On Joy and Sorrow – Kalamji and Memon, the Shared Day of Farewells

Two days ago, on the heels of my article, Farewell to APJ Abdul Kalam, A Truly Great Man, one of my clients in India wrote to ask me an intriguing question: “Michelle, you are truly a global citizen. I wish we have larger majority of people like you. The world will be a better place to live. However, a question [keeps] coming to my mind again and again. Why did a person like Yakub Menon shared the same burial day as Dr. Kalam?”

I suspected many wondered the same thing: Why would the Supreme Court move forward on the execution order to be carried out on the 30th of July, the same day People’s President APJ Abdul Kalam was being put to rest? It wasn’t that this was the day Yakub Memon was born and would also die. Memon’s death on the same day Kalamji was going to have his final farewell to the nation seemed to be an affront to the senses. For my client, the opportunity to pay homage to Kalamji seemed tarnished, even disfigured by one whose death would always remind folks of a black day in March 1993, when 13 serial blasts in Mumbai killed 257 people.

The thought touched me at my core: Not only was this another chapter of Indian history, but it seems I was in Mumbai before I was there. I know. Sounds weird, doesn’t it?

My trip to India in 2013 was nothing short of magical. This one was markedly different than all of the other flights I’d ever taken before–and I’d only taken one international flight before this. I remember describing the missing rush on lift off to friends as if I was on a magic carpet ride. But even before that, I was still in awe when I turned and noticed as I was boarding that this magic carpet was like a double decker bus for the skies!

From the stopover in Dubai to the amazing stays with close friends in Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram (I’m learning to spell this since my own built-in memory–my grey matter–is still clinging to Trivandrum) and Chennai, I arrived in Mumbai.

Dubai airport - inside the terminal where peace lilies grow and the birds flyDubai airport – inside the terminal where peace lilies grow and the birds fly

From the stopover in Dubai to the amazing stays with close friends in Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram (I’m learning to spell this since my own built-in memory–my grey matter–is still clinging to Trivandrum) and Chennai, I arrived in Mumbai.

chaat - copyrighted
Rowers  - Nov 15, 2013 copyrightedLong-time friend Madhuri gave me a whirlwind afternoon of discovering another new snack–chaat–and bathing in moments of awe and sorrow as we went to the Gateway to India, into the harbor on one of the boats, where I took photo after photo of sights easily and indelibly impressed into my heart and mind as they are in the views my camera and I shared with the click of a button. But only as I read about these blasts and where they occurred did the full impact hit home:
Taj Hotel (November 26, 2008) and Gateway to India, Mumbai - Nov 15, 2013Taj Hotel (November 26, 2008) and Gateway to India, Mumbai – Nov 15, 2013

I was there. I walked the same paths by where these blasts had occurred, just as I walked by the Taj Hotel and remembered that horrible day on November 26, 2008, when Mumbai was attacked.

APJ Abdul Kalam - natalHave you ever read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet? In his chapter “On Joy and Sorrow,” he writes, ‘The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.’ To me, this speaks of the balance I mentioned. Kalamji was a Libra, and Libra is said to be the sign where we seek balance. His Midheaven (the public face) had Libra as well as his Sun (his heart) and his Mercury (communication). He sought balance and did so with responsibility as his focus (he had Saturn in the first house), and he spoke with seriousness and sincerity. He didn’t take life lightly, but he did work with dedication and with the hopes of doing things for the good of all. Compare that to Memon whose actions appeared to be for the good of a few or perhaps even only for himself and his goals. So perhaps this was our reminder to draw the lesson then in understanding that we still need to seek the balance rather than the drama. Both of these were men, one with the lowest core values, the other with the highest ones. Surely this alone would enable us to learn from these dramatic differences.

We visit a place and may see history in the making, or the history of their yesterday; but when your soul connects so much to the land as mine does with India, well…I’ve said it before: I felt like I had come home when I arrived. The heartbeat of the land was and remains interwoven with my own. Between us–and you’ll just have to trust me on this–I’ve actually seen the proof of why that may be in its intricately woven threads through my own chart.

So as a result of these experiences, without any need to delve further into them, I wanted a closer look to see the answers for my client and the question, “Why did a person like Yakub Menon share the same burial day as Dr. Kalam?” (Remember that? I haven’t forgotten this was the point of the conversation.)

“Perhaps,” I said, “it’s to remind us that no matter how adbhoot [wonderful, wondrous – I used this to reflect his incredible goodness] Kalamji had been, we needed to remember the other side of the coin, that there is also evil in the world. I still don’t understand however why only Yakub Memon was executed and the others’ sentences were commuted from death to life in prison. That confused me since they obviously were all to blame.

