Connections – Week One


Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
you will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine
rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.

When you really look for me, you will see me instantly —
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.

Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.


When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Shakespeare (1564-1616, Sonnet 29)


Kisi ki muskurahaton pe ho nisaar Offer to bring a smile to someone
Kisi ka dard mil sake toh le udhaar Share a shoulder to bear another’s pain
Kisi ke vaaste ho tere dil mein pyar Have love for someone in your heart
Jeena isi ka naam hai This is the meaning of life
Maana apni jeb se fakeer hai I agree that I’m poor when it comes to money
Phir bhi yaaro dil ke hum ameer hai But still, my friends, my heart is rich
Mite joh pyar ke liye woh zindagi Life is great when it’s sacrificed for love
Jale bahaar ke liye woh zindagi Life is great when it’s sacrificed for joy
Kisi ko ho na ho humein toh aitbaar I have faith in this even if no one else has
Jeena isi ka naam hai This is the meaning of life
Rishta dil se dil ke aitbaar ka Trust bridges heart to heart
Zinda hai hum hi se naam pyar ka Love exists because of me
Ke marke bhi kisi ko yaad aayenge Someone will remember me even after I die
Kisi ke aansuo mein muskurayenge I’ll smile in someone’s tears
Kahega phool har kali se baar baar A Flower will forever say this to its buds
Jeena isi ka naam hai This is the meaning of life


From the Raj Kapoor film Anari (1959)
– sung by Mukesh, lyrics by Shailendra


No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

John Donne (1572-1631)


And Death said to Yudhishtra, “Your brothers lie dead before you. They failed to answer my questions and chose to forcibly take away water which was not theirs to drink. So answer my questions if you want them to live again.”

Death asked, “How can one acquire intelligence?”
By serving the old.

“What is fleeter than the wind? And what is more numerous than grass?”
The mind is fleeter than the wind; and our thoughts more numerous than grass.

“What does not move after birth? And what is that which swells with its own impetus?”
An egg does not move after birth; and a river swells with its own impetus.

“Who is the friend of the sick? And who is the friend of one about to die?”
The physician is the friend of the sick; and charity the friend of him about to die.

“What journeys alone? What is re-born after its birth? And what is the largest field?”
The sun journeys alone; the moon is re-born each month; and the Earth is the largest field.

“What is the highest refuge of happiness?”
Good behaviour.

“What is man’s chief support? And what also is his chief refuge?”
The clouds are his chief support; and charity is his chief refuge.

“What is the most valuable of all his possessions?”

“What is the highest duty in the world? What, if controlled, leads not to regret?”
The highest of duties is to do no harm; the mind, if controlled, leads to no regret.

“What constitutes mercy?”
Mercy consists in wishing happiness to all.

“What enemy is invincible? What constitutes an incurable disease?”
Anger is an invincible enemy; covetousness an incurable disease.

“Who is truly happy?”
A man who cooks in his own house, and who stirs not from home, is truly happy.

“What is the greatest wonder?”
Day after day countless creatures die, yet those who remain behind believe themselves to be immortal. What can be more wonderful than this?

And Death said, “Behold your brothers live, O Yudhishtra!”

from the only complete translation of The Mahabharata, by KS Ganguli


O father! I’m leaving home.
O father! I’m leaving home.

The four bearers lift my palanquin.
I’m leaving those who were my own.

Your courtyard is now like a mountain, and the threshold, a foreign country.
I leave your house, father, I am going to my beloved’s country.

Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was the last ruler of Awadh in north India (1847-1856), who was ousted by Lord Dalhousie


There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared! –
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!”

Edward Lear (1812-1888)