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Treasured Memories

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Joined: 09 Nov 2004
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 1:18 pm    Post subject: Treasured Memories

Hi All,

A lot of my posts on this board have dealt with the conflicts and limitations I experienced during my time with the BKs, my problems with the belief system, lifestyle, the process I went through in deciding to leave.

It seems appropriate for the sake of balance to give a few column inches for some of the positive memories, to write about how wonderful "wonderful" was in those days.

The trigger for all this was someone--not even a BK--showing me a photo she came across from the early days of the "double foreigner" BKs. The black-and-white photo shows the group of DFBKs sitting with the senior brothers and sisters in the bright light of the Madhuban courtyard.

My response to her:

"Remember the days of your childhood" go the words to a film song that Brahma Baba played on a scratchy phonograph before re-interpreting it (with his spiritual guide) in a morning discourse for the assembled "spiritual children." In the murlis, Baba sometimes advises the children to send photographs to those who have left Baba, to bring back their memories, perhaps encourage them to renounce the world and dedicate themselves to Baba's service once more.

So this photograph reminds me of the days of my "spiritual childhood."

The one with her arms on Denise's shoulders is Usha, from Bombay, who came to Japan with Maureen (Morni). Contact with Usha inspired me to take the seven days' course and a month later, to visit Mt. Abu. Usha is a powerful intense woman with mystical eyes. As a school-age girl she went with her friend to see Brahma Baba, as tho to meet another mystic. At the end of the visit, Baba slyly brought out a little handbag for her -- an age appropriate gift that touched her heart: "Oh here is a saint who gives gifts!"

The friend she went to see Baba with that first time was Dr. Nirmala (not yet then a doctor) the droll woman with ironic wit and a beautiful smile who runs BK service in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

Usha soon recognized that Baba was her spiritual father, determined she wanted to lead a celibate life. After she told her parents about a dream-vision of a boy that she had, they responded by arranging her marriage to Ramesh, who later designed the marble memorial (Tower of Peace) where Baba's remains are in the inner courtyard in Madhuban. At the time she was arguing with her parents about her desire to be celibate and serve humanity, Ramesh sidled up to her and whispered, "if you want to be celibate, I don't have a problem with that." And so it was they were married and remained celibate.

Ramesh argued with Baba for seven years before finally accepting that Baba's interpretation of the Baghavad Gita was correct, and that Shiva Baba was the spiritual father of all, not Krishna. Ramesh is an accountant who has handled the institution's financial reporting for many years.

During conference time in Madhuban when there might be a thousand or more guests, I remember seeing Usha rehearsing a group of girls for a dance routine at a cultural program. She had been up for days with that and other responsibilities, exhausted, and yet just closed her eyes a moment, gathered her strength, once again moving and speaking with the intensity that characterize her. She would look up and in one flash of her eyes, take in an entire situation at a glance.

Seeing this photo, and the other, reminds me of the faith and dedication and strong family identity of the group; no question of doubt or manipulation.

When I drank the wrong water and got sick during that first Madhuban visit, and had various mental developments, it was Usha who spoke to me, answered my questions and concerns, even provided me the medicine I needed. Of all the teachers in Madhuban, she was the only one that I felt was really living in the present. Probably I was in love with her.<blush> I was only 22, and the next 12 years or so my energies were focused on the study, meditation, service and family activities of the BK spiritual family.

Occasionally I would be intensely drawn to a person... I was hypnotized by Dr. Sarah's looks and angelic singing voice. The songs she composed and sang to her own guitar accompaniment were and are still beautiful, mystical to my ears.

The silence of the home
Whispers in my ears
A peace that lies beyond.
Open up my wings and
Gather up the love
That's shining down.

Sarah worked with a lot of seriously psychotic folks. Idealizing her, I never understood the doubts and dissatisfactions that she sometimes suffered.

When I see the photo I remember the coolness of Madhuban's concrete floors and walls, the dry chalky texture of the whitewashed walls, the dust that would blow in, the smells of cooking and dust and urine of animals from outside, the rudimentary brush huts of the Rajastani natives around Madhuban, with their smoke of cooking fires, skinny women with thin cotton wraps of dark red and thick silver anklets--they worked as laborers in the ongoing construction of new buildings for the BKs. Walking down past their huts and the huge banyan tree to the village of Mt. Abu to visit a tailor to make some white clothing for us.

None of the cerebral XBK discussions about the organization's supposed manipulations can really do justice to the reality of that environment, every brick and wall, every meal the work of love of a dedicated brother or sister.

