Saturday, July 11, 2009
To ॐ dragonflyriri ॐ
"The goal which all the Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which men desire when they lead the life of continence … is Om. This syllable Om is indeed Brahman. Whosoever knows this syllable obtains all that he desires. This is the best support; this is the highest support. Whosoever knows this support is adored in the world of Brahma."
~ Katha Upanishad I
Om or Aum is of paramount importance in Hinduism. This symbol (as seen in the image on the right) is a sacred syllable representing Brahman, the impersonal Absolute of Hinduism — omnipotent, omnipresent, and the source of all manifest existence. Brahman, in itself, is incomprehensible; so a symbol becomes mandatory to help us realize the Unknowable. Om, therefore, represents both the unmanifest (nirguna) and manifest (saguna) aspects of God. That is why it is called pranava, to mean that it pervades life and runs through our prana or breath.
Om in Daily Life
Although Om symbolizes the most profound concepts of Hindu belief, it is in use daily. The Hindus begin their day or any work or a journey by uttering Om. The sacred symbol is often found at the head of letters, at the beginning of examination papers and so on. Many Hindus, as an expression of spiritual perfection, wear the sign of Om as a pendant. This symbol is enshrined in every Hindu temple premise or in some form or another on family shrines.
It is interesting to note that a newly born child is ushered into the world with this holy sign. After birth, the child is ritually cleansed and the sacred syllable Om is written on its tongue with honey. Thus right at the time of birth the syllable Om is initiated into the life of a Hindu and ever remains with him as the symbol of piety. Om is also a popular symbol used in contemporary body art and tattoos.
The Eternal Syllable
According to the Mandukya Upanishad, "Om is the one eternal syllable of which all that exists is but the development. The past, the present, and the future are all included in this one sound, and all that exists beyond the three forms of time is also implied in it".
The Music of Om
Om is not a word but rather an intonation, which, like music, transcends the barriers of age, race, culture and even species. It is made up of three Sanskrit letters, aa, au and ma which, when combined together, make the sound Aum or Om. It is believed to be the basic sound of the world and to contain all other sounds. It is a mantra or prayer in itself. If repeated with the correct intonation, it can resonate throughout the body so that the sound penetrates to the centre of one's being, the atman or soul.
There is harmony, peace and bliss in this simple but deeply philosophical sound. By vibrating the sacred syllable Om, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Ultimate Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the highest state of "stateless" eternity, states the Bhagavad Gita.
The Vision of Om
Om provides a dualistic viewpoint. On one hand, it projects the mind beyond the immediate to what is abstract and inexpressible. On the other hand, it makes the absolute more tangible and comprehensive. It encompasses all potentialities and possibilities; it is everything that was, is, or can yet be. It is omnipotent and likewise remains undefined.
The Power of Om
During meditation, when we chant Om, we create within ourselves a vibration that attunes sympathy with the cosmic vibration and we start thinking universally. The momentary silence between each chant becomes palpable. Mind moves between the opposites of sound and silence until, at last, it ceases the sound. In the silence, the single thought—Om—is quenched; there is no thought. This is the state of trance, where the mind and the intellect are transcended as the individual self merges with the Infinite Self in the pious moment of realization. It is a moment when the petty worldly affairs are lost in the desire for the universal. Such is the immeasurable power of Om.
How to Type it on your Computer
Try this! To get the Om symbol on your computer screen, open MS Word and key in backslash ( \ ) in Wingdings font. You will type in Om!
This was shot from the balcony of Peersaabs house in the wee hours of the morning, this was on 30 June 2009, I was to catch the Aravalli Express for Mumbai at 11 am from Ajmer station, but I had the shutterbug, I showered rushed out to shoot the lat bit of pictures of the Rafaees and the Dargah exterior...
I returned and at 9.30am left Peersaabs house without walking him up, his Murids Baig and Javed carried my bag through the by lanes I caught a rickshah and headed towards the Ajmer station..
Dedicated to Roland W Luthi
He is a Malang
I keep bumping into him at most of the major shrines, last we met at Haji Malang this year he showed me some rafaee acts taking place at the back of the Holy Shrine..he is very fond of me and speaks very softly and in monosyllables , its his eyes that say it all.
