Friday, May 29, 2009

2009 05 29, Friday.

2009 05 29, Friday.

During the Mahay Shasura Mardini song this morning even I (with my tin ear) could tell that the harmonium player was off on his rhythm. Don't these guys have auditions or something? Definitely threw me off. During the song I was enjoying trying to visualize the Sri Goddess Durga larger than life on the big stage sitting on Her tiger and holding in Her ten arms all kinds of weapons and other sacred symbolic items. That is the way Sri Durga is traditionally depicted. Perhaps Sri Durga likes to have all those items because they "may come in handy some day". Definitely a Goddess I can relate to. With those ten arms, Sri Durga would be GREAT to have in the trash recycling area, I bet She could sort a bin of trash in no time flat. Maybe even do 2 or 3 at once.

(I feel its OK to have some gentle fun with the deities because any deity who gets assigned to planet Earth has *got* to have a sense of humor. Without a sense of humor, I'm sure the deities assigned here would have blasted us to smoking ashes a long time ago (I know I would have). Kind of an irrefutable existence proof of their sense of humor. In exchange for guiding us to enlightenment, we humans provide them hilarious non-stop entertainment. Definitely a win-win. Maybe that's why its taking the human race so long to finally grow up. As soon as we're mature and wise, we'll totally lose our entertainment value. And who wants to see their favorite sit-com canceled? )

In my mind I was imagining Sri Durga on a tiger, but I've also seen many other pictures where She's on a lion. Personally, I'm a tiger man. In all the pictures, even though Sri Durga is holding all these fierce weapons, She's always depicted with a sweet and gentle smile, even when She's brutally and graphically decapitating and eviscerating Her arch rival the evil demon Asura something-or-other. I think its Asura Mardini. "Asura" is a Sanskrit word that means demon. The good news is that anyone who gets killed by one of the Hindu Gods or Goddesses immediately gets enlightened and goes right to nirvana. Folks, that is *my* kind of religion. No eternal damnation here. Free pass straight to moksha, even if you're a slathering wild eyed berserker demon (level 65 in WOW).

Before breakfast there was a nice scene in the big hall. Two older skinny Indian men dressed in bright white clothes were strolling slowly, holding hands and having an animated conversation, waving their other hands to punctuate their dialog. It was very sweet to see such natural affection between two men. Far behind them on the big stage was a picture of Amma smiling as only Amma can smile, with a few ghee lamps casting a golden glow on Her picture. Often I'll see young boys, teenagers and young adult men with their arms around each other or holding hands while walking or talking.

At breakfast they had uttapam again. Yum! The Indians apparently are also crazy for the stuff cause I saw the young Indians in line in front of me pile a pound or more of the stuff on their plates. Hey! Save some for me! Believe me, its that good. They had a lot so there was some still in the pot even after I finished my breakfast. I took some more and really stuffed myself. Hey Dad! You reading this? I may even finally put on a few pounds here. I waddled back to my room, belly bulging and happy.

One day, when the stars line up in the perfect jyotish alignment, they'll serve uttapam *and* chai on the same morning. I get shivers just thinking about it. On that morning I'll finally dissolve in a blinding sphere of blissful divine light and merge into my vast inner altar of egoic sense pleasure. Just like Sri Mirabai and Sri Chaitanya merging into the Sri Krishna murtis.

Maybe I could write some bhajans extolling the greatness of chai and uttapam. Hey Achyut, send me a melody and I'll write the lyrics. We can perform it at one of the Amma programs. Well, you can perform it. If they hear me sing they'll grab me and toss me flying head first out of the hall. I have a voice like a bag of rusted metal scrap.

Now I could *pay* for uttapam and chai at the Western Cafe but that is totally not the same, of course. I think you understand.

While walking around the ashram, you see two levels of swamis here; the junior swamis wearing bright yellow robes and the senior swamis in ocher robes. So far I've only seen a few ocher robed swamis, but you can't swing a cat without hitting one of the yellow robed swamis. Lots of them. They sometimes travel in packs. Watch out.

There's two ocher robed swamis in particular who always give me a very good feeling when I see them. One is a younger guy perhaps a bit younger than me and the other looks to be in his mid 50's or so. Don't know their names. Both are on the tall side for Indians. They both have very sweet smiles and have a powerful and gentle presence about them. Makes me want to go and touch their feet and just hang out with them and look at them. May sound strange but when you're crazy for Amma your devotional side can get awakened; it feels good. I'd love to hang out with them, but the ocher robed swamis, in particular, are very busy, constantly fielding questions about organizing the ashram or one of Amma's many many charitable operations. I think a lot of the administration of Amma's charitable empire falls on the ocher robed swamis.

After the recycling work, I had a nice talk with Kundasan. At one point he mentioned he's a massage therapist. I mentioned in passing that two of my Amma friends back in the states had the chance to massage Amma's feet. Kundasan got an envious look and said he would love to massage Amma's feet for days and days, skipping food and drink and massaging Amma's feet till he passes out. As he was sharing I was feeling exactly the same way. I could totally relate to and feel his passionate desire to massage Amma's feet (a rare treat only offered to a few devotees). This is a good example of the feeling of connection that is so palpable for me here. Its little incidents like this make me feel so connected to everyone here even though I don't socialize much. We're all crazy for Amma and that shared passion makes me feel so at home.

This afternoon I went to the internet cafe in Vallikavu to check some email. It was hot! But the ocean breeze kept it bearable. On the way back I was crossing over the bridge when I saw a tall young western man walking toward me. He was wearing essentially a see-through shirt. I thought it looked a little strange, but it was a hot day so it definitely made sense. The man walked past a small family of local Indian townspeople. After he walked past, the locals turned, pointed to the man and started smiling and laughing amongst themselves. Apparently to them a see-through shirt on a man is a very strange sight, worthy of much pointing and giggling. Lots of Indian men around here go shirtless so I don't see it as a big deal, but the Indians sure thought is was weird.

No comments: