Epic

The Gita, a part of an epic.

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.“- Bhagavadgītā

Tradition states the Mahabharata was written in 3200 B.C. by the sage Vyasa, the second avatar of Vishnu. Consisting of more than 95,000 slokàs in the northern interpretation, the Mahabharata is the longest epic of time. Slokàs are couplets of a poetic form that pertains to the basics of Sanskrit. They are also known as the strophic unit, distich. A slokà is a poem of two verses containing two sixteen syllable lines of two eight-syllable nouns or verbs called padas. Divided into 18 paravas, the Mahabharata includes many stories that are of immense value to classical Sanskrit literature. The Book of Bhishma, the 6th parava, contains the vastly known Bhagavadgītā, “The Song of the Divine.”  The 700 verses of the Bhagavad Gita awakens the readers to the symbolism of Eastern wisdom. It summarizes the complexity of the epic into virtues to follow with values of discernment and also devotion. The Gita helps its readers fully comprehend the essence of the lengthy Mahabharata, which may be too difficult for many.

The Pandava named Arjuna is a significant character of the Gita. He is the son of the mighty Indra, the God of lighting. He is pure; so his moral discomfort was solicited once Arjuna had realized the war to be fought was against his cousins, the Kauravas. He turns to Krishna for guidance. The dialogue between aspects of the self expresses divine issues of dharma and enlightenment. Guru Krishna helps the loyal Arjuna carry on with the war while leading him through ethical and philosophical themes. To convince Arjuna, Krishna reveals that Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu are incarnations of the Supreme. Guru Krishna, in whom Guru means “the dispeller of darkness,” manifested himself too amongst men, as an example of good conduct to all men so we too may develop the sense that pertains to the Heart.

Let the motive be in the deed and not in the event. Be not one whose motive for action is the hope of reward.Bhagavadgītā

As taught in the Gita, the qualities of Krishna are developed through Bhakti, the selfless dedication to others. Bakhti must be done with wisdom. Nothing must be preached, but good is done through one’s own actions. Without vanity and the need to receive any fruits of labor, altruistic charity and humble volunteer work should not be stalled for rare occasions but be done daily. Believe me, there is no need for economic riches to do this but just one’s will to know thy measure in relation to the world around. To cook for others, give food to animals, eat for last, lend a hand, and provide clothes for the people in need, we too could learn how to see through the eyes of the heart.

02.fvv freeverse

Mirrors twine light, in a dialogue of might
as limpid the sight may seem, colors are quite a dream.

- Roma 2021

A writer is naturally obliged by time to learn the mastery of interlude. To become cunning through his craft, the sway of his own hand must align with his diverse modes of being. Any attempts to conquer time may be as mere as a stroke of a pen. Upon the wall, a clock’s beats can be a reminder of the tempo of his perseverance. Entanglements to deadlines may scatter worries throughout the flow of his vision, changing the rhythm and the meter of his composition. The best advice that has been given to me is to write, stop, and revise. By observing the repetitions of our daily experiences, growth alters our perspectives alongside the clarity of a message. A flow that withstands any trials and superficialities of life must be cultivated solely by going slow.

Nature isn’t a Minimalist

Ordinary living may seem dull for some in a world full of extremes, but I find nothing bland about moderation; once one cultivates a deep intimacy with their observations of the extrinsic world, life changes. The many details that take up the flow of our day can be divided. The morning coffee, evening tea, and dinner take part of our sense of stability that some become taken for granted. An apple can be eaten but also be a subject of study. A word can be given to another but take on the form of both love and hate. It has, like everything, the possibility to exceed its intention. When a man notices the true colors hidden behind the red of his lover’s dress, life can become a fable. The artist who paints and forgets to create a harmonious flow throughout his day has forgotten parts of his talent.

“Love is simply the name for the desire and pursuit of the whole.”

― Plato

Notions on love.

All is useless without the complete comprehension of love. Despite the conflicts that may stir, its unseen space lies within the action. Empathy depletes itself within all who are intemperate. A man becomes debilitated if he subjects himself to the state of being, greed. The sensible lens of love is perceived in a distinct manner, unique to one’s cognizance. One must not proceed far in ruminations of its definition. It may become divided, lost within bitter judgments that can limit the courageous inclinations that lie hidden. In an individual whose action thrives to the attainment of idealism, he must allow himself to doubt. The Romantics, the individuals who live poetry through the story that they call their lives, delve through tides of emotions. They find that their lust can be deceiving. Heartaches and despair are the emotions that tinge and confuse the natural essence that pertains to the unifying qualities of love. Throughout history, due to sophistication, philosophers gave many names to contextualize the various degrees of this sense: Eros for the mighty passionate, Philia for friendships, and Pragma for the elders. These are three of just a few definitions of the many embodiments that manifest through the mean of expression called man.

