One day last week I lost my Internet connection, couldn’t contact Jennifer and my boys, was completely frustrated trying to get it working, and went into a tail spin. (Attachment, anyone?)
I was feeling, “what am I doing here, anyway? I obviously made all this crazy stuff up about Ma and coming to India looking for spiritual teachers. Here I am sitting among statues of gods and goddesses, some of which aren’t even ceramic or bronze, but just little kitsch-y dolls. The whole thing is a big charade, one I concocted for myself! (stock photo from web, here).
Then, the next day I was sitting in Ma Indira Devi’s room for my mid-day meditation, and after about two hours, I began to be overcome with sadness about having to leave in a few days. After the meditation, I went out into the garden and sat again before Ma’s samadhi tomb, feeling very sad. I couldn’t understand it. I was feeling that, not only does this feel like home, but more, it feels like the only Real Place I have ever been.
During my first week in India, I had kept saying “It’s so wonderful! I feel like I’m in a dream!” But now I started feeling that everything else in my life has been like a dream, and being in India, at this ashram, is the only REAL thing I’ve ever done. I can’t explain it.
I thought of all the arguments and objections I’d been having, and then an image came of my “monkey-mind” going crazy, doing cartwheels and somersaults, trying to make sense of all of this, trying to convince me that it’s all nuts.
I had an image of being on a high-speed train, barreling through the landscape, my mind like this crazy monkey on the roof of the train jumping up and down, not able to understand what was going on, trying to stop the train!
But I was going–and the monkey was not going to stop anything! I feel some great inner Presence that is bigger than my mind, carrying me, which has brought me here, no matter what my mind thinks of it!
And, the people are perhaps the most amazing part. Everyone has an amazing story about how they got here. And none of them are dummies. Karishma and her husband Udo came here 24 years ago from Germany, the next year came back and then never left. I LOVE them. The moment I saw Udo, he seemed like someone I have known all my life. He is such a sweet, bright, kind man. Very bright. They are both very deeply spiritual, very evolved. Karishma is of Greek descent. Dark
hair, full of spiritual fire. They are both about 51. She is very intense. He’s very joyful.
Rajkumar, whom I’d also been in touch with from the US, is a brilliant, 40-year-old cardiologist from Chennai (Madras). He was so kind to me the day I was so bummed out about the Internet. He gave me a cell phone of his and we are getting a card for it. So I can call home, if I don’t have internet. Last Friday, he spent the whole day showing me the city, buying me lunch, gave me a key to his apartment, so I can go and use his computer or hang out. It’s right next to the ashram. He was with Ma when she died. He was a total skeptic and atheist when he first came.
Then there are two sixty-ish Gujarati sisters, B. and M., who were professors—of
chemistry and economics—who left their professions to become sanyassis (monks–
or nuns) at the ashram. M. is so sweet. She sits down and rubs her open hand on the place beside her to invite me to sit down by her, and then tells me story after miraculous story about saints and spiritual teachers in India, many of whom she has met. B. is–as Karishma mentioned–sort of the acting Mother Superior. She’s taken me in hand and shown me everything.
The other night I was surrounded by all these holy women in saris and younger men and women all wanting to hear my story of how I got here, all of them giving me books and fruit and little presents and other things. I was overwhelmed with kindness.
It’s cool here. No one tells anyone what to do, spiritually. Ma said that after she was gone it should be this way. She once said, “Not only do you have to walk to God alone. You have to go naked.” So, everyone lives here or meets here, but no one tells anyone what to do. Very laid-back and friendly. You come and go as
I love India. It feels, I don’t know, just very real. Like a place I’ve always lived. Not like déjà vu–but more like I never even left here. Like I’ve always been here. It’s crazy!
So, me–and monkey-mind,
say, thanks for reading!
Love and Namaste, Michael