W hen I was keeping aquariums in Bhagavan's House I was delighted that He was delighted with the tanks, and I wanted to give Him more. So, I did, eight more. I installed nine aquariums in His small, temporary quarters in Bright Behind Me. And I serviced them all, every day. It was a perfect arrangement for me.
Then I heard that at a gathering He had commented "Jeff thinks that I want all of these fish tanks. It's Jeff that wants them."
I felt embarrassed, but I also knew immediately what Bhagavan was talking about. I had let my enthusiasm run amok. There were aquariums occupying every nook and cranny…I got the picture.
During the 1970s the entire San Francisco community made the trip up to Persimmon in Lake County every weekend. Every devotee was there, without fail. There were no seed communities then. So, we all gathered there. We arrived on Friday night and sat in meditation with Beloved at 8pm. Each household was assigned
a cabin, and we slept as many as eight or ten to a room. On Saturday mornings all the San Francisco devotees would gather with a number of the sanctuary staff in the parking lot outside Fresh Milk, and service assignments would be given for the day.
It was the first warm Saturday of spring. The sun was shining. The air was perfect. Stephan was standing in the bed of a pick-up truck with a sheet of paper in his hand. Fifty or sixty of us milled about waiting to hear our names.
There were minor repairs to the facilities, gardening, raking, food prep, the usual stuff you would have to do to maintain a large complex of grounds and buildings. The names were called off for projects that I would have been suited for, but my name was not called until the end. Finally, the last name called, I was to go to Bubba's House. Stephan didn't say what I was supposed to do. He didn't give me a job. He just said to go to Bubba's House. I was perplexed. I had hardly been in Bhagavan's Company other than in meditation and community-wide events. I didn't have any particular intimacy with Him or anyone else at
I thought that there had, perhaps, been some mistake, but I didn't want to draw attention to it. I imagined myself walking up to Bhagavan's kitchen door, and having someone ask what I was doing there. I could be there, if only for a moment, and blame someone else for the intrusion. Still, Stephan hadn't said what I was to do at Bubba's House, so I had to get more information from him so that I would know what tools to bring. When I asked Stephan he just said to go there and they would tell me what to do.
There were no fences. The mall area was wide-open in those days. To get to Bhagavan's House you walked right through the front yard to the kitchen door. When I knocked I was let in by Annie. She greeted me with a smile and invited me into the kitchen. I enquired of her what my service project was to be. She asked if I would clean the oven.
I was overjoyed to clean the oven. I couldn't believe that I was in the Guru's House. Equally I felt a sense of perplexity. Somehow, it just didn't make any sense to me. I was one of the few devotees with any trade skills
in those days. I knew basic carpentry, and I had lived on a ranch in my youth, so I had fundamental knowledge in the maintenance of buildings and land. So, why was I in the Lord's House cleaning His oven? No one knew me here.
In the following weeks and months I was called over regularly to wash windows, water plants, and do small repairs. If I saw Bhagavan it was generally only briefly. He would smile and say hello to me as He passed through a room that I was in, and I was always thrilled to see Him. I never stopped marveling that I was there. But there was nowhere else that I wanted to be. No place felt like it. I couldn't really describe it. I had never been anywhere like His House. It wasn't the structure in any way. I had spent time in the dwellings of the elite along Ward Parkway and in Mission Hills in the Kansas City area. Those were real mansions. This was a very small, humble house. But, it felt and looked pristine. The art collection in those days was relatively modest, but everything in every room looked elegant and perfect. Everything was so consciously placed. Nothing disturbed the perfect balance. It wasn't really the way things "looked", though. It was the feeling of His House. When I stepped into it the difference was obvious. It felt calm, powerful,
conscious, unfettered, pure, clear, straight, strong…none of these words describe it. It was Bhagavan's Presence. I didn't know what to call it then, but I could sure feel it. Of course, I had felt it in the Communion Halls, even in our meditation halls in San Francisco. But it was, for lack of a better word, "unfettered" here. That's how it felt to me.
I couldn't really say why that was, or how it was accomplished. But I had never been in any rooms that felt "perfect" before.
I never could explain my good fortune at being there. No one explained anything to me. I didn't have any illusions about any spiritual uniqueness, so I didn't have any reason to feel special. But I did feel like I had been selected for the most privileged and special service possible. Cleaning the Guru's oven was the finest work I had ever done.
The day before the birth of Bhagavan's first daughter, Io, there were a number of devotees gathering with Bhagavan in His House. Hellie, Io's mother, was in labor in Bhagavan's bedroom. It was a very happy moment.
There had been some frolicking in what is now the
entry room of the Manner of Flowers.
It was the billiard room in those days. Bhagavan had been tussling with some of the men and one of the French doors opening to the stairs leading to the lower level of the house had been damaged. Bhagavan wanted it repaired right away. There were a handful of devotees in those days who typically gathered with Bhagavan. They were all of the sanctuary residents and a handful of San Francisco devotees. I was not among them. Ordinarily I would not have been called to repair the door. But the men who had the skills to do it were in the gathering, and they sure didn't want to leave it to go to the wood shop. I was informed that
the door was waiting for me in the shop and that I should call when the repair was completed.
It took me a couple of hours to do the repair. When the paint had dried enough to reinstall the door I called the House to let them know it was ready to be picked up. To my surprise I was told to come to the house to re-hang it. Fantastic!
Of course, I was elated. I always was eager when I was called. It didn't matter for what. When I arrived I was let in through the front doors that opened into the billiard room. Bhagavan was in it shooting pool with one of the other men. Neither, He, nor anyone else paid me any mind when I entered, toolbox in hand. The energy was high, and the mood was a happy one. Drinks were being served, but no one appeared intoxicated, not by the alcohol. But everyone was joyous, laughing and happy. I felt, "Who wouldn't want to be here?"
I walked around the pool table to the doors on the opposite side of the room, and began the reinstallation of the door. Just seeing Bhagavan for a few moments, hearing His voice and especially His laughter, that was what was intoxicating.
The room was small, with the pool table in the center of it. Devotees stood around the four walls. Some sat on the floor. There were probably fifteen people in the room. A few more chatted in the adjacent living room. All of the devotees there gathered with Him and each other regularly. I hardly knew anyone here. I experienced this amazing spectacle, this play, as an observer, not a participant. I didn't feel socially connected with anyone. So, I quietly and as invisibly as possible sat on the floor, and set to my work. No one paid any attention to me. I was elated just to be there.
I took advantage of the fact that everyone was distracted with Bhagavan, and no one was noticing me. I have a reputation for being slow in my work, and I may have first gained it that afternoon. I worked as slowly as I could possibly manage. I took more care hanging that door than a surgeon does in a heart transplant. I took every opportunity to glance at Bhagavan as He played pool, joking and laughing with the others in the room. This was as good as it gets. I had never been anywhere that people had been so genuinely happy.
I had stretched the re-hanging of the door into a two
hour project. A few had noticed and commented on it. I hated to leave, but I knew I had been exploiting the situation. Bhagavan had left the room twenty or thirty minutes before. So, I finished up, packed up my tools, and prepared to go. I was just leaving when I received a message from Beloved. He wanted me to look at His bedroom door to make sure it was OK. I was led to Bhagavan's bedroom. He was sitting on the bed next to Hellie, who was propped up on several pillows in the "push" position.
I was bewildered. What was I doing here? I could
not believe that I had been invited into such an intimate setting. I had hardly even spoken to Beloved, and yet here I was in the most intimate of possible moments with Him and His consort who was in the throes of labor with His child. It made no sense to me, but I felt profoundly privileged and embraced in a way that was utterly foreign to me. It was a loving, manly, trusting embrace. I felt embraced and granted an access that was more than privilege; it confounded my "outsider" mentality. I quietly looked over the door, the hinges, the striker, and the striker plate. I was thorough, but I did not tarry as I had in the billiard room. This did not seem the time or place to indulge in such play. I checked the mechanism of the doorknob. I looked at the finish of the door and checked the threshold.
After a thorough examination I found absolutely nothing wrong with the door. Beloved turned to me when I had finished, and I very quietly told Bhagavan that the door was fine.
I was baffled about this incident. It seemed that Beloved had purposefully created it just so that I would come to His room, but I had not the slightest idea why. I contemplated this moment until I
understood that He simply presumed an unconditional intimacy with me that was without any withholding. He was always completely open and available. For me it was an extraordinary event. That kind of intimacy was not my habit. He was not trying to prove our intimacy. He was simply living it. It was ordinary for Him because He always assumes full and total relationship with everyone He encounters. That is how I observed Him in relation to me and everyone else. Bhagavan was always given to me. I didn't really notice. I was always trying to get something more. It's just the nature of people. We always want more. Bhagavan knew that, so He gave Himself up to us,
gradually requiring more responsibility, more self-understanding, and more response to His Divine Presence. But He never withheld anything, ever. I never experienced His withdrawal from me or anyone else.
When Bhagavan moved back into the Manner of Flowers after its completion He asked for a plan to install a large aquarium in the entry room. It was to be placed in the wall opposite the exterior doors. I was dubious about the project. I felt sheepish for having overrun Him with tanks at Bright Behind Me. Plus, The Manner of Flowers was beautiful and perfect. It is a temple. I felt that a huge fish tank might wind up being a disturbance. I drew up designs and presented a plan, but I didn't feel that enthusiastic about it. After I handed over the designs I heard nothing more about it.
When the opportunity arose to make jewelry for Bhagavan I leapt at the opportunity, dove in head-first, volunteering to duplicate a fine piece Aileen Spadola had made. I seized every opportunity that I could to serve Bhagavan directly, anything that might get me into His House, into His Company.
I had a bit of experience keeping fish. I had none
making jewelry. But if that was the way in, that was the way I was going. So, I did whatever I had to do to make it happen. I worked like a maniac, and I asked and pushed others to work like maniacs, too.
Of course, others didn't work for my sake. They were making their own responses to Bhagavan. But I hammered and pushed them and myself, and we heaped jewelry on Bhagavan. Most of it was for Him to give as gifts to devotees who were living on or
visiting Naitauba. I didn't care who was going to wind up with it. This was my connection to Bhagavan when He was half-a-world away in Fiji, and I exploited it, seeking Bhagavan's attention and a favorable outcome, a result for all my effort. And just as with the fish tanks, He received everything that I gave Him. I still was trying to get something from Him.
From the fall of 1982 through the Danavira Mela season of 1986 and into the early part of 1987 was a very expansive time for Sacred Fires and jewelry making. It was literally non-stop the entire time, seven days a week. And it was an ordeal. More than anything I wanted to join Bhagavan on the island. Service was my choice, and the jewelry was the means. But I was continually frustrated with it. I often walked out the back door of the Sacred Fires studio in the Marin Danda in the middle of the night, looked up at the sky, and cried out, "Why am I not with You?" I howled at the moon.
Other times, in the wee hours of the morning, when I was tormented with a particularly difficult piece I would run out the back door and shout into the night sky, "Why are You doing this to me?"
I felt ridiculous blaming Him even as I was shouting.
But I was in a pitch of frustration, and the harder I worked the more difficult everything became. It was clear to me that I could quit at any time. In any other circumstances I probably would have. I refused to because I was always hoping that my service would precipitate an invitation to join Bhagavan on Naitauba. I knew that I was making a free choice to continue even though I was cranky and reactive about what I felt was a lack of cooperation and support.
Finally, in 1987, it all came crashing down. I couldn't carry it on any more. Whatever I had been trying to get to, I hadn't gotten to. And I had not been invited to live on Naitauba. When Beloved returned to The Mountain of Attention I wasn't permitted to see Him or go to the sanctuary. So, that which I was trying to effect was farther away than ever. I had been breaking my ass trying to get closer, and the more I tried the farther away I found myself.
The problem was never what Bhagavan hadn't Given. My problem was with what I hadn't received. In the Day of the Heart presentation in 1987 Bhagavan said, "No one is the Beloved of God. God is the Beloved." It is really important to always remember Who the Beloved Is. It is all about recognizing what is Sacred,
and serving that. It is a matter of forgetting me, and remembering Him, the Great One, The Divine Being, whatever that One Is.
Bhagavan was available to receive our gifts. He accepted what we brought to Him. I brought Him fish tanks and jewelry. I didn't know how to submit. I was not inclined to surrender. At the same time I was moved to Him beyond myself. I couldn't say why. All I can say is that Bhagavan is attractive beyond all reason, and it had nothing to do with personality or charisma. No one is that charismatic. No woman had ever made me ache for her in my bones, let alone a man.
Bhagavan frequently commented on Shirdi Sai Baba's words to his devotees, "I give my devotees whatever they ask, until they ask for what I want to give." I experienced this also with Bhagavan. He gave us what we wanted, and He received what we would give. But all the while He let us know that He required something else, that He was among us to serve a purpose greater than we were understanding.
Shirdi Sai Baba also said, "I am the slave of my devotee. Stay by me and keep quiet. I will do the rest."
And Bhagavan made His Confession, "My devotee is the God I have come to serve."
Shortly after Bhagavan described and gave us the devotional culture there was an occasion in which He sat with us in meditation in Western Face Cathedral. I had always struggled with my asana. Bhagavan always admonished us to forget the body and mind in meditation. One of the practices Bhagavan suggests is hatha yoga. A strong asana is useful in meditation so as not to be distracted by the body. I did hatha yoga diligently, but I was incapable of maintaining the lotus with any comfort for longer than twenty minutes. After forty-five minutes in the half-lotus I had to reposition my legs, one-over-the-other, because the discomfort was so distracting. On this occasion sitting with Him I decided that I would not move. I would sit perfectly still. I would not break. I wanted to be an exemplary devotee. I made sure to be in line at the door of the hall early so that I would be in the front row, without anything between Bhagavan and me, no distractions, no distance. It was to be the first time in which we chanted to Bhagavan in a formal occasion. Crane was going to lead chanting. When Bhagavan entered Western Face Cathedral we were to bow where we were seated. After Bhagavan seated Himself we were to rise to our seated positions with our hands raised in the gesture of "Beholding Bhagavan". Then, Crane was to begin the chanting at which time we were all to
lower our hands and chant to Bhagavan in response to Crane.
