Secrets of the Self- 4

Prologue
When the world‐illuming sun rushed upon
Night like a brigand,
My weeping bedewed the face of the rose.
My tears washed away sleep from the eye of the narcissus,
My passion wakened the grass and made it grow.
The Gardener tried the power of my song,
He sowed my verse and reaped a sword.
In the soil he planted only the seed of my tears
And wove my lament with the garden, as warp and woof.
Tho’ I am but a mote, the radiant sun is mine:
Within my bosom are a hundred dawns.
My dust is brighter than Jamshidʹs cup
It knows things that are yet unborn in the world.
My thought hunted down and slung from the
saddle a deer
That has not yet leaped forth from the covert
of non‐existence.
Fair is my garden ere yet the leaves are green:
Unborn roses are hidden in the skirt of my
garment.
I struck dumb the musicians where they were
gathered together,
I smote the heart‐string of the universe,
Because the lute of my genius hath a rare
melody:
Even to comrades my song is strange.
I am born in the world as a new sun,
I have not learned the ways and fashions of
the sky
Not yet have the stars fled before my
splendour,
Not yet is my quicksilver astir;
Untouched is the sea by my dancing rays,
Untouched are the mountains by my crimson
hue.
The eye of existence is not familiar with me;
I rise trembling, afraid to show myself.
From the East my dawn arrived and routed
Night,
A fresh dew settled on the rose of the world.
I am waiting for the votaries that rise at dawn;
Oh, happy they who shall worship my fire!
I have no need of the ear of To‐day,
I am the voice of the poet of To‐morrow.
My own age does not understand my deep meanings,
My Joseph is not for this market.
I despair of my old companions,
My Sinai burns for sake of the Moses who is coming.
Their sea is silent, like dew,
But my dew is storm‐ridden, like the ocean.
My song is of another world than theirs:
This bell calls other travellers to take the road.
Many a poet was born after his death,
Opened our eyes when his own were closed,
And journeyed forth again from nothingness,
Like roses blossoming oʹer the earth of his grave.
Albeit caravans have passed through this desert,
They passed, as a camel steps, with little sound.
But I am a lover: loud crying is my faith
The clamour of Judgment Day is one of my minions.
My song exceeds the range of the chord,
Yet I do not fear that my lute will break.
’Twere better for the water drop not to know my torrent,
Whose fury should rather madden the sea.
No river will contain my Oman.
My flood requires whole seas to hold it.
Unless the bud expand into a bed of roses,
It is unworthy of my spring‐cloudʹs bounty.
Lightnings slumber within my soul,
I sweep over mountain and plain.
Wrestle with my sea, if thou art a plain;
Receive my lightning if thou art a Sinai.
The Fountain of Life hath been given me to drink.
I have been made an adept of the mystery of Life.
The speck of dust was vitalised by my burning song:
It unfolded wings and became a firefly.
No one hath told the secret which I will tell
Or threaded a pearl of thought like mine.
Come, if thou wouldʹst know the secret of everlasting life
Come, if thou wouldʹst win both earth and heaven.
Heaven taught me this lore,
I cannot hide it from comrades.

