Gurus, Rock Stars & the Men In Between invites you into my world from my years as a monk in India, to my life as a punk rock diva and beyond, peppered along the way by the men I've loved.

My blog features both excerpts from the book, and what I currently deem hot in realm of love, art and spirituality from the streets of New York City to beaches of Los Angeles, two cities I affectionately call home.

Monday, June 6, 2011

An Indian Sean Connery with a long white beard - excerpt Gurus, Rock Stars and the Men In Between

Kulu valley
Sitting in a bus at the back of a convoy, at the front of which is God knows what causing the hold up, all I know is this is stop number five in as many hours.  Lets face it there are only so many chais you can drink and only so many wees you can take.  It is however, a stunning place to be stranded… high in the sky surrounded by mountains, a river meandering below, an infrequent house with thatched roof, a small isolated temple and roaming livestock.  There is no litter and the air is clean and fresh.  This is India to the north towards Kashmir, and it’s breathtaking.  I’m in very good spirits considering I’m in the middle of a banked up convoy, how much I need to pee yet again, and the level of Indian bureaucracy I endured to be on this bus to Kulu in search of Swami Brahmaraja.  There’s a shepherd boy serenading his cows with a flute making the story of Krishna, the doe-eyed flutist God of love remarkably tangible.  The Kulu Valley, "Valley of the Gods," is famous for a seven-day festival celebrating Lord Rama's victory over the demon Ravana.  I’m in time for the festival, quite by accident.  I want to continue north to Srinigar to find the fabled burial site of Jesus, then travel further to Kashmir, but every day I hear more stories of bombs and attacks in this much-contested region.  Just recently a couple of tourists were kidnapped and held ransom. I couldn't do that to my parents.  They’re livid enough I’m traveling alone.  I wish I were more fearless, or at least my complexion and hair dark.  My ‘ice-cream’ features are like a neon light erroneously flashing, "Come and get the money!”   I may not be white trash, but sadly I wouldn’t fetch much of a ransom either.


I’m not exactly sure what I’ve stumbled upon, but it may just be the magic I’ve been seeking.  In a fairly modest room sits a Swami.  He looks like an Indian Sean Connery with a long white beard – weird but accurate. 
See where I'm going with this?
The room is filled with Westerners and conspicuously few Indians. He’s talking about ananda, bliss.  This ananda is what all living beings seek, though only in the human incarnation is this recognition and endeavor possible. Our outer designation: doctor, lawyer, homemaker, is irrelevant.  Rich or poor, Indian or white, whether we know it or not, we are seeking a state of perpetual ananda.  It is our birthright and the goal of this human form to cultivate it.  Ignorant of our true calling we pursue fleeting sensual happiness, all the while fearing death.  We mask the fear by seeking outer trappings of wealth and security, but no matter what accomplishments we accumulate, nothing can save us from death and rebirth.  Only self-realization, knowledge of our true self can end the cycle of samsara, the cycle of birth and death.  The magic, the bliss we seek is the knowledge of our true self.
Okay.  He’s got my full attention.
As I sit in this room full of strangers, all the reasons why i left Australia are being validated.  Here is someone who is espousing a set of priorities that feels right.  He is not telling me to give up mundane work, only to put it in perspective and pursue the highest goal.  We instinctively feel when something is good and right, just as we feel when something is not, regardless of what others would have us believe.  And right now I am picking up what the Swami is putting down.