A GURU IN LUCKNOW
SEX AND THE SPIRITUAL GIRL
1992-07-28, McLeod Ganj
"All this is Brahman. Everything is born from it and merges into it." Ramana Maharshi "We must storm the walls Rush the fence The Demon thrives at our expense." 'Wrack And Roll' Bradly Denton
I'm alive! Have arrived finally in Lucknow, the city where H. W. L. Poonja, or Poonjaji, lives. It's Hot, Hot, Hot. And I've been traveling for 28 hours.
Came in last night on the train from Gorakpur. A long nine-hour ride. Started late, in the heat of the day, after taking a 3 1/2 hour Hell-ride bus from Sonauli, the border town with Nepal and another thirteen hour overnight bus from Kathmandu. Not so bad, yet it all wore on the body.
In the train I had to lay down on an upper tier cot. My backpack under a seat next to a Hindu family. That precious daypack containing money, passport and valuables there as well. Unlocked, yet I had to trust. I had collapsed really.
Became delirious. Hallucinating, and at times could not move at all, paralyzed. Thought it was the heat. May have been other things as well. I felt helpless.
The sensation was really strange, like I had totally surrendered control of my body, was partially conscious, yet had no will, no motivation. The only thing possible was to lay on that train berth, barely breathing, wondering if I would ever stand again. Oddly enough, did not feel any fear. I was beyond that.
The Indian family kept my belongings safe. Felt my trust was rewarded. Finally recovered two hours before Lucknow.
Next, the rickshaw ride last night. Ended up in a ridiculously expensive Hotel. Need to find a cheaper one today. Jayme is still in Kathmandu. We will meet again June 20th in Dharmsala. Then what?
These are trying times for a Lay Buddhist! I keep meeting women I want to spend time with. In Kathmandu, on buses, at borders.
This perplexity I feel is not about monogamy or 'being faithful', Jayme wants that and I will not succumb to an illusion. It's more about the difficulty I am experiencing in being in relationship and being 'On The Road' living in the moment. Am I like Ram Das, aware of my lust, yet not able to transcend?
5/8/FridayGot up early, 5:15 a.m. to stretch. Came down for breakfast, nothing open before 7:30. Well, I'm trying. Need to be at Poonjaji's by 8:30. Hope I make it!
Recovered surprisingly quickly yesterday. Walked around this town in the heat, then in the early evening took a rickshaw to the Carlton Hotel. There met Poonjaji's son, Surendra, and a host of followers.
Surendra is very helpful, willing to direct me to the best hotel, and giving instructions on going to Satsang. He is big and cheerful. Seems that many Osho Sanyasins come here for a New Guru hit.
Let's see. There was Home, Soba, Keshiap, Samapan, Lakshman.
After half a dozen names given by Gurus, Amitab has settled on 'Home'. At least this week.
Thin, frail, looks like a burned out 60's hippie, part recovering alchoholic. Stringy hair, thin vein covered arms. Quotes Bhagwan from memory extensively, intensely. A western Saddhu, a Babaji-wanna-be.
A journeyer, been on the circuit for a long time, claims he has stopped seeking, accepts himself. Yet in that, I detect anger and more than a little need to be loved.
Took a tempo, an auto-rickshaw out to Indira Nagar, the suburb of Lucknow where the Satsang house is. No difficulty finding it.
All these westerners hanging around out front! A chai stall run by an old Indian man with his son serves morning refreshment to all the Seekers. The little boy running back and forth between the stall and the patrons, carrying hot glasses full of tea. All the gringos dressed up in Indian finery.
A few notes on my first Satsang. This is the forum where Seekers come to find answers. To find themselves.
It is located in a large hall, an L-shaped room in an Indian home. We all sit on cushions. There is a platform in the front where Poonjaji sits. Microphones and speakers amplify his voice so the 75 to 100 of us crowded into this space can hear. Lots of flowers string the walls and in the background a picture of his Guru, Ramana Maharshi.
An auspicious day! My Guru gave what I felt was a very traditional talk: Three sets of deadly sins concerning Body, Mind and Speech. Virtuous action, the need to be assured of lineage, making choices, checking out the Guru before surrendering, the necessity to fully surrender, finding Self/No-Self, intimate commitment of self to go beyond.
And the one I found amusing, cannot sleep two Gurus under the same sheet. Others heard that as two knives in the same sheath. It's all the same!
Many Sanyasins felt this was a direct attack toward Osho Rajneesh! Talk about attachment. There was quite an uproar, and much discussion after Satsang.
5/9/SaturdaySatsang canceled today! A very dubious excuse. Poonjaji, or Papaji as intimates call him, is making travel plans. I think maybe he is being driven away by a bunch of innocent, harmless Osho Sanyasins. And I imagine the 'caretakers' surrounding him are terrified.
Today, A Bomb-Out!
So, I feel hurt, sad, a little angry. Disappointed, really. I came all the way here, to Lucknow. Maybe I am making projections, illusions, but I believe the Lucknow scene will fold soon. Imagine! The power of a few Sanyasins!
5/13/ThursdayQuite a lot of surprises today. Poonjaji .... or Papaji opened Monday and has been steady, Rock Steady. Except of course for Wednesdays, Sundays and special holidays, like this up-coming Saturday.
A Turnaround, Turnout, Turnabout!
In retrospect, I believe he wanted some time to allow a small cadre of Sanyasins to clear town and head for Pune.
And well ...... He's Cool, He's Hip, He's Heavy! And I believe he's here to stay.
Poonjaji laughs a lot. At 83 plus years of age, sharp, down-to-earth, witty and full full full of joy and light.
I still get this feeling, a little, that this Guru Trip may actually be a search for father, for parental acceptance, for someone to give approval that anything we do in the World is OK. For others, maybe for myself. Am I looking for the father I never had? Or someone to tell me everything is alright?
However, to sit in Satsang and listen to the stories, the insight, the wisdom of 35 million years!
Poonjaji says Freedom comes in an instant. In the space between seconds. I believe him. Much of what he communicates reminds me of those Buddhist teachings I received in the monasteries. He likes to talk about the Buddha often, and tells many stories about Sakyamuni. Hmmmm...........
