Showing posts from February, 2009

Footloose Sanyasi #6: Encounter with a bhakt

Madhukar Thompson goes to satsang with Gaura Bhakti Guru Gaurahari Das

Thiruvannamalai, Friday, January 30, 2009

He is a Bhakti Marg Yogi in the lineage of the Saint Chaitanya who lived some 500 years ago. While entering the rooftop I encounter four devotees sitting on mats on the floor while one person, a happy looking man, sits in a white plastic chair. This is Gaurahari Das. He sits there holding a drum (a khol) placed on his lap. One meter away from him stands a video camera. It is directed at him.

Gaurahari Das, an American national, welcomes me with a namaste. As soon as satsang begins he distributes a sheet with 10 mantras written on it, in English. Before singing he adjusts the camera and switches it on – pointed at himself.

We begin chanting the first mantra, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” Gaurahari beats the drum rhythmically while chanting. Then he chants a few slokas by himself. After ten minutes the sin…

Footloose Sanyasi #5: Mystical Auroville

Madhukar Thompson visits enchanting Auroville

Pondicherry/Auroville, January 18-20, 2009

From a letter to a friend

“Thank you for the prompt reply with all the info on Auroville.

“Sadly, Banu does not work at the Nivas Bhavan guesthouse any longer. Furthermore, I didn’t go visit Jeanethi. Instead I stayed at the Center Guest House which is located bang in the middle of Auroville, some 500 meters from the Matrimandir. It is nestled under and around a hug, old banyan tree. It must be one of the oldest guesthouses in the “city” since a Dutch woman/coordinator is working there – she’s already been there for 25 years. And it was dirt-cheap: Rs. 500 (without attached bath room and shower) including all great and tasty meals and laundry service. Who can beat such a prize? I had a loft all to myself. The entire place was spanking clean.

“On my last day I met with Paola di Paolis at my guest house. We had lunch together. In the beginning she was a bit closed. But as soon as we spoke about Rasha’s…

Footloose Sanyasi #4: A different take on Vedanta

Madhukar Thompson goes to afternoon satsang with Ram

Thiruvannamalai, Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ram is teaching two fundamentals of traditional Vedanta different from what Sri Gangolli used to teach.

According to Sri Adi Shankara (and Sri Gangolli), the deep sleep “state” IS actually Pure Consciousness. According to Ram the deep sleep state is NOT PC (Pure Consciousness) but one of the three states (besides waking and dream state) that comes and goes; a state of pure consciousness but with ignorance of our true nature. The vasanas (tendencies of the mind and body) are resting dormant only to appear again on waking up into the dream or waking state.

The point is: In deep sleep the subjective direct “non-experience” for the “non-sleeper” is that his ego, mind, body and the world don’t exist. Nor is there space and time. So how can there be a seed?

Gangolli/Shankara teach that on waking up, manifestation (or dream) appears in and as consciousness with name and form; consciousness and mani…

Footloose Sanyasi #3: Basking in the loving presence

Madhukar Thompson goes to morning satsang with Mooji

Thiruvannamalai, Saturday, January 17, 2009

I line up for Mooji’s satsang at 08:35; the meeting starts at 10:00. I am told to be early if I want to be seated in the first two rows. Because I believe I will visit Mooji only once, I want to make sure I can observe and participate in his satsang from close quarters.

After reaching the satsang house I sit down and make myself comfortable on my cardboard which rests on a rock. Slowly, slowly the queue behind me grows. When my place seems secured, I go for breakfast at Satya’s Café nearby. Two idlis and two vadas with sambar and coconut chutney and a large coffee. Soon I resume my ‘reserved’ place in the line again. At 9:30 we are climbing up the stairs to the rooftop of the three-storey building. We are blessed with a great view of Arunachala. No music. No talking. Silence. At 10:00 sharp, Sri Mooji walks through the jam-packed mass of people and takes his slightly elevated seat. He closes …

Footloose Sanyasi #2: Three satsangs in three days

Madhukar Thompson has satsang with Ram, meets a Peaceful Presence, bumps into sundry seekers

Thiruvannamalai, Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I go to another session with Ram. We are 11 people. The topic: Enlightenment according to Advaita Vedanta (on the lines of Sri Adi Shankara and Vedas).

In the evening at 20:00 hrs was supposed to be satsang with Pratima, an ex-Osho disciple. She became enlightened (whatever that means) with Poonjaji. I know Pratima from the Poona and Papaji days. On her flyer it says: “In 1993 Papaji asked her to give satsangs which she did for seven years all over the world. In 1993, when Pratima actually asked Papaji In Lucknow if she could give satsang, he is said to have been reading the newspaper. Supposedly he was hardly looking up from the paper when he simply grunted some kind of a yes…” There is no website of Pratima’s anymore. The website that gives “guru ratings” for many gurus says “Pratima Sephton is now a deeksha giver in the Oneness movement.” Her email ad…

Footloose Sanyasi #1: The 3 R’s of Thiruvannamalai

Madhukar Thompson goes to satsang with ‘Rajneesh’, Ramana Baba and Ram

Thiruvannamalai, Monday, January 12, 2009

Last night (Sunday, January 11) I attend my first satsang. It is with ‘Rajneesh’. Yes, the new Rajneesh. Actually, it was quite a sweet satsang although the teachings were not Vedantic but more on the lines of Osho’s.

What he says to me is: “Madhukar, you don’t need a guru. Just listen to your inner guidance. Take all pictures of the gurus down. Even the one from Ramana. Hang up your own picture. Greet yourself every morning. Bow down to yourself, to your divinity.”

This morning (Monday, January 12) I attend satsang with the British yogi Ramana Baba (Muz Murray). He clarifies my own experience about mantra japa (repeating of a mantra). During my entire spiritual search Sri Ranjit Maharaj was the only guru who gave me a mantra. It was ‘Shivoham’ meaning ‘I am Siva’ which again means I am Brahman or the All.

I hardly ever used the mantra because I felt uncomfortable with the brea…