Urmilla Khanna
and Jane Hulstrunk

Jane Hulstrunk
Inspiration piece

By Urmilla Khanna


Divinity is a patchwork of squares and hexagons. It is yellow and blue and indigo and purple. It is paisley woven into stripes and stars.

It is a cool copper coin that I hold in the palm of my hand. When I toss the coin and it lands on heads, I smile. It is going to be a good day, I say. When it rolls on its edge a while, then gently rests as tails, I shudder to think what lies ahead.

Divinity however, is all the same, the cool copper coin in the palm of my hand. It knows no difference between the imprint of the heads nor that of the tails.

I traverse this circle of life as the cool copper coin, experiencing my samskaras, the deep impressions printed on my brain from experiences of long, long ago. I perceive them as heads or I perceive them as tails. They are nothing but impartial prints on my brain. Some I can see, others I merely feel, like the warmth of the womb or the cool breeze that sweeps over the burning coals of a cremation pyre.

I live through them all just the same.

I reflect on the significance of the sixteen hallmarks of my life selected by the priest. He calls them the sixteen sacred samskaras. These events break up my life’s journey into segments so I could stop, reflect and improve upon the old. Each is a celebration of my life. What are these sacred samskaras, I ask the priest.

The first, he explains is Garbhdana: The day I was conceived in my mother’s womb.

Then he chants a host of others that I must weave through in the journey of my life. I review here, just a few.

Jatakarna: The day I was born. Mother fed me ghee and honey before initiating breast-feeding.

Namakarana: The day I was given a name by which I will be identified in this life’s journey.

Annaprashana: I was introduced to solid food.

Vidyarambha: My first introduction to alphabets.

Upanayana: Sacred Thread Ceremony, only if I am a male child, he explains.

Vedarambha: Introduction to Higher education.

Vivah: My Marriage.

Antym Samskar: My last rites on this earth. Divinity within me departs, he concludes, to start another journey, another unknown circle of life.

I remain the cool copper coin in the palm of your hand.



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