So much is what I have heard many times before. Letting go of attachment, greed, lust, desire, anger, fear. All of the feelings and beliefs we create that cause so much suffering. Self and No-self. Who is this 'I'? What is this 'doing'?
This is the inward journey.
I meditate often, yet realize I am not there yet. The understanding that I crave just eludes me. I just listen. Sometimes a little frustrated. Like, Why is this taking so long? All I know is that when I am fully ready to receive the message, it mysteriously is received!
In another vein, I want to write about a topic I have not pondered, nor set down on paper for a long time. SEX. Well, yes, that too has reared its delicious head. In the form of a menage-a-trois.
Two Sanyasins from Pune, David and Jaya. English and Russian. Older and younger. Short and tall. Conservative and exotic. A couple willing to explore.
I was seduced by both of them, mostly for Jaya's pleasure.
We all three have become close, intimate and sexual. Jaya is an amazing, insatiable, exhibitionistic 11-year-old-25-year-old all in between woman/child. Playful and sensuous, light, heartful and passionate.
And ....... Well ....... my inhibitions were ripped away that first evening bysweets I had eaten made of Bhang. Did not know what they were. Someone bought them from the Government Bhang Shop, the 'official' Indian Ganja store, brought them over to David's. I was visiting. The rest became Hallucinogenic History.
As for all the other times, No Excuse! Just go with the flow. And it is a flow. Playful, sweet, intense, long, slow, delicious. We have created, through allowing, a beautiful family. Eating, sleeping, fucking, laughing, making love, playing, dancing together.
I am quite surprised by this turn of fortune. More than a little perplexed. I came here for one thing, seriously intent upon sitting at the feet of the Master, and find myself in quite another indeed. Have to admit, it's a lot of fun, yet, what am I getting out of this? Just 'Another Day In Paradox'!
This intimacy is right in the Present. No past, no future, no attachments nor expectations. And that feels good to me.
I have had to do therapeutic interventions concerning my relationship with them. One session over four hours! More to do with their abandonment/inundation issues. This too is perfect. I have a chance to witness my own process through an immediate mirror. The mirror, of course, are my two companeiros!
I identify so much with Jaya it's incredible. This drama of 'stepping-back' when someone comes too close I've often felt. Feeling smothered by someone else and sabotaging my relationship and potential for deeper intimacy simply through fear.
Through David I can witness Jayme and her abandonment feelings as soon as I step back without getting caught up in the drama/trauma. Already this has been quite a lesson for me in my own personal dynamic. A real clarity has emerged about my own devices for sabotage, and how others react.
Imagine, first becoming lovers, then assuming the role of Therapist. Strange. I don't know what Poonjaji or Jayme would have to say about this. Right now it is just what is happening.
Enlightenment Day?Dear Papaji: I came here full of pain and despair. My heart felt encased in stone. Bound by unbreakable chains. In these past few days, sitting in Satsang, I have felt the chains unravel. The rock is cracking. And I am grateful for feeling tenderness again. Help me to go further, Papaji. I want to get off the Wheel. Namaskaar, Steven
Took the plunge, jumped out of the plane, bought the farm. Sat before Papaji today. The Earth shook. Sitting right in front, before his eyes, as he read my letter, I was filled with humility and gratitude and longing.
I want to leave this roller coaster ride of highs and lows. Of being plunged from ecstasy to despair in the blink of an eye. I know it's my own creation, yet, how to find abiding serenity is part of my search, my longing.
In a more profound sense, wanting to leave the whole realm of Heaven, Hell and Rebirth. I wanted to 'get off the Wheel'.
He looked straight at me with unblinking eyes, questioned me, talked to me. It seemed like things I had heard before. 'Where was I right Now?' Did I see the movie screen passing before me, a series of events? How do I react to these events?
At first, I felt very clear, very present. In the room, aware of everything around me. Yet wanting to go further. Not really knowing where, simply that I was not There.
Then a dramatic shift. I had entered an Altered Space, felt dislocated yet unafraid.
Suddenly, I was crying at his feet, holding tightly to his hand. There was a lot of energy running through this body. Emotions like gigantic waves from the ocean. I was elated, did not know why, just accepted it.
Awareness flooding through me, like it all seemed so incredibly easy, somehow. I just knew. Suddenly, I was smiling, tears in my eyes.
The room was filled with laughter. People were laughing and I did not know what for. Papaji was smiling at me. Telling me how beautiful I am.
I felt a new clarity like the air had become crystalline, pure. Did not know what it was about, did not even feel like questioning the sensation. I tried to stand, could not, just sat back down, holding his hand, and laughing.
It all seems so simple, really. Here and Now. He kept talking to me, reminding me of the enormous merit I was receiving, attending Satsang. How important and special this is. I knew.
I Know! I feel lighter, freer. A weight has been lifted.
5/17/SundayWent to Papaji's house today. He makes space for a semi-private sitting when Satsang is not in session. Meditated for around forty minutes, then he came in. There were maybe ten of us.
Sunday With Papaji
I asked him about my attachment to the senses, attachment to pleasure. I am constantly being pulled by those things that I imagine will feel delicious, like chocolate! They give me momentary pleasure, yet often become a bore or an obstruction in the long run. Time and again I feel myself being sucked into a fantasy.
He told me nothing new, yet there was something in the way he answered.
Describing the inevitable suffering inherent in impermanence. That seeing beauty leads to desire, possession or wanting to possess, then of course, losing. In that loss, inevitable pain.
As much as I resist, to be reminded of this is an important lesson for me.
As he spoke, I realized how I still have a yearning for something permanent. My life has been defined by change, constant transitions from one place to another, one situation to the next. I am comfortable with that, yet in small moments I fall into the trap of grasping. Like riding the currents of Chaos and emerging in the center, wanting to stay there, secure, for awhile.
It is not so much the words, as sitting with him. Somehow, his abiding 'Wa', his Centeredness washes over me, and the message sinks in.
5/20/WednesdayOne thing I have not mentioned is the session with Jaya. I am doing much more therapy, and powerfully. We did a 2 1/2 hour sitting that included Bodywork, Expression, Gestalt and a singularly moving Reichian Breath Experience. Many of the tools and teachings I have received over the years. Immediate transformation for her!
Days Off, Goodbyes, New Beginnings?
For me, this continues to be a validation of my capability. I have been practicing Therapy on the road since leaving the States. All sorts. My skills have been growing.