When I entered the Cathedral I offered my gift and then sat down next to Crane who was seated on the aisle on the men's side. We sat silently for fifteen or twenty minutes until we heard Bhagavan's door open into the entry room behind the dais.
After Beloved had seated Himself we all sat up with hands raised and waited for Crane to start chanting. But he never started. I don't know what happened. He didn't get the word that he was supposed to lead chanting, or the plan changed without my knowing it. So, I sat with hands raised for the entire occasion. After an hour I was quite uncomfortable. My knees were aching, and so were my arms and shoulders, but I had not moved a muscle. I had been sitting attentively with my eyes fixed on Beloved for the entire time, but my discomfort was becoming distracting. An hour and a half passed, and I was really in pain. My mind was completely occupied by my bodily discomfort. My knees felt like spikes were being driven into them, and my shoulders were spasming. The sitting was going longer and longer, and as my discomfort increased I became angry with Bhagavan, thinking, "When are
You going to leave." Then I immediately felt terrible about myself for having such thoughts. So, by the time two-and-a-half hours rolled by I was in a fever of anguish. I didn't have a shred of devotional feeling left in me. I was consumed by bodily, emotional, and mental distractions and discomfort.
Then, in a moment it came to me what I could do, not as a thought, as an entire, whole-body understanding. The recognition was faster than a thought. I would
give it all to Beloved. Instantly the energy in my body reversed.
That was how it felt in my bones, muscles, and nerves. It was as if someone had thrown a lever, and all of the attention that I had on myself was fully on Bhagavan. Everything that was arising I was hurling at Him as fast as it was coming up. That's how it seemed. That's the sensation I had, the feeling in the body. The energy was blasting out of me, out my head and straight forward directly at Him.
In the same moment Beloved swung around in His chair leaning exaggeratedly forward and looked directly into my eyes while I hurled every jot of everything that was arising directly at Him. As fast as it was coming, the entire time I continued, with every shred of myself, to hurl everything at Him the moment it arose. And my sense of Him during this time was that He was saying, Come on! Give it to Me! All of it! It felt mad and incredibly fierce. "Come on. Come On!, COME ON!!! ALL OF IT!!!! It reminded me of Bhagavan's description of His meeting with Neem Karoli Baba in subtle form in which they danced madly throwing forms and appearances to infinity. It was wild and filled with energy.
Because I couldn't go to The Mountain of Attention I had a lot of time. I had moved back up to Lake County and was fasting, meditating four hours a day, and balancing myself out after five years of countless lost hours of sleep. I had been relieved of responsibility for Sacred Fires and any jewelry projects. I was not serving, and I had let go of my motives.
Bhagavan had been back a few days when He sent me a cast acrylic plastic paperweight. It had a very small scratch in it, and He wanted it polished out. It took me a minute at most to buff the scratch out, and I returned it to Bhagavan that day. The following day I received a message from Him telling me that He really liked the job I had done. I laughed to myself. In five years I had not gotten a word of praise, nor even an acknowledgement for the hundreds and hundreds of projects I had done and been involved with. Then I get a "good job" on a one minute plastic repair.
Then He sent me another paperweight to polish, and He said I did a good job on that one, too. Of course, I was happy to be hearing from Bhagavan, but I also thought it was funny, getting praise for something so apparently insignificant, and it lightened my heart.
After the paperweights Bhagavan sent me His "Worldwide Blessing Staff", the staff that was made for Him on the island that He would carry everywhere He went on the 1986 Yajna. It was a length of bamboo that had been painted indigo with a rubber tip mounted to one end. A couple of the sections had developed splits and He wanted something done to prevent it from splitting any further. I wrapped each section with sterling wire and sent it back to Bhagavan. It was a very simple repair on a simple staff. There was nothing fancy about it. He sent word to me, once again, that He liked what I had done on the staff.
There's service, and it's good. But then there is selfless service, and that is what Bhagavan is asking for. That's service that is done in communion with Him. It is a self-forgetting affair. In selfless service you are not trying to get anything. You aren't in that picture. It isn't about you at all.
Bhagavan provided countless ways for devotees to serve Him, providing the means for them to keep their attention with Him and to make their relationships with Him real, in life, and not abstract. I always marveled at how much attention He had on every detail of every project. Nothing was ever ambiguous.
He provided avenues to Him of every kind. Devotees chose their own approach to Him. Whatever you chose you could be sure that it would be sadhana.
I'd say that things are often not as they appear, but that isn't true. Things are never as they appear. When I was sitting in the Cathedral in that extraordinarily intense exchange with Bhagavan you wouldn't have thought that anything was going on at all. There wasn't even a twitch. But I felt like I was sitting in the exhaust flames of a jet engine.
People have said that Bhagavan wanted all of this jewelry and finery, and I understand how they have come to that conclusion. But I see it differently. I see that I and a number of people like me wanted to give Bhagavan these things, and we all had our reasons. Bhagavan received it, all the while waiting for us to give Him the gift that He is here to receive, and all the while waiting for us to receive the Gift that He is here to Give.
Bhagavan said, "Mine is the first submission", and that is literally true. Would you want nine fish tanks in your rooms?
Oh yeah, a last note. As I previously said, I was permitted very little to no access to Beloved or the sanctuary during His yajna. But, when He left the Mountain of Attention for Europe someone gave me a call. I never knew who. I didn’t recognize the voice. But I ran to the sanctuary just in time to view Beloved walking up the mall path to His awaiting car. My heart was aching. He had been there for months and I had barely seen Him. Tears were on my cheeks when He momentarily glanced into my eyes as He passed.
When Beloved cut the yajna short and returned to The Mountain of Attention for a one-day layover on His way back to Fiji it was a difficult moment. We, as a gathering, had failed to respond and conform to Him in such a way that would allow Him to continue His work. He was in a fiery mood.
Shortly after He arrived I received a message that His Worldwide Blessing Staff needed some repair. The bamboo had split in some additional sections, and some of my repairs needed tightening. I was asked to assemble the tools that I would need to make the repairs and to bring them to Huge Helper. When I arrived I was told that Beloved had already retired to His room and that everyone was too afraid to enter His
room to retrieve the staff for me. I would have to wait until morning to do the repairs, which would give me very little time before He left for the airport.
I stood by in Huge Helper throughout the night, helping pack up various items for shipment to Naitauba. When Beloved arose and left His room I was sent the staff immediately, and I set to work on it. Every fifteen or twenty minutes someone would stick their head in the door of the room I was working in and ask if I was done, how long, etc. I never looked up. I just kept working and said that it woould be done.
Finally, I was told to take it directly to Bright Behind Me when it was completed and one of the Kanyas would receive it from me.
When I completed it I jumped up, took the staff in hand, and hurried down the stairs of Huge Helper. I carried the staff at “port arms”, feeling like I was returning Shiva’s trident. As I ascended the steps to Bright Behind Me the door to the small kitchen opened. I expected one of the Kanyas to step out to take the staff from me, but it was Beloved, Himself! As I walked towards Him I extended His staff to Him,
still holding it as if it were a weapon. I looked into His eyes as He grasped the staff with His right hand, placing it between my two hands. I released the staff, held my hands to my heart, and bowed my head. By the time I raised my head Beloved had already turned and was walking away to His car. He entered the car, and left the sanctuary. Grace, once again, leaned towards me. I was the last devotee to receive the darshan of The Great One. I found my way to Him, and He was there, waiting for me. And then, like a whisper, He was gone.
I n 1989 someone gifted Bhagavan with a Nintendo Gameboy, and He really got into it. On one sunny Saturday morning I had brought Beloved’s car to His house in the village, as He had planned to go on an outing that day. I arrived on time, but no one came out. I stood waiting at Beloved’s door for five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes. Finally, someone told me that Beloved was in His bedroom playing Gameboy. He quipped that He was so addicted to it that He should attend a leelas and confessions event.
I had been gifted earlier in the year with a full-sized Nintendo console, which was played through a television screen. I didn’t watch much TV, but I had one. So, I hooked up the Nintendo unit and got into some Super Mario Brothers, Kid Icarus, and Donkey Kong. I played a few games to their completion. What a disappointment! Nothing happened. And I decided that I should put Nintendo in the basement and leave it alone forever. I had better things to do.
While on the beach at Lion’s Lap that afternoon I mentioned that I had a Nintendo set in California and
that I would have it sent to the island if Beloved would like it. When this was relayed to Beloved He asked, “When did Jeff ever have time to play Nintendo?” Then, He said that, yes, I should have the Nintendo sent over right away. And so, Beloved became a game warrior, and I had a new job as the video game consultant.
Every morning as soon as the puja ended I was called to Indefinable to play video games. I played games in Sri Gurudev's bedroom until He came home for lunch. It was the most humorous and ridiculous service I ever did, but it was just as serious and intense as everything else. Bhagavan expected results. He expected me to figure out whatever game He was playing, staying a day ahead of Him, so that I could coach His game. I would figure out how to defeat an adversary, or where to find some hidden treasure, or how to navigate to some other realm... that kind of stuff. I made notes and passed them along to Beloved before His evening play.
When Beloved was playing I was called many times during the night, ten or fifteen sometimes. I would sprint to Indefinable a few times a night to offer my advice via Suprithi, going over the map of Hyrule (a legendary land known to all Nintendo Warriors) with
Bhagavan waiting in the next room for answers to His questions.
There was a period of time when I was called over to Indefinable every morning, as soon as Beloved left to go to His office and write. Beloved was playing “The Legend of Zelda”. My job was to play the game also, staying ahead of Beloved so that I could coach during the evening. I was to keep playing ahead of Him and presolve the game challenges so that Beloved would know exactly what to do when He encountered whatever monster or obstacle Hyrule threw at Him. I did this by creating my own game in the console memory. When I got far enough ahead so that I felt confident Beloved wouldn’t pass me I logged off the console and logged Bhagavan’s game back in.
Bhagavan was already deep into the game one particular morning. He had been playing it for at least a week. I sat down on the floor of Beloved’s bedroom in front of the television, turned it and the Nintendo console on, logged into my game and began to play, starting from the point that I had reached the day before.
Then, a snag…after only a few moments of play
someone turned off the village generator. The power was immediately cut to everything, including the game console…and my game. The power came back on in a few moments. I nervously fired up the system again. What I feared might have happened did, indeed, happen. All the information, implements, power and wisdom I had amassed was gone in an instant. My entire game was lost. I didn’t even have a logon anymore. How was I going to play the game all the way to the point Beloved was, and then advance the game to the point that I could coach Him that evening? I had to be finished before He returned for lunch. It seemed hopeless.
I logged into Beloved’s game to make sure that His was intact. Nothing lost. I breathed a brief sigh of relief before I logged out of His game and created another game for my play.
If you don’t think that playing video games can be sadhana, you’re wrong. I was in Bhagavan's bedroom in a state of utter anxiety, my fingers were smoking, my frontal line tied in knots, cursing under my breath every time I lost a life heart. It is not easy being a mythical hero.
The hours went by, and my thumbs were sore and
blistered. I was not having fun, but I could not stop. I couldn’t look up when someone entered the room, and I could not speak when spoken to. I had to totally fix my attention on the television screen. It was past Beloved’s lunch hour, and I had much farther to go.
Finally, after three and a half hours, I caught up with Bhagavan and progressed to a point beyond Him so that He could be guided along by Suprithi in the evening.
I was still sitting on Beloved’s floor, game controller in hand, when I heard the kitchen door open. Around the corner came The Great One dressed indigo briefs and teeshirt. Bhagavan walked into His bedroom, His face was beaming. I felt awkward as I turned down the volume on the Nintendo game and rose. When He came home no one was supposed to be there. But He knew I was there and He gave no indication of His return. And you know how it is when He smiles at you. I was ecstatic. He turned to me and said, "You just can't stay away from it, can you?" I answered, "Not for a moment".
Of course, I had Beloved at heart when I answered.
O n the Day of the Heart all of the murtis on the sanctuaries would be changed for new murtis, photographs of Beloved that had been taken during the previous year.When I was living on the island it was one of my jobs to change the murtis in Bhagavan's Sukra Kendras.
I have always felt that service to Beloved's Sukra Kendra is beyond privilege. It is not something that is earned or warranted. There is no way to measure up to such a Gift. And when I was permitted access to His Great Temple I felt showered by His Love. I couldn't believe my good fortune.
Coincidentally, I felt that I had no business in Bhagavan's Sacred Temple. The Sukra Kendra's are unquestionably charged with His Force and Presence. It was frequently my job to do repairs or some kind of construction in the temple, and I was always conflicted about it. I knew that Bhagavan would feel the disturbance the following morning. I always completed my work in the Sukra Kendra as efficiently and quietly as I could. Remembering Bhagavan is
effortless in that Sacred Space.
There are sacred images and objects everywhere, empowered malas, staffs, and artifacts cover every surface and the floor. I always treated everything with the greatest deference and respect, and I would not look upon the face of the Durga. To do so seemed casual and inappropriate to me.
The first time I was invited to Naitauba was for a service retreat in the spring of 1987. The day after I arrived I was told to go to the Sukra Kendra at Aham Sphurana. Beloved had recently installed the Durga there. A base had been made for her to be placed on, a little less than three feet high. It and the Durga are placed, more-or-less, in the center of the room. Beloved's chair is directly opposite, facing her, only five or so feet away.
A lot of accessories are provided for the Durga, jewelry, clothing, shawls, etc. One of the Kanyas served the Durga every day, changing her clothing and jewelry. There was no place to store her wardrobe, so Beloved wanted a wardrobe closet to be built inside of the Durga's stand. It was my job to make the closet, and it had to be done in place.
In the back of the Durga's stand there was an eighteen inch square opening that afforded access to the inside of the base. It was through that hole and inside the base, under the Durga that I was working, and I was twisted up like a pretzel underneath the Durga. I spent three incredible days in Bhagavan's Sukra Kendra under the Durga.
On the celebration in 1992 I was to change the murtis in the Sukra Kendra. I was told to be at hand and expect to receive a call to go to the Sukra Kendra at any time. I was also supposed to have Bhagavan's Jacuzzi ready for Him. He had been complaining about being confined to a schedule around devotees services to His environments. He wanted to be able to be spontaneous in His movements and not have to stick to the same routine every day. So, I didn't know where He would be going at any time. I just tried to stay a couple of steps ahead of Him.
