Thursday, August 27, 2009


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shoes Off

(an evening walk along the Ganges) Tonight i cast these sandals off as i walk this dusty road. These comfort slippers at learnings cost no longer take me home. This road walked by many a saint, many a villager, many a happy child. All barefoot. All given completely to each moment in the journey. All given fully to the road, to the stones and the rubble, to the dirt and to the waste of many an animal and human alike. And if perhaps i should mistakenly step on some creature, this time aware, then maybe i too will know and feel again how precious these fleeting moments are as it steals my numbness from me. On this beautiful evening in Rishikesh, Chandini hides her glorious face from me, revealing only a hint of mischievous smile from behind the blankets of Shiva. She steals my gaze and all other faces and features are lost behind her luminous taunt. I too am faceless and nameless among the tens that walk this path tonight. I am nobody. I am empty and hollow. "It is no longer I that lives........" How freeing the thought. There was once a time when i too was a child. I had no care for social etiquette or compliance. But i felt a deep connection with all and trusted completely. I sang to my sentiment and danced spontaneously to the joy in my heart; naked and barefoot on the dusty street. Completely. Completely. Trust was implicit. I did not care for shoes to protect. Now i walk barefoot in the night, dancing to a strange and soothing melody inside me. Mother is by my side.


Location: Rishikesh
Mother calls. "To him who has ears........" Ever embracing, ever open. All belong to Mother. Mother embraces all. Wrinkled and old throughout the ages yet with such grace she moves as in the prime of her youth. With such loving charm and composure she fulfills her daily chores. With no thought for herself; Mother only knows what is her duty surely as the earth knows its place in the sun. Selfless are Mothers actions. Unconditional is her love. There is no other love like Mothers love. One with the source is Mother. One with the infinite depth. Ageless and beautiful is Mother. Yet many are fooled by her multitude of disguises. By the clothes she may wear. By the colours of her ever-changing skin. By the ashes, by the loin clothes, by the waste of many a villager and city dweller. Many are fooled and turn away from mothers love. Yet mother is pure. And pure she will always remain. There is much life and purity in her plentiful bosom. To the traveler who lives by the senses, he will not see Mother. Instead many distractions he will find. He will quickly move away from her and look to her shores instead where many a lure will lay. But to the one who searches his own heart, he will take refuge in Mother alone. She is harsh to those she loves the most; to those twice born; to those who are not of this world nor the next. Yet she is harsher to those who pursue her deeper still, closer and closer to the Source. If this is your goal then Mother will be relentless. She will test you and try you and be harsher still; that you may know the intentions of your own heart and the nature of the fire in your eyes. In Mother all are one. The little child playing at her side, the rishi, the seeker, the Sadhu, the Shop owner, the leper, the thief, the animals, the excrement, the dead. Mother has no favourites. All is one. All is Brahman. Mother loves completely. When you are embraced by Mother, you feel deeply her love. But deeper still, when you embrace Mother, when all inhibitions are thrown into her currents, you feel love for all. All differences are dissolved. There is no longer big or small, nor rich or poor. There is a deep humility that is felt; A breaking within. A deep thread of connectivity with humanity and with creation. A feeling of selflesness. A feeling of surrender, of non-identity, of non-individuality. There is such a feeling of freedom and such joy that exists. Words cannot do this justice. Yet those that live with her constantly, that speak with her in the early hours of the morning at the break of dawn. Those that interact with her during the day in bath and play, those that sing to her at night with Arti: they know this by heart already. They have made these truths their basis for life here and in their interactions with all. Prayer: Oh divine mother. May you test my heart truly. May you make my intentions pure. You are the only one who can lead me to the Source. To that infinite bliss. To Gangadhara. To Bholenath. To Jagadisha. Even in your chastisement, even in constantly pushing me away from that place. Still i will become more resolute. Still i will become more fervent. Nandi will teach me how to take stance. Gone are the days of the gopi. Gone are the days of the flute and the melodies in the night hours. These have all been washed away by your waters. Mother divine, Courage is also with me. Nandi and Courage are my symbols of strength. I shall walk still to that place. Many Rishis have walked this path. Many have fallen for the jewels along your shores. Let me not be swayed. Let me not stop until i have reached the goal. Shiva!!! This is my prayer oh Mother divine. In many forms you have come to me for many years. In many forms still you will come. I thank you in all of these. Let my eyes be ever open so that the goal may be reached. Let me not drift into dreaming again.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday 22nd August - Delhi to Hardwar

I am on a train now to Haridwar. I will post pics later. I left the Sri Aurobindo Ashram on friday the 22nd at about 2:00pm. I will tell you more about the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in a proceeding post and more about my time there. For now lets just say that it was ethereal and very humbling.
I decided to spend a night in paharganj. How different Paharganj was from the Ashram. Paharganj is a neighbourhood in Delhi alive with noise, colour, traffic, animals, locals, tourists and indian goods from all over the sub-continent. I booked a room for the evening at the Anand hotel for Rs250. I have slept in better rooms before and my first response was "I want to go back to the Ashram. I should have listened to Dr Bijlani." My next thought was that to many in India it would be considered a great comfort to sleep in a bed with running water and a toilet. So i decided to stick it out. :(
There was a wedding ceremony last night. The drummers came out into the street, follwed by the bride and her parade. People joined in dancing and singing. It was so beautiful to see in the middle of Paharganj. Last night i went to purchase a t-shirt to wear in the heat. The shopkeeper, a seemingly religious man (he had a prayer shrine in his shop like most Indians) went out of his way to assist me. He was kind and did not charge more than expected. (i payed 35 rupees for the T-Shirt) I kept thanking him profusely and he kept shaking his head, unaffected by my gratitude, saying: "I am only doing my duty sahib."
I am only doing my duty. I am only doing my duty: these words i have been reflecting on since yesterday. Another mystery. Another secret to mystical India slowly being unfolded. Indians are dutiful people. They give full attention to the task with no care for the reward. "politeness" and "niceness" does not work here if there is no depth or substance behind it. These are cheap and fickle expressions with no weight on the soul. In the western world we thrill ourselves with being 'nice' to people. A friendly smile, inspite, a kind gesture and immediately we feel like we deserve a medal or at least a pat on the back. Superficial, shallow attempts at real connection.
The average indian is deeply devoted and committed and pays no attention to lip service or superficial offerings. If you had to ask one of these he would say: "It does not matter to me that you are comfortable or whether you are smiling or not. It does not matter to me how many "good" deeds you have done for the day. If you are in a position to do something then it is your duty to act. Justice demands this!!! We are all an integral part of the whole. What is good for the hive is always good for the bee and NOT the other way around. Dont sit there and expect an applause everytime you get up and do something. This is your duty."
I keep asking myself: what does it mean to be human? Am i so immersed in my self preservation that i forget i am a part of the bigger picture? The irony is that in these efforts to make it on our own and gather for ourselves we die sooner. In India, I am learning that the longer one holds on to the vain illusion of 'I', 'Me', 'Mine', 'Vishalins', the greater the difficulty one faces. The more the struggle intensifies. It is best, here, to leave behind these notions. These expressions of selfishness and lower ego and to quickly submit to the land, to the culture, to the dirty streets, to the crowded busses and trains, to the sweat in the summer heat, to the burst of rain in the streets, to the dancing, to the singing, to the noise and the chaos.
This is part of the beauty i am experiencing here. India's ability to unmask you, allow you to see divinity in all, even in the dirt and also in you. If one misses this. One misses a lot.