Sunday, January 4, 2015



Oil On Canvas 1990 by G. R. Santosh
To this Painting , I am adding a write up ….


The Philosophical concept of Nothingness or Emptiness is essentially of Asian origin. Be it Hinduism , Islamic Sufi Tradition , Buddhism , Taoism , Neo-Confucianism or Japanese and Korean thought, One finds this NOTHINGNESS playing crucial role. Buddhists call it ultimate reality that happens to be the root of self and the world or the ultimate truth about our transient life . In sufiism,NOTHINGNESS and SOMETHING are identical as SOMETHING is achieved in a state of NON BEING. This makes NOTHINGNESS pivotal to sufi thought .

In Kashmir , the philosophical concept of SHUNYATA or NOTHINGNESS is very old and it existed much before LAL DED ( 1317-1388 ) as a religious thought with native Hindus or Buddhists . But for sure , apart being the first progressive poet in kashmiri language , LAL DED is the originator of Nothingness in Kashmiri Poetic Thought . Transcending all dogmatic religion, Lal Ded is the first poet to have propounded KASHMIR SHAIVISM in her Poetry or VAAKHS .
After a careful scrutiny of some VAAKHS of LAL DED , one is led to believe that for Lal Ded , a slippage to Nothingness is a Union with SUPREME SHIVA that resides in every particle of this universe . She also believes that this limitless and transcendent Shiva is the destroyer of darkness leading to emergence of light . For Lal Ded , Shiva is not only the destroyer from the Trinity of Brahma ( Creator ) Vishnu ( Preserver ) and Mahesha ( destroyer ) but the essential supreme ruler of SHUNYA or NOTHINGNESS .

Apart from Kashmir Shaiva thought , NOTHINGNESS as expressed by LAL DED is also of RIG VEDIC origin. To some extent , NOTHINGNESS in her VAAKHS ( VAAKYAS ) is influenced by VEDIC HYMNS of NASADIYA SUKTA. The primordial ocean mentioned in RIG VEDA is synonymous with the concept of NOTHINGNESS. And the concept of SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING (Kenh’nuss Nishe Kyah’taam Draav) is again a pure RIG VEDIC thought . I quote two Hymns from RIG VEDA in support of this argument…
“Then there was neither death nor immortality
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.”
“And they have stretched their cord across the void,
and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was strength, and over it was impulse.”

I also Quote three Vaakhs of Lal Ded with my simple English rendering ,
Shuniiyukk Mae’daan Kodumm Paanus
Mey Lallie Roozum Boadh Na Hosh
Wai’Zey Sap’nuss Paanie Paanus
Adhaaa Kammie Hilli Phoall Lalli Pamposh ..
( Lal Ded )
( Alone I Traversed this vast ground of Nothingness ,
Intellect and consciousness too withdrew from  me .
Then alone I turned familiar to my own inner self ,
And Here I appear like a Lotus flower blooming in swamp . )
Kenhi’nus Pyaath Kyaah Chhuyii Na’tchun,
Mwatchii Kenh Na Ta Natchun Traav ..
Poat Pheerithh Chuyee Totuyii Atchun
Yohaii Vatchunn Tcheituss Thhaav
( Lal Ded )
( Why Dance over this nothingness ?
Abandon this ballet for you too shall contract to Nothingness .
And On return , you shall have to  go back to  nothingness ,
So Bear this thought alone in your mind . )
Goruss Pratchhom Saasi La’teiy
Yuss na Kenh Vanaan Tuss Kyaa Naav.
Pratchhaan Pratchhaan Tha’cheiss Ta loosuss
Kenh’nuss Nishe Kyah’taam Draav
( Lal Ded )
“To my Master , I asked a thousand times ,
By what name should we call the nameless one .
Drained I became from seeking this knowledge ,
And lo ! Something emerged from Nothingness only.”

Once an Individual realizes that the final truth or reality is EMPTINESS or NOTHINGNESS , he carries a different outlook on qualms of mundane existence . This enlightenment also enables him to rise above the painful concerns of routine life . And accordingly , this concept of Nothingness comes up with a positive transformative power.

In kashmiri poetry , NOTHINGNESS has also been profoundly enunciated by almost every poet of Sufi genre most notably by Shamas Faqir , Rehman Dar , Shah Gafoor ,Nyaam Sahib, Waza Mehmood ,Sochha Kraal , Ahmed Batawaari , Samad Mir , Ahad Zargar ,Wahab Khaar and many more in their compositions .
Apart from Islamic Tassavuf , Almost all these poets appear to be deeply familiar with the NETI NETI concept of VEDANTA whereby one negates all descriptions about the ultimate reality but not the reality itself. And to embark on this , one needs to transcend worldly experiences rejecting everything ( Not this , Not this ) and arrive at the vast ocean of Nothingness to draw something ( Kenh Nassa Nishe Kyaahtaam Draav ) .

This group of Sufi poets from kashmir were remarkable souls ; Simple , Unassuming , Almost without access to the Modern Education ,Poor in so far as the worldly Material possessions are concerned But profoundly rich with knowledge of the traditional thought of their land . They belonged to the lowest strata of the society that evaluates individuals in terms of their material possessions . A Labourer , A Mason , A Blacksmith ( Wahaab Khar ) , A Potter ( Sochh Kraal ) , A Weaver ( Shams faqir ), A Cowherd ( Rahim Sahib Sopori) , A Wood Cutter ( Samad Mir ) synthesizing NOTHINGNESS of Hindu VEDANTA and ISLAMIC TASSAVUF on grand poetic format . This is possibly unknown in any other Literature or society .
I quote ..
Shunyaa Gatsithee Ooss Myon Oluy
Aemm Ashkaa Naaran Zoluye
Kuniruss Trovnumm Rwoni Manzoluy
Shroin Shroin Bozaan Aas
( Shamas faqir )
( Traversing NOTHINGNESS , my abode turned visible ,
And the intensity of love set this too on fire.
With a Chiming Cradle swung across my loneliness ,
I reached that final spot listening to musical chimes all around )
Kenh Nai Ouss Ta Kyaahtaam ouss
Kenhuss Maaney Chhuyii Kentssaa
Kenhusss Maaney Zaanaan Goss
Paanaai Ouss Ba Bahaannai
( Sochh Kraal )
( If Nothing was perceptible ,
For sure , something lay thereat.
I just moved ahead interpreting this Nothingness
And I became the cause to exist .)
Dapyomuss Addah kattien chhuyee Tche Maqaam
Tammie Dopnumm Naai Chhu Subah Naai Chhu Tattie Shaam .
( Sochh Kraal )
( I put him a question ,
“ Where is your abode ? ”
And he replied ,
“ A place where You experience neither Mornings nor evenings “

Scientifically ( Theoretical Physics ) , In our universe, even a dark, empty void of space, absent of all particles, is still something. And to explain Anything in time and space , Nothingness has to be called in to play its crucial role. And Nothingness does not represents something that we're afraid of, a disarray or a breach of the system. Greek philosophers ( Aristotle and Plato notably ) also agreed that Being is ultimately transcended in the concept of NOTHINGNESS .
               ( NOTHINGNESS clicked  in Black and White.. Photo Autar Mota )

German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer ( 1788-1860 ) comes very close to the Eastern concept of Nothingness .His philosophy bears influence of Plato, Kant, Buddhism and Vedas .

I end this brief post with a quotes of Schopenhauer.

“ We can regard our life as a uselessly disturbing episode in the blissful repose of NOTHINGNESS “

( Autar Mota ) 

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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