What Nondescript Item Had The Most Impact On Your Life (How/Why ?)

Two stones.  One black and the other white.  They are called Banalinga.

banalinga white

banalinga black

These were gifted to me by a dear friend who alas is no more after he had learnt that I was getting interested in Vedanta. I had gone to the Narmada river on a number of occasions with him and he said that this was the least he could do for someone getting interested in Vedanta.

These two stones are very much part of the alcove where I perform my puja every day.

They impacted me by taking me into the study of symbolism in religion and particularly in ours. That in turn led me to explore myths and symbols as so beautifully brought out by Joseph Campbell.

His oft repeated conclusion that there is striking similarity between the world’s religions resonates with our own: Ekam Sat Vipra Bahuda Vadanti. The stones represent the Yin and Yang of the Truth.
yin yang

This topic was suggested by Shackman for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently eight of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort.  The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, PadmumShackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!


Welcome to another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by Ginger.

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with vacations, examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.

Please do listen to this song while reading the lyrics.

(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Everywhere you want I always go
I always give in because, babe, you know
You just say so cause you give me that
Feeling inside that I know must be right
It’s the singer not the song

It’s not the way you give in willingly
Others do it without thrilling me
Giving me that same old feeling inside that I
Know I must be right
It’s the singer not the song

The same old places and the same old songs
We’ve been going there for much too long
There’s something wrong and it gives me that feeling
Inside that I know I must be right
It’s the singer not the song
It’s the singer not the song
It’s the singer not the song

For me, it was the Artist, not her Art. Despite having known her for 48 years and having been married to her for forty of them, I know nothing about Art. Urmeela and her remarkable teacher, told me early on that if it appealed to me, it was good art and if not, it was not good art FOR ME. I was comfortable with that, just as I am now too. My home now has a few of Urmeela’s paintings, one of which is shown above,  and batiks as well as, a much cherished etching of a great artist friend of ours. Just four years ago, one fine day, Urmeela decided that no useful purpose will be served by keeping all her old works and arranged for a grand bonfire in our garden. When I asked her why she wished to do that, she said that the best of her works were already in good collections and on the walls of her home. The rest needed to be destroyed so that she could create afresh. That she was not able to, is a poignant part of my life’s story.

“The function of the artist is the mythologization of the environment and the world.”

“The artist is the one who communicates myth for today. But he has to be an artist who understands mythology and humanity and isn’t simply a sociologist with a program for you.”

“The real artist is the one who has learned to recognize and to render what Joyce has called the “radiance” of all things, as an epiphany or showing forth of their truth.”

– Joseph Campbell, in his book “The Power Of Myth.”

Urmeela succeeded in performing that function admirably. Her art reminds me of her. She is now my myth, her works, what few are left, radiate many things. I am comfortable with that.