Impressions and Transformation

We have departed Haridwar and are now in New Delhi.  We fly out tonight.   Acharya Satyananda from Germany is leading the fourth group.  Thank you Satya!  The crowds at the Mela should begin to increase steadily now.   The biggest procession will happen on the 15th and from then to April 15th, millions will descend on Haridwar.

The fourth group is made up mostly of German speaking students.  Meeting with them on the first night, they seemed both expectant and eager to partake fully of all that the Mela will have to offer them.  None appeared tired although most had arrived in India only in the early morning hours and had had no sleep.  For a flash of a moment, I found myself wistfully thinking it would be nice to share in the experiences of this last group too. — Only for a moment —- I remembered I was ready to leave India.  We had been here since January 13.  That is 54 days.

Today has been a gentle day.   The weather here in Delhi is delightful, a cloudless and blue sky, plenty of sunshine and a cooling breeze.  We ate breakfast about 9am with two of the four students who still remain at the hotel, awaiting their evening flights home.

After a leisurely breakfast,  Govindan and I as Trustees of the registered Babaji’s Kriya Yoga Trust-India, wrote letters in favor of granting  Swami Shankardas his cave back and addressed them to the Uttarkand District Ministers of Tourism and Ministers of Forests.  Post offices are closed on Monday, but we were able to find a Speed Post office which was open near Connaught Place and post the letters. They should arrive tomorrow in the government offices located in Dehra Dun.

Two days ago we had spent about 9 hours with Swami Shankardas, reading through all his legal documentation and discussing his case and had decided that unless pressure is placed locally and this becomes a “human interest” story, he may not get his cave back.  It does appear that Swami Shankardas was illegally evicted.  But now his cave is locked and sealed and there is a certain legal power in that action.   Reading through his legal papers from the court, we find that nothing was officially declared and no judgment was taken by the Supreme Court, other than he was given permission to apply to get the cave back.  Perhaps he has a chance. But without some inside and outside pressure, it seems unlikely.   On one hand, the cave itself is not located within the Wildlife Preserve, as was originally claimed by the Forest Department and Swami’s Satguru, Tat Walla Baba was granted a lease for the cave and surrounding land in the 1940’s.   But on the other hand, the lease was not renewed and although the lease was registered originally, Swamiji does not have a copy of the original lease deed.     It is a complicated case.

Govindan was planning to write an article for Hinduism Today about the case and submit it when we return home.   But in the meantime he sent an email to some of his contacts at the magazine about it.  They responded today, saying that it is a shocking story and they want to interview Swami Shankardas soon.  They will be arriving in a few days to Haridwar, so the timing is perfect!

Swami Shankardas has been an important part of our Mela experience, even though he never attended one day of it.  We discussed some of the personalities we met at the Mela with him.  He was interested in it all.  We told him about the Baba who has kept his arm raised above his head for 35 years.  He quietly said, “he is doing this as a penance for the benefit of the world.”  We asked him about his impressions of the Nagababas and the ganja they smoked incessantly.  He said ganja held no benefit for them. In the beginning it clears the mind of thoughts and desires, but quickly it dries out the body and becomes nothing more than an addiction for all of them.  We explained that Pilot Baba buries himself under the ground for days to demonstrate the power of his Samadhi state and Consciousness.  Swami laughs and calls this “frog samadhi.”  “It is a skill, but it is merely like hibernation.   Frogs do it, snakes do it.  It is not a high state.  It is not the same thing as Enlightenment.”

For me, the transformation of many of the Kriya students is more amazing than any one Baba I met.   I want to relay a few of the transformations I have seen over this Mela, without naming names.

First, there was a man in his late forties, who came to the Kumbhamela with us, who just did not fit in.   When I first saw him, all I could think was, “what are you doing here?”    He seemed so deadly serious, undoubtedly rigid, and really a bit dark and surely pessimistic, a smile-less man who, I judge, probably believes in nothing and no one!  He appeared to be a stranger in a strange world with no possibility of ever appreciating the culture he was to explore.  “Why would such a man come here,” I kept asking Govindan?  Govindan said that he was a bit surprised when he signed up.  I kept asking questions about him.   “Was he really a Kriya Yoga student?  What do you know about him?  Why would he come?”    I actually found myself pondering him.

