Forgiveness- an old mantra to create new possibilities for coming year! 

Threshold of the new year is an invitation for us to reflect on the passing year and make a new start for the coming. Today’s cover page article on “Forgiveness” in the Pune Mirror brought a refreshing perspective on forgiveness as a way to dissolve our old hurts, angst and helplessness, and, create new possibilities in the coming year. It made me contemplate on what forgiveness means to me.


What is forgiveness, really?

Forgiveness is a magical mantra that can
Dissolve eons of hurt
In an instance

Forgiveness is an ancient wisdom
that healed broken hearts; restored sanity
And weaved the quilt to keep our children warm

Forgiveness is a paradox that’s simultaneously
Selfish— serving the deep individual need to be free
And selfless— opening our hearts to others vulnerability

Forgiveness is a choice that refreshes the earth,
Soft, tilled, black soil
Ready for rebirth

Forgiveness is the only way a victim is
Liberated from the prison of lifelong misery
Riding the wings of grace and compassion

Forgiveness is where the anger of past
And the fear of future dissolves in
The present moment

You and I are mere parts
In the grand play
Now relaxing in the script we never wrote


How do I forgive in true sense?

True forgiveness is not a transaction triggered by an apology
Sometimes, eyelids are more expressive than lips
Silence has more sorrow than “sorrys”
Regrets are realisations too fine for linguistics
Then why do we get stuck?
Waiting forever for a well articulated confession

Forgiveness is an inner journey that starts only when
A soul sees the self-destructive pay-off of nurturing hurt
Pointless power game of victimhood
And disproportionate suffering on behalf of a collective
that we have little or no memory of

Forgiveness is a calling for
The courage of Rama,
Fierceness of Shiva,
Grace of Shakti
And innocence of a butterfly

It is a radical simplicity—
of seeing yourself mirrored in the others
Acknowledging the broken humanness
Dropping the sword of vengeance
Becoming the Sovereign
And embracing the wounded heart!


Where do I begin? 

Oh my bleeding heart!
How deeply I long to forgive
Most of all, my own self!
For failing to stand for my innocence

All those faces, I love to despise
Hold a piece of my broken heart
Standing in a hesitant circle around me
Hoping to return what’s truly mine

As the year ends
I restore the lost pieces of my heart
Sitting alone with my brokenness
Letting others dissolve within

For the old soul taught us
“Wound is where the light enters…”






Wish you a wonderful new year!

Manish Srivastava
The Sacred Well

December 31st 2017

[Poetry & Pictures by Manish Srivastava]



5 questions that helped me in practicing forgiveness and freeing my inner power: 

[I am a practitioner and a poet. I need to integrate the insights in my practice. So, I reflected on 5 questions to help me release old hurts from 2017 and stepping in 2018 with new energy. Adding them below, in case, the practitioner-in-you longs to take similar journey]

  1. HURT: This year, what were the moments when I felt most angered, hurt, helpless or victimised? By whom and when?
  2. MY NEEDS: What needs/values of mine were most compromised? What are my regrets from self?
  3. OTHER’S VULNERABILITY: What might be the helplessness/stuckness/ fears that others might have experienced that made them behave the way they did?
  4. LET-GO: What is the burden (hurt, emotions, old story, memory etc) that I do not wish to carry anymore? What I am ready to let-go off now?
  5. HONOUR: How can I truly honour my deep needs/ values myself in future? What learning, resources, strengths I have gathered in all these year(s) to honour myself?

India- Its time to own our own shit!

This poetry-prose is triggered by recent uprising of dalits (permanently untouchable low castes) as a response to increasing atrocities and injustice they have faced in recent times. Indian society is at another verge of evolution. This is an opportunity for us to clean years of shit that we had conveniently put under our archaic carpets!

It’s time for those
dancing on white marble floors–
To know where our shit goes,
who wipes our streets,
and mops our floors
Cause those who were
systemically condemned
to live in hell,
have awakened
and won’t do it anymore!

It’s time for all of us
to own our own shit!

While we dipped our fingers
in sandalwood with care,
They were neck deep
in our gutters and sewers
While we donned our white kurta
and self-righteous ego
They were stripped of their shirts
And dragged naked in streets…

Now the dirt inside
is staining the white

It’s time for all of us
to own our own shit!

As long there is a task in our mind
that we look down upon
And a part in our psyche
that we shudder to own
Or a longing in our vanity box
Thats too comfortable with low-cost helps…
There will be untouchables!

Untouchability is a social innovation, created by & for, all of us!

Ensuring guaranteed supply of cheap slaves generations after generations!

High castes download it as their birthright. Finding nothing weird in expecting a fellow human being to live on leftovers, forever. Neo-rich and middle-class play another game. On surface they try to look good by giving their used clothes and old electronics to their domestic helps (not very different from skinning dead cattle). However, deep down they also enjoy the convenient and low-cost labour that cleans their shit and supports their life while they pursue their big dreams. Thus they also collude with the existing system that cares nothing about equality, education and progress of dalits.

Lets face it…
Are we providing employment benefits and respect to maids, drivers, cleaners just like employees in business or public organisations?
Can we imagine them sitting on same table for dinner with us?
Why are the jobs like cleaning, sanitation, service, least valued and least compensated?
Why do we strive so hard to gather and show the power and influence but absolve ourselves of any responsibility to change the life of those living in slums and streets? Are we really curious? Or too quick to justify their condition as not our business?