More since Kopan Monastery. My compassion is deepening. A direct result of meditation and Bodhicitta, the Tibetan training around abiding compassion for all sentient beings.
I am constantly amazed at how deeply I have absorbed this 'expression' in my body. It takes work, I still have far to go, and I continue to be rewarded.
This allows me to maintain presence longer and risk more. I am doing much more Hypnotherapy, quite successfully. This 'Practice' feels good. Still with all this I have questions.
Especially questions around Poonjaji. Every one here is seeking that instant 'Hit' of Enlightenment. Seemingly, an instant antidote to Personal History, suffering and neediness. And, I wonder if there is a conflict.
I feel perplexed. Offering these therapeutic services, sitting with people in Loving-kindness and compassion, and wondering if I am undermining or competing with Poonjaji. What am I doing this for? He is a Master. Time will tell.
Today was weird. I felt I was in Trance throughout Satsang. I could hear Poonjaji's words, yet, could not connect them. Like there was a screen, an invisible cloud between my rational mind and him.
I am frustrated, feeling like I missed something. And somewhere I have this odd feeling that I am resisting something important. The more I concentrated, the more I missed.
This was very strange. And on some level, what he said about needing to Die HIT HOME!!!
5/22/FridayTook the tempo again today, as every day, out to Indira Nagar. That is the wasteland, uhhh ....... suburb, where the Satsang house is located. At least the ride is cheap, four rupees.
The ride is about 20 minutes, and gives me time to compose myself, so early in the morning. Seldom have time for breakfast.
The Indians staring at me in the tempo, A Western Saddhu on the way to visit my Guru, as they go about their daily lives, go to work, to the market, to school. Such easy uncomplicated life. Mine that is. Perhaps somewhat self absorbed.
All this focus on spiritual growth while the rest of the world has to raise children, bring home food, work and make money.
I usually have a long evening with Jaya and David. Many times, whatever I explore with them has been a direct result or reflection from Poonjaji's talk.
We share dinner together, cooking in the kitchen, bringing home the vegetables bought from the market, clean house, paint or read in quiet moments. Then go to bed, always something different. Sometimes a little theatre, sometimes gentle touching.
Usually we share highlights of what we received from Poonjaji, our new understanding, or how he affected us that day. I feel relaxed and at ease now. The openness between us feels warm and tender. Even the uncomfortable moments when one of us is in some emotional process or our relationship is askew has a quality of authenticity. Partly because of the Bliss-field created by Poonjaji, partly personal intimacy. Just another happy spiritual family!
Events are always surprising to me, and I am not really attempting to interpret them now, just experience. Maybe I will have time to integrate this whole experience after I leave. At least I have time for a chai before Satsang begins.
Papaji likes to read letters. Especially those received from followers outside India. Especially those glowing, flowery, sunlight- and rainbow-adjective-filled letters. Especially those whose writers seem to have 'Got-It' in such a short time.
His initial talk today was on the need to Let-Go of Ego in a Chana, 1/10,000 of a second. No need to practice Yoga Asanas, study scripture and Sutra, meditate upon objects for twenty years or acquire Siddhis (Powers).
After the talk he read one such glowing letter from a follower in America.
The follower recounted how everything in his life was beautiful. Filled with light, love and truth. His career was successful. His friendships close, caring and intimate. His children growing strong, lovely and healthy. His free time restful and exciting. Everything in the flow.
Except for this minor irritation with his wife. Hmmmm..........
Then Papaji read a request by a German Sanyasin in the audience who could not 'see' or accept Poonjaji. Papaji called him up, smiled. Then told him the reason.
The Sanyasin wears the glasses of arrogance. The glasses prevent him from seeing. They are an extreme obstruction. Actually the arrogance is the Ego needing to defend and that is the obstruction. Papa invited the Sanyasin to remove the glasses. OUCH!
This struck home to me like a resounding crash of thunder. Many others in the audience were hit as well. I felt as though my arrogance, my Ego was preventing me from surrendering, opening and truly changing. I am protecting myself. From what?
If I allow myself to open fully, to drop all these barriers I've constructed just to create an illusion of substance, what might happen? Who might I be? I don't know, and that's what scares me!
Afterwards, I felt conflict. At odds. all this work I have done, exploration, therapy and seeking, has to have some value. All those nights in the Amazon with the Native Tribes, becoming one with the planet. And my internal transformation before then at Esalen.
I live in a different world than I lived in six years ago. I already see through different eyes!
It has not been useless. It brought me to this point. David mentions that Poonjaji's message is not that all that work is useless, just that it is time to drop it and move on.
This is not all arrogance. Yet, I can feel the arrogance in what is left. In my struggle to drop attachment to the senses and just become the senses. In my unwillingness to give up the past. I am identified with it. And in that unwillingness I'm also identified with my Ego excuses.
I spoke with the German later. He described Papaji as a 'Nice Old Man' who knew what he knew, yet did not touch the German as Bhagwan Rajneesh had.
Whose to say how a Master has to Be? Or not Be?
Oh Yes ..... Form and Name. The objectification of Reality. When something can be given Form and Name it is Maya, illusion. Not the true Reality.
Anything, from solid everyday objects, to emotions arising from an unclear mind or arising from impure sense experience. The 'Real' is unnamable, non-objectifiable, unmanifested.
This is what my search has been about all along. The Real! Still shrouded in mystery.
5/24/SundayGoing to see Papaji today. After breakfast. Yes. I need that Spiritual Lift, that Awe, that Wonder, Comfort, OK-ness, Love. I need that Bliss-Hit!
Lucknow On My Mind
I have become the Therapist of Lucknow. Between David's midnight visits and Jaya's continual deep release, crying, then wanting immediately to fuck, I have my hands full ............
David shows up at midnight. He and Jaya had a tender heartful afternoon together and then abruptly their connection turned nightmarish. More impermanence. She left crying, taking her belongings.
He came looking for her in my room. 'It ain't me!' I sat with him for two and a half hours. His fear of letting go, his repressed violence and need to control are incredible. And I felt a deep empathy for him. I know the other side so well and would not care to be where he is. I can see how Jaya pushes these buttons. She/I? just will not allow anyone to get too close.
