I walked in on Saturday.
The place was a small establishment that consisted of a few buildings dedicated solely for Kalaripattayu (Martial Arts – one to be precise) and Kalarichikitsa (Ayurveda, perhaps three – but not many more than that) and many more as an assortment of temples, accommodation for priests, auxillary buildings for the purposes of worshipping the almighty all knowing all pervading intangible metaphorical entity known as God. There were a lot of gardens as well – some decorative, some vegetative. I am including the architecture in such detail so you get an idea of the degree by which worshipping presided over the other functional aspects of the place.
My only permanent job was to wash the landing of the temple everyday at 5 in the morning, which I did, everyday that I was there, although I did try to bunk it the day I got kicked out. Re: tried.
Other than that, I partook in some manual labour: moving cement bricks and sacks around, clearing the coconut groves of fallen leaves, gardening, and other odd jobs, quite efficiently if I may add.
Now that we have established this, let’s get spiritual.
The Sat Guru Hanumananda and I had had discussions on our first meeting with each other. We spoke of what each of us perceives as god, came to a certain degree of agreement and disagreed on certain aspects. I was under the impression that it was concluded that both of us have a similar understanding but approach the processes from different angles. He liked to be known as God fearing for ‘it is an energy that is beyond our control’ and I did not care much about the fear aspect of it stating that knowledge is a method of understanding that energy so you would be able to control it. Either way. Things were pretty smooth.
There was an incident when I went into the Ashram library where there was this beautiful chair, draped in satin and it was overwhelmingly cushioned. It also had a little padded stool to place your feet on. The library was just a small room fit for one person to read in. I was the only person there. So I took out a book and sat on that chair to read. I couldn’t even get through the introduction in comfort when a deluded American woman (the ornamental permanent saffron clad sanyasin who found her peace - you know the story) walked in and got the shock of her life. “Oo. Oh. Oh. Oh. That is the Gooo-rooo’s chair. It is disrespectful to sit on the goo-rooo’s chair. I looked around the room and told her that the goo-rooo doesn’t seem to be using it and it is the most comfortable piece of furniture in the room. Anyway, in not much time I did abide and had a pointless discussion about consciousness with that dead woman. This little bit of information is important because when the gooo-rooo spoke to my mother about my expulsion, he cited this incident as an act of blatant disregard for everything.
Then on Wednesday, I was stopped from going to the village by one of the people at the ashram who wished for me not to wear boxers but clad myself in a dhoti or trousers as ‘everyone knows you’re from the ashram’. I told him I am more comfortable in these. It is too hot to wear trousers and dhotis don’t have pockets. He admitted that he too would like to wear boxers but it is ‘the rule’. I told him that was a very foolish thing to say and he should know why it is foolish. Regardless, I changed into a dhoti and left. After I returned, I had lunch and left my cell phone and wallet in the dining hall. I went to the dorm and slept. When I woke up, I found out that a certain Mr. Swami Sat Guru Hanumananda had possession of my belongings.
I had chai and went to meet him.
The swami meets me and tells me that I am irresponsible. I agreed. He tells me that this is an ashram and not a resort and you will do what you are told out here. I agreed. He told me to present myself wearing trousers and t-shirts everyday at 9 am. I agreed. He mentioned to one of his minions that Kalari classes will be compulsory at 6am in the morning everyday henceforth. He agreed. He told me that my father was a wise man to send me here and to stay under such basic circumstances (although the whole affair was my idea), I agreed. He then continued to talk about the importance of institutions and cited the nation as an example. He asked – do you love your country?
This is when things began to get really interesting. I shall write it down as a script.
R: For a person who you know to be extremely awesome.
S: For a person who is dead.
R: I don’t adhere to the concepts of nations.
S: So you don’t think it is important?
S: Do you care about your mother?
R: I don’t see how it is relevant here.
S: Your parents. Do you care about your parents?
R: To the degree with which I interact with them. It makes me responsible for how I am to them and a consequence of that is me being caring with what I met out towards them.
S: Do you care for other people’s parents? For example, my parents.
R: I would if I interacted with them, my care would be in proportion to how much I interact with them. If they were in a position where my help would be beneficial then I would deliver it to them to the fullest of my capacity.
S: Hmm. Interesting. If you mother was getting abused, what would you do?
R: I would try and prevent the abuse from unfolding.
S: Exactly. So you need law and order to prevent such things from happening.
R: No. I would rather elucidate people into seeing the irrelevance of abusing another person thus preventing this entire eventuality from occurring. You can’t just punish a human being like an animal and expect him to learn. I can understand that back in the day there would be various tribes, clans, kingdoms, without any communications and with diminished understanding but we do have a network now and institutions of the past need to give way in order to bring forth such concepts into realization.
S: I deal with communications. I know all about communications. So you think you can change the world?
R: I am changing it.
S: How long do you think it will take you to do this?
R: If I was given control over all the existing media, I could do it within a week. That much time is generous.
S: You know. I have seen many people in my life. In jail, outside jail, I have trained commandos, I have fought in the army and killed people. I have seen people who have come from both the gutters and the richest of places. I have seen people who could commit murder without hesitation but I have never come across someone like you. Everything about you is ‘I’, ‘Me’, it is all very selfish. You don’t believe in God. You don’t come to the temple. You never listen to anyone. That is the problem with you. You can’t listen to anyone. You always have an answer and so you will never listen. You are a fully negative person. You don’t know how to respect elders. You don’t know how to respect God. You know, I can raise my voice and make you unconscious. I can hit you and you will listen to me like a dog. Today is a very auspicious day for us you know. There was a big puja in the temple. Even the foreigner, who knows nothing about Hinduism, came and gave his respect. You were not there.
R: I was not told by anyone that I needed to be there or that it was a very auspicious occasion.
S: You needn’t be told. You should know. You saw all those people coming in. But you don’t respect any of it, just like you don’t respect your elders. You don’t know how to. You were not raised well. Maybe you got too much love from your mother and too much hatred from your father, I don’t know. You were not raised properly. And you come here to learn Kalari from me and you make it seem like it is you who has come here to teach something.
R: So age is the only barometer for respect? Why don’t we all find out who is the oldest person on the planet and start worshipping him?
S: (Stunned look)
R: Okay. You are right. I don’t listen to anyone. I am the most negative person in the world. Now would you please tell me what a positive person is?
S: I don’t want to talk to you. I will be turning negative.
R: But I thought communication was your forte. You said so yourself, less than five minutes ago. And how can I have an influence over you, you are a master. So do help me learn.
S: You cannot. You are not fit for anything. You are not fit for Kalaripayat. Pack your bags and go.
R: You are a Sat Guru. You are a person of a much higher intelligence than me. Yet you don’t wish to communicate to me. This is just an example of you evading your dharma, your duty.
S: Come here.
(Asks me to stand in front of him.)
Get out of here. I don’t want to see your face again.
R: Okay. You told me that I came here to teach you something. That is true. So, what have you learnt?
S: (Shakes, tries to gather himself for another slap.)
R: One word. Power.
So I got kicked out of the Ashram.