The first night, I found this man wandering around Haridwar, while the others were at dinner or taking rest.  He seemed to be “casing” the town.  The next day he did not come for morning sadhana but was seated at the restaurant I had told him about on the first night, when we all came for lunch. He did not respond to my smile and wave, but seemed to look straight through me. He was at a corner table, able to see anyone entering or exiting, and also often glanced sideways through the two opposing windows.  I was very curious about him.

We both got sick on the second day.  We both had violent stomach upset and then cold and flu symptoms.  He was in real distress and I wondered just how deep the dis-ease went.  I would only see him for a moment every few days.  We never really spoke.  When I would ask how he was doing, he would just nod.

Then on Holi, the day when good triumphs over evil, when love, devotion and friendship replaces ambition, I began to see cracks in this man’s armour.  While I was seated with a student having tea and talking in the hotel restaurant, avoiding the chaos outside, he came in with another man.   He was a multi-colored phenomenon.  Every part of his body was a different color.  At least all the parts I could see.   His face and neck were purple!  His chest, all shades of red and pink.  I had never seen anyone covered as he was! I burst out laughing!   He had been literally bathed in the colored powders.   He did not seem amused.    The man with him told me that a group of Nagababas had literally grabbed him, held him down and threw powdered colors all over his body.  He said they were all laughing and smearing him in a sense of great fun and joy! I told the becolored man that this was true grace!   He looked at me quite sternly, perhaps angered by my amusement of his situation.

This was the beginning I am sure of a major transformation for him.   That night, he got sicker, in fact very, very sick.  A true purging was taking place.  When he finally came out of his room, days later, he looked different.   He had some temporary deafness in one ear, but he was different.   He was open and light and even smiled.  I did not see the dark, angry, suspicion-filled man I had seen before.  He was transforming in front of my eyes.  He told me that he thought he was going to die in India.  I said, perhaps he had in a way.   I told him that I too had been very ill and over my many trips to India had had acute illness that I believe could have ended my life.   It is part of the process of India.  This is not a place for tourists.   It is part of the power that is India, when one is on the spiritual path.  I told him that it is a Grace and that the Holi powder bath had also been a grace.  He still dismissed my words, but I think I saw in his eyes, at least, an opening to the possibility.    He took a moment to reflect and said, “ Well, we’ll see?”   I smiled at him and for the first time, I could say, I liked him.

A young man from Asia arrived with us who was painfully shy. His body, mind and personality was so stiff and he refused to even look anyone in the eyes.  He spoke no English and although he really understood a lot of English, he claimed to know none.  By the end of the trip he was literally dancing in the streets. This transformation also happened on Holi.  By the end of the trip he seemed to have cracked wide open and was positive, happy, self-confident and friendly!

Many participants in all the three groups spoke of the external friction which helped them to discover aspects of themselves that had been previously unknown or unseen.  Some shared that they had been able to see the habitual bantering and bartering of their mind. Some were able to break through lifelong fears, self doubt, and anger or found their self able for the first time to forgive and felt able to move on with life, as it is.  Most everyone mentioned being more confident in their Yoga practice and in their lives.

The pilgrimage was not easy for anyone, and I am certain that everyone was brought face-to-face with what is consistently clouding their mind and disturbing their peace.  I know I was.   Unfortunately, not everyone took the opportunity to let go of what disturbs them and obstructs their progress.  Some just packed it all back up and brought it back home with them.

Some people spoke only of external events. Some remained tourists.  Some, only able to see the defects of others, missed that obvious reflection, within themselves.  Some boasted about attainments.  The ego resists.   It takes time.  Perhaps the pilgrimage should have been 48 days.

  1. No comments yet.

  1. No trackbacks yet.