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Ivan M. Granger hosts a website https://www.poetry-chaikhana.com He has lovingly and aptly named it Poetry Chaikhana.

He explains: A chaikhana is a teahouse along the legendary Silk Road pilgrimage and trading route linking China to the Middle East and Europe. It is a place of rest along the journey, a place to shake off the dust of the road, to sip tea, and to gather together to sing songs of the Divine...

The Poetry Chaikhana is a repository of sacred poetry of the cultures, religions, and spiritual traditions from around the world. A treasure trove not just for the spiritually thirsty but also for lovers of literature.

Ivan has published books too, one of which I recently acquired -

Gathering Silence – Sayings by Ivan M. Granger with collages by Rashani Réa.

There is only one saying or two on a page, leaving white spaces for reflection and rumination to let the mind gently settle in them, spawning a silence in which thoughts and words quietly fade away. Expressions of a spirit travelling on an ego free path inviting you to set off on yours. As one plays with the meanings, one’s thoughts begin a dialogue with them and then magically the babble of words and meanings metamorphoses into stillness.

Rashani has used soft colours and pure forms which enhance the sacred feel and worth of the book. She delights with her soothing collages, raising them to visual meditations. The front and back covers are in shades of blue – the colour of solitude and peace and emptiness and vast expanses.

True to its title there is no clamour here. Together the words and artwork make one ponder, deliberate and sink into a luxurious silence even if it is for just a few moments. The duration of the engulfing calm depends on the time span of the mind’s detachment from its antics. It is a private love affair between one’s self and serenity that needs dedicated nurturing. It is important to be in love with

solitude,  to be able to bear one’s own company without being bored or scared. That is the home of the Self we all seek in our own ways, at our own pace.

This is not a review of the book because one cannot rush through its pages. Its assessment can only be individual.  Nor is this a promotion for the endearingly magnetic Poetry Chaikhana. It was prompted by what I read and conversed with on the second page of the book:

Decide on a goal.
Then make the road
to that goal
your daily practice.

Below it I penned words to this effect:

For long, one of my goals has been to write daily. Anything. A poem, a blog, just stray thoughts in a journal. It is simple but nothing simple is easy.

And so this got written.

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