My little indoor, window garden. This one brings me such joy! March 28th, 2012
“The heavens were not made in God’s image, now was the sun, nor the stars.
You alone are a copy of the Being
who is above all thought,
a similitude of the incorruptible Beauty,
and a reflection of the true Light” (St Gregory of Nyssa)
“As you gaze at the Light, you are transformed into It, for its brightness shines in you.”
The image of God in the depths of the human heart- in India-is called Saccidananda (Henri le Saux)
“Is there anything greater than thought?
Meditation is greater than thought
The earth seems to rest in meditation
Atmosphere and sky, waters and mountains
all seem to be in meditation like God and men” (Chandogya Upanishads)
Not knowing a language and not feeling welcome in a strange place makes the pilgrim be even more withdrawn inside seeking what is the real reason for being here in the first place. But aren’t we all pilgrims on this earth? and even in our own cities with familiar settings around us and all the usual physical comforts, don’t we feel at times enveloped in moments of solitude. or nostalgia? Moments of grace as the sages say, to ask ourselves, what brought us here and to ask the question who am I?
The city of Kankal had that quality, as I could see from the ‘foreigners’ who I met. It was so easy to make friends there because we felt a certain bond as being ‘outcasts” or as they often called us “foreigners”. It was this that brought us together.
There were quite a few Americans and Europeans in KankalI and mainly all there because of Ma. In time I think we all slowly got to know one another because we also had similar problems. we could not stay in the ashram (I was told) simply because we were ‘foreigners” so we were all in other places and some moving around as soon as a better room was available.
One guy was from Vancouver. He was a disciple of Ma and invited me for lunch one day. Then there was George who was leaving for Italy very sick with a kidney illness and he said “I can hardly wait to eat some good spaghetti”.
There was another called Droove who was ill with hepatitis and getting his plane ticket back to Europe.
Another was from Iran, called Abdullah. He was, at the time, in love with a Canadian girl
He came to India to study agriculture but left the class, he said, because he already knew what was being taught and so instead of staying in a boring situation, he came out and decided to travel and learn more about the spiritual side of India. He also lived in a room very close to the River.
I went one evening to a restaurant with him and the food was so spicy it kept me awake all night. He was from a country far different than mines and under the dictatorship of Khomeiny and from things he told me, I was thankful to be living in a free world.
With these seekers we shared our feelings and our solitudes and although we felt as strangers and yet so lucky just to be able to be close to Ma and see her in these moments especially as her doctor said that her health was failing and she told him that her time was coming soon. Her birthday was approaching and we all decided that we wanted to stay for the event
I noted in my diary that there were only two reasons why I stayed in this city and one reason was because of this mysterious river that when I was not in her waters, I could only think of when next I will go in, and secondly the darshan of Ma, which was mysteriously somewhat the same, in that, when I was not in her physical presence, I could only think of when next I would see her. I had spoken to the swami who carried messages and questions about my receiving diksha from her and he gave me a form with questions to fill out.
It was on the evening of the 4th May 1982 after darshan that Swami Bascarananda, one of the senior swamis, called me aside and said that Ma had asked him to give me a message. It was mainly concerning the questions I had answered.
He said to me, “Ma has asked me to convey this message to you,” and it was mainly an encouragement to continue on my spiritual path and to continue meditation but here she gave me an instruction. It was like a koan that I kept to myself trying to absorb its deeper meaning.Up to this day, I still feel the need to grasp it fully. but then I have only been meditating now some thirty years and am still a baby on the path.
After darshan, I also had a treat as Sr. Sarahananda and Claudette, a Canadian came to me with letters. They came through a priest living near Risikesh, of whom I had an address and had visited once. He lived in a small house incognito. It was great having news from Canada and also one from my sister Marie, in Trinidad. I wrote in my diary “Mother is still alive”. Actually she lived for another five years.
On the 6th May there were celebrations to honor Ma’s Birthday. Her illness was taking the upper hand and so she was brought out on a sort of easy chair and she was propped up but it was after 7 in the evening and the lighting was very dim but there is always an atmosphere, filled with “Shakti” as they say. It is something special when one is in the presence of a saint and also of so many devotees who love her.
That night I had dreams again of death, of skulls mainly and in my morning meditation I was in a very comfortable zone and like eating something very sweet when suddenly I was brought out of it by a loud scratching noise. I listened and realised it was the squirrel trying to get in my room.
Now I had friends to visit. Abdullah invited me to come and meditate at his place in a building facing the Ganges. from there we could hear some kids diving and sounds of birds. He asked me to teach him and I suggested he used the name of God from his own tradition. I also told him about thoughts and what to do. He was quite pleased with the results.