Director: Shilo Shiv Suleman
Duration: 00:05:40; Aspect Ratio: 1.250:1; Hue: 22.342; Saturation: 0.157; Lightness: 0.252; Volume: 0.273; Cuts per Minute: 37.041; Words per Minute: 20.637
Summary: Hriday Aakash is an allegorical journey into the Kabirean/Sufic/mystic world and delves not only into the philosophy of this space, but is also a record of the director's personal journey in this space.
Kabir's poetry is not simply a didactic attempt at explaining what one's journey should be, but only an invitation to walk a little way on this path to love, शुन्यता, bhakti and surrender to the boundless.
This short film too is an invitation into the richly visual, magico-realist world that is our lives, both inner and outer.
About the Director: Shilo Shiv Suleman is an extraordinarily gifted young artist, animator, illustrator and storyteller. She is currently in her 4th year at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology. She has illustrated several children's books and has produced one of her own. She is also working with the Kabir Project on designing their upcoming web archive. Hriday Aakash was born out of her deep engagement and connection with the world of Kabir and of mystic poetry. It is as much an exploration into her own inner world as it is of our own.
The annotations to this video were born out of the Pad.ma workshop that I attended and was very inspired by. These are personal reflections on some of the connections and thoughts that seemed to spring very organically from the frames of this short film. It was and still is a deeply provocative piece to work with because it makes me question my own attachments, desires and quest for the beloved. I hope that in some way these offerings would be a light in this journey of self discovery for all who stop by this little space.
मत कर माया को अहंकार
मत कर काया को अभिमान
काया धूल हो जासी
काया धूल हो जासी
जैसे ओसरा मोती
Don't give Maya any more attention
Don't pride yourself on your body
It will go up in smoke you know!
The dewdrop vanishes
under the dawning sun
So will you.
TO be unafraid of death is to live each moment as it comes.
"to die each moment
to be born anew the next
How can you
not be immortal ?"
-Shah Abdul Latif "Bhitai"
Wiki entry on moths
transition to smoke
The third eye
इस भवसागर में डूब जाना कितना आसान है. पर हम इस जनन-मरण के चक्र से कैसे बचें?
When the eyes of knowledge are opened, the lotus blooms eternally in this world-ocean. Words of the wise ones lap at my feet but I am too scared to cross and immerse myself in them. My wings flutter uselessly, waiting for something to take me out of myself. Will that ever happen? Will someone rescue me from myself?
Lotus opens, Song starts
The moth enters the scene longing after the chand, her reflection
The moon has various interpretations in the Bhakti/Kabir strand of poetry. It is one half of the duality that comprises of the sun and the moon, the yin and the yang, the inbreath and outbreath. The links to Buddhism, Hatha Yoga, Tantrism are evident in Kabir's poetry and form the metanarrative from and in which he seeks to speak to our minds and bodies. If the moth is the body or kaya, then the moon is that state where the body and mind no longer form a duality but are simply one. Therefore there is no fragmentation or conflict between one and the other. Indeed the moth yearns for a non fragmented state, a return if one be so bold to a pre-lapsarian "lack of a a lack".
"Moths live in all but polar regions. The wings, bodies and legs of the moth are covered with numerous touch hairs that come off if it is handled. Because of this the moth is highly sensitive to touch. They can feel, smell, taste and determine temperatures with their featherly antennae. The tiny pegs upon them serve as receptors. This gives the moth the ability to perceive everything with clarity. Those with this totem usually have strong psychic and healing abilities. They must be careful not to pick up other people's problems and carry them around in their own energy field. If this happens, confusion and irritability can set in.
The process of metamorphosis is part of the magic moth holds. The egg stage symbolizes the birth of an idea. The larvae stage indicates the laying of a foundation. The chrysalis stage represents the process of creating, and the winged stage allows it to take flight and explore new territory.
One of the most interesting characteristics of the moth is how it wraps its wings around itself. When resting, they either fold their wings, wrap them around their body, or hold them extended by their sides. This suggests a basic nurturing quality and those with this medicine often find themselves in some care giving role.
The hearing ability of the moth is acute. They are capable of detecting ultra sound because their hearing organs are found on their legs. These enable them to sense vibrations emitted around them. Paying attention to what is being said and to what is not being said is part of the teaching the moth holds. Observing the body language of others is useful.
When the moth appears in our life (עש ח) it is asking us to pay attention to issues of sensitivity. Are you overly sensitive or insensitive to those around you? Are you involved in a situation that needs to be reevaluated? Are you honoring the integrity of all concerned?