The Symposium of Plato, a well-known ancient work of Greek philosophy, was one of the first texts to who had me start delving into the notions of love. The Symposium is taught in schools to many. It has always been a staple of the classical literature of the Western tradition. Too rebellious for a proper education, I encountered the book copy at an older age by chance in an Italian caffè letterario. The dialogue of the text was held in a Symposium, a buffet that was part of the ancient Greeks and Romans’ customs. United together to celebrate conversations and debates. Music, games, and discussions accompanied this form of gathering. The type of exchange that was carried out throughout this text was quite profound. Plato in the Symposium has Socrates proclaim that Eros assists in one’s essence in the recollection of the conscious awareness of beauty. Both philosophers and lovers were stated to be seekers of truth. Their search was that carried onwards due to desire. One’s desire is an extent of his own perceived idea of good.

“According to Diotima, Love is not a god at all, but is rather a spirit that mediates between people and the objects of their desire. Love is neither wise nor beautiful, but is rather the desire for wisdom and beauty.”

― Plato, The Symposium


01.fvv freeverse

The stride of tides is that of the pace of mine,
between thoughts we seep, far past barriers deep.
A ride upon tides belongs to the gait of rhyme;
on feathered horses, they seem to be,

on and upon the wind’s milk stream .

-Rome 2020


The Appian Way: A Place for Ponders

Situated on Rome’s meridional sector, the entrance of the Appia Antica initiates a path whose age dates far back to Avanti Cristo. The Baths of Caracalla (211-217 AD) is the start of the 3,500 acres of land that spread out along the Roman countryside; its beauty frames the Appian Way with scenery that harmoniously aligns itself to every season. Yellow rocket flowers and the scent of wild mint are a couple of elements found between many ancient ruins’ cracks. Lavic stone was the material used for the road’s paved foundation, clearly depicted by the architect Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), who had portrayed the Appia Antica in many of his etchings. The Met Museum’s acquaforte ‘View of the Stone Pavement of the Appian Way’ (1756) is a perfect example of what is still found today. To guarantee the safety of wanderers, the stone, similar to puddles, reflects the moon’s light even on the darkest of nights. 

Considered to be the Regina viarum, the queen of roads, the Appian Way connected Rome to Brindisi. The primary function was to create a smooth connection for military troops from ancient Rome to the south. Today herds of goats gaze throughout the many open fields of the Appia. At the site of Villa dei Quintili, they roam in a peaceful setting untouched by the horrors of Emperor Commodo’s unjust actions that had taken place in 151 AD. The presence of farm animals blends like a brushstroke in what seems like a painted panorama made up of olive trees and pines. Not too far, there is a family of fortunate cats that reside amongst the ruins of another archeological gem, Capo Di Bove. Its location is strictly at Via Di Appia Antica 222. A feisty cat family spends their days asleep while feasting on food the landmark’s caretakers bring. Capo di Bove belonged to a Greek politician, philosopher Erode Attico. The Roman bath and villa are known for their unique mosaics. Greek inscriptions dedicated to Erode’s wife Appia Annia Regilia make the place quite an intrigue. I pass by to visit and sit to admire the garden accessible to all visitors from time to time. The sun can’t help but shine so well in this corner of the world. 

The Authenticity of an Aura

The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses. – Walter Benjamin

Due to the details of a scene, form  reveals itself in a manner that is unique to the occasion. A flower in a vase takes part of its destined backdrop, while its existence undergoes the process of decay. There is an ongoing variant of its form that proceeds  in one series of metamorphoses. Subtle to the eye, the object in question may seem silent. Its message may vary, due to the projection of ourselves upon the petals. The abstract “aura” discussed by Benjamin pertains to an individual work of art, in the same way, an object belongs to a moment. The duplication of imagery due to its absence of space and time loses the “aura” that is authentic to the object’s direct interaction with the environment. Mechanical reproduction dulls down aesthetics, which is so dear to the eyes.

In a book of essays, entitled “The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction” the author Walter Benjamin, a prominent mind of the early 21st century, highlighted various psychological processes that lie behind camera and film. Each means of artistical expression had its own debate full of philosophical objectivities and schools of thought. 

First published in the 1930s, the thoughts are still visible, and unacknowledged by most in our contemporary age.

“The film is the first art form capable of demonstrating how matter plays tricks on man.”
― Walter Benjamin

Stendhal and Wallflowers

The Stendhal Syndrome is characterized by a series of symptoms like dizziness, fainting, increased heartbeat, and confusion after the exposure to a beautiful stimulus. 

The scene had taken place within one of the numerous rooms that resides within the Roman palazzo of Doria Pamphilj, a unique palace situated on Via del Corso. Now just a mere smeared memory, the atmosphere of that afternoon has been altered due to the fleeting nature of this memoir. My vision had a dusty hue. The fragmented air was contained between emerald walls. Surrounded by the many curious visitors, a collection of paintings hanged. They were similar to wallflowers on sturdy stems. Un-aware of their might the paintings stood before us quite timidly. It was an encounter with time. Filled full of details of uncharted territory, I just like any young woman could not help but be carried away by imagination. The past was there, various strokes of colors blended at the pace of a wandering gaze. The efforts of many artists called upon the remembrance of their vision. Standing still, my emotions were tested. Similar to a woman who had been struck by love at first sight. My heart raced as centuries revealed time most overwhelmingly.

