Monday, 24 July 2006

Ramesh Balsekar

Ramesh giving his daily talk in his house in Bombay, surrounded by pictures of his guru, Nisargadatta Maharaj

An inscription in one of Ramesh's books - a quotation from Chuang Zu that says all there is to say: "The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflection; the water has no mind to receive their image"

More Freya Stark

My grandmother as I knew her came into being-always a little of a problem, living with this relative or that, or in lodgings at the end of long tram or bus routes, in sitting-rooms of dark plush where all the pictures had heavy frames. Here, with small very wrinkled hands, and silk lace carefully and gently draped about her, she radiated her unchanging serenity and charm. She carried about her that best of atmospheres- a sense of amplitude of time. A whole series of episodes in my childhood show her peacefully reading, or dressing,or brushing the long dark hair that could reach her knees, while a babel of agitated voices urged departing carriages or trains. She always had a book in her hand and was never busy; she would put it down and her arms would open to enclose any human being, but particularly a child, who needed refuge there; for what she gave was affection pure and simple, deliberately free from wear and tear of understanding or advice. She did this because she believed in affection as the panacea for all the evils in the world, and the essence of this simple love has wound itself in my memory with her scent of eau-de -cologne, and her blonde lace, and the wide silk folds and bits of warm satin that made up the black friendly labyrinth of her gowns. There one nestled for hours while she told stories. The book of Genesis, myths of Greece, the Siegfried sagas, the Seven Kings of Rome, Tasso, Dante, Goethe, came to me in this good way, not arid noises from a mechanical cavern, or black and white deserts of print, but warm with the person of the teller, modulated with the inflections of a voice that meant safety and kindness, so that the childhood of the world merged with my own and lies there entranced in the same afternoon light that melted into twighlight and gradually dimmed the ivory face and left the voice almost alone to call up pageant after pageant, while one fondled the small hands, so soft and old, whose rings had taken the shape of the fingers and lost their lustre through more than half a century of wear.

Freya Stark

Monday, 10 July 2006