When Dadi Kumarka read the murli in the morning, the lightness and play in her voice, how she would look up in her glasses (the only time she wore them) pull them off and in ask the group some question related to the subject Baba was talking about. People would call out answers, often old ones from the front row who were there at the time Baba had spoken those words. Some gentle teasing, laughing at old memories, or at the humor in some characteristically human predicaments, and then with a Hmph putting on her glasses and reading again.

I felt everything about her was real, and she was the only one besides Usha that I gave any credit to that first Madhuban visit, when after behaving strangely, they decided to bring me in to stay in Madhuban itself in a room next to the Meditation Hall (the biggest hall at the time) a room next to that of Dada Vishwa Kishore.

That first year the bathrooms had a stick we used to beat our laundry as we washed it. I learned to use one of those big irons filled with glowing coals, a wet sock to wipe over the kurta or pajama pants so the iron would steam them flat, the care needed to prevent ashes from falling out from the iron onto the white clothing.

We were all desperate to have access to the limited resource of Baba's presence. I know it drove me to come up at the wrong time, out of turn. The first time I was wrapped in a dark woolen blanket, convinced that Destruction was only days away, and that everyone would soon be recognizing ME and MY GREATNESS. It was a kind of ecstasy.

I had made a scene a few days before when, reaching some ideological impasse, I stood in one place in the Madhuban courtyard for two hours, wouldn't move. Eventually the BK nurse came over with a GIGANTIC syringe, and gestured as tho she was getting ready to inject me. That worked, I was terrified, broke down in tears, and several brothers
carried me up to my new room.

At the end of my first personal meeting with Baba he said to me, "Be a lighthouse, not a statue," which brought down the house, since by then everyone had heard what had transpired earlier.

Sometimes we would be given the chance to sit on the dais and give drishti for a half-hour before Baba came. The effect of all eyes on me while meditating in my own inner space was like a drug. I went up once without being invited--taking someone else's precious turn. Cautioned politely but firmly the next day.

Now it happened that I went to a huge festival the BKs had organized in Calcutta after that first trip to Madhuban, went on a train for two days before reaching that huge city, watched as hovels started accumulating around the tracks as we approached the city center, the dust and smells and men with clay cups of tea yelling Chai! Chai! at the stations, the guys selling betel-nut with a leaf and slice of tomato to grinning men with red-stained teeth, more and more people packing into the train with each stop, people lying on the floors wrapped in shawls and sheets--you had to step over them between bunks, along the narrow corridors. Getting off at one stop, and having to rush back on as the train started to move; wrong car and nowhere to go and packed in, standing in the latrine with a soldier in a green woolen uniform with an aging single-shot gun.

Sick again in Calcutta, (pickpocketed twice!) report diahrrea at the Tokyo airport. I come back to my little one-room apartment north of Shinjuku convinced that I would be washing and beating my laundry by hand from then on. Actually something very different transpired.... the next day a van comes to my apartment to take me for a two-week quarantine in a hospital! I take my guitar and spend the days working out the simple chords to a song I remember from one of my parents' old records:

I got a mule and her name is Sal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal.
She's a good old worker and a good old pal.
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal.

We've hauled some barges in our day
Filled with lumber, coal and hay
And we know every inch of the way
From Albany to Buffalo.

Low! bridge! Everbody down!
Low! bridge! We're a comin' to a town.
You can always tell your neighbors.
Always tell your pals. (switch to minor chord)
If you've ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

Better get along on your way Old Pal.
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
'Cause you can bet your life
I'd never part with Sal.
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal.

Look out there girl, here comes a lock.
We'll make Rome 'bout six o'clock.
One more trip and back we'll go.
Right back home to Buffalo.

Low! Bridge!....

Those early days and feelings were wonderful, the memories bring
happiness and tears. It wasn't just a story: the magic and love of the family were real.

Joined: 26 Feb 2004
Posts: 98

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:07 pm    Post subject:

Big up Joel! A classic IMO. Kudos to you bro!

Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:18 pm    Post subject: wonderful times indeed !!

Hi, Joel, I agree, I also have beautiful memories from my spiritual childhood, especially the first trip to Madubhan where everything was magical, I remember helpin serving the food at lunch time and I couldn't stop smiling seeing all those brothers and sisters from everywhere; I stayed in Madubhan and OM Shanti Bhawan was 'brand new'. Baba spoke with me twice and held my hand, I cried so much, I did not understand one word: hindi, english or portuguese that Henrique was translating for the group. I remember Sarah in London and stayed in Shakti Bhawan with her, to me she was very 'special', professional and angelic too ! (she still around?)and talking about music, Beyound Sound was my favorite group for years, so deep and touching, so real and close to God !!!! Rolling Eyes too bad the lokik life back in the 'real' world wasn't that magical...
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