On this celebration morning,I was told that Beloved would go to His Jacuzzi first thing in the morning and that I should have it prepared for Him. I called to Aham Da Asmi Sthan on the phone in the weight room to let the house know where I was and to call me when I was to go to the Sukra Kendra. Then, I grabbed a
mask and snorkel and began scrubbing down the sides and bottom of the Jacuzzi at Kaya Kulpa Kutir. Somehow my whereabouts did not get communicated, and when Beloved changed His schedule and decided to go to the Sukra Kendra I wasn't notified until the last minute.
I had already prepared all of the tools necessary to do the job. The Sukra Kendra at the Matrix is a very small room, maybe no more than nine feet by nine feet. The Durga sits on a base in the center of the room, facing Aham Da Asmi Sthan. Beloved's chair is facing her. His chair is against the wall, His back to the house. The murti hangs above His chair, suspended by two thin steel cables and attached to the murti frame with two screw eyes.
In order for me to take down the old murti and install the new one I had to move Beloved's chair to the side and that required moving the side tables, etc. I then brought in a step ladder and placed it where Beloved's chair had been so that I could reach the screw eyes and release them from the frame of the old murti.
I was working as quickly as I could. I knew that Beloved could enter the Sukra Kendra at any moment.
I loosend the first screw eye. The murti was dangling diagonally from one corner of the frame, swinging freely. And it was at that moment that I heard the doors slide open. Beloved entered the small room, closing the doors behind Him. He hardly speaks in the Sukra Kendra, but I knew that I had to leave immediately.
He stood and waited while I climbed down the ladder, collapsed it and removed it from the temple, then I quickly packed up the tools that I had been using, and pushed Bhagavan's chair back into place. I grabbed the toolbox and turned towards the door, I watched Beloved sit down with the murti swinging back-and-forth over His head as I closed the door behind me.
I felt horrible. I had caused a disturbance to Bhagavan in His most sacred of temples. For the entire time that He was in the Sukra Kendra that morning I could do little more than pace the grounds of the Matrix muttering to myself, bewildered at how this could have happened, and envisioning my fate. I felt that as soon as Beloved emerged from the Sukra Kendra I would get a call telling me that I was to be on the boat leaving the island tonight. I had been chastened for far less transgressions. I got notes for weeks for not having the dog raft properly inflated. This was the
absolute worst, to dishonor this most sacred temple right in Bhagavan's face.
For the two hours that Beloved was in the Sukra Kendra I paced and rehearsed in my mind what I would hear when I received the radio call that I knew that I would get. But when the radio call came Kanya Tripura just told me that Beloved said that I could finish installing the murti now. I felt profound relief, and I also was reminded again how you cannot preface the Guru. He always confounds me. His obvious and clear presumption of intimacy with me and everyone always breaks my heart. And His complete vulnerability, He is given to His devotees.
I was welcomed into His circumstance and told to go everywhere, in all of His rooms. There was nothing secreted from me. He was always available. He had the least private life of anyone I have known. I saw Him in many times and many places. I heard Him also. He called me His friend and told me that I served Him in His house. He opened my heart to joy and loved me with an open face. He showed me what a "true man" looks like, every day, in every gesture and every word. He was absolutely consistent in what He said and what He did, unwavering. Humanly He accomplished more
than is possible to comprehend. I would place His manuscripts in Indigo Swan, His Office, maybe seven or eight of them He would be working on. And maybe ten or twenty books He was considering for The Basket of Tolerance. And I would collect them all when He was finished. Every morning He would spend two or three or four hours hand-writing unquestionably the greatest spiritual teaching to have ever been communicated, the full communication, the summation of all wisdom of all time. And He was never harried, never elsewhere. He was always, absolutely Present. And He remains Present. Beloved's greatness can't be measured in His acts, all of it was only done for the sake of all of us. His Greatness is that He is God Incarnate.
I cannot say who He is. I, and many others spent days and years with Him. None of us can say we "know" Him, though we lived with Him more intimately and loved Him more openly than anyone in our lives. He cannot be known the way we usually know one another because there is no one there to be known. There is only God, defying all definition and description. It is wondrous to know and love and be loved by someone for so long and still feel them to be a mystery. You cannot "grasp" the Great One. You
cannot hold Him to yourself. Yet He can be felt all the time. He is never not Present. In all of these years the thing that has never changed is His felt Presence, and the longing in my heart to be with Him.It is in my heart now just as it was in 1974 when I peered at His House from the porch of The Great Food Dish broken-hearted and longing for the vision of Him.
S imple, ordinary tasks often became extraordinarily complex when serving Bhagavan. It was not an infrequent occurrence that a job that should take fifteen minutes would occupy you all day while you struggled with one complication after the other. An example of this effect occurred for me in late November of 1991.
All of the island residents had met with Bhagavan in The Giving Coat for the third night in a row. He spoke until after midnight, and when He left the Giving Coat I immediately followed because I had a number of services to perform before morning.
I was just completing my services, delivering books and videos that had just arrived on the boat from Taveuni to Bhagavan at Indefinable. It was around 2 AM when I was called to the Sukra Kendra at Aham Sphurana Sthan. Quandra Sukhapur was already there. She wanted me to replace a light bulb that had burned out in the room. It was the only light that Bhagavan used when He was in the temple.
It is located above His chair and throws a light onto the Durga, illuminating her.
I bowed to Bhagavan's chair, then stood and walked to the side of it so that I could reach the light fixture and remove the bulb. It was a screw-base type, which is not good to use in the tropics because the threads corrode in the tropics. I began twisting the bulb. I twisted and twisted, but the socket turned with the bulb inside the fixture, and I simply succeeded in winding the wiring within the fixture tighter and tighter. I tried this and that to remove the bulb, but nothing worked. I told Kanya Tripura that I would have to go get a screwdriver and remove the fixture from the wall to get the bulb out.
I returned to the Sukra Kendra a few minutes later with a screwdriver and quickly removed the fixture from the wall. I took it out of the Sukra Kendra and into the foyer of Aham Sphurana Sthan. There I attempted to unscrew the bulb once again. I was unable to do it still. I tried to find a way to hold the socket from turning, but could see none. I tried to find a way to disassemble the fixture, but there was none apparent. I told Kanya Tripura that I would need to get a few more tools. She asked me if I could close up the
Sukra Kendra, the time being 2:30 AM by now, and Kanya Tripura feeling very tired. After she asked she hesitated and then said, "No...". She stood there silently for a moment, and I waited. Then I told her that I could do it if she felt all right about it. She acquiesced. She explained the position of the light on the Durga and detailed the way that the lights in the temple and the rest of Aham Sphurana should be left. I told her that I understood, and she left.
I fumbled with the fixture for a few minutes and eventually discovered how to disassemble it. I pulled it apart and removed the bulb. As I said, it was a screwbase type, a small size spotlight. I had already looked in the bulb storage locker for such a bulb, but there was none. Most of the fixtures on the island are the bayonet-base type, and the only screw base bulbs that I could find were globes rather than spots or floods. At 3:00 AM I began a search of the village for a spot identical to the one in the Sukra Kendra. I methodically went from building to building looking in every lamp and light fixture to attempt to find the bulb. I looked everywhere, and by 4:00 AM I had covered the entire village. There was no spot bulb to be found. My only recourse was to use a conventional globe bulb. I went to the locker and found only one 60
watt globe of a screw base sort. Everything else was 40 and 25 watts, which seemed too weak to use. I reassembled the fixture and installed the bulb into it. Then I returned to the Sukra Kendra to replace the fixture above Bhagavan's chair.
In the Sukra Kendra I reconnected the wires to the leads of the fixture. I fitted the base-plate of the fixture to the wall and put the two screws that attached the fixture to the wall into place. I put the cord into place and turned on the switch. Nothing happened. Another bad bulb.
This was the only 60 watt bulb in the locker. I would have to search for another 60 in the same fashion I had futilely looked for the spot. Fortunately after 15 minutes or so I found a 60 in a lamp. I don't even remember where now, or whose lamp it was. But I apologize to whomever's light bulb it was that I stole.
I returned to the Sukra Kendra to exchange the light bulbs. The swap completed I turned the switch on again. Nothing happened. It was now past 5:00 AM. I removed the fixture from the wall again to check the wiring. I know very basic electrical. I have no working knowledge of 220 volt systems. I thought that perhaps it was possible that the leads were not interchangeable as they are with 110. I switched the wires to the fixture and turned the switch on once again. Nothing happened.
Now I was getting nervous. I had no more options. The hour was approaching 5:30. I knew Brian would be getting up to do reports. I headed for his house. He was heading for the outhouse when I accosted him. I had removed the fixture and brought it with me. I explained the situation to Brian, describing to him the night's events. Then I accompanied him to his office. He examined the fixture carefully to try to see any
signs of faulty wiring. Seeing none he opened his toolbox and pulled a continuity tester out. He checked the function of the fixture, wire leads to socket. It tested fine. Then he put the light bulb back in the socket. He put the two leads directly into a power point on the wall. The light bulb lit. I asked how that could be. He had no explanation, but clearly the fixture and bulb were fine. Then he gave me the continuity tester. He explained how I could check the integrity of the wiring and the switch. I headed back to the Sukra Kendra. When there I checked the wiring. It was fine. I reconnected the fixture…no light.
Back to Brian. I told him I no longer knew what to do. It had to be the switch or the dimmer. I told him that I felt that Kanya Tripura should be awakened and told that Brian would have to go into the Sukra Kendra to do the work. He said, "No way". I asked Brian if there were any dimmer switches around. He told me that there were. He suggested that I awaken Otto and have him go to Ciqomi to awaken Tevata and ask him to find one in the electrical shop. I did this. Then I went to Claire's house. I knocked on the door, and told her that she needed to get up. When she emerged I explained the situation to her and told her that she needed to awaken Kanya Tripura.
Claire then asked me if I had turned on the switch on the wall of Bhagavan's office which turned on the light. I told her that the switch was inside the Sukra Kendra on the baseboard. She said that the switch to the light in the Sukra Kendra was on the wall in the office. I said that it wasn't the overhead that the trouble was with, but the light that illuminates the Durga. She said, yes the switch was on the wall in the office. I said no, it was in the Sukra Kendra. She corrected me again, and I got the picture…there were two switches that controlled the light. Then Claire told me that she had been in Bhagavan's office the night before just before 2:00 and seen through the door that the lights in the Sukra Kendra had been left on. Feeling that Kanya Tripura was not aware of this and being familiar with the lights in the Sukra Kendra having previously served that temple Claire turned off the light. The switch on the wall in the office controlled the switch on the baseboard in the Sukra Kendra.
We went to Aham Sphurana Sthan and entered Bhagavan's office. Claire pointed out the switch on the wall of the office, indicating that it was off. She flipped it on. I entered the Sukra Kendra, turned on the dimmer switch. The bulb lit up! The light bulb had never burned out to begin with. The switch had been
off the whole time.
I told Claire where I had left what I had thought was a burned out spot bulb and asked her to run get it while I reinstalled the fixture. In a few minutes the fixture was back in place above Bhagavan's chair. Shortly after Claire showed up with the light bulb. I began to unscrew the globe bulb that was in the fixture. The same thing happened that had happened earlier in the evening. The socket spun inside the fixture. The bulb would not loosen, the cord just wound tighter and tighter. I would have to remove the fixture from the wall again to remove the light bulb and reinstall the spot. I did this and threw the switch to check its operation again. POP! The bulb blew. Maybe all the handling weakened the filament in the bulb. I switched back to the globe bulb. It did not illuminate. Claire was outside keeping watch on Indefinable to see if Bhagavan would emerge. By now the hour was getting quite late, and the first thing Bhagavan does in the morning is go to His Sudra Kendra. I went to the door and told Claire that it was not working. She was incredulous, and I was freaking out.
I unwired the fixture once again, and Claire and I both headed to Brian's office.
Otto had returned with the dimmer switch from Ciqomi and I got that from him on the way. I explained the latest course of events to Brian. Claire had said that Kanya Tripura would never permit Brian to enter the Sukra Kendra, no way. No one goes in there. Brian checked the continuity of the fixture once again. Sure enough, it had blown. The twisting of the socket had frayed the wiring and it shorted. I asked Brian about rewiring the fixture. He said that Nick had identical fixture in his darkroom and it would be faster to simply pull one of his down. Before leaving Brian's office I asked him to check the bulb again. He said that the bulb was still OK.
Claire and I headed for Nick's room. I shook him awake and told him that I did not have time to explain but that I needed the light fixture from his darkroom fast. He asked no questions, he simply gave me the keys. Claire and I raced to the darkroom and opened the door. Three identical fixtures to the one in the Sukra Kendra were on the ceiling. I tried the switch. All three lit up. I turned the switch off and began unscrewing one of the fixtures from the ceiling. It came loose and I loosened the wires. I freed the fixture and Claire and I raced back to Aham Sphurana Sthan.
Once inside the Sukra Kendra I set about reinstalling the new fixture. Connected to the leads I tried the switch. It did not illuminate. I tried it in every position, I switched the leads. Nothing. I went outside to tell Claire who was standing watch. Bhagavan ordinarily would have awakened and gone to the Sukra Kendra long before now. Claire and I were both…I don't think concerned is stong enough a word. Claire suggested checking the breakers and fuses. I told her that the fan was still on, but we still checked them. They were all fine. Then we returned to Brian's office with our latest woes. I brought with me the dimmer that Otto had gotten from Tevata. I told Brian that it must be the dimmer. He agreed that it was not unlikely that it had
blown when the fixture blew also. He examined the dimmer that I had handed him. Wrong kind. This was a dimmer for a ceiling fan. Brian suggested that I get Cliff and ask him where a light dimmer was. Cliff had done the overnight at Da Avabhasa Chakra, and was not available. We tried to think of a light that was on a dimmer in the village. People were meditating in the halls, but that didn't bother me. At this point I would have done heavy construction in Extraordinary Eyes to get that light on.
I checked the small Hall which used to be the Lingam room. It had a dimmer. I set about removing it while Claire went into the house that powered the room and turned off the breaker. The switch freed, Claire and I once again returned to the Sukra Kendra. By now Claire was saying that she felt that she should awaken Kanya Tripura. I kept telling her, "Not Yet." I went into the temple and began removing the switch from the wall. Then I removed one of the leads from the dimmer from the switch. I installed the identical lead from the replacement dimmer. I then popped the old dimmer free and loosened the remaining lead. I stuck the new dimmer in and connected the remaining lead. I then reinstalled the assembly into the wall. I tried the switch. Nothing happened. I died a thousand deaths.