O Saki arise and pour wine into the cup!
Clear the vexation of Time from my heart
The sparkling liquor that flows from Zemzem
Were a beggar to worship it, he would become a king.
It makes thought more sober and wise, it
makes the keen eye keener,
It gives to a straw the weight of a mountain,
And to foxes the strength of lions.
It causes dust to soar to the Pleiades
And a drop of water swell to the breadth of the sea.
It turns silence into the din of Judgment Day,
It makes the foot of the partridge red with blood of the hawk.
Arise and pour pure wine into my cup,
Pour moon beams into the dark night of my thought,
That I may lead home the wanderer
And imbue the idle looker‐on with restless impatience;
And advance hotly on a new quest
And become known as the champion of a new spirit;
And be to people of insight as the pupil to the eye,
And sink into the ear of the world, like a voice;
And exalt the worth of Poesy
And sprinkle the dry herbs with my tears.
Inspired by the genius of the Master of Rum.
I reherarse the sealed book of secret lore.
His soul is the flaming furnace,
I am but as the spark that gleams for a moment.
His burning candle consumed me, the moth;
His wine overwhelmed my goblet.
The master of Rum transmuted my earth to gold
And set my ashes aflame.
The grain of sand set forth from the desert,
That it might win the radiance of the sun.
I am a wave and I will come to rest in his sea,
That I may make the glistening pearl mine own.
I who am drunken with the wine of his song
Draw life from the breath of his words,
ʹTwas night: my heart would fain lament.
The silence was filled with my cries to God.
I was complaining of the sorrows of the world
And bewailing the emptiness of my cup.
At last mine eye could endure no more,
Broken with fatigue it went to sleep.
There appeared the Master, formed in the mould of Truth,
Who wrote the Quran in Persian.
He said, “O frenzied lover,
Take a draught of loveʹs pure wine.
Strike the chords of thine heart and rouse a tumultuous strain.
Dash thine head against the goblet and thine eye against the lancet!
Make thy laughter the source of a hundred sighs.
Make the hearts of men bleed with thy tears
How long wilt thou be silent, like a bud?
Sell thy fragrance cheap, like the rose!
Tongue‐tied, thou art in pain:
Cast thyself upon the fire, like rue!
Like the bell, break silence at last, and from every limb.
Utter forth a lamentation!
Thou art fire: fill the world with thy glow!
Make others burn with thy burning!
Proclaim the secrets of the old wine seller;
Be thou a surge of wine, and the crystal cup thy robe!
Shatter the mirror of fear,
Break the bottles in the bazaar
Like the reed‐flute, bring a message from the reed‐bed
Give to Majnun a message from the tribe of Layla!
Create a new style for thy song,
Enrich the assembly with thy piercing strains!
Up, and re‐inspire every living soul
Say ʹArise!ʹ and by that word quicken the living!
Up, and set thy feet on another path;
Put aside the passionate melancholy of old!
Become familiar with the delight of singing;
Bell of the caravan, awake!”
At these words my bosom was enkindled
And swelled with emotion like the flute;
I rose like music from the string
To prepare a Paradise for the ear.
I unveiled the mystery of the self
And disclosed its wondrous secret.
My being was an unfinished statue,
Uncomely, worthless, good for nothing.
Love chiselled me: I became a man.
And gained knowledge of the nature of the universe.
I have seen the movement of the sinews of the sky.
And the blood coursing in the veins of the moon.
Many a night I wept for Manʹs sake

That I might tear the veil from Lifeʹs mysteries.
And extract the secret of Lifeʹs constitution
From the laboratory of phenomena.
I who give beauty to this night, like the moon,
Am as dust in devotion to the pure Faith (Islam) –
A Faith renowned in hill and dale.
Which kindles in menʹs hearts a flame of undying song:
It sowed an atom and reaped a sun,
It harvested a hundred poets like Rumi and Attar.
I am a sigh: I will mount to the heavens;
I am but smoke, yet am I sprung of fire.
Driven onward by high thoughts, my pen
Cast abroad the secret behind this veil,
That the drop may become co‐equal with the sea
And the grain of sand grow into a Sahara.
Poetising is not the aim of this mathnavi.
Beauty‐worshipping and love‐making is not its aim.
I am of India: Persian is not my native tongue;
I am like the crescent moon: my cup is not full.
Do not seek from me charm of style in exposition.
Do not seek from me Khansar and Isfahan.
Although the language of Hind is sweet as sugar,
Yet sweeter is the fashion of Persian speech.
My mind was enchanted by its loveliness,
My pen became as a twig of the Burning Bush.
Because of the loftiness of my thoughts,
Persian alone is suitable to them.
O Reader, do not find fault with the wine‐cup,
But consider attentively the taste of the wine.

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal [original taken from Persian- أسرار خودي

Unicorns- A novel review

What do I know about unicorns? This is meant to be a review of Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End of the World. In Japanese, Sekai no owari to hādo-boirudo wandārando.

Achtung ⚠️  Es gibt viele spoilern für den Novel.

What stood out to me in the novel?

No names. All characters were referred to either by description or job title. The chubby girl, the librarian, Calcutec. There are more but I am not planning on telling the whole story here. Du magst, du liest. Don’t know why I am including a bit of German hier und da.

I guess because of a recent funny video or maybe because I watched Monster again. Every time I watch it, it’s like watching it all over again, mainly because my memory with animes is poor to the point that I enjoy what I watch but don’t retain most of it. Maybe because I binge through most of the series.

