The Instrument and The Player

The Instrument and The Player

“It’s Gurupurnima today” I told Lulu, my parrot, as he came in and settled on my table.

“Gurupurnima, the day dedicated to teachers,” Lulu said, “But there is eclipse today, lunar eclipse.”

Lulu, my parrot

“True. Coincidentally, I read this about the Moon today: ‘It (the Moon) also provides analogy for the stages of human development: the new moon is infancy, the crescent is youth and adolescence, the full moon is maturity and pregnancy, and the waning moon represents the decline of life, sleep.”

“Shall we say that human development is being eclipsed?”

“Oh Lulu! You are delivering philosophical interpretations of a natural event. Stop it!”

“Sorry, Sorry! We parrots see a different world. Or rather we have different eyes.” Lulu whispered in my ear as he hopped on to my shoulder. He gave a curious look to the book in my hand. “Hey! What are you reading, and why have you underlined that sentence?”

‘You are the instrument and you are the player’

“It is the autobiography of Dr Shreeram Lagoo who was a great actor. He mentions his meeting with Sombhu Mitra who was a great theatre personality. Sombhu Mitra said to Dr Lagoo, ‘You (as an actor) are the instrument and you are the player!’ This remained etched in the mind of Dr Lagoo forever.”

“Now you are speaking philosophy! What does it mean?”

“‘You are the instrument and you are the player’. The instrument, musical instrument I guess, symbolises one’s body and the thinking, internalising of the theme and the context. The player symbolises how he plays or acts with it.”

“So true even of the corporate managers!! Some people marvel at capturing deep messages in a few words.”

“At a plebeian level, I guess what it means is ‘invest in yourself constantly, think about your role and what you want to achieve or deliver.’ You are right, Lulu. These sentences make one think and search meaning for days together.”

“The hallmark of such deep messages is that they silence you. I remember having read somewhat related lines from the poem of Rabindranath Tagore.”

“Tell me”

The song I came to sing / remains unsung to this day. /I have spent my days in stringing / and in unstringing my instrument.”

“That, unfortunately, is the life story of many people. We gather a lot of information and insight incessantly, but fail to use it productively to create something with it.”

“How true! And does that apply to you?” Lulu winked at me.

“Thanks Lulu” I must have said it with a sharp tone of disapproval; Lulu rubbed his head on my cheek to pacify me. “Thinking is not enough; we must do something meaningful. Tuning your instrument is not enough, one must play the instrument, sing the song.”

“Doing gives you experience. But experience must be ‘processed’ to throw out the emotions and cull out the lesson rationally. That will take you ahead. We have to transform ourselves consciously, continuously. Osho says, ‘Past is animal, future is divinity and the present is the transformation.’”

“Oh wow! Hmmm….  Why do some remarks or sentences leave a deep impression on our mind?”

“Perhaps there is a question on our mind, maybe we have not realised it consciously, and yet we are looking for a guidance. Like a seed awaits the first rain.”

The Mathematical Bridge

“Oh, what an analogy! I take the point, we have to be receptive.”

“You said it! We have to be receptive. The message from HIM, the Guru of all Gurus, comes in many forms, we have to be receptive to pick it up. It can come through books; it can come through advice of elderly, or an event, or through a sheer coincidence. We should be ready to receive.” Lulu and I lost ourselves in deep thought for a long time. “In a way, that’s the message of Gurupournima. The eclipse is a reminder of what can happen if you don’t.”

[The Photograph of the Mathematical Bridge at Cambridge signifies here, to my mind, the abstraction from words to meaning.]

Vivek S Patwardhan

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”