I told Claire that it had not worked. She said that she was going to tell Kanya Tripura. I said, "Not yet."
In the fixture that Nick had given me there had been a screw base spot identical to the one in the Sukra Kendra. I decided to try this bulb even though Brian had said that the original tested OK. I installed the new bulb and threw the switch. It lit! I told Claire. I set about reinstalling the fixture onto the wall above Bhagavan's chair.
Once installed I put the spot on the Durga as Kanya Tripura had indicated it should be and then turned the dimmer way down. I turned out the lights. Perfect!
The only thing left to do was to get a couple of push pins to tack down the wiring which had come loose during the night. Claire ran to get them. I put them in. It was nearly 8:00 AM...six hours to change a light bulb. I had blown a bulb, a fixture, and the switch...and all I had to do was turn on the light.
Bhagavan went to the Sukra Kendra fifteen minutes after we straightened everything and left. I had never seen Him go to the Sukra Kendra that late in months. Yet, I had experienced this kind of moment many times. I was frequently late on one deadline or another, but if I was giving my service all of my energy and all of my attention I could not help but have my attention on Bhagavan also. I would feel the demand to keep my agreement with Him as an "urgency" in the body and mind. You could say that I would do anything to keep the agreement, or you could say that I would do anything to avoid breaking it. It doesn't matter. The result was that I would be in a fever of attention to the task, and I was aware every moment of Bhagavan waiting. When my attention was with Him in that way
He always seemed to give me the time that I needed.
O utings to Lion's Lap and other beaches on Naitauba were always a joyful time when Bhagavan would relax with His family, have a picnic lunch on the beach and enjoy some snorkeling among the reefs or other entertainment. They also provided the means and circumstances to create events that overwhelmed me, as service to The Great One often does.
Throughout most of 1990 Sri Gurudev took some kind of outing with the Gurukula on Saturdays. When the weather was favorable He would go to Lion's Lap generally, or, perhaps the beach at Koro-i-cake or Turtle Cove. When it turned cooler and it was not as comfortable to swim and the winds made it uncomfortable to relax on the beach Sri Gurudev would have a day at The Matrix. Generally it would be an "inning" day. Sri Gurudev and the Gurukula would have their picnic meal indoors at Owl Sandwiches and watch a movie, work on a puzzle, or play video games.
On this particular Saturday Sri Gurudev was planning on taking a walk to Moore's Point from The Matrix.
Kanya Tripura had told me of Sri Gurudev's interest in doing this, and Stuart Camps had spent the entire week improving and preparing the long trail that winds through the interior of the island and joins the trail that ascends from Lion's Lap. The two trails converged at the overlook known as Moore's Point on the cliffs above the lagoon mid-point between Lion's Lap and The Matrix. I was told that Sri Gurudev would most likely want to go on the walk shortly after lunch.
Noa and I were to accompany Sri Gurudev and the Gurukula. This was the usual procedure. Noa and I generally carried whatever cargo was required and we would be there to provide any necessary services that might arise.
Bhagavan finished his lunch shortly after noon, and Kanya Tripura called to tell me that he would be leaving in a few minutes and I should be ready to go. I was to meet Him and the Gurukula on the upper path coming out of the bures. Moments later I received another call saying that Bhagavan didn't want anyone accompanying Him and the Gurukula today. He said that they could carry a walkie-talkie and if they needed anything they could call me. I was to meet them at the
trail head with the walkie-talkie that they would carry.
They were leaving now. Then I got another call from Kanya Suprithi asking if I had the binoculars for Bhagavan. I had not thought to bring them so I called the runner in the c=village and asked her to contact Greg and ask him to get the binoculars out of the archives FAST! Just Noa and I were there. We both had our walkie-talkies. I took Noa's and ran up the hill to the trail and arrived there just as Bhagavan did. I handed the walkie-talkie to Kanya Tripura, and the walking party disappeared up the hill with Sri Gurudev in the lead. I called back to the village to see if Greg had been contacted. Kanya Suprithi had not been with the rest of the Gurukula, and she now appeared walking out from the bures. She had to wait for the binoculars to be delivered from the village. The runner told me that she had found Greg and that he was on his way to the archives. I then told her that a driver had to be lined up immediately to bring the binoculars out to Kanya Suprithi. She would then have to run to catch up with Bhagavan, which wouldn't be easy because He would have at least a fifteen minute lead by the time the binoculars arrived. Kanya Suprithi and I stood there. I called over and over again, making the runner frantic. She called back to say that there were no
vehicles in the village. The Doubtless was there, though. I asked Noa if anyone was in the village area who could pilot the punt. He said Pe was there, and he could bring it. Elliot got on the radio, and I told him to get Pe, who was at Nukusau. We waited.
Then there was a call from Kanya Tripura. We were to send out snacks, apples, oranges, tea, water, and popcorn. We were to deliver these items to Moore's Point where we would rendezvous with the walking party. Kanya Suprithi said, "Great!" We could bring out the binoculars with the snacks. She took off up the trail after Gurudev, and I walked down the hill to where Noa was waiting. I called Jane in Froggy Blessings to ask her to put together the snack order, and I then asked Noa if He could scale the cliff from the beach below Moore's Point, where Bhagavan and the Kanyas and Brahmacharini's would be waiting. He said that he could, no problem. I then called into the village to ascertain if Pe had left in the Doubtless with the binoculars. He had left. Noa and I walked to the Matrix beach and watched around the point towards Koro-i-cake for the Doubtless. When it arrived we would put the snacks in it and Noa would take them and the binoculars on to Moore's Point.
Before she had left Kanya Suprithi told me that Bhagavan wanted me to look at a couple of video-games that had just arrived that day. It was Robo-Cop, Rad Racer, and Iron Tank. I was to figure something out about them and be able to communicate it to Kanya Suprithi upon Bhagavan's return from His hike. I ran up toward the bures and met Jane halfway. She was carrying the bin full of snacks. I took it from her and carried it to the beach. The Doubtless was finally coming into sight around the point. The tide was low, and Pe was traveling slowly. I gave the bin to Noa and told him to take off to Moore's Point as soon as Pe reached the beach. I headed up to Owl Sandwiches. By this time Bhagavan had been gone for some time, and I was beginning to feel concerned that I would not have enough time to figure out the games and be able to pass along some of the hidden esotericisms of them to Bhagavan upon His return.
I had only been playing for ten minutes or so when I received a call from Kanya Tripura on my walkie-talkie. She wondered where Kanya Suprithi was. I told her that Kanya Suprithi had left some time ago and would be catching up shortly. A few minutes later Kanya Tripura called again and asked where the
snacks were. She said that they were at Moore's Point, but there was no sign of the snacks or Noa or Kanya Suprithi. I told her that Noa had had plenty of time to get there. I asked here if she could see down to the beach if the cargo had been dropped there mistakenly. Kanya Tripura said there was nothing on the beach either. Then Kanya Tripura said that Bhagavan was going to walk on to Lion's Lap. I speculated, hopefully, that Noa had misunderstood my instructions and had gone down to Lion's Lap to drop the snacks and binoculars. Kanya Tripura also said that there was still no sign of Kanya Suprithi.
By now I was getting concerned. I gave up on Nintendo and ran down to the beach. I had no communications with Noa because I had given his radio to Kanya Tripura.
I called the village to see if he had returned there in the Doubtless. No sign of Noa in the village. I looked up and down the reefs of the Matrix beach. No sign of Noa or the Doubtless. Within a few minutes Kanya Tripura called again. They were at Lion's Lap. Noa was not there. The snacks were not there. Kanya Suprithi was not there. Kanya Tripura asked me what was happening. I had no answers at all. I had
nothing I could say. Then Kanya Tripura told me that Bhagavan was tired. He didn't want to have to walk all the way back to Sri Love-Ananda Chakra from Lion's Lap. I told Kanya Tripura that I would jump in Ralph Royce and drive down to Lion's Lap. I told her that I could be there in ten minutes. She asked what about the snacks. There was no way for me to drive to Moore's Point, nor any other point along the trail. Once again, I had no reply. I just reiterated that I would be at Lion's Lap as quickly as I could.
I ran from the beach to the carport where Ralph Royce was parked. I jumped in, fired him up, and took off up the road that leads out of The Matrix. When I reached Cow Downs I took the path that leads off to the right to the hurricane gardens and eventually descends to the grove of "rain" trees behind the beach at Lion's Lap. It is not a well-developed road, and I could not drive very quickly. The minutes passed, and I bounced along, counting each second. I finally reached the harrowing descent down the gully-filled road. Ralph Royce pitched this way, then that as the windshield struck tree limbs and brush scraped along the sides of the car.
It took me fifteen minutes to reach the bottom of the
hill and Lion's Lap. As I had been driving in a state of anxiety I had been monitoring the elapsed time. From where Kanya Tripura was she probably could not reach me by radio. Even if she could have I couldn't have heard it over the roar of the engine. And even if I could have heard it I couldn't have answered as I negotiated the near-jungle terrain as fast as I dared. I thought to myself as I drove that there was no way that Sri Gurudev was going to sit around Lion's Lap waiting for me to arrive with the car...and when I finally reached the beach I found that I had been right.
I left Ralph Royce in the middle of the path and ran to the beach to check out the footprints. They went up and down the beach for a short distance, then returned to the mid-beach point where the trail from Moore's Point enters the beach area. Bhagavan must have returned up the trail. I ran off to find Him. A few hundred yards up the trail I found large rock with another smaller rock placed on top of it weighting down a piece of steno paper which was sandwiched between the two...an esoteric symbol meaning, "We went this way."
I continued running up the trail. I reached the first point. I ran to the cliff. I looked for signs of habitation,
snack bins, apple cores, footprints. I couldn't see anything. I ran off up the trail again. I was leaving Ralph Royce farther and farther behind. I didn't think Bhagavan would be interested in walking back down to Lion's Lap even when I did finally reach Him...if I did before He made it back to Sri Love-Ananda Chakra. A good distance up the trail I finally reached Moore's Point. I came upon the little cabana there, and there was Bhagavan reclining on His back with the Kanyas and Brahmacharini's busying themselves around Him in different activities.
I continued running up the trail. I reached the first point. I ran to the cliff. I looked for signs of habitation, snack bins, apple cores, footprints. I couldn't see anything. I ran off up the trail again. I was leaving Ralph Royce farther and farther behind. I didn't think Bhagavan would be interested in walking back down to Lion's Lap even when I did finally reach Him...if I did before He made it back to Sri Love-Ananda Chakra. A good distance up the trail I finally reached Moore's Point. I came upon the little cabana there, and there was Bhagavan reclining on His back with the Kanyas and Brahmacharini's busying themselves around Him in different activities.
The four basenjis were busying themselves being the amusing nuisances that they invariably are on these excursions. I was reluctant to intrude on this sweet and intimate scene, but I felt that I had to make my presence known. I stood at a distance of seventy-five feet and waved my arms. Quandras Sukhapur and Nadikanta saw me at the same time, and they both walked over to me with an expression of relief on their faces. Kanya Tripura said, "Finally." I asked if they had found the snacks, and they replied in the affirmative. I could see Kanya Suprithi was there. At least everyone and everything was in one place. Kanya Tripura told me that Bhagavan said that His back hurt. He could not go on, neither forward nor back to Ralph Royce. If He did He would have back pain for the next month. Then they told me that they had found the Doubtless. It was anchored below the point down the beach towards Lion's Lap. But there was no sign of Noa. Kanya Tripura told me that she would take me to where I could see the Doubtless, so I followed her down a narrow path by the place where Bhagavan was resting. In a few hundred feet the path ended, and a short distance below through thorns and brambles the Doubtless lay anchored.
It was not a vertical cliff at all, only forty-five degree,
perhaps, and it was only fifty feet or so above the beach, but it was rocky and the brush was thick. Somehow I had to get Sri Gurudev and the Gurukula down to the Doubtless, but I had no idea how. I thought that there might be a sele in the boat, or some other instrument that I could use to clear the brush. I carefully picked my way down the cliff. I finally made it to the beach and waded out in the shallow water to the Doubtless. I looked under the seats and the bow for some tool. There was nothing, only a couple of oars.
You have to understand that by now I was feeling very discouraged. I didn't know what the hell to do. Even if I could manage to get Bhagavan down the cliff, it was low tide. The water that the Doubtless was anchored in was very low. The surrounding reefs were only covered by inches of water, and I was almost totally unfamiliar with the channels. With Bhagavan, the entire Gurukula, and the four dogs in the boat along with Noa and I it would be drafting quite low in the water...and I had been calling for Noa...no Noa. I could just see me piloting the boat out of there with everybody in it. I wouldn't have taken any odds on my being able to do it without getting hung up on the reef.
Still I had to try to do something, and the first thing to
do was to get Bhagavan down to the boat.
I grabbed one of the oars from the Doubtless and headed back up the cliff. I took the oar by the handle and started flailing at the brush and bramble with the blade. I went at it with the abandon of one who is desperate and doesn't want to face the reality of his situation, the fact that he has no solution to his dilemma. As I beat and battered the bush I thought to myself that there was no way Bhagavan was going to walk down this cliff. It was only a couple of notches above treacherous, but I had no other course of action. Kanya Tripura returned to see me pounding away at the cliff below her. She said to me, "Jeff, there's no way Bhagavan is going to walk down there. There's no way the Brahmacharini's are going to walk down there." I nodded my recognition of this fact. Now I had nothing I could do. Kanya Tripura returned to the cabana, and I went back to the Doubtless. I returned the oar underneath the seat. I had no way of knowing, but I got the sense that Sri Gurudev was going to walk back to The Matrix. I couldn't see up to the top of the cliff, so, I all I could do is reason what seemed most likely in the given situation.
I thought that I might be able to pilot the boat down
the beach a short distance and find a place where Bhagavan could walk down to the water. I started the outboard and navigated to deeper water.