This whole scene, me included, was meant to be. Karma.
David left and I went to bed. Feeling a little sad, now that I am fully in this "Thing". I am a part of it, a catalyst. There is also pain here along with the joy. There is no way to remain unattached, even for me.
Poonjaji says this is all the 'Movie Screen' and I must keep that in mind for myself.
I told him, as I was being available to both of them as friend and Therapist, I would not fuck Jaya now. That may have been a mistake.
Then, yesterday, encountered Jaya on the street. We went to her Hotel, where she cried, screamed and released for three hours. Of course, afterward she wanted to make love. I did too. And did not!
Where am I in all of this?
On one level, a by-stander, an outsider being dragged in. I know it's my choice. I feel a lot of empathy for both of them, and also feel totally involved as well. My own drama is lying just below the surface here too. I don't want to leave.
As one well-known Guru has advised: "Trapped, if you respond to a smile!" I'm in it, I know it, and I wonder if there is any escape!
My capacity to be present, to allow, has manifested much greater than I had realized. This leaves me pondering. Am I playing Savior, White Knight?
In one moment I can be detached, objective, just being here as a friend. This is my professional training, and more, as I've gone deeper into a spiritual path.
In another moment, I feel close, intimate; on another level, I want to go deeper into my heart with her, and I can sense the risk. For myself. For everybody. My body wanted to be physical with her, yet, I also feel there must be integrity in Brotherhood.
Well let's see. David wants me to stop fucking Jaya because I have worked as a Therapist with her. Jaya wants me desperately to fuck her even more! Only the boundary I have set has kept me from drowning.
And Me? I feel caught in the chasm between manipulation and seduction and my own feelings and desires. Morals? Buddhist Right Action? Skillful Means? Fear?
5/25/MondayYO! My Man, Captain Poonjaji, spoke till 12:30 today! Four hours with a beginning meditation. The longest yet. He took two pee-breaks.
Arrogance, Lust, Desire?
He's a big man, Captain Poonjaji. Heavy football shoulders, bull neck and large bald head. An eager, playful smile, he seems like everyone's grandfather.
At Satsang, always dressed in clean white Kurta and Pajamas. No frills. Aware of the Indian indulgence for ritual and flair, he displays an amazing absence of all that doctrine.
Papaji strikes me as one of the most grounded and solid beings on the planet. A Clear Light.
I am feeling truly blessed to be at Satsang lately. Everyday is different. A new discourse, or a different experience. It's almost like doing a group. Except that there is no beginning and no end. There is no format or exercises.
Simply sitting and being with Poonjaji and my own inner experience. Not all that exciting all the time. Some days very easy, casual. I always feel like I get something, even if it's that inner feeling of contentment.
Sermon today was on Practice. What a Practice is, the discipline required for spiritual growth, a determination for seeking truth and making that determination manifest on a practical level.
He spoke about the types of practice. Meditation, Yoga, study of the Vedas, The Sutras all the famous Hindu spiritual scriptures from ancient times, ritual, etc. ...... He then went on to emphasize that there is absolutely no necessity for practice.
He claims that at times, practice gets in the way. That without, just by continuing to focus on 'Who am I?', 'What is this Self and Not-Self?', that in a millionth of a second we can 'Get It'.
Sat, Cit, Ananda. Bliss, Love, Consciousness, Awareness!
Again he read letters, told stories. Parables about the nature of time. Making time for what is essential. The Ego games we play and arrogance as the root of most of our suffering. It's the same message. He just keeps hammering on Ego attachments and the necessity for Letting-Go.
Then, the last question, Dhania's on discrimination. With all the chatter, how does the mind discriminate? It's choice that we have. We can choose to become attached, or, because we already have it in us, choose Bliss.
So ..... After Satsang and lunch, Jaya, Dhania and I decide to dance. Needed to move the body.
Dhania had a 'Ghetto Blaster' and thankfully a 'Desert Cooler' at her place. A large hall-like bedroom space.
Much individual movement, expression. Letting the music carry all thought beyond thought, just moving in whatever way the body wants. Becoming movement, then becoming music. Turning, swirling, dipping, walking, jumping, sliding, crawling.
At times coming together, then apart, then together. It felt great to move my body, and the energy in the room was just what I needed to free up some space inside.
We had a wonderful, playful, sensual, sexual at times, intimate afternoon, full of exploration and play. I danced for hours it seemed. Slow, fast, tranced out. There is Bliss in this too! Yes, I know it is just a body. But it's the only one I have. Can't walk around looking spiritual and serious all day!
Happy, and just not doing, just Being! I felt free and loved at the same time. As darkness settled, we shared head and foot massage, a gentle closing.
It's like the Game is not about one thing or another. Just being in the moment and instinctual reaction. Ahhh ...............
5/26/TuesdayDhania slept twelve hours yesterday. Wish I had. Could barely keep my eyes open in Satsang, which was mercifully short.
Catching Up On ....... Sleep
I wonder how all the other Seekers here do it? Many don't seem to have the busy social life that I am keeping. Some do, and I notice people dozing all the time in Satsang. They tell me it does not matter if they are awake and can hear the words, just to be in His presence is enough.
Another talk on Practice. More about Yogas, Kundalini, rituals and their intention. Papaji reiterates that all he teaches is this last, final stage of coming to Bliss and Awareness. It can happen in an instant.
Poonjaji is SatGuru, Reality Guru, the final teacher along the Path.
This instant Bliss-Hit happened to one aspirant sitting before him today.
Yet, how long does this last? Is it like the completion of a therapy session or the individual catharsis in a group? Can it last for a day, week, years or forever? There are Seekers that have been sitting with Poonjaji for years here. What have they received that is lasting? Usually I don't concern myself with other people's understanding, yet, this Guru scene brings up questions for me.
Yes, I have doubting Mind! My Mind is playing games.
And More ... It hit me in the shower this morning that the Tibetan Buddhists may indeed go further. The Bodhicitta teachings. That unsurpassable Compassion for all. I remembered sitting with all those blissed-out Lamas. They shine with an abiding sense of joy that follows them everywhere. That may not be 'Enlightenment' but it sure feels healing.
I mean ....... What is Enlightenment?
Everyone talks about it. Thai Buddhists have a definition. Tibetan Mahayana followers another. Here in Lucknow, the Guruji followers still another. And nobody knows what 'It' is, at least untill they 'Get It'!
