Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Sacred and Profane, part ii

Any new thoughts on the sacred? on the profane?  Let's pick up a few pieces from part i, before new directions in the conversation.

Kherwara.  My home-away-from-Udai-home-away-from-home.

Considering the sacred and profane as the dual nature of human life of course has many implications. Despite being a little messy with my presentation, I absolutely hope to not misrepresent me reading onto my observations or experiences the sacred as the profane, or saying the sacred is the profane.  Just maybe, though, the sacred in the profane.  I am hoping to spend time with Sagar ji to ask about this idea, but until that gift let's do some preliminary work here.  What comes to your mind immediately when I say the sacred in the profane? More questions about what these terms really mean? Something physical and tangible?  Something distant or reminiscent?  Anything interior or individual?  For me, a personal conviction comes first:  the importance of finding beauty in simplicity.  Using the words "beauty" and "simplicity" might reveal more my romantic sympathies than really help us progress our understanding of the sacred and profane, but my intention and association of the words can easily be interchanged to read "finding the sacred in the profane."  That makes sense in most (...all...?) world religions and it fortunately is amenable with Sagar ji's comment about India.

My view above from the block office deck is one such moment for me.  Kherwara is a mess of a road-side civilization, and I eat it up.  There are no massive buildings, delicate concerns of urban planning, real sidewalks, demarcated road lanes, restriction of animals, divisions of welding shop and samosa stand, living room and storefront, or really complete and developing.  Technologically, architecturally, structurally, commercially, it is simple. Even more can be said about the villages I then travel to from here.  But they have become special places to me, demonstrating the >20% population Below Poverty Line numbers and the essence of survival.  I feel at ease walking down that highway, trekking Bichiwara, and especially staying with my families.

It's not quite a Buddhist oneness, but perhaps it is tangential.  Potentially a Whitmanesque celebration of life?  I could totally envision writing a "Leaves of Palash" or "Stalks of Rice" collection in these hills.  In this thread, the sacred definitely emerges from the profane, in the sense that I see the sacred within it.  This helps us to define the profane as everyday life -- the daily grind -- survival, ordinary, local, simple, human.  The last two terms are then an essential connection to the sacred, for it is through the human and simple that the sacred has a vessel.  But the definition for the sacred:  that's for you.  This is my necessary exit as observer and aspiring academic.  Sagar ji tells me Bhagavan, God, is sacred, the sacred, sacredness, the spirit of the sacred in everything.  My Diwali village boys tell me the sacred is Bhagavan as we go to take darshan of Shri Fateh Baba Ji.  K tells me the sacred is Hinduism, and in the same the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Bhagavad Gita, thus subsequently any teachings from these texts.  My observations of South Rajasthan tell me the sacred is family and tradition.  My conversations with any stranger tell me the sacred is Shaadi, marriage.  My past two months tell me the sacred is sharing.

Maybe we don't gain anything from trying to define the sacred, but then again, would we appreciate and savor whatever it is if we didn't try?

Finding the sacred is like spinning a Ferris Wheel, sometimes you have to do it on your own.

No comments:

Post a Comment