Dog Poet Transmitting.......
May your noses always be cold and wet.
Ah well, the world did not end. I had had my suspicions that it would not and strangely enough, so far, they have proven accurate. As I may have mentioned; I get the impression that maybe it is only the darkness which has ended and- quoth the raven, “nevermore” so, we’ll keep on rocking in the unfree world until we are given further marching orders.
There are cows everywhere, as well as dogs and monkeys and, of course, people. The cows are more than passing odd. Sometimes they stand like frozen statues (what other kind are there?) facing up the road or down the road, with their heads extended on their necks as if peering into the future, or some land seen only by them. The dogs are also strange. They generally mind their own business but you do have to watch yourself walking certain places and I guess I don’t have to tell you about the monkeys or the nagas, which are best left entirely alone in any case, unless you got some kind of dispensation.
The mountain seen from my window, or at any point where you have a skyline, is called Arunachala and that is where Ramana Maharshi lived for over 50 years. The mountain is considered to be Shiva and Ramana an incarnation of him. By this time, the testimony of thousands who met him when he was here, attest to the likelihood that he most certainly was a self realized soul ...but the reader can look into that if they want to. There is a road that runs for 18 kilometers around the mountain and last Sunday people were walking around it all day and all night. It was some kind of an auspicious date. I did not do this. I am waiting for my friend Roy to arrive tomorrow before I head up into the mountain. We had talked about doing it and so, in my mind, I thought we would do it together.
There is no real way to describe or explain India at all. You can discuss aspects of it and try your hand at vignettes but India, in many ways, lies beyond the reach of words. I will say, right off the bat that it is the most spiritual place I have ever been and has greeted me (except for certain technical difficulties) with open arms. There’s no doubt about my being welcome here.
There is a larger highway that runs along the mountain and all alongside it are saddhus sleeping on the sidewalk, sitting there or walking by, while monkeys scamper along the wall behind them. There’s a Sri Ramana Maharshi mini mart on this road and they told me to take my shoes off when I went in. I found this highly amusing as the mart has nothing to do with Ramana except for the name. They do a brisk business with westerners by providing things you can’t get elsewhere and which many westerners seem to want.
I’m not planning on going anywhere besides here except for the Kumbha Mela. I see no point in traveling from town to town in an ever increasing state of exhaustion and disorientation. My friend Roy has a friend named Abul who got me a place to stay next door to him; something far beyond anything I expected and at a price that would not be expected at all, since I have seen other places where the cost for much less is the same. Abul is a professional photographer and it turns out he is going to the Kumbha Mela and offered to take me along. This is uncanny because there is nowhere to stay or rent there that is not entirely outside my economic spectrum at this time. Now I have somewhere to go and a native to go with. This kind of serendipity has been happening by the day and is welcome in the extreme.
This is a land of the very poor and the very rich, along with the very recently middle classed.
A fellow was by Abul’s yesterday- 81 years old and had met Ramana. He owns 30 acres of land with all kinds of things growing on it and worked by his extended family. He’s got one tooth in his mouth and likes to smoke the ganja. He left bearing away a large collection of return deposit bottles from Abul’s on his bicycle. Apparently he is land rich but really short of cash. Women are not treated very well here in many places and bad things happen to them. People of all ages commit suicide. An 11 year old boy had a quarrel with his sister and so he poured kerosene over himself and set himself on fire. This is some kind of preferred method. There are assaults on women as well, often by relatives.
Before anyone points out to me that it can’t be very spiritual if this is going on, well, we’re talking about a billion people. There are certain to be a few bad eggs. Of course the cities are redolent with material culture, all Bollywooded out and the celebrity worship is sickening but I’m not resident in that spectrum.
Everything is going on in your mind. If you can still your mind so that the sunlight of the self can rise and shine through it then, you’ve got what you came here for, even if you forgot what that was; which is why remembrance is key.
I’ll be leaving this hotel on Monday, Christmas Eve, and a new chapter will come into play. I’ll have greater ease of access to doing these things and probably have the radio show up and running again, give or take a week on all of that because this is India and things operate on manana time here.
The curious case of the western visitors continues. There is a leaden heaviness to so many of them here. They came here for something but... as is ever the case, what they are seeking is inside them and not outside of them and this confuses and I think depresses them. The Indians are smiling and gracious and I really latch on to that and put my hands together and greet them, while most of these visitors seem embarrassed and made uncertain by it all. None of the westerners, with a couple of exceptions seem to want to talk to me but I come off weird wherever I am. I realized pretty much soon after I got here that I wasn't particularly looking for anything but what is destined to happen to me anyway. Some good portion of myself tells me I have found whatever it is that I am after, it just hasn't come into total focus yet.
That said, I will leave you now, so as to get this up and get off on to whatever this day holds for me. Be well and prosper!
And... Merry Christmas!!! Precisely because certain people don’t want you to say it.
'Lord Ganapati' is track no. 6 of 12 on Visible's 2007 album 'Almost A Capella'