circa 1985, h.p. india.

circa 1985, h.p. india.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Love-Song Heaven.


There’s a rather famous painting in India created by a rather famous painter named Sobha Singh. It depicts a lovely girl wearing a simple sari and shawl and holding a water jug. A handsome boy has an arm around her waist while the two run against the wind. Their expressions are as if they’re either in love or in distress, which of course can sometimes be quite similar.

The story behind the painting is of the girl, who was from a wealthy Sikh family, and the boy, who was a poor Hindu. They lived on opposite sides of a large lake and, although they were deeply in love, their families were against the match. In fact, eventually they were forbidden to meet. They’d gaze over at each other from opposite shores and, in the end, couldn’t stand to stay apart. The boy began swimming toward the girl, but it was too far and he floundered. Seeing the boy in trouble, the girl swam out to him and they both drowned together in the middle of the lake. Their love transcended all differences. In fact, they were willing to die rather than stay apart.

The Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran, of the early nineteen hundreds, wrote; ‘Love one another, but make not a bond of love; let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.’ The fifteenth-century poet, Kabir, also wrote about love. Born Hindu, raised as a Muslim, Kabir became a weaver and spun not only cloth but yarns that have endured through the ages. In one of his most famous love poems he wrote; ‘Why should we two ever want to part? This love between us goes back to the first humans. It cannot be annihilated. Here is Kabir’s idea: As the river gives itself to the ocean, I give myself to you.’

True love transcends race, creed and colour. 'Inside that water jug there are canyons and pine mountains,’ Kabir wrote long before Sobha Singh ever held a paint brush. ‘And the maker of canyons and mountains. All seven oceans are inside and hundreds of millions of stars. The acid that tests gold, the one who judges jewels and the music from the strings no one touches and the source of all water. If you want the truth, I will tell you, my friend. Listen. God and the one I love are inside.'

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