We need to look within..
Each one of us
To shift the paradigm
From our homes, to our streets and the state

(Watch this video and read more below or click on this link)


A quarter of India is Untouchable
A quarter of India is systemically oppressed, dehumanised, suppressed–
to serve rest of us,
to clean our shit,
skin our dead cattle,
from generation to generation..
Keeping their mouth shut!

A quarter of India
Is excluded from the GDP growth saga
A quarter of India
Is not counted in great story of Indian compassion and humanity

This quarter of India is 300 million people.
As large as entire population of USA.
This quarter of India is boiling right now
Gathering like a human tsunami
Asking for justice
for generations of atrocities
Calling the facade off our faces

They have thrown the wrench
They are showing the mirror
and awakening the conscience of our country
its another service
This time they are helping us
clean our conscience!

Wake up India!
Its time to clean our own shit



manish srivastava


Some references:

Who are dalits? 
An assault on Dalits may have triggered the biggest lower-caste uprising in Gujarat in 30 years
Dalits pledge not to lift animal carcasses in Gujarat
Descent into hell: Mumbai’s dehumanised sewer workers 



The Alchemy of Writing

A pen knows the language of the land.
One dipped in soul, activates many…

Writer is an artist with a form–
that sings with the music of heart
and flows fearlessly on the canvas of imagination
Writing can be as subtle as the breath…
and as literal as the word.

What’s even more magical is the shape-shifting of creative writing
When a soul’s longing transforms itself
in word, on paper, in print,
travels readily across the oceans, infects the field,
meets another eye, ear and heart–
shifts back into fire, water, spirit–
rekindles many souls and the earth…
and hibernates to be rediscovered in future…

Writing is alchemy
Its an ancient discipline of transforming
unformed emotions into shining words
After each para… I am born anew

Writing is healing
It channels wounds
A secret passage for tears and scars
To find their salvation

Writing is a great sacred ritual
When I write, I am dancing with my soul
With the discipline of a samurai
and surrendering of a devadasi

Do I write or am I written…
By the great pen of life
Filled with deeply felt experiences
On the paper called humanity

All arts are great expressions
Soul yearning a creative from
Writing is special for here the masterpiece
Is the writer himself (herself)!


— manish srivastava
(the sacred well)


Free the Artist within…

You know what…WIP (Manish)
Lets free the artist within!
For all art surfaces from the heart.
Lost song of our undocumented parts.

Art is nothing but the expression of fearless love.
And Artist is none other than the one,
who takes risk and dives deep in his own soul…

to make the unseen seen
to name the dare not
to blow the facade
to nurture the unborn

Living on the edges of our collective unconscious,
he sees the contrasts and contradictions
and dies a thousand times
to let the new birth from his heart.
he is the womb and the midwife…

Art is never complete but always whole
And artist is his best work-in-progress…

There is one in you
One in everyone!

Tap into
Step into
Rise upto
The artist in you..
and you will see beauty in your longings
and purpose in your pain

For, if you can liberate a soul
You are an artist!

Bright sand (Manish)









(from the Sacred Well)


Economy of inauthenticity


The more I want to live authentic,
More I find myself tied up in ropes of old…
Old expectations, old promises, old beliefs, old masks, old relationships.
All of them painstakingly weaved by me
Or traded with others in the market of social expectations
“I will do 30% inauthentic in exchange of your 40% that you did for me at the wedding”!

Slowly I got myself deep into the economy of inauthenticity.
Trading parts of self for momentarily peace and security
Or letting extortion happen at the gunpoint of nuisance and guilt.

Till I was left with the last nickel…
The core of my being.
My creative self.
Who lives naked and guiltlessly admires the curves of goddess idols.
Who is so young and vulnerable.
Who just wants to walk free without cloths that classify him as rich or poor.
Who can laugh loud at a funeral and sulk in a wedding.
Who looks at the king and says “you are naked” and yet love him for who he is.
Who can cut across the egotistic crap and connect with the soul longing to belong.

I have hidden him for long
I have been ashamed, possessive, unsure about him.
While all he wanted was free expression of who I am and who he is.

Now, he is grown up and wants to break free,
From within me.
Tear off all the clothes of civilization and make ups of appropriateness;
Burn all facades of classes and flags of masses;
Ridicule and laugh at all significant noble purposes:
“How can you save the outer world when the one inside you is shrinking?”

As he beats in my heart and veins,
Threatening to explode,
I become aware of the web of ropes I am tied in.
In the market place of social expectations,
They called it perfect order.
When all of us are hooked with ropes in this web,
Unhooking is so painful.
Imagine when it’s nailed to your ribs…
Unhooking also disrupts the web,
Where we all want others to stay as they are.
Even if it’s 80% inauthentic!

This is how cultures are made and sustained.
This how rituals, rites and roles remained.
This how we become prisoners of our own psyche.

If I have to honour the creative self within me,
I must unhook!
I must bear the pain as one last price of my slavery.
Leave my clothes here
And walk naked…

In the economy of inauthenticity
I choose to loose…