 

The symptoms were psychosomatic, and my nerves felt weak.

I was in Turin the first time I found the book “De L’Amour”. It was a dirty copy that was quite aged. Enticed by the title in French, it did not cost much so I was fortunate to find a bargain. Stendhal’s novel took me back, where the ways of men were almost courtly and at the time also oddly extravagant. The Crystallization of Love was a metaphor that was portrayed as a transformative trip. It was a trip from the city of Bologna to Rome. Many were the cases used to describe what were Stendhal’s perceived states of falling love. It seems to be a slow process that comes from admiration. The admiration of one’s qualities then become acknowledged. That sense of awareness either in better or in worse becomes hope. A hope, that is similar to the need for understanding oneself in his vision of the “future”. Will there be many in our day in age that will have the chance to feel this hope? It is so difficult to transcend all depths to climb heights for another.

Marie-Henri Beyle was known as Stendhal. He was a French author passionate about Italy. Throughout the 1800s he trod across the country of Italy, leaving testimony of his adventures in various books; “De L’amour“, “Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio“, and so on. The Stendhal Syndrome was coined thanks to the author’s visit to the Basilica of the Holy Cross in the city of Florence. He stated “I reached the point where one encounters celestial sensations.” in regards to the emotional upheaval he was subjected to. Who could blame him? Any healthy man would have done the same.

The first qualification for a historian is to have no ability to invent. – Stendhal

The Principle of Blue.

 

On contrary to reason and the limits of an individual’s understanding there is no frame of eyes immune to the brilliance that pertains to nature’s wholesome experience. The sky’s forever presence guides our vision. Despite the hour’s filter, his vest is consistently blue. Similar to the prince of every tale, the wild blue yonder is a mirrored attempt of expression. Even the most distracted fellow can not resist peace. The call of nature goes beyond the irritations of mere limbic strife. To lay on a bed of grass and to bathe between each ray is part of the pleasures of any artist’s canvas. Letting go is one of the strengths of natural-born wanderers. No outfit, cunning vice, and false comforts can distract Him. She wants to be free. Beauty is an inspiration for a harmonious interaction. Virtues bring upon ideals of the deepest. Truth is everything.

A Fact: The complimentary color of blue is orange.

 

Seagulls have wings.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

“Like everything else, Fletcher. Practice.”
― Richard Bach

 A text that has the ability to solicit a gentle awareness of  soft ponderings is the tender short story Jonathan Livingston Seagull written by the American author Richard Bach. The fable, a modest account of a rebellious Seagull named Jonathan, starts at the pace of high speed winds. Allowing the readers instantly to dive into the courageous flights of a self-driven bird. The brief book, developed through the author’s own personal passions and his own sense of inner philosophy. Jonathan the seagull has the inclination of being not quite similar to the rest of the flock. His diverse way of being leads him to exile. He passes a period of life solo, not one bit distracted by himself. Very determined to test his limits to get his message across. We can find that the book’s message was in perfect union with the general utopic ideal shared within the counter-cultures of the time. The fable’s first release was in 1972. Richard Bach’s describes vast sceneries allowing the imagery of a Seagull to guide his vision beyond his limits. The childish behavior of the demanding seagull in pursuit to find his place is at times naively arrogant towards the natural inclination of his own species. Yet, through the means of discovery, he follows  unconditional love reminding us that everyone has the right to strive beyond one’s personal precieved barriers at their own extent. The tale seems to boast the need to break the rules, and this can bring up more reasons to think depending what direction of the eytmology of the word one partakes. I can not help add that the sense of our limits is a matter of truthful dialoge, and understanding.

Richard David Bach (June 23, 1936), a popular author of the 1970’s, had a knack  for aviation. He  served in The United States Navy Reserve and the New Jersey Air National Guard. A soundtrack for the film Jonathan Livington Seagull was produced by Neil Diamond.  The same film was adapted from the above tale.

 

“We are all special cases.”
— Albert Camus

There are books that are similar to a bouquet of flowers. When a person holds one within his or her hands, it is not a suprise to feel uplifted by the budding of each page. Like a moderate bloom, whose core is able to touch one of the many significant emotions that pertain to human existence, I adore strolling down the street and recieving the praise from the bystanders that see me with whatever novel is in my hand. To walk while reading brings me much sympathy, especially from elderly women who stop and who pay compliments to me from time to time. They don’t suspect that this odd habit of mine (that started  four years ago) was once a coping skill. Now the case is much different; to read slowly while walking is my way of cultivating peace.

Flour and Water.

An attempt at making bread.

Eat healthy.

Participate.

Love a lot.

Everyone starts the New Year with their own sense of mission.

Mine? I want to start making my own bread.

My first attempt: rye flatbread.

Flour, and water are the essentials needed along one’s personal choice of spices. Measure, knead, roll-out, and then cook.  Add lots of colors by choping up a lot of vegetables.

Make your own bread to get a true sense of luxury.

2019 will be fantastic everyone!