I was moving very slowly. Then, out of the bush Noa appeared. He waved his arms at me. I waved at him, then he disappeared into the bush. I turned the boat around and headed back to shore. I yelled for Noa, but he didn't return. I didn't know if he knew that Bhagavan was on the cliffs above. I figured that he didn't, so I decided that I should just head the boat out again and see if I could pick Bhagavan up as I had originally planned. I had been yelling for Noa, but he didn't reappear. Finally he did run out onto the beach again. I turned the boat to him. He ran back into the bush. What was he doing? I yelled at him some more. I thought that Bhagavan was most likely on His way home, and if I was going to find a place to pick Him up I had better get going up the beach.
So, I turned the boat around again. I headed back out to deeper water, then I thought that maybe they hadn't walked on ahead, I turned the boat back to shore. I didn't know what I was doing. I was literally going around in circles. Every time I decided on a course of action I would consider it for another moment, then
veto it and decide on another plan.
I didn't know it, but everybody was watching me from the cliffs above, and they were entirely perplexed as to what I was doing running the boat in circles. Bhagavan asked, "What is Jeff doing?". I was in the boat more baffled than anyone, cursing, and trying to come to a logical course of action based on insubstantial and inconclusive information. I couldn't make up my mind what to do. And any course of action chosen would have, what seemed to me, devastating consequences if I made the wrong choice. I thought that it was possible that Bhagavan hadn't left. He may have still been up on the top of the cliff. If I left, I would be leaving Him standing there. It wouldn't do to disappear into the distance with Him waiting to be taken home. Then I thought that, most likely, He saw no alternative but to walk the rest of the way home. It was a long way, and if I couldn't find a place to pick Him up His back would be in terrible shape by the time He got there. So, I just kept running the boat in circles in a state of extreme concern and dilemma.
Then Noa appeared again, and this time the four basenjis appeared with Him. They found a way down to the beach, and if they did Bhagavan would probably
be able to also. I turned the boat back again. Noa disappeared back into the bush, and I cursed again.
I was watching the shore and I didn't notice that the strong winds had nearly blown me into the reef. I cranked up the engine against the force of the wind.
Noa appeared again, then the dogs, then Bhagavan and the Gurukula behind Him. I can't describe my relief.
Noa came out to the Doubtless to help me push it into shore. Not only was Bhagavan going to be able to ride home, there was a competent pilot to take Him there.
After this episode Bhagavan renamed Moore's Point. He named it Remosey point because first He moseyed out there and beyond, and then He moseyed back.
This incident reminded me of another circumstance in which I was challenged in my service to Bhagavan Adi Da.
It was ten days until Danavira Mela. Bhagavan was living at The Matrix, and I was living at The Matrix, as well. I had regular, daily services that I performed, and I was also in “overwhelm mode” making gifts for Him to give on the celebration day.
My jewelry “studio” at The Matrix was in the corner of the hut I was living in. It was a very challenging place to work. I had a better setup in the village of Qaravi. Bhagavan had other reasons to go to the village, but He noted that I would be able to do my projects more efficiently if I were located in the village. He said that I should drop all of my other services so that I could concentrate all of my time in
I poured it on day and night in Qaravi, and banged my way through the projects. I only left the bench to attend “Cookie Day”, when Beloved invited all of the island residents to join Him in the village kitchen to make Chritmas cookies. I hadn’t been there for sixty seconds before Bhagavan spotted me. He glanced towards me, raised a magnificent and very communicative eyebrow, and asked, “What are you doing here?” I replied that I was just joining Him for a moment and that I would return to my studio shortly. Bhagavan jerked His thumb towards the door and said, “OUT!”
I completed my projects the night before the celebration. Everything was done; a minor victory!
The morning after the celebration I was sleeping in when the runner came to my room and told me that Bhagavan was standing outside of Indefinable waiting to be driven to The Matrix. He had communicated that He would be returning there first thing in the morning, but no one had informed me of His plans. I had been working on projects fulltime, and had not prepared Bhagavan’s car. I had not prepared anything. Being
awakened to the news that the Guru is standing around His yard waiting for me to pick Him up set me into motion in a dozen different directions, all at the same time.
It took me about ten minutes to get my shit together and to bring Bhagavan’s car up the drive to Indefinable. He was, indeed, standing there by the door, waiting. And He was in a serious mood.
Within a few minutes Bhagavan and His family had boarded the Land Cruiser, and I directed it up Primary Sensations and drove to The Matrix. I drove through The Matrix gates and across the lawn to park in front of Happy Papayas. Bhagavan was still living in Big Day, as Aham Da Asmi Sthan was not yet completed.
After I parked I leapt out of the car, ran around to Bhagavan’s door, and opened it. I had done this many times, and He always headed up the wooden stairs to Big Day as soon as He left the vehicle. But, today, he turned the opposite direction towards Kaya Kulpa Kutir. He never entered the service area where floaties and other water equipment was stored. Never. For some reason, on this day, that is exactly where He went.
One of my chores at The Matrix was to ensure that all of the boats and floatation devices were ready for use at all times. It had been ten days since I had been out to The Matrix because I had been doing jewelry projects. After all, I had been told to concentrate all of my time in gifting.
Bhagavan went no further than the service room, then, without a word, He left Kaya Kulpa Kutir and ascended the stairs to Big Day.
It was not long before I was called. One of the Kanyas wanted to meet with me to give me notes from Beloved. He was furious with me. One of the inflatables was a yellow raft that the four basenjis would lounge on in The Matrix lagoon. I checked the inflation of each piece of equipment and topped them up daily. But the dog raft had lost some air and was soft when Bhagavan found it. Bhagavan was reminded that He had told me to focus myself in gifting, and that I had not been to The Matrix at all in over a week.
Bhagavan responded saying that had nothing to do with it. The dog raft was still my responsibility, and I should have seen to it that someone was attending to all my services while I was away. I was told that He
was considering revoking all of my services.
I told Kanya Suprithi to tell Bhagavan that I would work all night on Kaya Kulpa Kutir. I would polish every square inch of it until it was gleaming. Suprithi replied that she was dubious. Bhagavan was so angry with me she doubted He would tolerate my presence.
As it happened, Beloved did not fire me. I continued in my service to Him, but the incident was brought up repeatedly in presentations as an example of failure in service to Beloved.
One of the points Bhagavan made in His early writings was that the Guru is an unreasonable man. So, incidents like this really didn’t surprise me. I can’t say that I expected them, but when they occurred I didn’t come away feeling misunderstood, betrayed, or abused. I always presumed there was purpose in everything Bhagavan did and said, no matter how unreasonable it may have seemed.
I spent long periods of time in which I never went to the meditation hall. When I was living on the island there were months that I didn’t even have access to one, living outside the gates of The Matrix in the carport. And I always had so many services to do that
when devotees were meditating I was handling some item or detail preparing for Beloved’s day, simple duties that could not be sloughed off or postponed.
I was always inundated with gifting projects or the manufacture of a sacred article or object, also. The amount of work that I was doing, and had been doing for years seemed so outrageous that I began to feel that Bhagavan expected me to push back, to tell Him that I couldn’t take on another project. I imagined that He wanted me to take some manly responsibility for my life and my spiritual practice. But whenever I told Him “No”, no matter what it was about, His response was, “NO???”. I would often try to hold my ground for a few moments, but He always insisted, and I always acquiesced. I could push back a bit, but I was not comfortable flat out refusing Him. After all, when I approached Him I agreed that He was my Guru. That presumes a certain obedience and submission to the Master’s word. That’s the deal. Otherwise, why are you here?
Occasionally, someone would tell Bhagavan that I was not sleeping much in an attempt to get my burden lightened. Bhagavan always replied, “Why not?”. Then, when He heard that I had been found asleep in my chair after doing three all-nighters in preparation
for Naamleela’s birthday, Bhagavan laughed and quipped, “Jeff is asleep at his jewelry bench with two pearls embedded in His forehead.”
You can look at all of this from all kinds of points of view. It seems to me that Bhagavan was letting me know that my responsibilities to Him were unconditional and absolute, and they were never to be abandoned. He did let me know that when I made an agreement with Him I had better keep it.
D uring a gathering period on Naitauba Beloved spent a couple of weeks talking with me frequently. I felt the need to be open, confessed, and vulnerable to Him, and had told Him this before the gatherings began. He took me at my word, and He was open with me about where I was at in life and practice. The result was sobering.
There was no condemnation or judgment in His communication. There was just the simple truth. And after He had said what He had to say I understood why truth is so unpopular, so feared.
After Bhagavan “deals” with someone the way that He “dealt” with me they often go through a period of…I don’t know…being very “sobered”. One might be a little serious for awhile, or collapsed a little bit, or maybe feel sorry for themselves. I felt sobered, and I pondered His words and my feelings.
I didn’t have any conversation with Him for a couple of weeks following this. I attended gatherings, but was mostly quiet. I wasn’t collapsed. I don’t know what I
was…in the midst of the process. Then, one evening in Hymns to Me I was a little tipsy. I spontaneously moved towards Bhagavan’s chair with nothing in mind. I just felt my love for Him, and wanted to tell Him. But when I knelt by His chair and spoke, I said, “My heart has been so heavy, my Lord…all of the insult”.
I didn’t have that in mind, at all. Those words came out of my mouth without my ever thinking them. The mind had nothing to do with that communication. I am not sure where it came from. Sometimes it feels like Beloved takes over my mouth and says something through it. Maybe He says it so that I can hear myself, just to help me find myself out. I don’t know, but anyway, I did not have that in mind.
Beloved had leaned down in His chair to hear my words when I spoke. That was all I said. He listened, then He sat straight up, erect in His chair and said with great strength, “So’s Mine, gotta minute? You have to kick out the Neanderthal, Jeff. Kick him out!
I never complained to Bhagavan, and I would never have said this to Him if I had had control of my mouth. But my mindless utterance spoke something
that was true of me. The feeling that was behind that “insulted” disposition wasn’t a reaction to Beloved dealing with me. It was my response and disposition about life altogether; one insult from end to end.
The moment Beloved spoke my hand slapped my forehead in disbelief at what I had said. In a moment I was reminded of the sadhana of the Guru, the sacrifice, and His willingness to endure all of our suffering, stupidity, and even betrayal. All without a whimper. He simply serves His purpose in submission to all. I lived and served around Him many years. I don’t know how anyone could have tolerated His life. He was never left alone. Everyone wanted something
from Him. He offered Love and Truth, and he suffered fools. I was one of them.
After that night Bhagavan took to calling me “the Neanderthal”, or sometimes, “the missing link”.
Sometime earlier when I was loading up Beloved’s car at The Matrix Kanya Remembrance commented, “You have the sadhana of lifting and carrying”. I responded, “Yes, I must have been an ox in a former life.” As Beloved was preparing to board his car Remembrance told Him of our exchange. Beloved responded, “No, I’m trying to keep him from being an ox in his next life.” Beloved always made it clear that a devotee had to become truly human before real spiritual practice could begin. That's why I took Him seriously. I didn't fear that I was destined to join some bovine herd,
but I wanted to get this uninspected, unconscious stuff out of the way. It was preventing me from doing what both Bhagavan and I came to this place to do.
Beloved described the transition from an unconscious, subhuman life to a fully mature and responsible one as the most difficult transition to make in the spiritual process. All of the habit-patterns of the devotee must
be transformed and aligned to Truth…all of them. That takes a great depth of self-understanding.
With some devotees Beloved would have lengthy practice considerations. He made specific notes for one or another devotee from time to time to criticize and instruct.
He didn’t instruct me in quite the same way. His communications to me were usually not anything that I could ruminate on. There was often nothing that I could make sense of with the mind. I conjectured, but had little confidence in my thoughts. For example, I was speaking on the phone with Bhagavan one afternoon when He said that I was, “sitting in the corner of a cave, fondling a rock”. I asked, “What cave?” Bhagavan replied, “Yes!” I queried once more, “What rock?” His response: “It is exactly that!”
There’s not a lot of content there to grab a hold of with the mind. I thought about His words, of course, over and over again…still do. But the words tend to take me deeper into the heart, as I know well that I cannot glean the meaning of them with the mind.
On another occasion, during a small gathering in Owl Sandwiches, I was sitting in front and a little left of Beloved’s chair. He looked at me and said, “You have served Me a long time, Jeff. You serve me in My house.” I responded to Him, “I want to serve You in
Your house always.” Bhagavan unfolded His legs, sat forward in His chair, placed His feet wide and firmly on the ground, turned His face slightly to the floor, cast his eyes downward, and said, “Then it’s like this”.
He said no more, and I asked no more. But I have contemplated the vision of Him and His asana ever since.
When I sit for meditation I often first remember Bhagavan and His asana. It reminds me of the asana I intend to bring to Him, unmovable, imperturbable, indistractable. That’s what Bhagavan’s asana means to me today; tomorrow, maybe something more.
When I chauffeured Beloved He would sometimes make a quick comment to me as I held His car door for Him. He occasionally gave me grooming tips, such as, “You should trim your armpit hairs from time to time, Jeff.” (Don't tell anyone...it's embarrassing). On another occasion He said, “Your only problem is your stupid pride.” I heard Him, but His words caught me off guard, they surprised me, and I did not understand them. So, even though I heard Him clearly I was still a bit bewildered, and I asked, “My what?” He responded, “Your stupid pride!".
I really didn’t get what He was talking about. I didn’t consider myself a particularly prideful person. I pondered "pride", and a month or two later when I was speaking with Bhagavan I told Him that I thought I was getting something about this “pride thing”. Bhagavan looked at me and simply raised His eyebrow. He said nothing, but His communication to me was absolutely clear. I had no argument. I responded, “No, oh…OK”.
I never bothered to explain myself, and certainly not
argue or debate with Beloved. I was confident that He knew exactly what I was saying, where I was at, and what I needed to hear and do. He demonstrated often
that He knew what I was thinking, what my state was, in the moment. I saw no point in explaining myself to Him. It seemed more reasonable to let Him explain myself to me. He made it obvious that He understood me far more profoundly than I did.
Adi Da instructed, “Find yourself out. Then, find Me out.” The one necessarily precedes the other. That made perfect sense to me. So, I felt it best to shut up and listen. It was hard enough to hear even when I kept quiet.
