Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mystic- Mystery

“Who am I ? Ask yourself.” She exhorted. “Are you the flesh and blood that you are now or are you the mind that is in you?” I did not see it even a shred necessary or imperative to fret and send my brain on a hunt seeking answer to this monumental ask. She continued her monologue at the group that we were, about a score of virtually bewildered people. Bewildered more because of the strange introspection the petite French lass with shaven head and in white kurta pyjama implored us to engage. We were all seated on the forest floor and in the opening strewn with dried leaves and a perfect canopy lend by huge trees to shade us from the noon sun.

The group was confounded and that enhanced their pleasure in a strange way. It happens when you are dumb struck with jargon and entwined sentences and meanings that are the arsenal of God men and women. Your bewilderment is fanned by virtual curiosity and hope of something about to break open as revelation. A fool’s paradise where ignorance is bliss and more mystifying more the bliss.

She continued her monologue in accented English. She spoke about SreeKrishna and dwelled on his alleged sorcery  She soon turned to lecture on a verse from the Gita and began to decipher for us its intricate meaning. It was amusing to think what depth of knowledge would life and experience besides the five years she spent in the congregation render this young woman in her twenties to indulge in the audacity of lecturing on Indian and oriental philosophy. It was a different coin when it was her master-her guru in the ashram. The guy had such powerful and haunting eyes that can only be surpassed by the pair of eyes of the late Rajneesh. He was tanned and brown complexioned. The turban on his head addressed the probable baldness. But the flowing white beard and whiskers added to the captivating gaze.

I was to live with the congregation inside the sprawling but Spartan ashram for three days as a participant in what was termed as engineering of the inner self. I was pulled in there by a distant acquaintance and had to shell out fifteen thousand Rupees as participant fee in the sessions and the chance to correct my inner self. (sic) To be fair the food was strict vegetarian but was heavenly in taste and richness. The ashram was at the foothills of the Western Ghats and was well designed. The guru or master as many called him was a Shivaite but I did not sense any bigotry or an iota of religious tone in his lectures. His discourses were matter of fact, thought provoking and distanced from conventional beliefs and had a syncretism that was encouraging. He was a master of yoga. I could hear and see inmates up well before daybreak and engage in asanas.
The first evening after dinner, I and my acquaintance went exploring the periphery of the ashram. We were warned to not wander far out as the periphery was frequented by wild animals. The surroundings with the mountains silhouetting in the late moon rise was fascinating and awe. At about five early in the morning, I was waked up by the live beat of traditional drums, cymbal and evoking flute. It was the ashram’s way of wake up call or alarm. It was a beautiful way of saying the day was about to dawn.

Some days after I was at the ashram I happened to meet a friend who was living in the city for a few decades and with whom I chanced to discuss about this ashram, its founder guru and inmates. His reaction was bordering derision. He said it was fine with just yoga but matters generally don’t end with that. “Ha that fellow, the Guru was roaming around this town a few decades back on a Java motor cycle. I knew him personally. One day he went missing and when the Rip van Winkle came back he was a master, a guru. He has a penchant for the good things in life; you know what I mean and the euphemism. There are a lot of innuendos about his abode and himself. He is a jet setting fellow and has high influence and contacts. Just leave things as it is and do not get entangled in the web they weave”. He said. The conspicuous part was he mentioned the man in the first person and used his name that was from his motor cycling days.

The captivating thing about the three days sojourn in the cloister was I was virtually levitating for a few days after. The amazing hypnotic effect of the man and his words will ensnare one in a trance, until the power of the opium and his aura ebbed away in the incessant pounding of matters of life outside.
I noticed that his eyes were hauntingly transfixed sometimes. I observed that he has the orgasmic look in his eyes and that is especially directed to women. The companion who was with me was ploughed under by his gaze. And I sensed that she was beguiled by him. She was wealthy and he has a knack for wealthy elegant women.
She chose to let the enchantment get better of her and began to frequent the ashram. She was obsessed. She wrote off a fat cheque for the ashram and that was not endearing to her family. She even went on a journey with the monk and his caravan of followers to the Kailas -Manasarovar in the Himalayas through the luxury route via Tibet. When matters began to threateningly move towards her getting embroiled with the ashram and when she was almost decided to write off her wealth to the Guru and perhaps spend her remaining life in the congregation, her people hit the panic button. I’m not privy to what transpired after, within her domestic confines. But her honeymoon with the ashram that was menacingly obvious waned at the combined onslaught from within her family. It is a guess what panicked them- her obsession or her apparent plan for largesse.

