Wednesday, January 30, 2013


The focus with the blog has been to be transparent and share my observations/experiences from Sue's truth. There was a recent point that I was willing to stand alone (ok, not completely true since now I have God) with zero friends, completely un-liked, and unsuitable for socialization into humanity.  The motivation was the truth.  Can the "collective we" act in a way that encourages honesty, integrity, and directness for the moment at hand and not offend anyone?  It may not always be pretty or pleasant, but can the beauty come from the honesty?  The rawness on the streets of India have opened me to this variety of beauty.  I have grown to appreciate the nauseating smells, the sea of land-garbage, the struggling animals/humans, and more because of the vitality in it.  As a kid, I had to keep everything organized in my sock drawer and here I get to dump the contents of the drawer on the floor if I want to. 

I have made a lot of mistakes and continue to do so in my attempt to be in alignment with  "my truth." Yes, many times it would appear to be at the expense of the others, but in honesty it comes from a passion to be authentic.  The texture of realness is invigorating and feels alive like a dancing flame. I grew up in a household with submerged passion and I would even go so far to say sterile.  When I would have creative outbursts, show emotions, and take action it was viewed as an upstart, rebellious, and problematic.  As I reflect, it is a texture that has been a theme for me and probably an unskillful way to touch the resonance level of realness.  Will I ever grow up and act socially correct?  I know how to if it required. I can eat with a knife in my right hand, a fork in my left, fold a napkin on my lap, consume soup without slurping, chew without smacking my lips, and the list continues on how to play the game.  But would I have found what I now consider the gems?  I wanted to go to a cave to discover these, but the Divine appears to have insisted I find them through the vehicles of scratchiness, (and I am a big contributor to the scratchiness.)

I have never made a request for forgiveness from others. I have been willing to accept the bumps, bruises, and scars of my search.  I do apologize for the marks I have left on others. Surprising, some people appear to still like me, call me their friend, share heartfelt stories, explore the meaning of life, stop me on the street to chat when we don't share a language, offer to help me navigate living in two widely separated homes, and more ingredients of friendship for the sake of being a caring human being.

If I had a bookcase for life, nature/nonhuman animals have been on a shelf above the one for humans.  Now, the shelf contains all three side-by-side.

Has the risk to be standing completely outside of my human tribe been a sacrifice?  Maybe for some, but for me it has been the path.  With the current game plan to live at the new  "zero point", it will probably organically start to curb my course, ruffian, axe-wielding nature, but that is okay;  the machete action in the jungle has led to the essence of Absolute Love and Truth.  As I observe all of the varieties milling about the airport and loading onto the plane, I feel a sense of inner peace, joy, and an absence of scratchiness. People are ok and this affords a lot of freedom for one viewed as an alien.

My parting tears to Gurudev were unleashed from the depth of a gratitude well.  And with his unwavering alignment to Absolute Love and Truth, he made a request.  It caught me off guard, since he never asks for anything.  It was to commit to an unbreakable vow of friendship with another person.  In my heart it had been no other, so it was an effortless request to fulfill.  Jai Gurudev!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Is More Perfect Than This Moment?

So what am I waiting for?  Why not experience every moment of living as a moment of Absolute Love and Truth?  What else really is there and why would I want to separate myself from what Is?  Everything else is the game and how does my ego want to play the game!  Is there really sacrifice involved with living that level of truth?  Or does it only look that way from the outside?  The outside is the distraction and every time I stop to acknowledge the outside, it draws me back into the game.  And my-oh-my how the inner thoughts accumulated from outward observation want to create the strategy for the game.

While I have a body, the game will need to exist, so this is how I am going to play for now.  Still chasing my tail, but the bar for presence has been raised considerably--the new zero point.  The state experienced when my head touches the ground in pranam to Gurudev's feet and everything becomes blank; touching the flame as a speck of humility, gratitude, and selfless love. As I rise, the body comes back into focus and the game begins. The new rules, how little can I move off the zero point while still living in a body.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Flame

The "orange/ochre" robes were made from saffron and symbolized sacrifice and purification. They are the color of fire.