Beloved was fierce when He was bodily present with us. But He was not harsh. If He could have smiled and winked, and we would have gotten His Message with that, no more would have been required of Him. But those who came to Him were not prepared for His Company, none of us. So, He submitted to teaching reluctant and confused devotees. He once commented, “With some people you have to break their wrist before they will shake your hand.” When Bhagavan began to teach He expected mature devotees would approach Him, devotees who would recognize Him and conform to Him upon sight. That didn’t happen. He wrote in The Enlightenment of the Whole Body:
Beloved Adi Da Samraj made it clear, true spiritual practice requires seriousness in the devotee. When I came to Him it did feel like a “final act”. The Method of the Siddhas had recently been published, and I read it before approaching Him. The requirements described therein were for everything. He required everything of His devotees. That’s what He said. So, bringing myself to Him was a serious affair. It felt like going “all in” in a single poker hand. When I came to Him I pushed all of my chips across the table.
In fact, there were lots of chips that I held back, the unconscious stuff…the hidden shit that plagues
our ordinary uninspected lives. That’s the stuff that keeps our hearts hardened to truth and Truth. That’s the stuff that needs “finding out”. There is a tendency to skate by the preliminary practices, to overlook and dismiss our limitations and patterns with “positive reinforcement”, and what Bhagavan called “cult speak”. That’s why devotees need to find themselves out. That is the only way that we can recognize our dependence on the Guru. If we cannot recognize our dependence on Him we will never realize Him.
Beloved used to do jigsaw puzzles with His children and others. One evening He was working on a Disney-themed puzzle. Each was working on the image of a specific character, Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, etc. Bhagavan was quietly picking out pieces of the rectangular border and fitting them together. You know, the boring part. He drew an analogy to spiritual practice. He said no one wants to do the “sadhana of the border”. Everyone wants to advance, to do the fun stuff, to be a yogi, or a saint, a maturing and respected practitioner of the Way without fulfilling the fundamental self-transcending practice required to move beyond the first three stages of life.
Not long after I told Bhagavan about my heavy heart
He wrote the essay Be Wounded, Not Insulted, which was publised in The Incarnation of Love and excerpted from The Dawn Horse Testament. I don't know if Bhagavan was responding to my statement to Him, but that was one of His purposes in gathering with devotees. He interacted with us and saw and heard where we were confused, hung-up, and stuck. Then He would address that drama or tendency in His Teaching to make it available to all.
B eloved was in the village. It was morning and I was at The Matrix working on the Aksobya Buddha in Bhagavan's bedroom when I received a call on the radio that He was leaving the island and going to Taveuni. I was called back to the village immediately to prepare to leave. I was to consider the traveling party, who should go. He was saying that He just wanted me to travel with Him. He didn't need anybody else. He asked why I couldn't take care of everything. He asked what I was going to do, just stand around and wait to bonk somebody on the head? I was adamant that at least one other man would have to go so that one could stay close while the other handled whatever business might arise.
Bhagavan went round and round with the consideration of where He would stay, and He finally decided to go to Malima where it would cost nothing. He would live in a tent. I couldn't believe that He would actually go there to live. The last time we went there it was a nightmare that ended in His getting rained on as He slept in a sleeping bag on the beach. But He did it. We had a couple of hours to ready
things and get the Dauvinqaravi loaded. It was a madhouse. We finally hoisted anchor about four-thirty in the afternoon and arrived in the Malima lagoon about an hour before nightfall. We landed Sri Gurudev and the Gurukula, and immediately began feverishly preparing His camp area. Daniel, Jethro, and I came. So did Noa. Isabelle and Dierdre came to cook and teach school to the Brahmacharinis.
Malima is a tiny desert island, no fresh water at all, nothing, just coconuts, millions of them all over the place. The last time we were there I had cleared a wide path all the way across the island...maybe two or three hundred yards long, stretching from beach to beach. Surprisingly, the path was still in good shape. We unloaded all the stores and supplies from the boat and set up the Kanya's and Brahmacharini's areas, and the kitchen. We finished around eleven o'clock. Then I was told that Sri Gurudev wanted to have Darshan with retreatants the following morning at ten o'clock and we would have to select a site for the Darshan Hall and have it built by then. We also had to have the kitchen fully operable, and build Sri Gurudev's shower and toilet facilities.
We were up at the first light of dawn and searching the
island for the most auspicious site for Sri Gurudev to sit in darshan with the retreatants, who would be arriving in five hours. We decided on a knoll, a large dirt mound on the interior of the island. It was covered
with rocks, so I set about clearing it while Jethro and Noa cut poles for the structure that we would build; a palm frond cabana big enough to comfortably seat thirty retreatants, the Kanyas and Brahmacharinis and Sri Gurudev in His Chair, which we had brought from Naitauba. It was very large. It blew Noa's mind, and he had built many a cabana. At eight-thirty Sri Gurudev came to inspect the site. He approved of it and asked a few questions. He said that He wanted three paths to it. I pointed out the path that I had in mind. It was two hundred yards long and intersected with the one that I had cleared that I mentioned. He said that if i did that one I would only need to do one other path, another hundred and fifty yards to His beach. That would be His avenue to the site. Once again, Malima is covered in coconut palms, and they have been dropping coconuts and frond uninterrupted for a long time. The ground is covered with them. So, I began clearing, flinging coconuts and fronds, right and left, and then raking the dirt and sand to have a groomed path appropriate to walk on for Darshan. Sri Gurudev wanted to be assured that the Hall would be ready for Darshan at ten, and, somehow, it was. The cabana measured thirty by thirty feet and was canopied in palm fronds with a backdrop of fronds behind Sri Gurudev's chair. It was actually quite comfortable.
The best thing about Malima is that because of the lack of fresh water there are no mosquitoes or sand flies. In that regard it is pleasant.
In the next couple of days we built toilet facilities for Sri Gurudev and another for the Gurukula and separate shower facilities for each, built a structure over the kitchen area, made a storage facility, a garbage dump, two beach set-ups for Sri Gurudev, a school area, and various other amenities. We were constantly improving and upgrading for the entire week that we were there.
As night fell on the second day I looked at the sky. It was clear, but the possibility of rain could be felt in the air. I remembered the last time that we were there, and how the sky opened up at two in the morning, drenching everyone. This time Sri Gurudev was in a tent, as were the Kanyas and Brahmacharinis and other ladies. Dan, Jethro, and I were sleeping under the stars. I slept with one eye on the sky all night. I didn't know how well the tents would hold up, and the stores and other areas were not well covered for lack of tarps. I slept very lightly, waking every thirty minutes or so to check out the sky. The wind gradually picked up more and more, and the sky grew increasingly
cloudy. At the first sprinkle I was up and running. I checked the tents. The Brahmacharini's tents were leaking a bit, but not too badly. I helped the girls tighten them up. Then I ran to Sri Gurudev's personal belongings and made sure that they were covered well. I secured everything that I could. Then I did the only thing there was to do. I sat on the beach in the rain with Dan and Jethro. We called on the radio to Naitauba asking them to send more tarps on the morning boat. we also asked for other provisions that would help us against the elements. I had packed for Taveuni and was not at all prepared for a camping trip.
When it finally stopped raining I returned to the foam mattress that I had been sleeping on. It was soaked. My radio had gotten wet and it fried. Dan and Jethro had covered their mattresses so they snoozed off again. I stoked the fire in the kitchen area for warmth and sat around for awhile longer, Finally I found some plastic bags and laid them near the section of culvert that we were using for the cook stove. I found a pot that I turned upside down to use for a pillow and a reasonably dry towel to throw over me. I slept close to the fire for warmth. Unfortunately I had placed a long log in the fire before I laid back down which extended beyond the sides of the culvert. I calculated that as it
burned it would fall into the fire rather than out of it, but I calculated wrongly. I was awakened by the burning log falling onto my legs and the plastic bags that I was sleeping on. I jumped, grabbed the log, and threw it back into the fire in an attempt to save my plastic bag mattress. But it was too late. It was already burning and melting.
The biggest disaster of the rain was that the weight of it caused the darshan cabana to collapse. The center beam that we used was a long length of bamboo that we had found on the beach, and the additional water
weight was too much for it. We had to rebuild the cabana from scratch before 10am.
As difficult as it was there on Malima you couldn't help but notice how much more relaxed Sri Gurudev was. It was simple, and the first couple of days He did not get involved in any communications to speak of. He lived simply and the few of us around Him constantly served Him with every moment and all of our strength. It was non-stop. It became evident that this was a form of Ashram that He enjoyed. No religion business, no case, no householders. We meditated, did the puja and the arati, and we served, and served, and served. He was fed by our service, and though His situation was very primitive and we could not provide for Him the way that we could at Sri Love-Anandashram He was pleased. You could see it in Him. We continually went beyond our limits and disregarded the discomforts. Our attention was on Him all the time. As miserable as it was on the one hand, it was wonderful on the other to be bringing ourselves to Him so directly without reservation. There was an ecstasy and a strength in giving over our lives so completely to taking care of our Beloved Guru. And to see Him relaxed and receiving our attention and our care only made our resolve stronger.
Of course, Sri Gurudev did not go to Malima to vacation. He made a stand and a statement there. We had set up communications with Naitauba, via marine radio and our private walkie-talkie system. At first He had some communications passed to leadership via the walkie-talkie from the beach at Malima. However, it wasn't long before Sri Gurudev wanted to get more hands-on. He piloted the Kulabula, His red dinghy to the Dauvinqaravi, anchored in the Malima lagoon a hundred yards or so off the beach. Communications were not reliable at such a distance. The walkie-talkies tended to cut in and out making communications garbled. Sri Gurudev asked if we could use the marine radio. I told him that it was inadvisable because we could not guarantee privacy on any marine channel. He was in a mood to handle some business, and He was impatient with the delay while I tried to make contact with Naitauba. When I finally did Kanya Navaneeta and Daniel in turn passed Sri Gurudev's words along as He spoke them. I monitored the conversation on another radio to verify if they were sending properly. Whenever I didn't receive what was being transmitted I leapt up and told them to hold the radio high in the air. It operated better in this position. It was an intense conversation that went on for more than an hour. Eventually Sri Gurudev began to speak
directly into the radio. He was not satisfied at all with the way things went and as soon as the conversation was over He returned to shore in the Kulabula.
Back on the beach, Bhagavan determined He would have to return to Naitauba to have an adequate conversation with leadership. But He refused to go ashore, He would stay aboard the Dauvinqaravi and speak via the walkie-talkie in our own lagoon.
We quickly collected only Sri Gurudev's and the Kanya's and Brahmacharinis personal belongings and
put them in the Ai Talai. Then everyone boarded and we were on the boat and heading through the reef within minutes. Dan, Dierdre, and I accompanied the FRO. Everyone else stayed behind on Malima.
It was nightfall by the time we dropped anchor inside the reef off the Nukusa beach. Dierdre and the Brahmacharinis went ashore. Dan and I stayed on the boat with Sri Gurudev and the Kanyas. Kanya Suprithi asked me to get a few of Sri Gurudev's personal items out of the hold of the boat while Sri Gurudev stood at the bow. He was in a very fierce mood and I wanted to intrude upon Him as little as possible. So, I jumped down into the hold and lifted the suitcases up to the deck of the boat. When I had finished I leapt up out of the hold, but my hand slipped as I was coming out and I fell back down into the hold hitting my forehead full force on the rail that goes around the hatch. Fortunately I have a very tough skull. I didn't want to create a scene so I jumped up again and pulled myself out. But Sri Gurudev had seen me fall back down into the hull and saw me crack my head as I went down. He was obviously very intentionally working on something standing at the bow looking out toward the island, but as I emerged from the hold He turned to me and asked, "Are you alright." I quickly replied to Him,
"I'm alright." As I said, I did not want to disturb Him, and, in fact, I was fine. But I had to laugh at myself and the way it must have looked because I really hit my head with significant force as I disappeared back into the hold of the boat and I thought to myself that someone with a normal skull could easily have been knocked unconscious and here I was bouncing back up acting as if nothing had happened...the perfect Neanderthal security man. (Bhagavan was referring to me as "The Neanderthal" at this time.)
When Sri Gurudev got back on the radio He spoke very forcefully for at least two hours with the men who were stationed in Tangible Touch at the wharf. He told them what they had to do for the morning reports and signed off. He said that He would spend the night aboard the boat and told Dan and I to go ashore. I can't say that I was unhappy to get a shower and some clean clothes.
The following morning Charles, Dan, Jonathan, and Mo met with Sri Gurudev while Joe, Frans, Sally, Barbara, and a couple of others talked on the upper deck of the boat. I joined in from time to time in between performing services...calling for various items and receiving reports via kayak which Terry and Nick
paddled out to the boat. Sri Gurudev met with them for three hours or so and then sent them back to shore to contact the mainland and work out details of Sri Gurudev's requirements.
I stayed behind on the boat and helped Kanya Suprithi prepare Sri Gurudev's lunch. I also had some hot water delivered so that Sri Gurudev could bathe. It was wonderful being there so intimately with Sri Gurudev and serving Him so personally in the midst of this difficult and critical time in His work. His humor and love were radiant. He dealt very forcefully with island
and central leadership. Then, when everyone left He joked playfully with the Kanyas as they bathed themselves on the foredeck of the Dauvinqaravi with the hot water that had been delivered for Sri Gurudev. He had determined not to bathe, but rather strolled the decks while the Kanyas swam in the lagoon attempting to entice Him into the water telling Him how good it felt. It was never so apparent to me how He animates the human condition in all of its nuances for the sake of His devotees and the world. He is clearly Free of it all, and at the same time is the perfect embodiment of Love and Compassion for all beings. It is a mystery how One so great and powerful is able to so tenderly and personally touch the heart of His every devotee. Only one who is beyond the limits and conditions of the body-mind could manifest Himself in this way.
At the appointed time when Dan was to return to the boat to meet with Sri Gurudev and give Him the responses from leadership His mood immediately changed again to one of no nonsense dealing with the issues at hand regarding His Circumstance. It did not take long for it to become clear that all of the elements necessary for Sri Gurudev's return to Naitauba were not in place yet, and He let it be known that He would be returning to Malima. He called for the
Brahmacharinis, and we prepared to set off again, loading stores and supplies necessary for the next few days on the desert isle.