I did not even start on this 'Enlightenment' Trip till I entered Thailand! Before then I was just seeking answers about the nature of Reality. As I travel throughout Asia, there is not so much focus on Reality, rather on the 'Ultimate'. I may have fallen into a trap!
I have more questionable ramblings around Lucknow. A hard-working, cement-filled town. The only park is the Botanical Gardens, where they keep the flowers imprisoned behind fences and most of the walking is on hard black asphalt paths.
It's just about the only place to walk though, and often on weekends, on a Sunday, I take a pleasant stroll through the Gardens with Jaya or David. It does calm the mind, yet I long for the wide open spaces or the jungle. A little more nature, a lot less asphalt.
All the signs about town advertise education. New and higher classes to climb that Indian social ladder. I wonder how many rickshaw drivers ever become computer programmers?
Even though the people are pleasant enough, the only reason to be here is Poonjaji. With two or three hours a day for Satsang, I wonder if this is not a case of 'Idleness is the Devil's Playground'? In the morning Papaji holds the field, creates and supports the space.
Later, through boredom perhaps, lack of direction, desire for fun, desire for exploration and adventure, other instinctual attitudes arise. This is all in the play, the movie screen. A part of the process.
Perhaps Dukkha. Perhaps Destiny. Perhaps Karma.
What else is there to do in this unrelenting, dispassionate, enervating, wringing, oppressive, tar-melting, water-boiling Heat? That sudden storm the other night, a Cosmic light show at dusk, oval fluorescent clouds building up, then the Heavens opening in torrents of rain and hail the size of radishes.
This gift cleared the air for a few days, restored the ion balance and lowered the temperature to pleasant levels. I wish the rain would return.
5/29/FridayYesterday, an auspicious day. A traumatic Enlightenment? For my friend David. Fruits a la Italiano. Reconciliation and more.
Enlightenment? For Dhyan David
And: Insalata Des Frutas Dhania!
Just another Thursday in sweltering Lucknow. Like Jimmy Buffet says, 'It's another Tequila Sunrise'.
I was becoming angry with Poonjaji. When he read letters, called people up, he went on and on about their need to drop 5, 10, 15 years of Therapy, or living in Pune with Osho. He kept reiterating that it did them no good, got them nowhere.
I became bored.
Then Guruji opened David's letter, called him up. It was the first time I heard David use his Sanyasin name, Dhyan David. Papaji did not even read the whole thing. He began questioning David's grammar and sentence structure very carefully. His use of third-person reference rather than 'I', not taking ownership.
As I watched, it seemed to me that David's breathing increased. Deep breaths. I sensed he was entering an altered state similar to Deep Breathing Practice. Later, David described to me the tightening in his arms and hands, the loss of muscle control and contortion. He went into an extreme, speechless, shaking and systemic breakdown.
Papaji just kept talking to him, asking him questions he could not answer. This lasted for 45 minutes. David was at Papa's feet, tried to sit up on his podium, eventually had to be helped back to his feet and seat. Stunned and dazed, supported by Jaya, he sat through the rest of Satsang in a blissful daze.
Seeing how Papaji brought all this about in a matter of minutes, and knowing that David had been driving headlong toward catharsis for two weeks, I realized the Guru's Mastership. I felt humbled.
Talking with David and Jaya after Satsang, I began to understand that Poonjaji is just wanting us, all of us, to drop our past, emerge in the Present, ready and willing, without attachment!
Along with David, Jaya, Dhania and I hired a tempo, stopped to pick up some fruits and ice cream, then went directly to David's bungalow, where we celebrated his experience with a lunch of ice-cream and fruit salad.
Then Baths and Bedroom. Just going with the flowing and dropping the therapizing, I wanted to allow whatever, for myself. We rested awhile, I gave David a massage.
All of us slowly came into intimate, sharing space. Touching, whispering, licking, caressing and more. The room becomes cloudy as boundaries of physical objects begin to dissolve in an ethereal mist. Sounds of breathing and whispers of words become more felt than heard.
Just Being. No barriers, no walls, willing to explore.
I felt delightful and delicious! Here with my friends feeling close and comfortable. Just enjoyed being stroked, I was purring. Just a Pussycat!
Jaya came up with the idea. We slowly, gently removed clothes from a dreamy-eyed Dhania. Blouse, then pajama pants. Finally, panties. The beautiful sleek Italiano. Sleepy smile and brown belly.
Jaya went to the kitchen. Brought back a melon, lychees, bananas, mango and honey. Carefully, lovingly, sensuously and sweetly cut and opened the fruit. Placing slices of mango around Dhania's torso, banana on her thighs, lychees around her breasts. Her nipples shining with lychee juice.
Layers of melon on her belly, in her pubic hair. Jaya's finger drips honey around Dhania's face, her nose, mouth a pouty honeyed sweetness. Honey dripped down her breasts, past navel and into pussy. The sticky juice covers body and fruit.
We all sit back, enraptured. Appreciative of the art, the creation. The Insalata Dhania.
David, Jaya and I slowly lower our heads in reverence around the feast. Partake of the fruit. Biting, licking, sucking. I pick pieces of mango up in my mouth, savoring the fruit and honey, place them in Dhania's. In between tongues, we share mango fruit and lychee. Honey-coated tongues swirling in a garden of delight.
Our mouths dripping, cheeks and chins dripping in the juice. Erotic, exciting and sweetly caring.
Later, a little contact improvisation. Just moving in a rhythm created out of our own harmony. Baths, rest, food then sleep.
Jaya and I in the middle of the night making love, David in another room, asleep, solitary and Dhania a hand away, dreaming. Ahhh ........ Sweet luscious life!
So ..... I guess that brings us to today. Poonjaji seems to have entered a no-bullshit 'Enlightenment Now! if you are ready. If not, don't waste my time' phase. These past few days, powerful. I cannot remember all he spoke of, just his actions.
Like reading a supplicant's letter, ignoring the plea. A scream issues from the mendicant, imploring. Poonjaji gets up in the middle and leaves the room to pee. That was his answer. Of course!
Everyone says all his actions are done with compassion. I have my moments of doubt, yet cannot deny his effectiveness. And I am learning about the transient nature of my own diplomacy through this.
