Saturday, February 5, 2011

More about the Maharshi

Paul Brunton, a writer, came to India in the early 1930s investigating various gurus, yogis, fakirs and spiritual teachers. A number of  “remarkable experiences” led him to Tiruvannamalai and Arunachala, having heard about a particular sage, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Arriving more a skeptic than a believer he has given the following account of the first impact the silence of Sri Bhagavan made upon his mind.

“It is an ancient theory of mine that one can take the inventory of a man’s soul from his eyes. But before those of the Maharshi I hesitate, puzzled and baffled….”I cannot turn my gaze away from him. My initial bewilderment, my perplexity at being totally ignored, slowly fade away as this strange fascination begins to grip me more firmly. But it is not till the second hour of this uncommon scene that I become aware of a silent, resistless change which is taking place within my mind. One by one the questions I prepared in the train with such meticulous accuracy drop away. For it does not now seem to matter whether they are asked or not and it does not matter whether I solve the problems with hitherto troubled me. I know only that a steady river of quietness seems to be flowing near me, that a great peace is penetrating the inner reaches of my being, and that my thought-tortured brain is beginning to arrive at some rest.”

Ramana aged 21

The vehicular transportation blog post....

The vehicles are always extremely interesting, not just how they look but also how they use them at times. They absolutely use them to their maximum and then some.

This is the modern version of the old Royal Enfield you still see being ridden around. In the same way they are still making the Morris Oxford-styled Ambassador, they are still making this old classic, just with sharper styling. The men ride these around as if the were Harleys

The over-loading of various vehicles never fails to amuse.

 For the John Deere fans among you....

You can't really see, and I wasn't going to get too close, but a policeman had this truck driver bailed up and was giving him a good slapping round as he clearly wasn't paying his fair share of Baksheesh. Baksheesh is not necessarily a bribe, not necessarily a tip either, more of an "encouragement towards better working relationships from what I understand ! The driver was handing over some notes but the policeman was getting angrier by the moment

They load these sugar cane trucks up like you wouldn't believe. This one is quite light compared to some. Will try to get a photo of a seriously overloaded one.

OK so these bullock carts have an interesting history going back well over 2000 years and apart from the wheels and tyres little else has changed in that time. I find the drivers are very nice men and take tremendous pride in their work. They are well respected on the road.

Another day, yet another remarkable event at Arunachala

Here’s a story and this is a remarkable one. I had seen this elderly gentleman several times around the hotel and we exchanged greetings a few times. I had also noticed that he had tremendous difficulty walking, was stooped over and using a walking stick,on which he put considerable weight. I had at one point asked him what was making his walking so difficult, he informed me very briefly that he had undergone disc surgery one year prior but was now suffering with a very weak back. Those of you who know something of my spinal history will know my attention was already peaking but he was clearly not interested in dwelling on the matter at all.

This is Tom
This morning at the pool he came up to me and we got talking more openly about the matter. Told him of my experiences over a lot of years, that I too have been crippled by the injury and had a simple sequence of exercises that made a real difference. He asked me what I could show him between now and tomorrow to which I replied “not much”.
Anyway, that’s not so interesting so far really and in a way has little to do with the real story at hand. He was telling me his daughter lives here along with her young daughter, they run a school for very young children (as you do !) He then informed me that as it happens he has another daughter living at the “top of the bottom island” in NZ, couldn’t remember the name of the place off hand but she was married to a May-ourie man, “does climbing” he said. I said “Nelson ?”, he said “yes, that’s it”. I said “ her names not Hannah is it ?” he said “yes” !
Well you could have slapped me on the belly with a cold wet fish straight out of the badly polluted waterways on a hot afternoon and I probably wouldn’t have noticed at that very moment because I was absolutely gob-smacked, whatever gob-smacked is.
So Hannah is one of the yoga students from nelson, still comes to class whenever she is down and I had even spent some time with here in Chch not long before coming to India. Her dad Tom, who lives between the UK and France, just happened to be visiting Arunachala at the same time I was….what are the chances ?
This is Tom with his daughter (Hannah's sister) and grand daughter at the pool today 

 Tom managed o get up the hill a bit and looked quite straight considering

I have had a whole heap of pretty amazing experiences since arriving here but that one really takes the cake.  Talking to people visiting Arunachala, but especially those who have chosen to live here, will tell you that this sort of thing happens here all the time, that nothing at all comes as a surprise, such is the nature of the place.  There is one really interesting comment Tom made when we first started talking and before I found out what I did. He said something along the lines of “we have a lot more in common that we could even realize” which I found to be a very interesting statement to make, even aside from what transpired after that.
I have said it before, I’ll say it again, there is something quite awesome about this place, mysterious and seemingly magical at times. From NZ before I came here I had heard these things but dismissed them as being the overly excited imaginations of the various fruit-loops that would inevitably visit this kind of place, unlike me who is way more grounded ! There are many other stories I could tell, experiences I have had, but for the most part I keep them to myself as they are very personal. This story was worth mentioning, hopefully Hannah and Tom won’t mind.