It was dusk when the Dauvinqaravi passed outside the reef on the return voyage to Malima, and the seas had turned rough. Sri Gurudev had a simple meal of fruit served to Him as soon as we left. It was quite a trick to prepare His meal in any kind of elegant fashion in the tiny galley while the boat was pitching in the rough seas. Sally, who was joining the crew in Malima, and I helped in the galley. But it wasn't long before I noticed that Sally was looking rather under the weather, and I suggested that she go forward and try to even her stomach out. A few minutes later I noticed that Kanya Navaneeta was hanging under the safety line on the bow, overcome by sea sickness. Sri Gurudev wound up having to slice His own fruit with my pocket knife. After ten minutes Kanya Navaneeta returned to the passengers cabin that Sri Gurudev was occupying. As she staggered through the portal He commented devilishly, "The service around here really stinks." He looked at me as He said it, and I was Graced with one of those wonderful moments of sharing laughter with our Beloved Guru.
For most of the journey the Brahmacharinis stood at the bow of the boat and experienced the full effects of the rolling and pitching of the vessel in the rough seas. After His meal Sri Gurudev joined them there for the rest of the journey. Kanya Suprithi also went forward, and when Kanya Navaneeta got her sea legs she did likewise.
Meanwhile Jethro and Nick had built two huge fires on the beach at Malima to welcome Sri Gurudev and to warm Him upon His return there. It took some time for Solo to get through the reef. It was very dark with no moon and Noa took the Ai Talai, which we were towing and found the passage for us. He marked it with a spotlight and Solo eased the Dauvinqaravi through the narrow channel. When we anchored Noa pulled the Ai Talai to the stern for Sri Gurudev and the rest of the FRO to board. I always assist them all into the boat. Because the seas were rough and the Ai Talai was being tossed around I stayed very close to them all. When Sri Gurudev got onto the Ai Talai I put my arms around Him and He put His around me as He stepped in. Of all the things that I do that is what I love the most, taking care of my Ishta, bodily. I love protecting Him and keeping Him from harm.
Once again we were carrying a significant amount of cargo and it took some time to unload it all from the hold of the Dauvinqaravi, load it into the Ai Talai and bring it ashore. By the time we were done Sri Gurudev had gone up the beach to His camp area for the evening.
During the days Sri Gurudev spent lengths of time
sitting in one of two beach set-ups, one located near the Gurukula's tent area, and the other on the beach in front of His camp site. It was at the location at His campsite that He met with island leadership on a few occasions, they coming to Malima on the Tala Tala with the retreatants and meeting with Sri Gurudev after He sat in Darshan. Other than these times He spent long hours at one site or another having His meals, sitting alone or with the Kanyas and Brahmacharinis, listening to story tapes and talking. In the near distance only six miles away lay Naitauba, appearing huge in comparison to tiny Malima.
Sri Gurudev spent hours seated there facing Naitauba,
regarding it and working His hermitage puja from this "remote beach slum outpost".
As the days wore on we all became weary with the intense demand for service and the little time for rest. It seemed that every night something would happen that would interrupt my sleep. It rained again on one other occasion. And several nights I was awakened and asked to communicate one or another thing to the island. I made arrangements for reports or for supplies to be delivered from Naitauba with the retreatants on the following morning. One night I was awakened and told that Sri Gurudev was not feeling well. He asked for a heated water bottle. I heated water for it, then delivered it to Sri Gurudev's tent. He said that He felt that the water had made Him ill, and He asked that His drinking water be boiled. So, I built a fire and boiled several pots of water and then delivered them to his tent. It was 3:30 am before I got back to bed, and it was raining again by 4:15.
These difficulties and demands might have caused some resistance or reaction, but they didn't. We were all interested in taking care of our Ishta-Guru. That is what we were interested in, and there was nothing else to do to distract us. It was liberating.
On the sixth day Sri Gurudev said that He wanted to go to Naitauba again. Once again it was to meet with leadership aboard the Dauvinqaravi in the lagoon at Naitauba. When we arrived at Naitauba Dan boarded and met with Sri Gurudev for a few hours. Many obstacles to the process Sri Gurudev was involved in had been overcome, and the meeting was fruitful, but not conclusive, so Dan returned to shore to work things through again. Everyone was hopeful that it all could be resolved that afternoon and Sri Gurudev could return to His Hermitage Sanctuary.
When Sri Gurudev finished His meal He came back to the stern of the boat where the galley was located, and where I spent the bulk of my time. He stood there for awhile and then began to talk to me about the boat. He asked me questions about it that I know He already knew the answers to. We walked around the boat together and he pointed out details in the workmanship and repairs that He said would be made in Suva. We talked of the need of another boat for his use, and I told Him of a boat that I knew of that was for sale. It was $200,000, and he said that we couldn't afford it. He mentioned the boat that we came to Naitauba on when we returned to Sri Love-Anandashram in 1989 after the Yajna. It was a beautiful sail boat, a three-
masted schooner. He said it would be nice to have something like that. I agreed enthusiastically.
Dan returned after a few hours, and it became clear that, once again, all issues were not resolved. So, again Sri Gurudev called for the Brahmacharinis and we returned to Malima.
The following day the retreatants came one more time for Sri Gurudev's Darshan. Dan came with them and met with Him. By early afternoon Sri Gurudev had the signs He was looking for and He said that we would be breaking camp and leaving. He asked what we should leave standing at Malima. We decided that we should take down all the structures other than the Darshan cabana which we left standing. The retreatants all helped take everything down and carry it to the beach to be loaded onto the Ai Talai. It took about two-and-a-half hours to complete loading, and when it was Sri Gurudev took half of the Gurukula out to the Dauvinqaravi in the Kulabula. Then He came back and picked up the rest of us and took us out to the boat.
When Sri Gurudev landed on the shore at Naitauba all the residents and retreatants greeted Him at the wharf. Thus ended Bhagavan Adi Da’s exile in Malima.
This was hardly the first time that Beloved had to make a stand with devotees and management. And it would not be the last. We were quick to make promises to Him, but slow to deliver on those promises. Many have yet to be kept.
A few days after Danavira Mela in 1992 Bhagavan called a gathering at Hymns to Me. He arrived at Hymns to Me before most devotees had gotten the word that He was gathering. So, He sat in His chair and waited for everyone to arrive.
When Bhagavan seated Himself I prostrated and offered Him a flower. Just that evening I had received a pair of reading glasses from Suva. You get what you can, and I was sent a petite pair of glasses made for a woman. When I put them on it was like putting a paper clip on a phonebook. When I stood up from offering my gift Bhagavan commented, “Nice glasses, Jeff, you look like Clark Kent.” I immediately whipped them off my face and asked, “Now do I look like Superman?” Bhagavan responded, “No, you still look like Clark Kent.”
Later in the evening Adi Da began to talk about the Mission. He talked of the 250,000 children that die every month of diseases that could be cured with an inoculation. He talked of our community and the lack
of cooperation in it. He said that we give people every reason not to respond, and that nobody has even heard of Him because the sign that we manifest has no attractiveness at all. He cannot be found in us.
His voice raised and He began to shout. He repeatedly banged His staff on the floor with great force, punctuating His words with every stab. He wept at the suffering of the world, the useless and unnecessary suffering.
I was not in the room the entire time because Sri Gurudev said that He wished to return to The Matrix in His boat shortly. Stanley had gone out to prepare the boat and returned saying that it was dead low tide. I was very concerned about Bhagavan piloting the boat as He had no experience with boat, nor navigation in the lagoons. There were coral heads everywhere just below the surface of the water. I called for Jethro, who was familiar with the waters, to return to the village from The Matrix, where He was tending the fire puja. By the time I returned Bhagavan was already walking to His M Cart. When He got in it I told Him that I had called for Jethro to return to the village to help navigate the channels through the reefs, which at low tide are very tricky and sometimes
impossible to pass. But Sri Gurudev said that He could not wait. So, Stanley and I ran to the wharf, preceding Sri Gurudev. After five minutes He and the Kanyas arrived in the M Cart. Sri Gurudev immediately started for the boat, sometimes running and tripping through the water. I ran along beside Him to catch Him when He stumbled. Kanya Tripura fell into the water. It was mayhem, and I was very concerned for everyone's safety. The Guru was moving and I could not stem the tide, even though I did not want Him to get on the boat.
But in the boat He got, along with the Kanyas, Stanley, and I. Stanley began to push the boat out while I watched the coral which was skimming along just off the hull. The water was only inches deep. At one point Kanya Suprithi lost her footing and fell overboard into the lagoon at which Sri Gurudev along with everyone else broke into hysterical laughter. I lifted her back into the boat dripping wet, which we all were before this escapade was over. She said to Sri Gurudev, "You liked that, huh? You thought that was funny, huh?"
Sri Gurudev kept shouting to put the motor into the water and start the engine. Stanley and I told Sri Gurudev that we had to push it into deeper water.
But Bhagavan kept yelling at us to do what He told us to do.
I kept telling Him that we could not, that we were only inches above the coral bed. He just kept shouting to drop the motor and start it. I kept saying no. Stanley and I kept trying to get the boat into the channel, but there was no moon and our lights were not strong enough to enable us to see clearly where the channel was. So, we wound up dragging the boat all over the lagoon with Sri Gurudev yelling at us. Finally, with the fury that Bhagavan was manifesting I felt that we had to try.
Stanley and I both leaned out over the stern, each grasping the top of the outboard with one hand and steadying ourselves with the other hand, we hauled the motor up and out of the water so that the prop was just below the surface. I told Bhagavan to ease on the throttle very slowly. That was never going to happen.
Bhagavan jerked open the throttle full. The force of it pulled the prop and motor deeper into the water instantly, nearly throwing Stanley and I over the top of the motor and into the water. I yelled at Sri Gurudev to go more slowly, but to no avail. After a moment we raised the motor and told Sri Gurudev that we would have to push it out to deeper water again. Stanley and I leapt out of the boat, and walking on the branch coral,
pushed the boat into the increasingly darker water looking for the channel that would lead out to the reef. With every footstep the coral broke beneath our weight and our legs plunged through, scraping them to the knee.
We pushed the boat this way and that trying to find the channel, Sri Gurudev shouting all the time to drop the motor and start the engine; shouting at us to listen to Him. He said that everyone has their own plan and that nobody listens to Him. Everyone on the boat was screaming, Sri Gurudev yelling to do what He said to do, the Kanyas shouting to do one thing and then the other, me shouting that we had to get to deeper water. Sri Gurudev demanded that Stanley drop the motor. I insisted that he not.
I finally resolved in myself that the situation was too dangerous to allow Beloved to pilot the boat. It was dead low tide on the new moon. That was reason enough to stop Sri Gurudev from going out in the boat. The fact that he was tipsy and wild only added to the clarity of my decision. I told Stanley that we were going back to shore. I called on the radio to have Ralph Royce brought to the wharf. I told Beloved that I had called for His car and that He would be back out
at The Matrix very quickly, that we were going back to shore. He said no, drop the motor and start the engine. I leapt out of the boat again and began to push it into shore.
The men in the village had heard all of the shouting, and wondered what in the hell is going on out there? Twenty, or so of them ran to the wharf and waded into the water. When they reached the boat I told them that Bhagavan was going to The Matrix in Ralph Royce and the boat needed to be pushed back to shore. Some of the men went to the other side of the boat, where Bhagavan was standing. He told them to push the boat out into deeper water. I kept shouting furiously to the men on my side, “Push this fucking boat into shore, NOW!!Q!@+.
In this moment I felt there was no alternative. The moment was absolute madness, wild and utterly uncontrollable. I couldn’t allow the possibility of this drifting off into the dark night Koro Sea. And, to me, that possibility was very real.
The boat spun in circles, Beloved shouting for it to be pushed out on the starboard side, me shouting to push it in on the port side. The boat went nowhere, and I felt
that I should try to find the channel one more time. I went to the stern, grabbed the anchor chain, and started pulling the boat. I found the channel.
I pulled into water that was at my chest. Then I re-boarded, went to the rear with Stanley, and lowered the prop into the water. Stanley started the engine, Sri Gurudev gave it full throttle. The boat didn't go anywhere. The shear pin had broken, probably the first time that we lowered it and He gunned the engine. I told Sri Gurudev that the shear pin had sheared and He said it was because we had held the motor out of the water. I told Him no, that it was because we had lowered it into the water.
I walked forward to where Sri Gurudev was, and He jumped into the water right on top of the coral. I yelled at the men in the water to hold Him up, and jumped in after Him. Beloved shouted at me and others to get out of His face, that we had not done what He told us to do. He splashed water into my face several times telling me to get away from Him. But I stayed by Him until He was out of the water. Then as He walked with the Kanyas up the beach and on to Joyful Submission and Indefinable, I accompanied Him until He was in His House. He repeatedly told me to get away from
Him, but His safety was what I was there for, and I had agreed to see to His safety at all times. So, I had to disobey Him again until He was home.
I felt really bad about the entire “boat incident”. I was never a “punk” with Bhagavan, and I had shouted at Him in His face. I felt that I had to because I could take no chance that any harm would come to Him, but that didn’t give me any confidence that I had done the right thing. I had clearly offended my Guru. You can’t feel good about that.
T he “boat incident” was difficult for me. The following day I couldn’t get it off my mind. I wondered if I had done the right thing, blocking Bhagavan from piloting His boat to the Matrix. I told myself over and over that I couldn’t just “hope” that nothing happened. Beloved, Himself, did not take unnecessary chances. Once, during a tidal surge I suggested to Bhagavan that there was no danger from the unusually high tide. But when the water crossed the Matrix lawn He called for His car immediately and evacuated His children.
Then I would acknowledge that I did not know what kind of Divine Play Beloved would animate in any moment. In other words, I didn’t know what He knew that I didn’t know….get it? Thinking about it all day was like being in a mental squirrel cage. It was impossible for me to settle it in my mind. At the very least it seemed that I had really annoyed Beloved, and that I had violated my relationship with Him. And that, for me, was a major bummer. So, I spent the following day moping and feeling bad about myself.
That evening Beloved called another gathering at Hymns to Me. He chatted with some of the men and the Kanyas, while I quietly attended to Bhagavan’s tray. I hadn’t been fired. That was a good sign.
At some point during the gathering I left to make a phone call. I was gone an hour, and when I returned everyone was gathered around Bhagavan’s chair.
