Glimpses along the way

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Dogpaddling on the beach

Dogpaddling on the beach

“My Beautiful Launderette”

My Beautiful Launderette

My Beautiful Launderette

Where the best-dressed gentlemen of all time have their threads done ūüėČ

Guru Purnima 2012

During the full moon dedicated to one’s teacher, walking around Arunachala, at the halfway point — if you’ve started out from Sri Ramanasramam, which is exactly south of the Mountain — at Bhagavan’s Bridge, where Ramana Maharshi always paused on his way around the Hill, celebratory colored lights and statuary form a fortuitous arrangement with our closest celestial neighbor, brightly reflecting the light of the sun, as the stars and planets, sentient beings and whole galaxies, all revolve around the still, unmoving, center — Annamalai.

Guru Purnima full moon

Guru Purnima full moon from Bhagavan’s bridge

I opted to walk the 14 km barefoot, in solidarity with the half-million other walkers making the great circle in the cool of a summer’s night. That’s the tradition, suffering transmuted into good karma and other merits. But never feel compelled to sleep upon a bed of nails in order to enjoy a good night’s sleep. The outer tradition is really only a pale reflection of an inner reality. In other words, where is one’s attention? Upon the Feet of the Guru? Most excellent! On every prickle and stab in the soles of one’s feet? Sorry. In that case, the evening would be better spent with said feet up, body¬†horizontal, vegging out on yer fav serial unfolding gloriously across flat-screen, surround-sound, air-conditioned heaven.

We all have our inner, non-stop chatter, sans ‘off’ switch. It wasn’t termed “stream of consciousness” for nothing. But hang on a second. This mental movie¬†appears¬†to be continuously moving. It’s not. It’s actually perfectly still, an infinite series of stills. Slow down and stop, or pause, this incessant chatter and you’ll find, horror of horrors,¬†gaps. Dare you look more closely or, God forbid, get¬†lost in them. They get bigger and without your knowing, you’re gone. This is the great¬†Cloud of Unknowing.¬†Fallen down a wormhole? Who did this to me? Blame Alice of Wonderland.

Thanks to the benevolent grace of a higher power, I looked over my right shoulder and there she was, pale moon rising over the wooded northern slopes of Arunachala. When I finished shooting and turned around, I was no longer alone; a half-dozen cameraphone owners were busy with the same idea.

Guru Purnima full moon rise over Arunachala

Passing UFO and gossamer cloud accompany Guru Purnima full moon rise over Arunachala

In navigating the space-time continuum of the Age of Darkness — Kali ¬†Yuga — there is a 911 (US residents only), or 108 if you live in India. The supreme being, Lord Shiva, has a staunch devotee who eternally stands before Him, Nandi the Bull. Whisper into his ear your heart’s deepest desire and he’ll pass on the message.

Whispering into Nandi's ear

Whispering into Nandi’s ear

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