Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Proof is in the Pudding
or perhaps in response to a tricky situation.......

In the left hand picture we have a picture of Ramana Maharshi - a giant of silence and understanding, beyond the realm of a teacher.
He wandered into my life many years ago and it is face that speaks to me directly, more than the words which were few and have been made noisy by his followers.
I visited his ashram for a while but spent most of my time with a holy man on the mountain whose job it was to chase away goats from the newly planted trees.
I happened upon him on my way to the caves where Ramana sat for many years and where today the holy one's continue to explore realms beyond pleasure and pain.
Everyone kept asking me if I felt the Sage's presence, and my awkward response was always a guilty no.
But then there was this simple being in a loin cloth - shining so brightly.
He invited me to sit with him for a while.
And then he showed his omniscience for he retrieved a straw mat from beside the rock and placed it under a tree.
Wow - how did he know I liked to be horizontal in the heat.
He folded up a cloth as a pillow and invited me to lay down.
Which I did - he continued planting and chanting to Shiva and Shakti and in the blink of an eye, the day had absented itself.
The next day the desire to visit the caves was replaced by the desire to just go and lie with the goat man.
And thus my time at Arunuchala was spent lying down, falling into the deepest sleep, and in the background, worship and forestry were ongoing.

The only photo I have of him is on paper and I could copy it over, but then I would have to hunt for the card reader or the download cable oh and the camera - and let us face life is too short to be looking for what is not here right now.
Suffice to say he was the beauty of this sacred mountain.

But my real reason for heading to India was as a gift to myself.
I had recently had a miscarriage in the second trimester of pregnancy and started bleeding.
Not being alarmist I took copious amounts of yarrow and other herbs reputed to stop blood loss.
By the time I realised that it was not doing its job and decided to go to hospital hours had past.
I had lost consciousness by the time we arrived and needed blood transfusions and such.
How can I describe the lack of consciousness - it was not knowable whilst there it was only on returning to this paradigm that I could recall this space.
And of course I am putting words here that did not exist there.
It was no-thingness. A black void of complete silence.
It was beyond any other description.

Some time later I received some money and instead of using it for something "sensible" I decided to go and feed my spirit.
I had happened upon the teachings of Ramesh Balsekar who resided in Mumbai and thus I journeyed to the great unknown.
A translator for Nisargadatta Maharaj for many years.
Here was this man in a 83 year old body with the sharpest of minds.
I would watch him tirelessly leading people to the truth of their desire.
We all started off expressing how we were looking for enlightenment which he would quickly debunk.
What we were actually looking for was peace and the way to get peace he advised was to ascertain who was the doer.
Once that had been established then there could be no grief, pride, envy, blame.
He repeated over and over again how all there was is consciousness - consciousness is all there is.

This being had a huge impact on my life.
Through him the courage appeared to live this life as I wanted to. Beyond grabbing and avarice and without bowing to the god or corporate safety.
A man so extremely ordinary and yet a teacher of measure.
A few times I would write to him and a few weeks later a faded 30 year old aerogram would weave its way to my postbox with the words on it again expressing that events happened, deeds were done , but there was no doer.
He would re-iterate how life continued to unfold its destiny and of course there was pain, but it did not define one.

Now it would seem that many of the teachers have had some sexual scandal hanging over them.
And this is where this blog is leading (yeah, in a very convoluted fashion) -
Four years ago or so he went to do his annual retreat in Kovolam - Germany - with a handful of regular devotees arranging it and bringing in some new faces.
Ramesh was 89 at this time and in presence was an eagle, in body a sparrow.
He had a young German woman who attended his talks daily in Mumbai and traveled with him as a companion and support. I can't recall her name.
And then there were 3 other women who all had some claim to him.
So one day they are on their break during the retreat, and his Mumbai assistant pops up with
"I massage Ramesh in breaks to keep him calm - and often give him a happy ending"
Ditto the others.
But now for me the most interesting thing was they were all okay with what they were doing when they believed they were the only one's doing it.
But upon discovering that others were also giving him pleasure it turned into a scandal.
They marched upon the organisers and demanded action talking about the guru and the abuse of power.
Now if we were talking about teenagers or vulnerable women I would question it too, but these were all mature, able capable women who seemingly chose to do what they do.

So the next session, beloved Ramesh was challenged in a totally confrontational way.
Name dragged through the mud on every channel.
And he stood still and poised and answered "yes what you say is true - these allegations have merit"
Actions happened , deeds were done, but there was no doer.

His wife when questioned about it could not understand the shock - she stood by him.

Anyway 2 Sunday's ago Ramesh left his sparrow body for a larger flight plan/circle or his wave simply sank back into the ocean.
And when I am struck by feelings of lack of self worth I am reminded that of 6 billion people on this planet, I was one of the lucky one's that got to sit at this beings feet.

And life in her infinite wisdom, seeing that I was still straggling and holding onto separation sent another teaching this way.
Endlessly patient, clear, available, most gentle but not adverse to a rib nudging when necessary saved me deeply from myself the other day.
Was trapped in the fury of earth and it's corrupt leaders and its cruelties and with that my own supposed flaws which need to be wiped out bla bla blah. You know the power of resistance.
And so I wrote to Gilbert about the greyness and the downward turning mouth and a lack of joy and where the hell was the inherent joy he spoke of .
His reply which really knocked me into full fledged laughter was"under the mask your are wearing stupid".
No words could have been more profound or meaningful.

I decided to poke my head out of the rabbit warren yesterday and happened upon some Sunday papers. The gap between the rich and the poor here has now overtaken Brazil. Our ministers loyal to their leader and not their people have been forking out millions on luxury cars.
The trade unions are sharpening their blades and not a moment too soon.

Tao returned, taller with more knowing in his look.
He is building a growing shed in the garden (isanga in xhosa), has refurbished the chicken hok, and is turning out some very inspired meals.
The other babes roll out onto the sodden earth in the morning and return when hungry.
Right now Sage has ventured up to the dam with a handmade spear gun - fishing with a difference.