Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2009 06 17. Wednesday.

2009 06 17. Wednesday.

Continuation of the French Fry Cutter Leela: Had a short talk this morning with Mr. Omkumar who's the big boss of the Indian kitchen. He said he'll do some looking around and for me to come back in a week or two.

My days now follow a routine. Here's a typical day: Get up at 5:15am, brush teeth, get dressed and head out the door around 5:35am to hear the last little bit of the 1,000 Names archana and then sing along silently with the Mahay Shasura Mardini bhajan. Then I join the line to go up in front of the main stage to partake of the blessed camphor fire and bow to the picture of Amma. Then go get my cup of chai. I'm back in my room by about 6:10am and then I start the I AM meditation practice which is done by about 6:50am. At the end of the I AM practice my final meditations have been very nice, probably mostly due to the hot chai settling into my system. Then I go to the western cafe area to help with the veggie chop seva till about 8:30am or so. Sometimes we're quiet and sometimes there's a lot of conversation. Sometimes were done early and I can head back to my room to do a little chanting before breakfast. Breakfast is at 9am. I eat alone usually with the young Indian laborers and currently I'm working on memorizing the Hanuman Chalisa. Then around 9:30 I'm back in my room to brush teeth, maybe do some chanting and small housekeeping tasks or work on my blog till about 10:20 when I head off for the garbage seva. That's done about 11:45 or so then back to my room for a shower, laundry, blog writing, chanting or other misc tasks till 1pm lunch. Lunch is the big meal of the day usually with dry rice and some extra curries and sauces. I try not to stuff myself cause usually I do compost seva at 2:30pm and that's pretty heavy work. The lunches are usually very tasty so its hard not to eat a lot. After lunch I change into my seva clothes and head to the compost area. We're usually done by 4pm and I head back to get afternoon chai and then back to my room for shower, perhaps more laundry, blogging, meditating, chanting or napping until about 6pm. Then I go to the big hall for 1,000 Names Stotram till 6:45pm. Then its bhajans till 8pm and then dinner (which also is served on one side of the big hall). After dinner I usually get a little fruit or a cup of hot sweet milk from the juice stall. Then its up to my room and getting ready for bed. Usually in bed by 9:15pm or so. And that (currently at least) is a typical day. Every third day or so I'll skip the compost to spend the afternoon catching up on email and other misc tasks.

Strange leela today with the Indian lunch. I went to get seconds the way I usually do and I stood in front of the big curry pot. Its always the case that the Indian servers serve us. We never serve ourselves. Well, I stood in front of the curry but the servers just sat there ignoring me. I stood for a few moments and finally gave up. As I was walking away I saw they were serving some lady so I walked back to try my luck and they gave me a serving. Strange. They also ran out of rice which I've never seen before. Maybe some problem in the kitchen. I got annoyed that they wouldn't serve me but the annoyance faded when I thought "Well, who knows what's going on? Just some leela. No big deal."

Lunchtime mystery solved. In the afternoon I asked Ramesh about it and he said when they run out of rice they try not to serve the curry until they get some more rice. That way when the rice comes they'll have some curry to go with it. At least they could tell me that instead of just watching me stand there. Grr!

At afternoon chai I was waiting in the big hall. Seated next to me was an older male Indian sadhu (or at least he dressed the part of a sadhu). He leaned over to me, pointed behind him and said "You can go get payasim over there." Looking over I could see they were serving payasim on the other side of the hall. Payasim is a sweet, delicious spiced rice pudding. I went to get some, half expecting they would say something like "Only for brahmacharis! Not you!" But the serving lady gave me some without a second glance. Cool. I went back and chatted for a few minutes with the sadhu. Turns out he has his home base in Tiruvanamalai (the Tamil Nadu city of the holy mountain Arunanchula and the Ramana Maharshi ashram). The Ramana ashram and Ramana Maharshi are well known in western spiritual circles. From there the sadhu travels around to various ashrams and holy places in India. You can't swing a cat in India without hitting some holy site or sacred temple. It would be cool to talk to him some more and get more details about his life as a sadhu. India has a fair number of sadhus wandering from place to place. In general, India is a friendly place for spiritual wanderers. There are lots of temples and ashrams were sadhus can stop, rest, pray, meditate, get the darshan of the temple murti and get some food. After you have raised your family and finished your career, its traditional for an Indian man to leave home and take up the life of a sadhu. This tradition is described in the sacred Hindu scriptures. I think today only a small number of men (and a smaller number of women) follow this sadhu tradition.

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