As I look at Gurudev, I understand now that he is the living version of fire.  He helps us in our pursuit of purification.  It makes sense that one would be led down renunciation and Sannyasin paths to deepen into the Divine: constantly unveiling, burning away the impurities, and moving towards the light.  We are the moths and he is the flame.  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lake Palace Hotel, Jaipur

People have been wondering about the Lake Palace Hotel, since there is not a website available.  I took a few photos from the room, lobby, and outside.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The List

A Full House
Wow, I got to ask all of my questions in one go.  They had been building up over the two weeks of Gurudev's retreat.  Most were spiritual and a smaller number were practical.   I handed him a piece paper with the list and a note to delete any or all as he felt compelled, but he said to go for it (not quite in those words.)

The many expression of Gurudev.  (Will have to make the materialistic move to get the next range of camera, so these shots aren't grainy.)
Yes, Mother Teresa was unique in her true selflessness, heart capacity, and manifestation of these qualities in society.  "Very few (underlined) are like her even though others are serving in many different ways."  So I will put her on the top shelf of human capacity for love of humanity and serving with pure devotion.  A true example of a pure instrument of the Divine.  When he looked me straight in the eyes and underscored the very few, the uncontrollable tears came that have signified touching something Divine.  Having an embodiment of God talking about that frequency of serving was like a gentle thread of lightening  touching deep into my heart.  It was the first question, so I wasn't sure if I was done already.   He must have turned the knob just enough that I could regroup and continue.  (It was that same point of soul immersion that happened when I looked in his eyes after the first pranam to the living form in two weeks--the Guru Factor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Orange robes, mantras, initiations are cultural, but not required.  It is the internal path and what one does with it.  No outward requirements in terms of accouterments.  Each person has different needs in their motivation, path finding, single-pointedness, and execution.  Even Synnasini does not need to be declared or acknowledged; just like a householder who can live mentally as a renunciate, no restrictions on beliefs. No harm in writing the Ramakrishna Order, but I can accomplish this one's life plan/manifestation of service without being in a group.

I will keep the room and when I brought up that I plan to come back, he didn't object.  For me the room is symbolic of the Gurudev/India part of the path as an open gateway rather than a financial consideration.  Yes, I can always stay in a hotel, but the pink, cement room has personality and it is SO CLOSE to the ashram.

Freedom in a body.  Gurudev just keeps removing all of the points of separation that crop up from learning about the uniqueness of each religion and culture relative to spirituality.  A lot less is floating in the soup and I can start to see how a thin, watery broth will be inevitable.  When I joined Girl Scouts, I didn't have any badges on my sash, so the goal became the check marks in the manual/patches for meeting requirements in different areas of interest.  In some ways, I was sensing that spiritual pageantry had sported a very, sophisticated hint of this--in some but not all.  Yes, the ego still at work in so many clever ways.

Full throttle after the retreat. The children's fair at the school too.
The idea of creating some sort of book from the first year of blogging had been a question, but after another year has passed, it all feels like part of the tide instead of a tsunami.  He said that in the years to come, my ideas and thoughts will go through a lot of changes, but the blogging itself has been a useful service and there is no reason to stop.  At a completely different level, I had asked why most spiritual books are biographical instead of autobiographical.  He agreed and noted that Yogananda was one of the only ones to write an autobiography.

He mentioned something about my heart capacity and ripeness on the spiritual path, so no restrictions...  Not sure what that means, but it all feels like a garden growing under my feet.  The seeds are planted and while continuing to live/meditate/read/work/exercise etc., I will wait and see what sprouts, examine the new growth, and decide how to proceed at that point--the enchanted garden.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Sign Removal

While I was meditating, the sign on Gurudev's chair was moved aside.  Sigh, the return of the Master is imminent.  I didn't hear the usual cadence of his sandals, but I saw the form.  The first moment as I saw the orange attire out of the corner of my eye, is it real?  A dream?  A painting?  The tears told the truth. The limit of words.  What a privilege to pranam at the feet of this living Master! The ocean of love was back and the joy of being soulfully submerged was beautiful.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Possible limits--getting approval and being a woman doesn't help one's cause.  Is the robe a requirement?  Found a picture of one with sunglasses. I might have seen one a few days back after looking at the photographs.  He was covered in ash from head to toe and asking for food.  Is begging a requirement?

