The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express. – Francis Bacon

If you go to Mandrem Beach in Goa, you’ll find the river noiselessly meeting the sea. It slithers through waves of silky sand, bathing in the august afterglow, reflecting the deepest pink, and finds solace in the all-encompassing blue. Viewing and then perceiving this is a religious experience if you don’t go there looking for beauty. You’re left wonderstruck by something you didn’t expect and a ‘transient moksha’ (I call it that because I don’t believe in a thoroughgoing transcendence in this lifetime) liberates you from struggles and conflicts, and floods you with seraphic bliss that raptures you—albeit for a few moments—to another plane where grace delights you with its ethereal allure, clothing you in Solomon’s splendour.  

And though what I’ve written sounds idealistic like snippets from a prophetic dream of a sanctified, white-robed throng entering the paradisiacal now beset by waters of life and studded with trees of eternal fruit, I want you to focus on the ‘don’t go there looking for beauty’ bit. In my life, periods of puritanical fervour have assailed me like a swarm of locusts because I’ve acted out of fear and trepidation. Demoralised by the doctrine of a vengeful God seeking to devour me, I’ve knelt and prayed, chastised myself, loathed myself and purged the little wonder that lingered in my soul. Instead of letting God and religion find me, I’ve sought them out of hadephobia. I found no shelter and realised after many dark nights of the soul (forgive me for using a clichéd term) that beauty finds you when you least expect it.  

So, after a hellish battle with fatalism and regarding myself as nothing more than a fly who hovers around rotten meat, I’m learning to make choices and love myself for them. I know the task ahead is onerous, plagued with nightmarish apparitions from the past, attempting to drag me back into indolence, a couch potato’s languor, oblivious to the weather, time and season. And I know that it’s difficult to heal from the scars of paternal abuse, which shaped so much of my twenties. I’ve made peace with my father, but have I made peace with myself? I’m also not chasing the will-o’-the-wisp, immersing myself in the pseudo-baptismal waters of creative fecundity and wealth. I’m going to learn to give and understand, to love and accept, and maybe, like the river meeting in the sea in its quiet way, I’ll snake my way into beauty’s blue waters.

God looks on with love

The seasons ever-changing

Time slowly moulds me

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

For dVerse

For earthweal

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Carol Congalton
August 30, 2022 4:59 am

Well expressed Nitin!

Gillena Cox
August 30, 2022 6:09 am

Bravo Nitin. This is just fantastic.
Happy you dropped by to read mine.

Glenn Buttkus
August 30, 2022 6:30 am

Excellent, words running deep, deep into hidden chambers, pain, bliss, rapture. Personal yet existential, topical yet eternal, wisdom spoon-fed.
Very good work.

August 30, 2022 8:33 am

A soothing write, Nitin. 🙂

Jane Dougherty
Jane Dougherty
August 30, 2022 12:52 pm

You’ve touched on huge philosophical issues here, about what it means to be an individual but also a part of a whole, how to find peace of mind while retaining a responsible awareness of what is going on outside our personal bubble, and what impact on us, as individuals, the external has, can beauty be assimilated, change something in us, or are we distinct and must find satisfaction in whatever it is makes us unique.
It’s hard to even describe the feeling of observing pure beauty. I tend to think it exists outside our personal experience. We can only observe and admire. It doesn’t ‘prove’ anything, it just is, and will continue to be as long as we leave it alone.
Good luck with your persistence in working it out 🙂

Merril Smith
August 30, 2022 4:14 pm

Beautifully expressed, Nitin–this personal journey that touches on the universal.

Kim M. Russell
August 30, 2022 4:34 pm

Such gorgeous description in the opening paragraph, Nitin, which transported me to that beach in Goa! I know what you mean about focusing on the ‘don’t go there looking for beauty’ bit and agree that beauty finds you when you least expect it. I love the simile: ‘like the river meeting in the sea in its quiet way, I’ll snake my way into beauty’s blue waters’.

August 30, 2022 6:12 pm

The sense of sneaking into paradise as if not deserved. I enjoyed the language and the subtle sophistication of your haibun.

August 30, 2022 9:31 pm

I DID note first the “don’t go there looking for beauty.” And then I felt validated by your second mention. Haha. But. In seriousness, I so enjoy what appear to be snapshots of your mind. I’ve followed your blog for a while because you always give me something to think over. Your post is timely for me- from so many different sources I’ve been reminded: rules (religious we’re talking here, yes?) without context are shackles.

Sherry Marr
Sherry Marr
August 30, 2022 10:00 pm

It is the wonder, the bliss, of witnessing nature’s amazing beauty and interconnection that has gotten me through my life. I have found spirituality – inclusiveness, peace, beauty, connection – in the forest far more than I did inside churches with their fire and brimstone message, so I relate to what you have written here so much. I LOVE “Time slowly molds me.” A hint: with each decade, we become ever more who we are.

Björn Rudberg
August 31, 2022 1:27 am

So much to ponder in this haibun… but maybe we need to search for beauty by going with the flow, just like the river that reaches the sea.

August 31, 2022 3:14 am

There’s a lot going on here–inner and outer rivers, flowing in both directions. May they meet in peace.

I just want to also say, that I can’t read that grey on black at all–is there a way to change the text to white? It was very hard for me to figure out what information was needed in order to comment.

August 31, 2022 5:49 am

As I was reading this I was thinking about my own journey and found we think in some of the same vein. I am more of a spiritual person and nature is my sanctuary as it is raw and beautiful. We all have our faults
and fall short but, I hope when the time comes I will see paradise. I hope you find that inner peace you are seeking.

August 31, 2022 7:26 am

The words flow as a personal journey of healing but this is also a gift of insight to others. I like the way you circle back to the original imagery of the river and sea, representing the way you have reflected, evaluated and decided on new paths for yourself. Your ability to express the process and your focus on self awareness are both impressive to me.

August 31, 2022 8:17 am

The beauty of the beaches of Goa is that we all eventually find a spot which has us awestruck with its sheer beauty. It is very personal and in that rare moment, a kind of epiphanic moment, we make peace with the demons that we constantly fight.
A beautiful, introspective write, Nitin.

September 1, 2022 1:23 am

Aching yet stark meditaion.

September 1, 2022 6:07 am

I like how the river makes its way into the sea and that you are learning lessons from it. Take it easy, Nitin.

ben Alexander
September 1, 2022 4:50 pm

<blockquote>I know that it’s difficult to heal from the scars of paternal abuse, which shaped so much of my twenties. I’ve made peace with my father, but have I made peace with myself? </blockquote>Oy, Nitin… I feel this so deep and hard…


September 2, 2022 1:03 am

Beautiful and moving. And you are right: very often what we are looking for finds us when we least expect it.

Sara McNulty
Sara McNulty
September 3, 2022 5:36 am
Reply to  theusedlife

I came to this poem not knowing I would find such beauty. For me, the only inner peace is meditation, and the only outer peace is the ocean.

Christina Strigas
September 5, 2022 6:36 am


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