Hari Prasad

Off late, I have had mysterious experiences of the kind that are said, cannot be described in words. But since I must do something about them, and I cannot seem to be able to do anything perfectly, I Shall write about one.

I have been fasting regularly since a few months now; and for more than the past month I have restricted myself to one meal a day. It is nothing great; I am only being honest with the amount of food I need for my effective working. And people have a misconception that fasting is austerity, something negative and denying; but I am speaking along the lines of moderation.

I have also kept myself in company of religious books and complementary literature in the hours of the day and night which I have free from professional commitments. I do not get bored reading them. I also prefer listening to melodious music, over whatever it is that is not melodious music.

One such evening, after returning from a satisfying day at office, I enjoyed playing my guitar and reciting Ravan’s Shivtandavstrotram. Then I started playing an mp3 version of Lata Mangeshkar’s ‘Mogara Phulala’ (melody by Hridaynath Mangeshkar, improvisation of Rag Gorakh Kalyan on flute by the maestro Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasiya). The thought of hunger arrived in my mind, and it disturbed me. I focussed myself on the song; my blood pressure had to be lowered. One is truly hungry only when the hunger makes him mad. It is better to refrain from such hunger.

I was angry at being hungry,  because I had not felt hungry before because of fasting. I felt I was going weak; and it seems it is not masculine to be weak. The rising tones of Hari’s flute diverted my attention.

I remembered, that incident between Draupadi, Durvasa, and Lord Krishna. Once the dangerous Rishi Durvasa, ever inclined on cursing, arrived at the cottage of the Pandavs. He asked them for the brahman’s share of food as prescribed by the scriptures. In reality there was nothing left in the house of Pandavs for eating, and they were out searching for the same when the feared sage arrived. While the sage waited for the food to arrive, Draupadi went to the kitchen compartment and wept, remembering her beloved brother Krishna.

Krishna appeared. He asked Draupadi to show her the food bowls. All were empty, except one, in which one tiny rice grain had stuck to the bottom. Krishna asked Draupadi if he could have it; she complied in anticipation.

And Krishna placed that grain in his mouth; it dissolved in his saliva. It is said, that as Krishna consumed that grain, the hunger of the entire universe was satisfied; all fires were quietened. It was as if the eating would never end; time came to a halt.

The sounds of the flute were lost, the words were lost; their meanings too. There were nothing; no hunger, no food. Only the taste of rice dissolving in Krishna’s mouth… I felt as if I will never be hungry again.

The Pandavs returned empty-handed, with fear agonising their bodies and misfortune prevailing in their minds savoring the bitterness of hunger on their lips. As they entered, sage Durvasa appealed to them that strangely he was not hungry at all, and he left blessing them all.

I was back from the reverie. I had sprayed in my room, jasmine air freshener. The perfume I wore– gifted to me by a friend of mine, a Hindustani Classical enthusiast– which also flavored jasmine. Though both were jasmine-flavored,  they smelt differently. It was like one drifted in the breeze of one nostril, and one in the breeze of the other nostril. I smelt them, like I had smelt them for the first time.

I was not hungry at all. I had a glass of water, smoked a cigarette, felt content. Carelessness lingered, and I went back to play my guitar.

That was it; and I have done multiple sins in talking about it; so here’s a beautiful prayer to make up for it:


Saint Augustine
Entering into Joy

Imagine if all the tumult of the body were to quiet down, along with all our busy thoughts about earth, sea, and air;
if the very world should stop, and the mind cease thinking about itself, go beyond itself, and be quite still;
if all the fantasies that appear in dreams and imagination should cease, and there be no speech, no sign:
Imagine if all things that are perishable grew still – for if we listen they are saying, We did not make ourselves; he made us who abides forever – imagine, then, that they should say this and fall silent, listening to the very voice of him who made them and not to that of his creation;
so that we should hear not his word through the tongues of men, nor the voice of angels, nor the clouds’ thunder, nor any symbol, but the very Self which in these things we love, and go beyond ourselves to attain a flash of that eternal wisdom which abides above all things:
And imagine if that moment were to go on and on, leaving behind all other sights and sounds but this one vision which ravishes and absorbs and fixes the beholder in joy; so that the rest of eternal life were like that moment of illumination which leaves us breathless:
Would this not be what is bidden in scripture, Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord?

**Saint Augustine was born in North Africa in 354 and lived into the last stages of collapse of the Roman Empire. His Confessions, one of the world’s great pieces of autobiographical literature, tells the story of a brilliant, passionate young man who learned to channel all his passions toward God. This translation from book 9, chapter 10, is by Michael N. Nagler.



~ by Bombadil on January 13, 2009.

3 Responses to “Hari Prasad”

  1. Great going Dude!!

  2. Perhaps it is one of those adventures that the reader must also repeat in order to appreciate. The Artist is in his own zone and that is a pleasure for sure…

  3. Amir: Bhagwan ji ki jai

    Akshaya: Most Certainly. The writing is merely a signboard. Like ‘I was here’. It’s useless.

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