He was talking with people very animatedly and humorously, and everyone was laughing. I had no idea what was going on. I sat down, oblivious to what He was up to. In a few moments He said, “And then there is security.” Everyone laughed, all seemed to be in on the joke, save me. Several in the gathering shouted at me to go forward to Bhagavan’s chair.
When I stood and began to approach Him Bhagavan observed, “So you have broken your vow.” I asked Him what vow. He said the one that forbade me to handle business off island. I told Him that I had not been handling business. I told Him that Moth wanted me to tell Him that she loved Him. He replied that that would not help me now.
Then He reached around behind His back to retrieve a chicken egg which He had tucked into the seat cushion behind Him. He told me that He had saved a particularly disgusting egg for me, He held it aloft and pointed out what He said was chicken shit covering it.
I could see a small feather stuck to it, also what appeared to be blood, and some unsavory looking yellow goo. It was, indeed, a disgusting looking egg.
I found out later that while I had been away Beloved had spoken in detail about the previous evening’s “boat incident”, describing each person’s participation in the debacle. I never heard what He specifically said about me, but I am sure that I was one of the signature culprits in the affair.
Beloved had determined that “egg-secutions” were necessary, and people who had been involved in the watery conflagration had their sentences carried out by Beloved, personally. All of this occurred in my absence, thus my cluelessness as to what was happening when I returned to Hymns to Me.
Bhagavan’s method of eggsecution involved the convicted coming forward and sitting down in front of Beloved’s chair, his or her back to Beloved, facing the gathering. He then placed an egg in the mouth of the sentenced. Bhagavan positioned His hand underneath the chin of the egg-filled mouth, and then in a swift movement closed the jaw, breaking the egg. The eggsecuted was then expected to swallow the egg, whole.
Bhagavan looked at me and said, "For countermanding My direct orders...in the interest of My personal safety..." Then, He told me to open wide. Kanya Tripura told me to swallow the whole thing. I said, “The shell also?” She said yes. I think that there may have been a number of messy eggsecutions during the evening, and people didn’t want to see any more raw egg dribbling down chins and onto the surroundings. Bhagavan made as if He was going to place the egg in my mouth, and then, with a swift motion, smashed it on my forehead with sudden force.
Joy shot throughout my body. You can see in the photo
that I already had a shit-eating grin on my face before the egg hit the people behind me. There was no shock or surprise, just bliss. The crowd went into hysterics. Beloved had everyone else eat their egg. I wore mine. Egg splattered all over people next to and behind me, reaching the third row back. Egg was dripping down my face and covered my hair. I took Bhagavan’s handkerchief and wiped the egg from His hand as the laughter continued. Bhagavan then claimed that all had been purified.
I knew that Bhagavan didn’t need anything purified.
He clearly wasn’t having any problem. He had told me before, “There is nothing between us, Jeff.” It was I that had the problem, that had put something between the Guru and myself. And it was I who needed purification. Beloved humorously and gracefully performed those purifications. The result was instantaneous. The bad feeling and subjectivity vanished like a cloud.
A few days before Beloved went into exile at Malima I was asked if I could take on a rather elaborate project.
Beloved was presented with a very fine stone carving of a Nandi Bull for His birthday in 1992. It measured fourteen inches long and ten high. He admired it, and wanted a large base made for it. Bhagavan also wanted to put a lingam on the base in front of the statue of Nandi, which is done traditionally. He wanted to use a crystal lingam that He had, and asked that a silver base be made for it.
Island management asked me about the project. I said that I could not make such a piece. My jewelry tools were not suited to such a large project. I went ahead and made a materials estimate and reported to management that the materials (sterling silver sheet, etc.) would cost $4,000. I was told that the island did not have a budget for such a project. That was the last I heard of it before Bhagavan sailed for Malima.
On the afternoon of Bhagavan’s return from Malima
I was intending to get some rest. I’d been sleeping on the sandy atoll, just a few yards from the beach, and was looking forward to a restful night on my foam rubber mattress. I was preparing to settle in when I got a call to come to Indefinable right away.
When I arrived at Indefinable Beloved was waiting for me. He wanted to know what the progress was on the silver Shiva lingam base. I was taken aback, as I presumed that He had been notified that the base could not be made at the time. That had not been my decision, so I assumed I had no more to do with the discussion. Bhagavan presumed differently.
He asked why He had not been told of this decision. I told Him that I didn’t know why, and that I had communicated with management about it. He was shouting and asking why an alternative plan had not been submitted. I, again, told Him that I did not know why, which, again, did not satisfy Him. Then, He asked how long it would take to make the silver Shiva lingam base. I told Him that considering all of my other responsibilities it would likely take until April. He responded, “That’s ridiculous!” I tried to say that I had never done anything like this and it was difficult for me to know how long it would take and I didn't
want to make an agreement with Him that I couldn't keep. He didn't buy it.
So, I told Him that I should have taken more responsibility. At that point I was just trying to answer His most difficult of all questions..."WHY?" He looked in my eyes and repeated, “WHY?!” “WHY?!” There is no content to the question, so, there is really no content in your mind, nothing to grasp hold of. I stood looking at Bhagavan with an empty mind and a blank stare.
Then He told me that He fired people for less than this. That is when I saw that I needed to make a response. My mind was clear, and I knew what I wanted and what I needed to do. “Why” didn’t matter anymore. It was already ancient history.
I said to Beloved, “Don’t fire me. I’m the best man for the job. I will get it done. I will find a way.” I didn’t just say it. I meant it. I had resolve, and there was no question that the lingam base would be done. In my intention, it was already done.
Then Beloved asked if it could be made out of wood. I told Him that it could, and we briefly discussed how the base could be ornamented with sterling silver.
Finally, He told me that I had twenty-four hours to complete the base. I acknowledged the time frame and told Beloved that it would be done.
I put thoughts of my foam rubber mattress aside and hurried to the wood shop in Ciqome. Arthur was there, as usual. I told him that I needed a dry billet of hardwood nine or ten inches in diameter. He had a perfect section of vesi, and I requisitioned it immediately.
I don’t really remember how I made the base. I am pretty sure that I carved the top of the billet down so that it would channel water to a silver spout that I fashioned and attached to the vesi. I decorated the base with twisted and beaded sterling wire, I’m pretty sure. At least, that’s what I think I did.
I worked through the night and the next day. Twenty-four hours passed, and the base wasn’t near completion. I thought I might get a question from Beloved, asking where the base was. But I didn’t, and I kept on working. It took me thirty-six hours to finish it, and even though I exceeded the deadline, whenever I was fully invested in my service Bhagavan always seemed to know. That was what He was really interested in, not so much the deadline. He used
“deadlines” to keep us close, to keep us with Him, our attention riveted to Him. There was no “slack” around The Great One.
There was a great lesson in this incident for me. And I reflected on it and compared it to the “boat incident”, which had occurred a few months previous to this.
I remembered when I jumped into the water after Beloved, just after I had countered Beloved’s assertion that the boat would not go because we had not put the motor into the water. As I was jumping I noted that I was angry when I said that. My disposition was inappropriate and disrespectful. I really felt it as a “fuckup”, something I simply should not have done.
I saw that I had been weak-minded during the incident. I would not have let anyone take a boat out in the lagoons under those conditions, let alone my Spiritual Master. His safety was more than my responsibility, and I had to assess the situation as I saw it. But I lacked the firm resolve of my conviction. And I thought, “How do I know what Beloved can do?” That was weak-minded.
I also lacked humor. I was deeply concerned in the moment, not just for Beloved’s safety. I was also
concerned for myself. I wanted to do the “right thing”, and I let my confusion about that make me serious. What if I would have broken into a Fred Astaire-style dance routine right there in the boat. What if I had simply played “God’s fool” rather than argue with Him. I still could have refused to let Him take the boat out, but it likely would have been an entirely different incident.
When I told Beloved that I would make the Shiva lingam base happen I was perfectly clear, and I was right there with Bhagavan…in my feeling, in my intention. There was no confusion or hesitation. There was no emotional reaction. Everything was simple. I did not want Beloved to fire me, and I had to make a manly response to Him, no excuses, no bullshit. And as soon as I did He was right there, working with me, suggesting ways that I could make it happen. His fierceness in my face served me. It moved me to a strength that I noticed, and I understand that as the always appropriate asana in life. Ambiguity has no place in a devotee’s mind or heart.
O n one of the outings in 1990 at Lion's Lap I was out swimming with the Brahmacharini's while Sri Gurudev was resting on the beach with the Kanyas. While swimming I ran into the tentacles of a jellyfish and was stung on my face, chest and legs. I never did see the actual jellyfish. I simply swam away from the area and sat on a large coral head for a little while and told the Brahmacharini's to stay on the raft they were on until it seemed likely that the jellyfish had drifted away.
Noa and I looked about for a few minutes. Then we all swam into shore. The stings were not severe at all and after Charles had put some ointment on them the discomfort dissipated within a few minutes.
About fifteen minutes after we had ended our swim Bhagavan decided to go out with the Kanyas and Brahmacharini's. As I was preparing to reenter the water I asked Kanya Navaneeta to tell Sri Gurudev that there may be jellyfish in the water and ask Him to be mindful of them while He was swimming. A minute later Kanya Navaneeta returned and told me that Bhagavan told her to tell me to be mindful.
B hagavan went to visit His proposed Maha-Samadhi site in the center of the island in September or so of 1990. He walked about the large meadow looking for the most auspicious and beautiful location for the temple. He decided on a spot that looked towards the South and East over the ocean with Padavara Loka in the foreground and Vanua Bulavu in the distance.
He was describing details of the placement of the temple and the burial chamber where His body would be placed upon His Maha-Samadhi. As He was speaking He stopped short and lifted His left arm as if to consult an imaginary wristwatch saying, "What time is it?" Then He looked up at us laughing heartily, and as only One who is free of fear can.
W hen I was an attendant at The Matrix I was stationed at Do Me Some Good. I had many services to perform during the day, but after dinner my service was to sit by the phone. There was a direct line to Bhagavan's bedroom, and I was to be available at all times for anything He might call for.
In fact, Bhagavan rarely called during the evening. I usually would not get a call from Him until He went to bed. Then He called to tell me to turn off the generator. I would respond, "Good night, My Lord." He would reply, "Tcha". I looked forward to that call every night.
I was the only person who was supposed to answer when Bhagavan called, and I was to be there to answer after dinner. As I said, in the early evening He rarely rang, so when nature called I felt confident that I could duck out, relieve myself quickly, and return to the phone without missing His call. But when it got later I would not leave. I didn't want to chance being away from the phone at the wrong moment.
Bhagavan's hours varied, and I never knew when He
would retire. Sometimes the night would wear on, and I would have been sitting at my tiny jewelry bench or writing something like this for hours without leaving the phone. One night went on well past 1am, and I could tolerate the pressure in my bladder no more. I raced to the toilet in the small building next door to Do Me Some Good and force-urinated. As I was zipping up I heard the phone ring. I leapt for the door and raced the short distance to Do Me Some Good. Another devotee had entered the building, and just as I flung the door open I saw her answer the phone. I said "Stop", but it was too late. I started to admonish her about answering the phone, but before I could it rang again. Where had I been? I explained that I had gone to the bathroom.
The next morning I received notes saying that I should not go to the bathroom. And that is why I have not gone to the bathroom for over twenty years…just kidding.
Turning off the generator should be a simple matter. It usually was, except when it was raining—and it rained a lot. After I hung up the phone I walked down to the carport where Ralph Royce, Bhagavan's Land Cruiser, was parked. I would fire it up and drive up the hill
above The Matrix, then take the right turn on the dirt path that leads to the generator shed. I flipped off the breakers, shut down the engine, and drove back down the hill.
When it was dry it would take five minutes. When it was raining it would take an hour or more. The two hundred yard dirt path that led to the shed had an uphill incline of 3 or 4 degrees at most. When the path was dry I could drive up it, no problem. When it was wet no wheeled vehicle could get up that path. The silt of the path had combined with diesel fumes that had settled on the path surface from years of running the generators. When it rained the water mixed with the diesel and silt making the surface of the path and the surrounding foliage slicker than ice. The Land Cruiser could only get to within a hundred and twenty-five yards of the generator shed. After that the wheels just spun.
The first steps I took when I exited the vehicle claimed my footwear. My thongs were sucked from my feet and lost to the muck. It was just as well. Barefoot gave me some more grip. My toes would search for anything to catch hold of, but there was nothing but the slippery goo. I tried to walk in a half-crouch, my
feet spread wide apart, slowly lifting one foot and moving it inches in front of the other, while I attempted to maintain my center of balance and stay grounded to the earth. But no matter how careful I was one foot or the other flew from underneath me and I crashed to the ground repeatedly. Each time I fell I gingerly returned to my hands and knees and slowly rose to a half-crouched position again. In this manner I ascended the path, flashlight in hand, rain pounding down until I was no longer able to rise to my feet or take a single step without falling because of the
slight increase of the incline as the path continued to the rise that the generator shed was on.
I had to resort to crawling at this point. Crawling gave me no more surety in my ascension of the path. It was just as slow and tedious. I moved my knees and hands just as carefully and slowly for I had no more grip on the path on all fours than I did upright. It helped that my center of balance was lower, but that was the only benefit. Both my hands and my knees slid out from under me, so, I had to crawl very slowly. Even so, I fell to my belly or on my chin again and again, legs and arms splayed in all directions.
The last fifty yards I couldn't even crawl. I worked my way over to the side of the path where I could use the foliage growing there to aid my ascent. I grasped handfuls of grass at ground level and hauled myself up the hill, hand-over-hand, dragging myself through the mud on my belly, tossing the flashlight ahead of me as I inched my way toward the generator shed. It was slow-going, and by the time I reached the shed I was covered in mud and diesel fuel.
I was bugged when the car couldn't pull the hill. And I was pissed when I was falling on my ass over-and-over. But by the time I was dragging myself through
the mud I was laughing, and thinking to myself, "Shakespeare never wrote anything so absurd!"
In any case, it seemed like a lot of effort just to turn out the lights. But this kind of exaggerated and even comical situation isn't uncommon, not for me, and not for a lot of other people. Maybe everybody. Life around and in service to Bhagavan is a constant leela. There are so many stories to be told!