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#1991 - Thursday, December 2, 2004 - Editor: Jerry

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from Guru Ratings:


India up close and personal

by Joni


I'm back from India, back at work, sitting in my comfy chair now.
Toombaruji is making offerings and gods and goddesses are fighting for
the rights to the altar.


Here's a slice of one of my mornings ~~~~>


Deb and I were up very very early the first morning in
Tiruvannamalai. We were already showered and dressed before
the sun came up, not really knowing the time, just getting
up and doing morning routines. Susan comes by and tells us
it is 4:30am! We have been up for two hours already. We all
decide to go down to the Ashram for some quiet time and
stop at the corner coffee stand for "milk coffee". The cows
are parked right there across the small street and fresh
milk has a whole new meaning. Susan is befriending a local
streetdog and he sits with eyes of stillness as we sip our
coffee. The streets are already coming alive as we discover
the 5am horn blowing for Islamic chanters. Smoke is already
filling the air as offerings and puja's are being done in
the front of vehicles for safety that day. Beggars come to
where we are sitting and our coffee hosts shoo them away.
Ladies are sweeping the street in front of their tiny shop
stalls and in front of doorways to homes. Water gets
splashed in front of every "opening" to a home or stall or
entryway in the morning and in Tiru the beautiful designs
of the kolams are drawn so skillfully with rice flour at
every entry.


I have with me the tiny tied paper that Andrea my dance teacher asked
me to bring to Ramana. I buy a garland of the pungent jasmine that
also fills the air in Tiru. I have no idea how I will present this to
Ramana, but Uma has assured me by one of her wonderful stories that
you can go and ask Ramana anything. The night before, after dinner, I
had a chance to walk around just a little in the Ashram, shoes off at
the gate for every one who walks there. I looked into one of the
halls that had been gated and there sat Ramana. A black stone statue
that is covered with a real cloth like the one he wore. I want to go
in that room and bring the offering and sit to meditate for this
extraordinary first morning in Tiru.


We quietly enter the room, there is one man already sitting meditating
next to one wall. I notice flowers and fruits from the day before
strewn about the statue which is behind a marble railing and brass
gate. I just stand before the statue and tell Ramana I am bringing
this offering from my teacher, and as I hold the flower garland
wrapped like circles in my hands I am overcome with such gratefulness
for him being in this world, for touching this whole wide world, for
coming all the way to my penthouse in Ashland to touch me. I don't
know what I am asking him, except to say "here I am." I don't know
what to do with the flowers and paper so I lay them down on the floor
next to the gate and go and sit down in the middle of the room.


A woman comes in shortly and she is doing the same sweeping with the
hard brooms of India and cleaning away the flowers and offerings from
the day before. She notices my pile of flowers and she looks at me
and picks them up with the paper. She jumps over the railing and puts
the garland around the neck of Ramana. I am so grateful to her in
that precious moment. I just sit with these tears.


The same tears that flow in this now precious moment of sharing with
((( )))



~ ~ ~



 ...............Mmm, quite reminiscent. Did you make it down the
street to the ashram of Yogi
Ramsuratkumar? Also a potent place to visit.




~ ~ ~


Went by it several times and I kept wanting to go into this really
intense looking temple that I think was for the Goddess Kali, but
moments slip by and jasmine and camphor in your nostrils seems just



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