Once getting used to greeting the baba’s situated in various spots around the Ganga with a ‘Hariom’ I decided I am finally settled. Now I have a cozy room with a heater, candles and all, Baba’s I greet, some friends with whom I exchange a few words and some little routines. So I may as well stay here for months. However I could only extend my stay for one more week and even that was difficult. I stressed about the tickets I burn, doubts about my intentions for wishing to stay longer while the whole trip is pre-organized. Do I want to stay with Prem Baba longer, do I want to enjoy this feeling of being settled, am I lured by the muscular arms of a beautiful man or do I just want to enjoy having the possibility and freedom to make this change in plans? Eventually one more week of Rishikesh. (Don’t get too hung up on the muscular arms, the story is not getting erotic; just looking, not touching…)
My affection to Prem Baba continues. The strong effects of the first encounter mellowed down; at some moments I spaced out during his satsang but I don’t bother much about all these shifts. According to him the story is pretty simple and straight forward; ‘connect your heart to my heart’ and I formally connected my heart to his. For the ones who are not familiar with this type of spiritual initiation; it is a ritual where you surrender to a Guru. In Ottoman culture, parents used to give their kids to a master, an artisan to be trained using the expression ‘his flesh is yours and his bones are mine’. In a way you do the same yourself towards your master by taking a deeksha. I didn’t necessarily have a divine feeling of surrender in me; I just wanted to connect to the amazing heart opening I have experienced through this bond I create with the master. At the final stage of this little ritual the master was about to put a string to my left wrist, which he had blessed. I already had many white strings put by Swami during the monthly final ceremonies we have at the school concluding a cycle of teaching. Before putting the string on, Swami usually checks in with you asking ‘this is for protecting you from obstacles on your path, do you want it?’ Prem Baba, without a moment of hesitation just cut all the strings, put his red string on instead and handed me the old ones to give to Ganga. I loved the clarity in his action. This whole string story is quite interesting; when I first started with Agama years ago I received the white string from Swami after the completion of my level 1 intensive training, which stayed on my wrist for three years. I’d go to posh parties and dinners totally dressed up with a worn out, dirty string on my left wrist. When I was about to head back to the island to receive the teacher training; just one week before my arrival the string got lose by itself. And now again one week before going back to the island I separated from it.
The monkey situation in Rishikesh is pretty intense. They lurk around the bridge connecting both sides of the Ganga and whenever they see any piece of food in a by-passers’ hand or bag they jump on it. A few days ago I saw one by the fountain at the end of the bridge. He approached the fountain, turned the tap on, drank and then turned it back off! I get it, monkeys are smart animals and all but turning the tap off?! My human fellows hardly do it in public bathrooms.
Of course days do not pass by in a rose garden; I have been through many internal turbulences. I even started to write down ‘reporting from the darkness the sequel’ but I realized that throughout the whole piece I was making fun of my situation rather than expressing my suffering so I decided that my suffering bits were out of order at that moment and turned off my computer.
Let me tell you a bit more about Prem Baba’s satsang that he gave on the occasion of the 21st of December; the supposed end of the world as we know it according to Mayan calendar. In short he explained that we are moving from the sexual revolution to the phase of spiritual revolution. The sexual revolution starting in the 60’s improved the space of women, this high energy became a bit more free but didn’t yet reach its ultimate target; the heart. So actually that revolution still continues. At that time the spiritual seekers were excited by the sexual revolution and the seekers of the now are thrilled with the current one which will result in ‘law of minimum effort’. According to this law humanity will be able to have better access to using their gifts and talents; progress faster and with more ease. Use of gifts and talents is the dilemma of my life. My job as a trained race horse was to focus on what needs to be done. The gifts and talents that I am born with was more of a secondary issue for a breed like me who has a certain level of intelligence. I call this state ignorance of a bright mind. Therefore throughout my college years I strayed from my career and success-oriented path for impulses towards dancing, climbing mountains or travelling to unknown lands. This episode was followed by a stressful effort to compromise between what is in the heart and what is in the mind. Only when reaching the thirties a middle path starts showing its traces. On this occasion I decided to visit a famous astrologer here to find out more about what lies on my path. As you can read I am a very active, dynamic, enthusiastic spiritual tourist; I put my nose into everything offered. Out of blue this astrologer started telling me that I should dance; that I used to be a mystical dancer in Egypt in my past life and that my painful compromise will reach an end from mid 2013 on. Once I got these good news I immediately rushed to get the yellow sapphire ring he recommended me to wear. Why to resist such a sweet temptation; I am spiritual and have a beautiful ring now to go with it!
Prem Baba dives into many issues; stresses how the internal changes are getting faster and faster in this phase. This intensity also brings along some suffering and the only way to progress is surrendering to this change. He talks about relationships, the fight between the idealist mind and the heart, the inner negotiations we have with ourselves and our insistence to relive certain dramas in our lives again and again. Some of his words find their echo in my mind and I note them down, whereas others lead me to day dreaming.
Today I met my puja friends by the Ganga. Lorraine said that her mother stopped going to the church when she was a child once she found out that the donations collected were spent on buying a new org. She didn’t consider that as a valid way of spending the donations. Now after all those decades she started to go to church again, because only there she could meet people who are kind to each other. We are banging our heads against each other all the time in offices, streets, restaurants, bars… If there is a revolution happening with the 21st of December impetus then one of its symptoms may be this collective obnoxiousness I am afraid. I hope that we are indeed at a breaking point and I wish lots of light, love, harmony and kindness for us all in 2013.