Sannyasa is the life stage of the renouncer within the Hindu scheme of āśramas. It is considered the topmost and final stage of the ashram systems and is ... - Cached

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Sannyasa (Devanagari: संन्यास, saṁnyāsa) is the life stage of the renouncer within the Hinduscheme of āśramas. It is considered the topmost and final stage of the ashram systems and is traditionally taken by men or women over fifty or by young monks who wish to renounce worldly and materialistic pursuits and dedicate their lives to spiritual pursuits. People in this stage of life develop vairāgya, or a state of dispassion and detachment from material life, renouncing worldly thoughts and desires in order to spend the remainder of their lives in spiritual contemplation. A member of the sannyasa order is known as a sannyasin (male) orsannyasini (female).
During the sannyasa phase of life, a person abandons fire, or Agnihotra, allowed to theGrihastha ashram or householder phase of life. People who have entered the sannyasa ashram may choose not to cook, perform fire rituals or take heat from fire. In practice, however, Sannyasis do various services and partake in sacred rituals to set an example for others. Sannyasa focuses only on the self and spirituality and not even the gods (as abandoning fire suggests). Symbolically, a sannyasi casts his physical body into fire by wearing saffron robes when entering this phase, signifying purification of body through fire thus freeing the soul while the body is still alive. Hence, sannyasis are not cremated after death as most Hindus are, but may instead be buried.


Unlike monks and nuns in the Western world, whose lives are in the main regulated by a monastery or an abbey and its rules, it is common for Hindu sannyasis to be solitary wanderers (parivrājaka). Hindu monasteries (mathas) never have a large number of monks living under one roof at any given time; they exist primarily for educational purposes and have become centers of pilgrimage for the lay population. Ordination into any Hindu monastic order is purely at the discretion of the individual guru, who should himself be an ordained sannyasi within that order. Most traditional Hindu orders do not have women sannyasis, but this situation has begun to change in recent years.[17][18]

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Two Homes

Waking up
What is the Divine?
Can You show me something if I am meant to believe?
Is it possible to feel the same for humans as for the animal kingdom?
Are we all connected by some deep inner Truth?

These questions have been answered.  The game plan is in place for the return to California, (horse sales list lined up for physical examination.)  My interest and willingness to return in devotion and service in India is on the table.  As I sit quietly in the stillness of it all, I see that I have two homes now and no preference.  Each serves and provides a different texture and fabric for being.  Gratitude for having the skill set to now walk in both cultures, with humans and animals, and a new understanding of Absolute Truth and Absolute Love as the basic soup stock.

Ready for the next homework assignment.  I hope to see Gurudev before I leave.  He spoke of the outer world as mere details.  I am beginning to understand.

Returning to the US a year ago, I was like, "What just happened?" A year later, the uniqueness of the mystical world is less unsettling and the place of the deepest inner peace.

How fitting...
A king is ever a king, be he crowned with a jeweled crown or clad in beggar's garb.
                        Bowl of Saki, January 19, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
Those crowned with beauty are always kings, even if they are in rags or sold as slaves. A true king is always a king, with or without a throne.

I arrived at a cemetery where a group of dervishes sat on the green grass, chattering together. They were all poorly clad, some without shoes and others without coats; one had shirt with only one sleeve and another lacked them both. One wore a robe with a thousand patches and the next a hat without a crown. This strange group attracted my attention and I sat there for some time, noticing all that was going on yet feigning to be utterly indifferent. ... When the Murshid arrived at the assembly of his disciples each one greeted the other, saying, 'Ishq Allah, Ma'bud Allah! - God is love and God is the beloved! ... The solemnity of the sacred words they uttered found their echo in my soul, thereupon I watched their ceremonial with still greater attention... The queer patches on their garments reminded me of the words of Hafiz, 'Do not befool thyself by short sleeves full of patches, for most powerful arms are hidden under them.'