He continues to hammer on arrogance, the need to surrender, self as love always, consciousness as inherent. And I see my own arrogance as my attachment to the past. The trials, the work, the Therapy I have undergone. My identification with past process. My fear of 'Jumping-Off'. Maybe a projection into the future of wanting to wait.
For what? A lifetime of Buddhist practice to take me there? Where? Maybe that's still in the cards too. So I need to write this letter to Papaji:
Beloved Master: A thousand blessings of gratitude for your teachings and your presence. In these past few days in Satsang I have realized the strength of my Arrogance. My attachment to the past. How that is like a chain. And my fear of jumping into the abyss of the unknown. Experiencing the timelessness of time, I have also realized the precious quality in each moment. Help me, Papaji. I want to Jump! Steven
6/2/TuesdayTaking a big breath. Fear in my heart, I give Papaji my letter. He reads the letter, calls me up, fruit in hand for offering to the Guru. I am the third person he calls. The first two did not 'Get It'. They sat before Papaji, wanting to talk, wanting to argue, not listen. Papa seemed to be getting peeved.
As usual, the Guruji is telling stories. He talks of the time he visited a Zen Master in Marrakech. He is the Master's guest. In the Meditation Hall, all the disciples are sitting in a circle. Sitting in Meditation.
Poonjaji is in the center of this ring feeling amused. The disciples are all facing away from the center, facing the walls, eyes open, unfocused in Zen fashion. Papa spies the 'Zen Stick', picks it up, with a burst of zeal walks around the room beating the heads of all the meditators!
He seems driven now in wanting to give a Zen Hit to everyone here. Especially in this last week. Almost like time is short and he is losing patience with our Arrogance.
He reads my letter, calls me up to sit before him. He begins reading slowly, again, only getting partially through it. He is saying something about the 'I' that sees the Arrogance. About the separation, the observer and the screen like a movie that everything is projected upon. He goes on talking.
I begin feeling dazed, am concentrating on him, focusing attention. The room and everyone in it recedes from my perception. It is as if the only two beings in the world in this moment are the Master and me. Not only that, there is nothing else, really! His voice entering me as vibration. His eyes resting upon me.
I can feel myself wanting something. Yes, Really wanting 'It', whatever 'It' is.
Suddenly, just as he says, in the blink of a an eye, a thousandth of a second, there is a subtle, irrevocable, powerful shift inside! Like a 90 degree turn, somehow automatic and astounding! A turn in the cosmic order of things. Like being on a circus ride, and suddenly, the car shifts direction without warning.
The World changes, the Cosmos shakes. My perception and my feelings, internal experience of the outside world and inside, are transformed. What was once a solid perception of Nature has become amorphous and I feel I am surfing on a wave of intense emotion. That wave is at once intangible and more Real than the reality I left, moments before!
I am aware of this happening, and at the time, completely unable to understand rationally what is happening. My 'Mind' is out to lunch. My 'Mind' has left the Planet!
I begin releasing baggage. Feeling lighter, dropping away. History dropping away. Arrogance, pride and clinging dropping away. All the childhood fears and anger, all that desperate neediness suddenly gone.
An incredible feeling of Joy/Bliss/Existence envelops me. This continues to grow, grow, grow. I laugh, tears of joy, feel unity, oneness with all and everything. It is like an instantaneous Magic Mushroom trip. I am NOT and I am All. Papaji keeps talking.
He looks down toward me, smiling, compassionate and heartful. He asks me about my experience. I cannot speak. I do not want to speak, do not want to move away from this blissful experience!
Blessing them, he hands me back the fruit I brought him. I try to hand them back, They are for him! All he wants is my Love. For Myself!
I am the last that day. His Grande Finale! Sitting in front, afterwards, feeling warmth and oneness, my friends come over to hold me, touch me. Samapan kisses me on the cheek. Lakshman and Dipam hold my feet. I feel soft, warm and content. The world is a nice place!
Aiklash, the large Enlightened Indian Doctor comes to hold my hand. I stroke his beard, appreciating his shy innocent knowing smile. I remark that his skin feels the same as mine.
He laughs and exclaims; "It is all One!"
Later, I meet David and Jaya at their place. They also bestow a gift. A surprise! I am Blessed! A Tibetan Pulsing Session. David reads my eyes through the Tibetan system. He indicates that I have done a lot of meditation, they decide on the type of session I am to receive. Then I lay down.
Jaya places her foot on my pubic bone. David places his hands on my head, fingers in specific locations.
They tell me later that I began snoring within five minutes. I feel conscious much of the time, am amazed at how deeply I drop into altered space.
Images, like reality, keep arising. Images of childhood scenes. I am a part of this and the scenes are mixed with something else. Indescribable. Scenes from another world, another planet. There are events and people I don't know, yet are familiar in an absurd way.
It is 'Theatre of the Absurd' in my mind. Yet, they fit, all part of one. All part of my experience.
Just as these images appear, they drop away. keep dropping away as unnecessary. Like there is no need for them. Like the Karma is being washed clean. Like my Karma is being swept away by an unseen broom. I have the feeling it will never return.
Was it Papaji? Tibetan Pulsing? My 'Mind'?
Later I rested. The three of us played awhile. Jaya cut some fruits. Plums, lychees, mangoes. We could not decide who would get 'The Treatment'. I fed fruits, slowly, to Jaya and David. Eventually, David picks up the plate of fruits, turns it over onto Jaya's belly. A mash of rainbow color that we spread with our hands over her body. Brilliant, and a tasty delight.
David 'Went Off'. His consciousness turned inward, somewhere else. This changes the flavor of the space, changing the energy in the room. I was in too good a space to witness another 'Jaya and David' scene. Got up, showered, and convinced them that ice cream would be best. We left at dark for Hazratganj, ate dinner and ice-cream.
I went home, to my room at Capoors, to sleep. The Sleep of Ages.
6/3/WednesdayToday I bought a ticket for Rishikesh and Hardwar. It is time to leave. Next Tuesday. In one week. Time has gone quickly, too quickly. Where has it gone?
Poonjaji likes to tell stories to make a point.
