Pussy Pink

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I find myself sitting with a crazy traditional Balinese painter. He has few teeth and the best smile and is using a thin and sharp bamboo stick dipped in a small glass bottle to paint his visions. The hut is covered in his creations, the elaborate details beyond exquisite. His dreams must be intense. Wow. I would like to be in his mind for a moment or two.

I sit for a bit and try to converse as best as I can, mostly hand gestures and grins. My Bahasa is shit. I leave after receiving many heartfelt hugs, my back covered with black smudges of ink. We laugh.

View a few more homestays, including the one of the white tiger brother whose path I cross again. It has a/c, a luxurious amenity. I am unsure still. The woman from the farmstay in East Bali is too calling me strongly, what does my heart request? Where can I best serve and contribute to a community?

I switch back and forth between going to another acroyoga play group and a ceremony at Ashram Munivara, the location of the full moon puja, for the return of Ketut Arsana (the founder) from his travels in Japan. I feel drawn to meet this man, one who is not only a dedicated Hindu and yogi but also an accomplished Balian. From his photograph on a brochure I am certain he is one to see, a sparkle of divine light in his eyes. Photoshop I think not.

At the Ashram I enter in all white although my shoulders are not covered and I am encouraged to purchase a t-shirt. Alas I am now a pink sheep instead of black, adorned in a cotton top with a big Shiva (Siwa) lingam and yoni. I imagine that if all men would feel comfortable wearing a pink penis the world may be a more peaceful place.

A long-term resident of the ashram guides me to the holy spring for cleansing, droplets on my head, sipping from cupped palms, over the face, and then my feet. Everything is repeated three times, a sacred number for countless traditions. An offering of flowers, rice, and incense is placed gracefully next to the fountain while she chants devotedly.

We walk through the gardens to the temple area, first honoring Durga (the divine mother) in a cave and then a sacred cow. Around the yoni/lingam statue with a roaring fire we sit and sing to the guru (as he is called) as he enters on a satin pathway lined with fresh flowers. He has a wise long white beard and a turban and emanates light. There is a dais where he sits with closed eyes as blessings begin and mantras sang. In the covered temple area we do the same as Guru fuels the energy of the altar, ringing bells, incense, flowers, there are sacred ritual dances, and then a chat where I am encouraged to sit in front of his chair. Visualize an ocean of white devotees, nearly all Balinese, and me with a pink t-shirt. I am learning how to behave still. Guru and I make eye contact many times as he shares words to his captivated audience in Bahasa. He sings, even one song about love in English, I know he pokes fun of me a bit but I care not (even asking me publicly if I am ok). Yes, good man, I am in bliss.

A water blessing from a silver tin, same thrice time procedure, and mud placed over our third-eye leads us back outside where we circle the statue singing, more dancing, and then kissing the Gurus feet as he stands in the center of the crowd on a small platform with his eyes closed. His is channeling heavenly light, the energy incredibly intense. Some are crying, shouting, impulsively moving their bodies like monkeys (screaming “oh Hanoman!”). It is a spiritual zoo of releasing, healing, ascension; enthusiasts are talking in Hindu tongues. I cry.

The Guru is of miraculous power and strength no doubt and I am welcomed graciously yet I feel more comfortable in congregations where there is no idol worship. It is cultural no doubt to call a teacher “guru” yet a custom I find a bit dis-empowering for we are all capable of connecting in the same manner, it simply takes devotion and practice. I kiss his feet in respect and honor still.

In the temple again we sit and I chat with a foreigner sitting to my left. Her name is Sara, a sister from Sweden, who is living at the ashram for five months. She says she knows of me already for she chatted earlier with the boys from Love Space (who was also hanging with the sister who teaches yoga for children). Circle, circle, love and light.

She invites me to go to Titra Empul with the crew yet I have plans to teach yoga to the angel clairvoyant. Do I smell and need yet another bath? This is Bali, constant prayers, endless ceremony. There is no boundary between physical and spiritual world. All is one.

“Ceremony is the mechanism through which what you know becomes what you are”.

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One response »

  1. Hi Eve! I have been thinking about this post for days and days and it’s been gnawing at me. I wanted to take a moment to address the ‘Cultural” blockage and put it in the context of love. The guru, the teacher is a person not an idol. However he or she is a person who has taken on an extraordinary burden to deliver the student out of love and compassion and to teach and live as an example. It is if I daresy impersonal to relegate this person as an idol. If I am correct in my understanding that you are indeed referring to the guru in this way. The spiritual master agrees to take on the karmic reactions of the student willingly even though this causes them bodily distress and they even agree to come back for a disciple who makes a detour even if it takes another lifetime.. Guru also mean “heavy” and I think you can see the connection. As an ambassador from the spiritual world to the temporal world, the teacher is there to train the student to get back into a state of grace. Things are not haphazard. (The Divine has likes and dislikes too.) Athough the love we have in our hearts for the Beloved in inheirent we live in a state of forgetfullness. The teacher helps us reawaken and this involves practical instruction. It is an art and a science. The thing is although the guru is perfectly capable of blessing and thus empowering the student it’s not a material relationship. We are conditioned to think “now I have what I want I don’t need you anymore.” This is the not love you see. Not that I pray to you and get some blessing and then go away with no memory. The love actually deepens as the realisation grows at the gift given which is a reconnection and a reactivation to Source. I think the operative word is REAL. REALISATION. Spend anytime learning about the lives of the acaryas like Narrotama dasa Thakur, Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Bhakitsiddanta Saraswati Thakur or Bhaktivedenta Swami… and you will find them all to be incredibly empowered learned students of their teachers because of the love and humility they felt in relationship to the guru and the entire living tradition.This is a LIVIING tradition. This is love. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking otherwise. This is also how teachings continue. As the young ones come like you the elder teach. Eventually you will be old too. (Your body anyway). Mercy in this way descends.

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