I titled this post after a Calvin and Hobbes book called The Days are Just Packed, because that's the way the days have been here. In an earlier post I mentioned the general schedule of the ashram. That's alot already and, because Eli and I are here, most nights they have invited us to a study group or we have watched a teaching film (dharma talk). We love that and don't want to miss any of it and so the nights are just packed too.)
So there's all of that in any given day. But there's more! We also like to go to the “Ashram down the Street” [see note at end of post for a couple of details] where we might sit and do chanting or meditate or eat lunch or talk to the Ma” of the place, an amazing being named Devaki-Ma. And then there's “Going into Town” where we might go to the Pumpernickle Bakery or to the Chai Wala or to the Shiva Temple. And then there's Mount Arunachala which we might circumambulate (clockwise - pradakshina-style, for you Yoga nerds) to remove a couple tons of karma or which we might climb to the top of to remove my knees joints, or which we might climb as far as the two meditation caves where Ramana Marharshi sat for decades in absorption. Oh dear, the days are just packed!
That packed-ness has made me perplexed about what to Blog about . The Shiva Temple or “The Ashram down the street” or Mount Arunachala could require more pages than anyone would want to read. Nevertheless I WILL try to tackle those subjects before I leave.....just not right now.
Today I sat and watched the road and thought I would try to describe the scene. There were a few beggars squatting and one or two saddhus.....also someone who had slept in late. (So many people sleep on the streets and roads here. And even people who have houses – “middle class” types – sleep on the concrete). A motorized rickshaw went by – most rickshaws are motorized – carrying four sari-clad women in the back and 3 men in front. (Seeing this always makes me think of the '60s when people for some reason tried to see how many people can you get into a Volkswagon). Three or 4 sane looking westerners walked by. One or two nut-cases went by. There are some really unstable westerners here – and “NO” it does NOT take one to know one. Whoever said that was wrong.
As I was sitting, along came a non-motorized rickshaw driven by a man whose legs were shriveled and useless – probably the result of polio. He “pedals” with his arms. He was having a relatively easier time of it going one way, delivering a load of some sort, as it was a slightly downhill grade. While I was still sitting watching, he came back, struggling against the uphill grade. Just then a Saddhu came along and pushed him. Kindness is kindness no matter how exotic the context.
We will be sad to leave Tiruvanamalai but we might actually get caught up on our sleep – or not. Eli was offered an opportunity to go to Chennai and play a part as an extra in a Bollywood film but decided to skip that for now. He may do it later after I leave. So we will head out together in two days . We aren't sure yet where we will go.
[The Ashram down the Street is YogiRamSuratKumar's ashram. Here's the lineage: Papa Ramdas – Yogiramsuratkumar – Lee Lozowick. Treveni II is Lee Lozowick's ashram in India. He has one also in the states and in France. YogiRamSuratKumar passed in 2001 but Devaki Ma who was his closest attendant is alive and well and the ashram is thriving. Like I said, I'll try to describe some of that amazing place in another post.]