Saturday, May 23, 2009

2009 05 23. Saturday.

2009 05 23. Saturday.

Woke up around 5:20am hearing the usual chanting and took a quick shower. Brrr! Cold! The men and women in separate halls chant the 1,000 Names of the Divine Mother each morning followed by the Mahay Shasura Mardini (a song in worship of Goddess Durga). Last year after much effort I committed the song to memory so its really nice to be able to sing along. I got to the men's hall around 5:45am just as they were starting the song. Afterwards we all lined up in the early dawn for the 6am cup of chai. Ahh! Just as delicious as ever.

I got back to my room and did my IAM practice. With all the packing and traveling and everything its been about a week since I'd done it. Feels really good to have time to do it again.

8:45 am. As I'm writing this there is a serious thunderstorm happing! Ouch! The lightening is hitting really close and its really loud! Fierce Goddess Kali strides across the land, a thousand feet tall, dueling with Indra, throwing Her nine heads back and laughing to split the heavens! Even Lord Shiva bows to such power!

So I unplugged my laptop and switched to battery power.

9am. The storm passed quickly and now its off to breakfast! Watery rice and way too spicy yellow curry consisting of various unidentifiable vegetables. The spicy curry is causing my nose to run like crazy. Painful but for some perverse reason I enjoy it. Lets see if I can say that after a few months of eating this stuff day in and day out. As I was eating it I was thinking that perhaps all those spices provide some kind of medicinal effect against all the strange microbes filling every nook and cranny of south India. And soon some of them no doubt filling the nooks and crannies in my gut. Bon appetite guys! Hope you like hot spice. Ramana Maharshi used to speak of the health benefits of rice water.

Sometimes it seems I like watery rice the way Homer Simpson likes cream filled donuts. Mmmmm! Watery rice! Ahhh....

I went to the Seva (volunteer work) office this morning and got my work assignment. I report 10am tomorrow to the recycling center to help sort metal, glass, etc. The seva guy said it usually only takes an hour or so, so I should tell him if I think I need more seva. Yeah, right, you'll be hearing from me real soon, buddy. Don't hold your breath... ( smile! ) Just teasing (I like to let my mean cynical side come out and play once in a while. I'm sure most of you will be surprised to hear that ( evil grin! ) ). I have a feeling that before too long I'll be roped into all kinds of seva. Amma says seva is the best purifier and yours truly needs some serious purification.

Just got back from lunch. They had uttapam! (a spiced wheat dish with the consistency of good spoonbread. If you haven't tried good spoonbread, do yourself a favor and make some; its a real treat.). Yum. I had to restrain myself and not take too much. I stuffed myself because dinner isn't until eight o'clock and my body seems to be deeply programmed to want to eat at 6pm.

Just got back from the ashram pharmacy. My two prescriptions which normally cost me about $15 total per refill came to about $2.50 total. Someone tell my Dad. He would love this. They have a pretty good medical center (the Kripa Hospital) right here at the ashram that can handle all the basic stuff. With me here now they added a staff psychiatrist and I'll make him earn his pay. ( smile! )

They're now showing a live video feed of Amma giving a talk in Japan. Amma speaks in Malayalam which is then translated to the Japanese. Yeah, does me a lot of good. Still very nice to see Amma of course. I think She'll be returning to the ashram in early August if I remember. With Amma gone now the ashram is very quiet and peaceful, just the way I like it; much shorter lines at the chai bucket.

I missed the 4pm chai. Darn! I asked some guy if the chai was still being served and he responded in the most delightful heavy French accent "Oh no! They serve for 5 minutes only and then Poof! All done! Must be quick quick! OK, bye now!" It was like fine champagne for the ears.

For some reason I've had a sore throat ever since I got on the train. Maybe the pollution in Cochin or somewhere got to me. Other than that feeling good.

As I was meditating (or, more precisely, trying to meditate) at about 6pm the setting sun was making my walls glow with a beautiful pink color. Really nice. I'm up on the 10th floor facing west and the sunset views are really nice. Spectacular is more like it. When I went to take a bathroom break a cute little gecko jumped off the toilet seat and scampered away. I told him I didn't mind sharing the toilet as long as he remembered to flush. Anything that eats mosquitoes is definitely a friend of mine, and I'm happy to clean up any poop consisting primarily of digested mosquitoes.

During my sadhana time I was listening my recently purchased MP3 album by Krishna Das called "Gathering In The Light". Whoa! This is some great bhajans! Highly recommended for those of you who like beautiful and inspirational bhajans. I especially liked the "Hare Krishna" track. Very sweet! Put me in bliss. Also I've been listening a lot to the three live kirtan CDs by Vaiyasaki Das. His live kirtans have become my all time favorites. Highly recommended. His studio albums, on the other hand, didn't do much for me.

I'm wrapping up my first full day back here at the ashram. All in all very nice. Feels really good to be back. I guess being in my own room helps. If I had to deal with some roommate (who also had to deal with me, which is even worse), then perhaps I'd be singing a different tune. Actually, when I was here last time, most of my roommates were pretty cool. Only a few triggered my selfish ego and vasanas (which is pretty easy to do, truth be told).

My favorite roommate the last time I was here was a young Belgian guy named Kadak who was a pretty good musician and had some of the most surreal tattoos I've ever seen. I won't even try to describe them as it makes my eyes cross just to think about them. I'll never forget one morning when for some reason a nearby temple started blaring loud music at 5am right toward our dorm. While trying get back to sleep in the pre-dawn light, Kadak kept saying in his delightful Belgian accent "God! What a bunch of Nazis!" Still makes me laugh even though at the time I was in COMPLETE agreement with his sentiments.

Went to sleep with the wonderful sound of the pounding ocean waves.

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