Anyhow, in this novel, the protagonist is a calcutec. Calcutecs work for The System. The novel contains two stories, each narrated in an alternative chapter. The two stories merge near the end like two rivers meeting at the meeting point. The calcutec is being pursued by Samiatecs whose job is to steal the information from the calcutecs. Cyber warfare.

It’s a strange, bizarre and out of this world novel. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call it Kafkaesque. Many of Haruki Murakami’s work take inspiration from Franz Kafka.

What can I write that you wouldn’t find on Wikipedia or Google about this piece of art. While a lot of the story is still fresh in my head as I recently listened to it. I took my time listening to it. I want to review it so that it makes you want to pick up this book.

If you’re one for creativity, imagination. If you’re into surrealism, science fiction then this would definitely be a good read for you. What’s more, the novel explores the concept of death. The end of the world is a theme for the science fiction story that is taking place in the protagonists world. What he doesn’t know is that this world has been embedded into his subconscious with the help of the old scientist who worked for the system. Shuffling, sound editing and examining the subconscious is the theme here.

What caught my attention is the relationship of dream world and real life. How the subconscious influences it. While not apparently made clear. I came to my conclusion listening to the book that the characters between the two stories are somewhat related. The relationship isn’t hard to figure out, especially the librarian in the two worlds and the protagonist in both worlds.

The intricate relationship of how the protagonist finds a way to not lose his mind, memories and identity is hinted at, him getting into a relationship with the librarian who is as empty as him inside, after some traumatic life experiences and previous personal relationships.

Then what is further hinted at, are the attributes and qualities that the protagonist possesses that make him the only survivor of the System’s experiment. Here what I understood was the resilience and it’s connection with the subconscious which is near a breaking point that either helps him retain his mind and memories or come to an end like the rest of the subjects who went through the experiment.

Well as you see from my review of the novel that a lot of the story is left open for debate. Each reader can make their own conclusions. Perhaps, this is also a point of critique. When you read or listen to the story you will find many other nuances within the two stories that are open for interpretation. Nevertheless, the story is still complete. The ideas and nuances left open for interpretation and debate act as a hook to get the readers involved.

Another point of critique perhaps is that the start of the story is bizarre, also a little slow paced. However, if you continue reading you will be absorbed by the story after a couple of chapters.

Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World easily goes in my top list of Haruki Murakami’s novels. My other favourite novels by Murakami are The Wind-up Bird Chronicles, 1Q84 and Kafka On The Shore.

Image credit: Behance

5 Things I Learnt From The Book ‘Think Again’

If you aren’t interested in the title of the book Think Again. You might want to reconsider and duh Think Again!

Or realistically speaking at least check out the last chapter, ‘Actions for impact’ and, then listen to the prologue. It will just make you want to listen or read the whole book. I am just saying this for those who might not be interested in this book. Personally, I am a big fan of Adam Grant’s work. I won’t say that I know all of his work but some of it has helped me think and think again, and that doesn’t just go for this book.

So, here’s the 5 Things I think I got out from the book.

1. Instead of asking why? Question yourself how?

The Why can more often than not, make you fall into a deep rabbit hole and instead of seeking out new ways to do things. You deepen your reasons for your beliefs and embed them in your subconscious.

2. Out of the box thinking is difficult because it exposes you and sheds your identity. Refer to the firefighter example mentioned in the epilogue.

3. To persuade others, it’s better to ask rational questions that help see the situation through different lenses and big picture views than piling up the facts alone. Lesson from the 8 year old in Think Again.

4. Less is more! It’s better to have 3 days of solid work out routine rather than 7 days of sub par days. It’s better to have 3 focused hours of deliberate practise than 7 hours of gruelling underperformance.

5. Coaching involves helping others reach their own decisions, it’s not about trying to dictate or control other person’s decisions. Great mentors, coaches and motivational speakers are better listeners. They know how to listen and respond with appropriate questions. They guide others by empowering them with knowledge, self-discovery and helping others reach their own conclusions rather than providing them with answers or suggesting what they ought to do.

There’s much more in this book. In this moment however, these 5 ideas can help me ask the right questions of myself and those around me, in order to improve and overcome fear and anxiety. 

Image: Bookcover Think Again