“To burn always with that hard gem-like flame”

Is to feel five times more pleasure, and five times more pain. To live intensely means to burn at ends and middle, candle caught in its own light, sun consumed in its own fire. Visible to all, worshipped and held aloft, and blinded by self perhaps. It is a fine burning, a fine pain that turns back the warmth of sleep to let one feel the sharp pebbles beneath the blanket and the keen morning air. It is to be alive, and more alive before the end.

Fire is both Agni and Kama, the thing that burns and the fuel, both aspiration and desire.

In the course of a lifetime of tender burning, there arises, on rhythmic occasion, the drive to blaze with an intenser flame, to know ‘it’ all, to apprehend all at once, for once. And that drive oftentimes makes one prick self and other into conflict. The self understands the impulse, if not the degree of pain; the other sees only the ruffled surface, and knows but vaguely the subcutaneous need to feel more keenly. Need that beats in the breast like a heart, a thing alive and fluttering.

Hubris.

Wound that must be salved. Mark of love, yearning to burn more furiously, to brand closer. A thing of passion, flawed like wood; unable to burn cleanly, patiently, sustaining self and other, it must flare up and sear. Itself, too. “Maine aahuti bann kar dekha, yeh prem yagya ki jwala hai” (I have learned that this love is a sacrificial fire).  Itself, above all.

It is hard to protect from yourself that which you love. Warmth and heat are questions of degree.


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