo in a hollow shell.
Who shall truly take credit for truth being what it is? Sometimes when I write, I feel it is better to reflect and be honest than to carry beliefs about something. The more you carry, the more burdensome it becomes. Sometimes when someone asks me about something written by me, I take some time to answer. Because I am not evolved enough to remain tuned into truth all the time. When I write though, I try to be sincere and genuine and try to savour the truth as I write. It is as a balm for a disquieting day. It is purely for my own upliftment that I write, and if I share, it is with a genuine feeling that it is of value to any human being.
Outwardly a writer, inwardly I must be a torchbearer. As long as I carry that torch inside, my writing purifies me. Else it corrupts. Therefore the focus is on being the torchbearer, on keeping the inner fire alive, on being grateful for the privilege of being allowed to share this fire with another.
I rarely resort to humour when I write. Honestly, it does not come with truth. There can be gentleness or a feeling of warmth in an expression of truth. But I have seldom come across humour in trying to express it. One may use humour to communicate to a live audience perhaps, but when words flow and light up a path, there is very little of any emotion in it. There is just some sort of bare work, shorn of form and identity, making one almost vulnerable. Thus it was that the greatest truths were transferred in secrecy and from person to person in ancient India. It was rarely transmitted in a public expression. There is something essentially personal about truth. It is entirely impersonal and yet deeply personal. Therein lies the answer to character and personality. Truth defines character and reveals personality. Not any development of personality but a structured revelation of the omniscient personality that is hidden deep inside us and reflected in nature around.
When we look around, we see nature and nature reflects truth in every little aspect of its functioning. It is only man who chooses to be unnatural and to that extent untruthful. There is nothing truer than nature.
And yet the science of nature and the nature of science hide the deepest truths from any ordinary instrument. For truth is felt and not seen outwardly. It is seen through the inner eye of an intelligence beyond the talking mind. The talking mind confuses by its very tendency to talk. And that is why one wonders whether to write or not to write.
Writing must be like this stately walk. If one sees what is uppermost, it is going somewhere and yet is still. It is pointing towards something and yet it is unwavering. Only the lower limbs are in motion. The hands of a writer must be like these lower limbs. Just carrying the upper still part in a walk on the path of truth towards a light from which the path emanates.
Do we thank the legs profusely for reaching somewhere? Never! It is not for us to worry and get occupied with gratitude for all the work the legs are doing. Legs exist so that they may take us somewhere. It is part of nature’s design. And when one writes it ought to be as if it is a part of nature’s design, not one’s own doing. The value of the walk is in the focus of one’s sights and not in the energy of the legs. Thus one’s focus must be inward and one’s writing must point towards that truth.
What is an expression of truth doing really? It is but a wordy worship of a sacred flame. It is but a devotional song to that supreme spirit that resides and presides in all that is manifest. Everything that is true unifies one’s mind and purifies one’s personality, revealing a little bit more of one’s authentic self.
(This article has been excerpted with permission from ‘Soul Space — Reflections on Life’ by Vidyashankar Hoskere)