Since Yakuv Memon’s chart at this writing is still untimed, I made the decision at this point to consider both charts against India’s to see the synastry and difference between the two for the nation. Here, an entirely view can be seen with new perspectives; and regardless of Memon’s chart being untimed, other than the Moon, the placements against India’s chart will be pretty true to form:

India independence inside, APJ Kalam natal outsideSome key factors showing in Kalamji’s chart offered an in depth picture of a man who was devoted to his long-term relationship with his homeland through his Moon placed in India’s 7th house of the Independence chart. In addition, his Pluto in this chart’s third house focused on the intense commitment he showed through his writings and public comments. The dominant portion of his chart fell in India’s 2nd quadrant, below the horizon and in the Western hemisphere; but for him, his life and commitment appeared to have been focused on what John F. Kennedy has said in his inaugural speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.

His quest for freedom and innovative thought might have challenged some, but his natal Saturn square fell on the 9th house cusp of the Independence chart, offering the awareness that he knew his responsibilities and could work toward his goals with a conscientious attitude and certainly within the boundaries of the law.

And that he did: Take note of the 9-minute partile conjunction of his natal Mars in the nation’s sixth house to the Independence chart’s Jupiter. His own Mars-Jupiter natal square points to a man who wasn’t afraid to take chances when he knew he had done all he could to set the stage for the best outcome. His natal Jupiter made a 2°25′ conjunction to India’s Venus. This was a love affair everyone knew, and India replied in kind.

India inside, Yakub Memon natal outsideIn contrast, I was struck by Memon’s Mars in India’s first house, and while Kalamji’s Mars-Jupiter square connected with India’s Venus-Jupiter square by respective conjunctions, Memon’s fell in mutable signs and offered no connection to the nation’s chart. I suppose his Mars falling in the first house could have been a positive thing–if he had allowed it: it trined the nation’s Midheaven within four minutes. But Mars in Gemini in this position could have made him one who was inclined to speak and behave more through anger than through effort to work with this combination to the benefit of all. His Mars served as the arm of a mutable T-square with the Jupiter opposition to natal Pluto:

If anything, I’d say his beginnings were harsh and he may have even experienced abuse along the way. But if he expected to change the nation through his angry responses as he did in 1993, he probably was more likely to have convinced people that he wouldn’t ever change. His Pluto fell in India’s 4th house.

He knew how to communicate and probably did quite well. His Sun-Mercury conjunction fell on the nation’s Mercury. In fact, the nation’s Mercury made a partile conjunction to both his Sun and Mercury. But his Sun-Mercury conjunction fell in opposition to natal Saturn. Frankly, things just didn’t need to end this way. But here is where we see the issue of fate versus free will and how we play an important role in how we move forward in our lives.

Most of his chart falls below the horizon in India’s independence chart, cautioning that he was like the jagged, uneven stirrings of the earth as the tectonic plates begin to shift and rumble in various parts of the world. He had no East-West dominance, only the below-the-horizon like Kalamji, and the even balance of the 1st and 2nd quadrants of the comparison chart. This appeared to have been where he thought he could push for his goals to do what he wanted in life, regardless of who it hurt.

And so, dear client, that brings me to one of the two following poems. You read one, and the other is by the same truly inspiring soul.

The One Self
Sri Aurobindo

All are deceived, do what the One Power dictates
Yet each thinks his own will his nature moves;
The hater knows not ’tis himself he hates,
The lover knows not ’tis himself he loves.

In all is one being many bodies bear;
Here Krishna flutes upon the forest road,
Here Shiva sits ash-smeared, with matted hair.
But Shiva and Krishna are the single God.

In us too Krishna seeks for love and joy,
In us too Shiva struggles with the world’s grief.
One Self in all of us endures annoy,
Cries in his pain and asks his fate’s relief.

My rival’s downfall is my own disgrace:
I look on my enemy and see Krishna’s face.

The Universal Incarnation
Sri Aurobindo

There is a wisdom like a brooding Sun,
A Bliss in the heart’s crypt grown fiery white,
The heart of a world in which all hearts are one,
A Silence on the mountains of delight,

A Calm that cradles Fate upon its knees;
A wide Compassion leans to embrace earth’s pain;
A Witness dwells within our secrecies,
The incarnate Godhead in the body of man.

Our mind is a glimmering curtain of that Ray,
Our strength a parody of the Immortal’s power,
Our joy a dreamer on the Eternal’s way
Hunting the unseizable beauty of an hour.

Only on the heart’s veiled door the word of flame
Is written, the secret and tremendous Name.

Despite the pain in the heart with this shared day, the lesson is probably wisest in understanding that we are reminded of the good we can do in life. But we always have the choice, the option, the means of remembering we are the captains of our own ships. This may well be the reason why. Nevertheless, I hope you find some peace in the thoughts I’ve shared with you today.

Namaste, I love you.

©2015 Michelle Young