Haste Khelte

Often, in conversation, I am asked about the things I do. It seems like a fair bit to many people and looks like a load of work. My usual reply is ‘हँसते खेलते’ (haste, khelte). Loosely translated it means with a smile and in a spirit of play. What I mean is that I don’t really see things as work but something that is enjoyable, something fun. Underlying all the activities is a spirit of curiosity and exploration. A tinkering. Whether in asana or day to day work.

In a sense, it is a distilling of my favourite sutra. A lightness of being that is open and free. Another thing that comes to mind is a statement by Guruji, ‘Live happily, Die majestically‘. When I remember him, I remember his laughter and good humour more than his asanas. I listen to stories and recountings by older students and time and again, his incredible joie de vivre shines through. It is an attitude that allows one to be a river, ever flowing, ever fresh in the face of optimal conditions or obstacles. Like the gurgling of a nimble stream as it finds its way over rocks and stones. In outcome terms, one is simply on one’s own journey without any need to compare or compete, no sense of owning or being owned, just freedom in which things happen. As much a readiness to accept a dam as there is to flowing. Nothing to pull one down as one simply follows the current to meet the sea.

This year was a different one in many ways. An additional role, a changed practice, more study but the biggest gain has been in learning to see better, pause and respond better. The readings now have a richer quality as the layer just below the apparent starts to reveal itself. Thanks to my teachers, I am learning how to see with more sharpness and clarity.

The year also saw a good rhythm to the library and archival work. There are more volunteers now so there is a steady hum of activity and it feels good. Being of use, being of service is extremely fulfilling. It has also meant getting out of my cocoon of being a solo worker and engaging with more people. Not necessarily a natural inclination but I find that purpose requires it so again there is new learning, some unlearning and relearning there too. Recently, I spoke about the library at a function at the institute and it was very heartening to see the response of students, old and new. There is new life in that old library where much happened. I’m sure Guruji and Geetaji would be happy to see a new generation of students actively participating.

My heart is content, it is full with the shape of my life. Class, study and service. It is more than enough.


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