It will be unfair however to not  to accept the vast knowledge the monk seemed to have and his candid aversion to the traditional religious order and self appointed holy men.


Happy Kitten said...

but did you achieve what you set out for?

This guru must be still living the life that he lived earlier and now he has more "resources" at hand :)

rama said...

It is true Arun, that people in this line/ field are often looked with suspicion, and since they have a great following, with people willingly donating money for the various causes to them, people who are not in the inside circle feel that such gurus are not to be trusted, that they are out to make money.
Even, I know a very good Guru, not personally, but he is a very close relative of a person known to us. They also keep telling that this person was just roaming around, good for nothing, when out of the blue, he became well versed with vedas, and started in a small way, and grew so popular with his special techniques, that now he is regarded with great respect in India as well as all over the world.
His own cousins and other close relatives have joined him and help him manage his vast empire, in the role of architects, auditors and so on. It is a holy business, and who says holy men have no right to make money. This relative is not his fan, but, he says he is not a bad person, he just good in this field and whatever he gets as donations he uses it for good purposes. He ended saying after all this too is business like any other business.
I know that every guru is not to be totally trusted, there are always some bad people in every field, spoiling the name of the whole clan.
Even I am a Reiki Master, and people who don't know/ or do not want to know anything about Reiki would look upon what I do with tinted glasses.
However, Reiki has taught me so many things about life, and has changed my very perception of life, now even negatives things gives me the scope of looking at it in a positive way. Also with Reiki I have done so many unbelievable things, and can always keep improving my life in so many ways.
When, I teach a class of students who are interested in Reiki, I see my knowledge flowing as if by magic/ though it is not a magic, and see the students respond to everything I say, for at least for a few hours I am able to hold their complete attention, and they leave the class totally convinced that, what I had taught them does make sense.
Of course over a period of time many of them choose to lose their touch with Reiki and go back to the same way of living their lives, forgetting the gift of Reiki which they have, and which they can use any time they choose to use it.
My request to you is, not to judge the gurus by things you hear about them to mar the knowledge you got from them. Remember, that while you were in their workshop you liked what they had to say, and try to follow them in your life, even if you are no longer their fan.
For knowledge, is knowledge, doesn't matter where it has come from, for due to some reason you were meant to be there and get it, and forget about the individual and just embrace the knowledge given to you.
Really sorry for the long comment.

....Petty Witter said...

Fascinating reading.Very open minded about such things, you have given me much to think about.

NRIGirl said...

Interesting; of all the things you have mentioned here it is the "heavenly vegetarian" menu that got me drooling!

Mmm... Reminds me of my stay in Vellayambalam hostel. The food was heavenly with a half sardine accompanying mostly vegetarian dishes served over steaming red rice!

Back to the subject, you didn't mention if the guru still remembers your friend by his name. If so he is a genuine person who has higher aspirations; if not he is a fraud!

anilkurup said...

@ Happy Kitten,

Honestly, I did not go to achieve something . I went there on the persuasion of my acquaintance and also to know what it was all about.
I can say with absolute certainty that no Man, I mean no Man has and ever will change at these congregations what ever may be the faith they claim to represent.It is travesty of truth and sheer hypocrisy if some one claims to have become a good human being after a stint or even years locked up in such cloisters.

