It was 2006, if I recall right. Guruji and I were having lunch in a little Tibetan cafe on the main mall in central Manali, Himachal Province. Eleven years into my discipleship now, I was no longer afforded the luxury of living like a recluse sanyasin; it’s rather easy to remain peaceful and quiescent next to a trickling brook, the only disturbances being the odd villager or animal to ramble through our temple gardens. Rather, I was nowadays being instructed to learn how to meditate while surrounded by the hustle and bustle of life and the township of Manali afforded me just enough hustle to keep things interesting.
Guruji was fully Kundalini-awakened and He praised Her grace no end. At the same time, He was Shiva manifest in a human shell; just try to wrap your imagination around the vastness of awareness that was His perspective. Impossible. But He was my teacher and I often sat with Him in total awe. He was Aghori and at the same time had given all that up, having completely found the balance. He was the very model of the living Silence. How grateful I remain that He decided to talk to me. He never overtly practiced the Tantrik arts, showing me just enough to inspire and engage, just enough to teach. You see, I’d come to Him already full to the brim with the western tradition and questions oozed out of my ears. Luckily I knew just enough to know that I really didn’t know anything at all, but when I saw Him, I knew Him immediately. He was all the textbooks I’d ever read walking around in a realized body.
And so it transpired that eleven years into our relationship, over simple fried rice and a plain omelette, our conversation turned as it often did, to the responsibility of power. We might’ve just as easily have been talking about the politics of the George Bush Presidency or the necessity of equality between the poor and the rich; and maybe it was our location in the Tibetan Quarter, but my mind turned to the meditative practices of the monks and I asked my Master the following question.
Guruji smiled and told me to return to my hotel and meditate on the answer. He asked me to see how far my gyan had risen. “Go and meditate for the peace.” He said. “See the outcome you would create and tell me of your result tomorrow.” We shared a smoke and cuppa chai on the stoop in front of the shop and He sent me on my way, Himself returning to the temple in a shanthi village 20 klicks west along the river.
My hotel, if you could call it that, was no more than a concrete hovel with not even a heater to keep me warm in winter. Seems meditation was supposed to be a twenty-four hour affair and should keep me quite well without all the props to support me. That’s a different story. But at the moment, those four, bare concrete walls didn’t feel appropriate to the task I’d been assigned, so I took myself to the river and sat myself upon a sturdy rock at its center. Water after all was a splendid conduit of magical intention and it was really a brilliant day and the sunshine on my face would only increase my happy. And that is how I happened to enter into my meditation this day, full of sublime intention, joy, love, faith, curiosity – I knew my Lord to be an attentive God, a magnanimous God, a benevolent God. Nature was my very essence, my soul – Me – the Lord is more than just my shepherd; He is Me! Surely the thought that spurs me to this meditation is His very own. The result must also be His, too. These are the thoughts to pass across the screen of my mind as I settled down into my meditation, engaging the Nature of All with every bit of Love I knew.
I was sitting for maybe ten minutes when the Autumn clouds parted allowing a warm beam of sunshine to fall upon the place where I sat. I took it as a joyous sign and increased my attention, envisioning a world engulfed in this aura of Love in which I now sat. I allowed the bliss of my namesake (Devananda) to envelop me as I knew my intention to be being received at the Highest levels of the Council. I allowed the feeling of joy at the truth I knew to be the manifestation of this miracle around the world to support me and empower my practice. And then quite suddenly a man shouted out to me from the river bank.
“Hey. What are you doing?” His swarthy complexion and accent pegged him as a local tourist. His dress told me he’d come for a swim. “Are you meditating, sir?” He asked as he approached from the riverbank with ready smile. I must have seemed a sight to him, the only white man for miles around, stripped half naked sitting in the middle of his river. Skipping lightly across several stones he made his way to my perch and asked me whether we might take a photo together. I dearly wanted to return to my meditation but I conceded in good nature and asked his good name as he rested a friendly arm on my shoulder.
“I am Manish, my Lord.” He replied, smile beaming, sunlight twinkling in either eye. “It means God of Love in our local language.” I wasn’t exactly dumbfounded that my meditation had immediately manifested a deity into my sphere, but I did enjoy the ironic humor of the moment.
And that was really good enough for me, I guess. I hadn’t manifested world peace, but I entertained no doubt at all that a communion with the Greater Nature through meditation was not only possible, but actually a medium of communication that if practiced consciously, with great focus, intent, need and drive, that manifestation of the object of meditation into physicality was really the only possible result. When man speaks with Nature, She replies in kind. And so really the only question that remains is, what of those millions of monks focused daily in their meditation and prayers upon the well-being of this planet? Where is their intention really? Are they steady and true? It took me about ten minutes to call the God of Love to my place on the river. These guys sit in their practice for hours on end and they have not manifested world peace. Yet do they keep us from teetering over the edge of chaos? Are the billions of chaotic intentions, the haphazard thoughts of the lesser reality creating something like a balance? Would a total world peace actually create an imbalance in an already perfect world?
I left my perch that day with a few more questions for the next day when I would report my findings to the Master, continuing my education in the yogic arts and sciences, glad only to be a conscious witness of this ever-changing miracle on this never-ending road of life, and kinda proud actually, to be so intimate with the Lord. The Nature. The nature of us all.
…is a Saiva Tantrika, Gyana Yogi and founder of Uma Maheshwara Yoga & Ayurveda. David has an MA in Semiotics, lives in Japan with his family and works as a coach in L & D, devoting his time to developing science-based tools and programs that help people reach the fullest potential of the human condition.