getting to India the first time
he was teaching a course for Christmas of 1999. I had no idea what to expect, exactly, except that it was Christmas. (I was a little sad to be leaving my friends and my cats and my cozy cottage and the thought of having no Christmas tree was a little.. wrenching.) I turned 33 years old in the air, on British Airways, on December 11th. I think -- but it's hard to tell exactly, that on the evening of the 11th, I was actually somewhere between England and India -- possibly over Afghanistan at that point... but the time zones and confusions and all of that -- 10 hours in the air that day.... I actually think maybe I had no birthday that year. which turned out to be interesting, since the real kind of birthday experience happened two weeks later, on that Christmas night.
I knew little about the reality of being in India. arriving in Bangalore for the first time was the mother of all culture shocks. the scents, mostly acrid, the droves of mosquitoes eye-stinging fumes of disinfectant -- and all this was before I left the inside of the airport!!!
anyway, I was here for a serious spiritual quest and was high on FINALLY having made it to India for the first time. I'd had a vague notion in January of '99 that I wanted to spend the month of December not working, just quiet and at peace somewhere. anticipating the millenium change and not wanting to be in the US when calendars registered it was 2000, or 0000, or whatever all the Y2K panics were about. a friend of mine had remarked that HIS idea of being off the grid at that time was a remote beach in South India -- I remembered that comment, liked the sound of it... and by the time October '99 rolled around and I jumped into the fast lane, what with meeting a guru and all....
I knew I would be in South India in December, not on a beach but in a serious spiritual place. and I would spend the millenium change there. wow. okay.
I knew that Kaleshwara is an avatar, that is, an especially high being, like a pure boddhisatva, volunteering to come back to this planet and help massive numbers of souls here, like a Jesus, or Krishna, or Buddha. I'd heard accounts from other people who had witnessed him creating atma lingams, that is, shiva lingams (egg-shaped stones of immense supernatural properties) that are formed inside the human body over time (usually a few months) and then 'birthed' via the esophageal tract, coming out of the mouth of a saint, often accompanied by blood, and a good deal of pain in the process.
he had invited me to come to India for Christmas 1999. certainly my expectations were high; I was excited. I had seen miracles, I had met a living saint to whom manipulating the physical world was child's play. I, too, wanted to have those abilities -- especially to train to become a master healer.
when I got to the ashram, I found I was among about 150 other people, from all over the world, mostly the US and Germany. many of us were visiting India for the first time, drawn by the magnetism of Kaleshwar's personality and healing energies.