The transformative qualities of the moth are numerous. It shows us how to develop and refine our psychic gifts. The moth is an optimist and an opportunist. It can teach us how to release unwanted influences and fly into the discovery of our personal joy. "
--Cycle of Power Animal Totems
flies after it always out of reach
"Moon Moths are nocturnal (meaning: active at night), which explains their name, and have a fascination with lights that is most closely explained by their instinctive attraction to the moon, which the Moth's life-cycle revolves around. Adult Moon Moths have no mouth - they eat nothing, and their overall coloration and long trailing tails are truly a sight to see, in person."
-- Moon Moths
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
--Burnt Norton from The Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot
the world spins time passes but she is always out of reach
Fire and light blaze; you burn
like a moth, pleasing your eyes.
--Kabir, (The Bijak transl. by Linda Hess)
There was once a young man who was as handsome as he was vain. He had the habit of derisively pointing out the physical defects of those around him.
One day, on his way to the forest, he saw a maiden clothed in silk. He was struck by her beauty
and thought that, certainly, this was the loveliest woman in the world.
Entranced, he started to come near her, but she turned and fled. He combed the forest all day searching for her, but she was nowhere to be found.
Finally, tired and irritated, he burst out aloud, "You are not really beautiful ! Your nose is flat and your ears are too wide." He then settled down against a tree and slept.
He awoke with a start later to find the woman staring down at him. He also discovered that he had been transformed into an insect. The young woman, who was a fairy, told him that he would be cursed to remain thus until he finds a maiden who could exceed her in beauty.
To this day, the enchanted young man continues his search, carrying a flickering light at night to help him in his quest.
---A Filipino legend
the first of the temptations: the firefly (kaam)
He follows her through the street lamps into one
"In Maya's flames the world burns,
burns for gold and sex.
Kabir says, how to save it
when the fire is swathed in cotton ?"
I can't help but think of "Mayabazaar" and its wondrous effects that wowed me as a child. My grandfather used to tell me this story whenever I met him and he would have me in splits of laughter with his impersonation of Ghatotkacha and his "Vivaaha bhojanam". There too, the काकमहल or Palace of Illusions seduced me into a world of wonder where anything was possible. Where abundance was the word of the day, and no guest ever lacked for anything, be it wine,women, food, or wealth. But the end of the movie brought me crashing back into a world of want and need forever left unsatisfied much like the maya bazaar vanishes into thin air leaving its guests naked and stranded in the middle of the jungle. Kabir would have loved the film I am sure :)
enter the king of maya: with wealth and fire and lust and snakes
exits the streetlamp ino the dark and rainy night
"अजा रंग महल में
अजब शहर में
आजा रे हंसा भाई
निर्गुण राजा पे
सिरगुण सेज बिछाई"
Enter my palace of colours
my bejewelled heart
this city of wonder
Come, my brother soul
envelop the formless
with your form and love
through this ajab shahar into the room with the candle
What is this Ajab Shahar? And why is it so important to find oneself in it? You can call it the mind or the body or the world around you but the experience of it in Kabir's poetry is that of wonder, of being turned upside down. This world is not on which you can take at face value, you have to look beneath the surface and see what its reality is. Wandering lost and alone through the strangeness and alienness that is this ajab duniya, you suddenly come across a light, a noor that invites you in. The noor of the Beloved, the truth (haq) and of love. Once you have seen that flame nothing else will do but to circle it, be drawn in by it and ultimately be consumed by it. This love is not for the faint hearted, as Shah Latif would say. Its for those whose ornament is the gallows, who tremble not when they are faced with the knife that is love. Those who seek Love, cannot turn back from the warground of Love.
Do you have the courage to set out in search of the Beloved? Are you prepared to surrender to the Beloved, surrender to your own true heart and be consumed,enflamed by it? Are you prepared to burn so that not even ash remains?
Then follow the moth.
"Within the heart a mirror
but no face shows.
You'll see the face when the heart's
--Kabir (transl. Linda Hess)
"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together"
the candle is love; to be lost and burned in love
the endless fractalic reflections of the individual in the piya
Come, reside in my eyes,
that my lashes may imprison you forever.
You are not for anyone else,
nor will I ever look upon another's face.
- Kabir/Shah Latif
To become truly one, you must see no duality, no difference between you and the Beloved. To see yourself through another's eyes: that is the true oneness. When you shed your aham, your identity, you can no longer be dvided. When you are no longer divided there can be no conflict and where there is no conflict, there can be nothing but the truth and peace.
It seems apropos to the situation to be writing this annotation now when tomorrow the verdict on the Babri Masjid demolition case will be announced. The country has been gripped by a fervor of anxiety and anticipation. Everyone is dreading the prospect of violence tomorrow and curiously this short film has become a comfort. Somewhere there is always hope that if there are people, young people in this world who can see the world with such magical eyes then there must be hope for us, for a better tomorrow.
the kaleidoscope pulses as they become one
and the chand is found in the hriday akaash
Doha from kabir