An eclectic spiritual & inspirational place to heal, learn, feel & expand. Heart & soul first. Miraculous experiences from India as well as the life & times of a spiritual healer/teacher in the U.S. Miracles, saints, sages, gurus, healing, life & death... and more...!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

the last refuge

Shirdi Baba statue
Originally uploaded by alxindia.

here's the living Shirdi Baba statue, in the temple building in Penukonda.

not much to say except that on this last trip, I was mostly too sick (massive head cold and chest cold and mucus production) to visit the Big Boss very much. I stayed in my room and tried to breathe, rest, sleep, heal.

but he's always in my mind, always in my thoughts and my heart.

it was a huge relief, after about 4 weeks of being in the room, and then still too weak and wobbly to make the trek to his temple, to start visiting the temple again and making my deeply grateful pranams to his silver padukas.

bolo Sainath maharaja ki jai!

Penukonda farewell

Baba Temple sunset
Originally uploaded by alxindia.

this is the last stop before leaving the ashram, a final farewell to the main temple.

after spending so many years on these grounds, every time I step into this temple I am flooded with tons of spontaneous memories -- how many nights we used to sleep on the floor here, until 5 a.m. when the guards would come in and flip on the fluorescent tube lights -- a big shock when you're deep asleep!; how many students used to cram in here and do japa meditations pretty much all night, for months on end; how many ground-breaking talks from Sri Kaleshwar have happened in this humble, simple temple.

my life is a kind of compendium of experiences pre-Penukonda, during Penukonda days, and post-Penukonda. ('during Penukonda' meaning, the years I spent most intensively there, from 2000-2005.)

most of the pre-Penukonda days have faded into a dim fog of memory, a surreal dusk of 'did that ever really happen in my life?' moments.

the 'during Penukonda' category is fraught with miracles and mystical fragments that live in my heart like precious jewels I take out and polish frequently, holding up to the light and catching my breath in awe and thanks.

the post-Penukonda category -- well, it's a huge adventure.

many times in my mind, however, -- though I'm living in the world of things and people, helping out by teaching and healing, -- I'm really connecting back again to this temple, this ground, the mountain you see rising behind the temple building, the spiritual power that permeates this ashram and radiates from it.

it is my soul home, my spiritual home.

Friday, March 02, 2007

om sweet home in penukonda

om sweet home in penukonda
Originally uploaded by alxindia.

someone snapped this photo of Jonathan and me in our room here in Penukonda the other day... I wanted to post it to give the flavor of -- as one student here called it -- "Ma & Pa Kettle In Their Home In India!"

it's astounding to me, sometimes, when I think about it (which isn't often, these days, since the divine energy in Penukonda is so thick right now that it's hard to think, at all, about anything), that Jonathan and I have lived in this same little room, off and on, since the winter of 2000.

when we first came here, the floors were raw cement and construction crews were pounding brick and mortar and concrete and god knows what all else, day and night, on the floors going up in our building, right over our heads!

I used to chuckle when people in America would tell us, "oh, I so envy you, being able to live in a peaceful, quiet ashram in India..." and I would especially remember those misguided statements, with a particularly acidic & twisted sense of the absurd, in the middle of intense meditation programs, going 10 hours a day or more, while the construction crews were banging hammers (and what sounded like dropping BAGS of hammers) directly over our heads, in the room just above ours, until just past midnight, some nights. boom! boom! BOOOOOOM!!!!!

'peaceful, quiet ashram.....' yeah, right. in someone else's dreams, maybe!

if I've learned anything in all the years I've spent immersed in Indian spirituality, it is that paradox reigns supreme.

meditating in the midst of a construction zone has its merits -- if you can meditate here, you can meditate anywhere comfortably, no matter what is going on.

people who finick and fuss about having to have a perfectly peaceful, quiet meditation space in order to achieve their profound spiritual states have no idea what they're really missing, in my opinion! I mean, yes of course, we all enjoy the pure silence in meditation, and it's a real luxury when you can find that -- but knowing, internally, that your point of focus is so unshakeable that an earthquake could happen and you'd still be doing your meditation no matter what, is an important part of spiritual development.

anyway, having survived all of that, at least the side of the ashram we're currently staying in is more peaceful, the construction having been completed some time ago. now the new folks living in newer buildings on the other side of the grounds are getting to have the "boom! boom! BOOM!" meditation training.

I hope you'll think of us here, in our little room with our little kitchen (5' x 5') and bathroom, sipping our morning coffee, staring out over the incredible greenery of the sprawling palm and neem trees that are running amok outside our front door's balcony, enjoying the divine energy of this Shiva Rathri time and talking about the finer points of divine knowledge (when we're not in silence, meditating).

om shanti!

musing Penukonda

group smaller
Originally uploaded by alxindia.

(this photo is of Jonathan and some dear American friends/family...)

being back here after a year, and seeing how the Soul University is progressing, is an eye-opening experience. about 100 beautiful spiritual students have come to study with Sri Kaleshwar, some of whom were never exposed to formal spiritual training before deciding to join this university.

hearing the level of their studies -- which are sometimes quite grueling -- and listening to the discussions the students here are having is really impressive. they have done their homework (and then some!) and are rapidly chewing on and digesting huge amounts of divine knowledge and understanding.

for me personally, living now mostly in the USA and only visiting Penukonda (on the surface, anyway) once a year or so, it's been a little heart-tugging to see how the advance of time and experience in Penukonda has equipped the students here, while I've been out teaching and not necessarily developing these same areas of knowledge.

at the same time, I recognize that Jonathan and I have -- at the moment -- a particular dharma, which involves teaching Sri Kaleshwar's systems to Western people who otherwise really wouldn't have the chance to be exposed to this knowledge and these energy channels.

chacun a son gout, as the French say.

creating a strong group in the Santa Cruz area is in itself a kind of soul university experience, just from a different angle. and intensity.

a few days ago, I was watching a whole group of students here in Penukonda dropping flowers on the feet of Shirdi Baba (the living statue of him that is the central focus of the main temple). I realized that among the 30 or so in that particular group, about 10 of the people had come from the USA with Jonathan and me, on this trip, or as a result of our work in California. another 5 people are here from Singapore -- each one of them studied with us seriously during our teaching trips there over the last several years.

and now they were all in Penukonda, Californians from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, mingling with Singaporeans of Chinese and Indian descent, at the feet of Shirdi Sai Baba. talk about a glorious melting pot! rishis, every one...!

I noticed the statue was beaming at them all like a grandfather receiving a visit from favorite grandchildren he hasn't seen in a while.

and in my heart -- I felt like a proud mother, so amazed at the depth and the open-hearted capacity of these divine souls, coming as they are, maybe confused about what they're really doing here in India, or being uncertain about protocols or customs, or not feeling well (a lot of purification illnesses have been running), or some combination of all of the above... and yet, they're here, putting flowers at the feet of Shirdi Baba, earnestly, with love writ large on their faces and a kind of luminous peacefulness starting to shine through their eyes.

and I realized, once again, and certainly not for the last time, how great god really is.

how the divine works through each and every person in a unique and unfathomable (yet palpable) way, to bring love and joy, peace and beauty to everyone it touches.

that is the real miracle; I mean, we, each of us, divine flowers that we are, is the real miracle.