One is the story of the Indian Doctor who wanted to see Rama, his God. The man had made a pilgrimage to Rama's holy city every year for one month, for seven years, as his Priest instructed. This to make Puja, blessings, and attend Satsang. After making these sacrifices the Priest assured the Doctor that would meet Rama.
On the last day of the month of year seven he still had not seen his God. The Seeker, in despair, was ready to commit suicide. His desire unfulfilled.
He meets Poonjaji by the riverside, just arriving by boat, and tells Papa that it is time to die. Then begins walking into the river. Farther and farther from shore, the water already up to his nose. He is headed for oblivion in the rushing waters.
Papaji jumps in, swims after the man, catches hold of him and swimming against the current, drags him out. He brings the man over to a tree near the river bank, sits him down and begins talking to the failed Seeker. Papa wants to know what is worth dying for.
As Papa talks, suddenly, lying on the ground, dripping wet, and recovering, in an instant the young Doctor Realizes! He sees Rama!
Poonjaji tells this story to a new arrival, an Australian. Then Papa stares in silence at him for what seems an eternity. Suddenly the man throws out his hands in front of his face, shouting "HAI!"
The shout startles everyone in the room. Poonjaji sits unfazed. This level of Mastership. Saying, giving, not saying exactly what is needed. Is this Enlightenment? Omniscience?
6/5/FridayI wish there were a swimming pool here in Lucknow. Even the buffaloes are smart enough to lie down in the river and cover themselves with mud. These past two days the heat has been climbing. It is now up around 42 to 44 degrees Celsius. Tuesday I go to Rishikesh where it should be considerably cooler.
The Sun, No Shade
Yesterday spent the afternoon with Jaya at my place after Satsang.
I was in a beautiful space, singing songs at Miriam's, the Sanyasin lunch spot with Samapan, Dhania, Jaya and Aiklash. Did not want to dissipate my energy getting lost in David's heavy moods. That's his movie, not mine. Jaya felt the same.
We caressed, played and loved for hours. Free of guilt. I feel warm and affectionate with this woman I barely know, yet somehow, have shared deeply with. The day before, David wanted a kind of clearing, yet it turned into something else.
He is attached to hearing things a certain way. Name and Form. I finally got fed up with his manipulative arrogance. His going strongly into victim. "Oh woe is me!" Enough of that bullshit!
He and Jaya were not at Satsang this morning. I believe they have either murdered each other or have had to move from the house they share. The Indian family that owns their space is aghast at the, uhhh ....... 'events' occurring constantly in their domicile! Anyway, I will find out tomorrow where to send the flowers.
I still enjoy Poonjaji's talks immensely, and each day am receiving a new awareness, even if it is minor these insights are significant. I suspect, even with my decision to leave, I'll be back.
Papaji really enjoys his stories. They always make a point. He told one of life in the small Indian villages.
Houses in these villages sometimes have holes in the floor where poisonous snakes may live. Even though the snake may have left its abode, house dwellers are afraid to go into those rooms for fear of being bitten. They stay away, unwilling to venture in even to see what is inside. The snake bites with the poison of Fear. This too is Arrogance.
He talks of 35 Million years of existence, the cycle of Samsara. How we have been doing the same thing, suffering the same pain for 35 Million years! And all it takes is a thousandth of a second to experience 'Existence, Bliss, Consciousness'!
And to escape the jaws of the crocodile. Which is Ego, of course.
I believe Papaji's favorite story is of a young lion cub. The cub has been abandoned by its mother. It is found, adopted and raised by a flock of sheep. The cub grows up believing he is a sheep. He thinks like as heep, behaves like a sheep. Even grazes like a sheep.
One day another lion comes along. The lion is hungry, spies the sheep grazing and begins to stalk. As the lion springs, all the sheep bleat, then begin to run away. The lion notices the other lion/sheep. Running up, he asks 'Why aren't you chasing after the sheep for food?'
The lion/sheep cowering replies 'I am a sheep!'
The lion grabs the young lion/sheep by the neck in his jaws, drags him to the river. With his paw, he points to both their reflections in the water, forcing the lion/sheep to gaze upon the water. Their reflections are the same.
The lion exclaims 'Now, stand up and ROAR!'
6/8/MondaySo many things to write! So many things to remember. I wish I had a photographic memory.
A Love Day!
Went to Poonjaji's yesterday. He just sat. Then, after about 45 minutes, he left. I wanted a photograph of him. Must get that tomorrow at Satsang.
Even just sitting with the Master is a blessing. Sinking into a meditative space, quiet and tranquil, then mysteriously feeling that Presence deep in the recesses of my consciousness. I can feel an abiding acceptance that is like a summer shower washing the grime away.
Then joined Niki the Greek for lunch. I did not want the lunch to end! She is such a beautiful, interesting being. I am not sexually attracted to her, just enjoy her presence. And stories. And Music.
Her music put me in tears. Like I knew the words before she sang them. The Piano beneath her hands, haunting, eerie, ethereal.
We talked and ate and talked. One thing she told me about Papaji really struck. Long ago, when he began giving discourses, sitting Satsang, he was different. Back then, when a Seeker responded, when the Seeker 'Got It', Papaji would break out into tears.
I told her of my envy. How Papa can sit and allow a shift or catharsis in someone within the space of five minutes. I have only been able to facilitate those kinds of transformations in one to two hours.
She reminds me that he has been doing this for 45 years! Ho!
Niki, a Composer/Performer has followed many paths. Buddhist, Native American and others. She has a Native American name: Black Swan, given to her by a Medicine Man. Lives on Islands in Greece, has music enough for an album, yet has not recorded. I want to keep this connection. A Mystery?
Had a last Mad Fling with Jaya today. She and David have split-up/not-split-up? Who knows how long this has been going on? I'll see David later.
In her hotel room, an incredible afternoon of love, tenderness, touching and sadness. The irony, or perhaps what feeds the urgency, is my leaving. Is it always so?
In Jaya's arms. Lot's of joy, lots of tears. I loved her more that day than any time before. My heart felt full, overflowing. Actually, it was just that I finally let my boundaries slip enough to be available for what has always been there. Even with Jayme and David in between.
We each had gifts for each other. I read poems to her, in tears. She had written one for me that sent drumrolls of thunder through my heart as I reflected upon this time we shared in Lucknow. This must truly be the end.