@ Rama,
Certainly no frowning for a little long reply. I appreciate and value your points and the keenness to discuss.
I have not said something against the monk out of prejudice or bias. The post was just a recollection in brief of what was my experience- seeing, feeling and hearing.
I do admit that I’m not fascinated by these monks or Holy Men and Women and what I would call their sorcery, gimmicks and acrobatics with words and euphemisms. What I felt in the group listening to the monk was that he possessed knowledge and was a good orator. He was unlike the Ravishankars and Saibabas, not a bigoted Hindu. He was more of a syncretic philosopher. What fascinates the ones who fall for him is something different. Though one must admit that such monks have a mysterious side too.
It is certainly a commercial enterprise in cloak of faith and spiritualism as they love to call tithe gullibility of Man does the rest. Life is so uncertain and one is in the dark about the next moment. Misery, agony and mental trauma are endemic to all born. In such situations these men in holy guise will have sunny days and all isms will thrive. There is something called physical law as you would know that has no special treatment to you, me or another. We forget that often.
I’m afraid you got my name little wrong.

@ Petty Witter,

Thank you for the comment.

@ NRI Girl,

Yes the food!!! drool, drool drool....!
The woman is indeed still in touch with the ashram, and I'm sure he knows her by her first name too.

Meera Sundararajan said...

Anil, I am intrinsically suspicious about God men ( and women) and ashrams. Yes they all have Charisma- I have met Mata Amritanandamayi and was very impressed with her . But I don't think I have the discipline mentally to follow a religious order. I am too much of a scatter brain for that. Such things are okay for a short sojourn ( though I would prefer a hike or a book club in those hills).

anilkurup said...

@ meerasundarajan,
Charisma, which must mean that they are, bestowed with some holy or spiritual power to redress our grievances and help us get manna from heaven, if we appease them suitably. Isn’t it? Now if we deduct the possibility of this they will be powerless and ordinary, mere charlatans. Of course the philanthropic acts with standing. That in fact is a means to an end.
Yes I would agree with you, a mountain side holiday would be a preferred option to another mumbo jumbo at a place like where I have been.
The power is in our hands, and that is a fact that has to be understood as a mortal. And there is now necessity for nature to have a specific person over the other. Humility and humbleness what one should feel when looking up at the night sky!
One thing, I forgot to mention in my post was about one gentleman I knew. He was immensely rich after having made it big in business. A business class frequent flyer. He asked the monk, if it is true that gold can be made out of copper through meditation. He is an educated Engineer, to boot. What do you say?

rama said...

Sorry, in my mind it was Anil, but came out as Arun. Sometimes such things happen, and I am sure you can forgive a woman who is going to become 54 next month, a sign that age is catching up with me.

bliss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anilkurup said...

@ rama
Not a great issue the mix up of names though.And 54 is not an advanced age. Age is as you would know, mind over matter.

Pradeep said...

Liked your well-written piece.

The monks may be fake or real. But when it comes to such experiences, it's also a lot about the person who is experiencing, like you and me; rather than the monk. We always tend to put the stress on the monk rather than the person who is experiencing.

I have seen people who have nothing much in them, but who are able to influence many people. But on the contrary, there are people who have lots of wisdom, but are unable to influence.

So, it's basically a chemistry that is struck between two individuals in a particular context and ambiance. What determines this interaction most is the emotional quotient of the person who is reaching out to experience.

It's also about the extent of faith he or she is willing to put in the other person whose influence he or she is seeking.

Now, forget monks, I know people who have faith in the colour of the shirt they wear!

anilkurup said...

@ Pradeep

Your last few sentences conveyed the matter. It is quite a matter to trust in the colour of one' shirt.

The personal stories I said apart, these monks understand that if they should run their empires successfully then they must have a halo and an aura around them that would convey a holy and heavenly feel for the seeker.

You do not see a man like J.Krishnamurti who will have the guts to say that there shall be no heirs and custodians for his philosophy and who also very early in life rejected the attempts to make him a Godman.

Thanks for coming by and hope I will see you here in the Blog for more interaction