Char Yar is the quintessential meeting of all the Bawas..a part of its extends into the Holy Shrine but cameras and photography is not allowed..I have shot extensively inside before the blanket ban came into place ..
I just did not go beyond the Hujra No 6 of Peersab Fakhru Miya my host and my patron.
Without my camera I am incomplete..neither man nor woman...
Yes photography is a androgynous enterprise too, now even eunuchs are learning to use the camera..I know Hijra Gurus who video record their functions..
Besides Marc de Clercq I have not seen any one with the passion to shoot hijras , perhaps Anita Khemka who is a friend of Laxmi Narayan Tripathi my hijra guru..I have not met Anita yet.
I am fortunately a well known face in the Urus circuit, at Ajmer as well as Haji Malang.
There are many other Shrines in India I would like to visit but I am bound by my bare feet to Mumbai..In India they say you have to be called by the Holy Saint before you visit his Holy Shrine...
The Chancawalli rafaees a body piercing sect of Sufis I have been shooting since several years have split up into many fragments since the death of Handi Sai.
I have a great equation with Barsati Bawa who has now taken over the mantle and leadership of these nomadic fakirs having their base at Chancawalli Shrine at Marol Andheri.
They also sit a the Holy Shrine of Makhdoom Shah Baba and at Fakhruddin Shah Baba during the respective Urus.. at Haji Malang Baba too..
Hijras love to spiritually cruise in the night, shocking people with their overt gestures , glamor and cosmetic beauty.
Hijra are night stalkers, night denizens, sleep is a misnomer for hijras, hijras sleep in the day time ..night is for full body massage under the hands of young raw masseur boys..the boys do it clinically but are highly paid for added nocturnal escapades.
The hijras of the high end , groom themselves well, are totally clean, and over bursting with seductive sexual charm.They put on designer labels, alluring fragrance , more musky to go with their persona.
Facial hair is the bane and curse of the hijra, some have got rid of it completely, some tweeze and others use facial hair removing creams.
Most of the hijras have invested wisely, into gold, real estate, most of the brothels at the red light area cages where women solicit are owned by the hijras.
The hijras on the top level are very rich and affluent community.. they donate generously too and religious functions they dont miss specially the Urus at some Dargah and Ganesh and Laxmi visarjans.
The hijras lavish lakhs of rupees on visiting hijra friends from their biradri..hijras are the finest host, some are ball breaking money lenders too..
As age old being a very scary and insecure proposition,the hijra adopts a eunuch or a normal child, taking good care , and trying to emulate a sense of security for his old age.
I know hijra s who have extended families, adopted daughters married in good homes and the hijra takes care of them without any strings attached.
The only secrecy lies in the Hijra death ceremony or burial..and they dont reveal this to anyone- this is their code of silence , their code of Hijra Omerta.
I used to meet hijras once upon a time at opium dens at Shuklaji..
Hijras are born dancers and large amount of income came from ladies dance bar that were banned in Mumbai.. for harboring terrorists.. a thought that shows political ignorance towards reality, and political shortsightedness ..
Prostitution is also the major source of the hijras.
The hijra does not have many legitimate options because of our pseudo sanctimonious society..they all want to fuck the hijra.. with and without his clothes on.
The lower end hijra is fully vulnerable and prone to all kinds of sexual disease , these are the beggars and the hijra street walkers in Mumbais red light areas.
I have met young jobless boys who wear ladies clothes and offer sex as low as Rs 50/
these are mostly migrants from Bihar , Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Some find Gurus and channelize their profession accordingly.
Most of the new hijras are found at Hijra Guly No1 Kamatipura..I have not been there since almost an year, last I had taken my American friend Dr Losack MD ..to shoot pictures.
I have a lot of Hijra stories locked up in my head , one day perhaps I shall tell it all..
The hijras are good friends and dangerous enemies..a hijra spurned is a thousand time more lethal than a woman..bobbit is a very tame understatement ...
Badhai is more common in Delhi a great money spinner in other cities too, in Mumbai Badhai collection is minuscule..
image courtesy twitter..
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Too many Hijra Tweets from my end.. sorry Biz Stone
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