It reminds me of the Japanese feelings toward cherry blossoms in the spring. The last day they begin to fall to the ground, dying. There is a certain quality of beauty that fills the heart with a sweet sadness at their passing. This acceptance of impermanence, of death as a part of life.
Jaya also has lessons for me. She spoke to me of my 'shyness' when coming from my heart. This stops me from fully expressing. I have known this, and it is becoming more present in my awareness. It is time to 'Let Go' of that old tape. This also is a going-away gift from her. She continues to amaze me, even in our parting.
Poonjaji spoke today about "LOVE". When you look at a relationship, Love yourself. When you pick up a child, Love yourself. When you buy clothes, a new outfit, Love yourself! Everything we do should be directed as an act of self-Love!
Right On! That is what I encouraged David the other night, As I sat with him during his and Jaya's break-up.
Poonjaji continues to speak of the Graveyard, the past. All of the attachments and identification with history. The burdens of past failures, tears and frustrations that continue to affect everything we do in the Present. Do we sit in the Graveyard? Live in the Graveyard? Or, through choice, live somewhere else.
Tomorrow, last Satsang, Goodbyes, then: Rishikesh.
6/10/WednesdayFarewells, Goodbyes, an easy long journey, a difficult short one, and ..... a developing connection. Of what?
Let's see. I was with Jaya the day before I left. We said 'Goodbye' in the most lovely, sharing way. That evening I went to see David to bid him farewell. Jaya was there. I let myself be persuaded by David to do one more session with them.
The session was supposed to be just for information. I only felt like facilitating for a short time. A lot of 'Stuff' came up, and it was difficult to keep 'Process' out of it. They can pursue these issues further in Pune if they wish. We stopped after two hours. I was beat.
I resented being there. Felt David pushed too much. I feel connected with him in an intimate way and also notice my resistance toward his compulsiveness.
I can feel what he is going through and this keeps my heart open, yet it has been difficult. Not so much due to my connection with Jaya, seems more like a family dynamic between the three of us.
I felt the evening was 'Goodbye' enough for us. It was for me. After Satsang the next day I decided to have an easy lunch with Niki.
The lunch, of course, was something else again. Even sitting in an Indian restaurant crowded with people, the World Stopped!
There was only the two of us. It's funny, really. Back in the States I was wary of 'Past Life Experience' or 'Karmic Action'. I was a little cynical. Here in India, especially this last month with Poonjaji, everyday has been a Karmic event!
Sitting with Niki, I felt like I was with an old companion, from many lifetimes back. I don't quite understand it, yet there is an immediate intimacy that goes beyond words. An understanding on such a deep level that even when words are spoken, the sentences begun by one, finished by another.
I knew this was where I needed to be today. She did too. Even if we never encounter each other again in this life. Yet, I suspect we will.
The strange feeling I have is that Poonjaji knew about our lunch. That this was Poonjaji's final gift! That he was totally aware of this connection, even if we were not.
Then, exit, off on an overnight train to Hardwar. Easy sleep with an Indian family. I shared stories with the children, listened to their chatter and sang with them. Next, amidst the craziness of Indian bus stations, hopped a crowded ride to Rishikesh. Time for Ganga-Dips.
EpilogueI sat with and contemplated my experience, the events that unfolded in Lucknow, for months after.
Almost immediately after I left, I had this impression that has stayed with me, that this was a month-long psychedelic journey.
That I had entered into a 24-hour-a-day altered, hallucinogenic state. Jaya mentioned to me that I 'created' these experiences. In a sense she is right. I believe more fully that through allowing, Karma, or the Tao unfolds.
Papaji kept telling me of the enormous Merit I had earned in Eons of previous lives, and that this Mountain of Merit is what allowed me to be at Satsang. And, through being there, I was earning mountains more! I believe him!
Along with the process that Poonjaji encouraged explicitly, that of the continual questioning: 'Who am I?', I had to observe carefully my actions in 'everyday life'. Outside of Satsang this became astoundingly clear with Jaya and David.
Here I was, a Therapist, intimately and sexually involved with clients. In the States, an offense. And from a Buddhist point of view, a non-virtuous action perhaps. If I had not been seduced by both of them before ever offering my Therapeutic services this might never have come about.
And, how often does a Therapist have the opportunity to observe client process, not only 'on the couch', but in the kitchen, bath and bedroom as well!
I was deep in the middle of this scene and observing my own process as part of the whole Gestalt. All of my feelings, actions, who I was and what I was experiencing. How the lessons from Poonjaji always seemed so relevant to my immediate Now! For me, this was truly a gift.
While noticing all the benefits I received from this experience, my substantial growth in working with others, I always kept my intentions clear. To just allow the process, and awareness to arise naturally in the other. Not to advise or direct.
The proof of this was both David's and Jaya's trust, even during their extreme hardship, in my ability and integrity.
Oddly enough, I always felt Poonjaji knew all about every event surrounding him. He knew of the craziness, the explorations in relationships, and personal obsessions that occurred when Satsang was not in session.
Even though he spoke often of non-virtuous action, sexual misconduct, all the rest, I believe he accepted this as part of awakening.
I feel changed. In subtle and powerful ways.
Far more now, I become aware of my arrogance. How my Ego directs action. Having had a taste of instantaneous Bliss, I know the deep well of refuge in my heart. This ultimate self beyond the external appearances, beyond persona and character trait. Realization of the effect of external stimulus on this internal state of being, that it is all a movie, I feel a comforting solace.
I know there is a place I can come to, when necessary. This is 'Home'. An abiding place for me. I feel lighter. I feel free!
Is Poonjaji Enlightened? A Curandero, A Shaman, A Lama, An Arhat, A Master Therapist? Who's to say?
He is certainly one of the Clearest Lights I have ever beheld. I left him with this letter, written in tears, an acknowledgment:
Beloved Master Papaji, The gifts you have given me, the riches of the Heart, are too numerous to count. They are like diamonds adorning the hair of the Buddha, like the waters flowing through sacred rivers, like the beauty we all walk in. This is such a small gift in return. 1/1000/1000th of what I have found through your grace. I leave for Rishikesh now, then Dharmsala. I will probably return to this Satsang in 4 to 7 months. Blessings of Gratitude, Health and Joy! Steven
Copyright 1994 Steven Gilman
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