The dervishes first sat lost in contemplation, reciting charms one after the other, and then they began their music. I forgot all my science and technique while listening to their simple melodies, as they sang to the accompaniment of sitar and dholok the deathless words of the Sufi Masters such as Rumi, Jami, Hafiz, and Shams-i Tabriz. ... the most amazing part of the proceedings came when the assembly was about to disperse. For one of the dervishes arose and, while announcing Bhandara or dinner, addressed them in the following terms, 'O Kings of Kings! O Emperors of Emperors!' This amused me greatly at the time, while I regarded their outward appearance. My first thought made them merely kings of imagination, without throne or crown, treasury, courtiers, or dominions - those natural possessions and temporal powers of kingship.

But the more I brooded upon the matter, the more I questioned whether environment or imagination made a king. The answer came at last: the king is never conscious of his kingship and all its attributes of luxury and might unless his imagination is reflected in them and thus proves his true sovereignty. ... And it also reveals how fleeting time and the changes of matter make all the kings of the earth but transitory kings, ruling over transitory kingdoms; this is because of their dependence upon their environment instead of their imagination. But the kingship of the dervish, independent of all external influences, based purely on his mental perception and strengthened by the forces of his will, is much truer and at once unlimited and everlasting. Yet in the materialistic view his kingdom would appear as nothing, while in the spiritual conception it is an immortal and exquisite realm of joy.

Verily, they are the possessors of the kingdom of God and all His seen and unseen treasure is in their own possession, since they have lost themselves in Allah. ... Thus I compared our deluded life with the real, and our artificial with their natural being, as one might compare the false dawn with the true. I realized our folly in attaching undue weight to matters wholly unimportant... I felt that we were losing the most precious moments and opportunities of life for transitory dross and tinsel, at the sacrifice of all that is enduring and eternal.

Sri Sarada Math and Mission

Checking out the Ramakrishna's Women's Order.  I wrote them a letter asking what the requirements were for joining.  They offer courses in English, computer use, business etiquette, and more to their attending students. And an outreach program was just created for programs online.  Nice to see all of this.

Sri Sarada Devi

Copied from the site:

Sri Sarada Math emphasizes spiritual development while the aim of the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission is service to the society, especially to women and children. Swami Vivekananda said, ‘Certain individuals are the sacrifices over which the race has to walk.’ He believed that without feminine power the world could not be regenerated and he had faith in the potential of women to transform society in a relatively shorter period of time. For this reason he was eager to see a Math for women started even before a Math for men. He said, ‘Educate the women of India and let them solve their own problems. Why should any man solve any woman’s problem?’ He foretold that this work for women would exceed the responsibility of the work for men.
Sri Sarada Devi’s life of selfless service to all alike irrespective of differences among individuals is the ideal and aim of all activities. From her early childhood till her last days Mother's entire life was given to the service of other people spontaneously, without any expectation, out of unconditional love. Sri Sarada Devi was the witness and supporter of all the activities of the Ramakrishna Order in her lifetime and gave the work for women, begun in her lifetime in the Nivedita School her blessings. She is even today working through the body of the twin organizations of the Math and Mission in her name for the welfare of the world.

Women's Monastic Order

     Swami Vivekananda regarded the neglect of the masses and neglect of women as the two main causes for the downfall of India.  He believed that the life and message of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi had great significance for the uplift of women.  In one of his letters to a brother monk, Swamiji wrote: ‘Mother has been born to revive that wonderful Shakti in India; and making her the nucleus, once more will Gargis and Maitreyis be born into the world.’  On several occasions he expressed the wish to have a separate women’s monastic order on the lines of Ramakrishna Math, with Holy Mother as its ideal and inspiration.
    Swamiji’s wish came to be fulfilled nearly half a century later.  As per the decision taken by the Trustees of Ramakrishna Math, a group of women, who had been leading a life of renunciation and service for several years, were given the vows of Brahmacharya at Belur Math on 27 December 1953, the sacred birthday of Sri Sarada Devi, which was also the day of inauguration of the year-long celebration of the Birth Centenary of Holy Mother.  On 2 December 1954 a new monastic order for women, known as Sri Sarada Math, was started at a place on the eastern bank of the Ganga, a little away from Dakshineswar Kali Temple.  On 1 January 1959, on the birthday of Holy Mother, eight senior members of Sri Sarada Math were ordained Sannyasinis at Belur Math.
In August 1959, Sri Sarada Math was formally separated from Ramakrishna Math, and has since then been functioning independently with its own Board of Trustees.
In May 1960 the Sannyasinis established the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission.  Both the institutions carry on spiritual, cultural, educational, medical and charitable activities among women and children.

Contact Address:
Sri Sarada Math & Ramakrishna Sarada Mission
Calcutta - 700 076. India
Ph: 91-33-2564 5411/ 2564 6566
Fax: 91-33-2564 4388

Office :
President :


Monday, January 21, 2013

"The Walk"

An early start
Curious to see how long it would take me to walk to the Ramakrishna Temple, Mother Teresa's House, and back home.  Four hours roundtrip, so it was the best choice to take the auto-rickshaw early in the morning.  I haven't walked from one end of the city to the other in quite a while, so it was another petri dish to check in with.

The Universe is very disciplined about the circling on the spiral staircase.  The dog who I thought was a pile of burnt debris appears to be alive--not a pretty sight (bloody wounds on his head from scratching the mange and a broken front leg that appears to have set in the most remarkably odd fashion) but still alive and alert.  Wow, the tenaciousness of the living.  Help In Suffering tried to come out and catch him over a year ago.

(short video below 19 seconds)

One of the orange robed beings at the Ramakrishna Temple kindly shared his recommended list of books to have while I was picking up a few extras for friends at home.  He smiled when it turned out that I had all of them.  Looking forward to checking out the woman's order in Northern California.  Stopped by the MT School/House to drop off copies of the artwork I was inspired to create and to thank them profusely for their generosity.  The Sister was really happy when I told her that I was now going to read the Old and New Testament; curiosity since it led Mother Teresa to such a remarkable, selfless practice.

The city has made some recent improvements:

An entire row of trash cans--exciting.
New bus stops all over the city.  Even wheelchair access with the ramps.
Nice path to walk on while walking home from the gym.
Lots of lessons with checkmarks now learned from "The Walk."

Mobile merchant cart by day and dog house by night.

Team effort
Betel rolls?
There was only one moment that I needed to steady myself before continuing to walk.  One of the bay horses who I have seen pulling a cart with bloodied front legs, now has a remarkably revolting attempt for blistering a place on the inside of his hind leg.  And he gets no time off for recovery.  He was standing with the leg held up in a non-weight bearing fashion before he was asked to trot off.  The dark side of human unconsciousness.  I new it would come again at some point.  This isn't a free-ranging animal, so it is a form of brutality, slavery, violation that is a distant cousin to gang rape, forced prostitution, and child slavery.

Thank You Magnificence With Four Legs

Magnificence with four leg.  Thank you for being one of my grand teachers.  The tears well up for you as well...

Holding his trunk while napping

Fun Children's Poem

ElephantsElephants are animals I really like the most.
The biggest on land, they can truly boast.

With huge floppy ears, a super long snout.
Wait till you hear an elephant SHOUT!

Cover your ears or they will ring!

A funny little fact, another silly thing.
When it comes to animals, the lion is not king.

When lions meet elephants it is easy to see,
the lions will run, scamper, and flee!

You can ride on elephants, they can pick up logs.
In some parts of the world they are helpful as dogs.

Elephants are useful, I am telling you so.
You can even get a shower from an elephant's nose!

You may have a fish, dog, or cat.
Perhaps a ferret, horse, or rat.

You might have lots of different pets,
but wouldn't you like a big elephant?
(c) written by Tommy G.

Pre-human loading stable. 
Folding while driving
Headed home
Flying his kite while the camel waits

How To Die While Still Living?

Vishnu and Krishna
One has everything, but everything is nothing? 
Is this the beginning of knowing the illusion? 
How can I stand at the bottom of a chasm while standing at the top of a peak? 
How is it possible to be on fire/in madness while held in an infinite container of Love? 
Is this the dissolution of the mind-ego? 
Who is playing the game?  
What is the game?  
Is there a game?
How to die while still living?

The temperature outside the Divine containers (temples, ashrams...) can become unbearable.
Sitting within offers relief.
The chord around my heart can loosen.