In the train Lausanne – Bern, Switzerland, with Shri Mataji, my Guru. Spring 1987. She seats in front of me, nonchalantly. She wears a green and yellow sari, colors of the nabhi chakra. The train speeds by a field, all green, sprinkled with yellow flowers. I say: “Mother, look at the fields, it is exactly the colors of your sari.” Of course, it was true. Half an hour later, through the window, the same landscape, but with the brown of the forest in the background for the leaves were not yet out. Shri Mataji says: “ see there is also the color of my jacket. Yom had not noticed that.” Mother’s jacket was indeed of the same brown. I loved being that poetically outsmarted. “No, Mother, I had not noticed”. Swiss first class wagons are comfy and silent. The train glides and purrs cozily.
Amman, Jordanie Mars 1996 Ville de pierres blanches, qui me rappelle Jérusalem, perchée comme elle sur le vaste dos d’une colline. Visite aux ruines romaines, Jerash et le temple d’Artemis la superbe. Que de lourdes pierres les hommes ont porté, mus par une combinaison d’esclavage et de vision. Rome, Byzance, les califes, les ottomans, les Anglais, le vent, le sable, la chèvre qui passe devant l’olivier rabougris.
Islamabad , Pakistan March 1996 . Newspapers are so full of hate for India. Small journalists are roaring loud. It is so useless! I had hoped to get Arafat and Shimon Peres together in Amman, working out, inch by inch along a good project. But the election of Netanyahu as Israeli PM destroyed such prospects. Since then, the peace process in the Middle East is threatened from all sides. What to do with the hydra of fundamentalism? How to respond to violence, as spiritual beings, when it is so brutal and fanatical? If we become violent ourselves then evil in a sense, has already got his way. But pacifism is not the answer. Self-defense is “the” just war. In my speech before the president of Pakistan , I mused: “ To make war you need to be dumb and stubborn; to make peace, you need to be smart and patient”.
New York, January 97 Muslim and Judeo Christian fundamentalists love to hate each other’s. The sensible people, as usual, caught in the middle.
Flight SR 933 towards Rome Somehow I believe we must prepare for very hard times ahead of us – The destruction trends in society are not showing any signs of correction. Combined with the breakdown of morality – heralded by Clinton , the typical baby boomer- the breakdown of social and economic equity is triggered by the wild search for “share holder value”. How long will society be able to cope? Solidarity, humanity, decency where are you?. How long will the last vestiges of our civilization maintain our tribes together?
Moscow, Russia, January 1998 Yesterday, invited by the Chairman of the Russian Ecological Foundation, I made an improvised presentation for a group of selected students participating in a leadership forum. I chose the topic “Sustainable Development and the Art of Bicycling” to add, of course, my familiar recipe of Hegelian dialectics. It was fun. They loved it and it is true that I probably would have loved teaching. To keep balance the bicycle needs to move forwards. Dialectics is the relationship between movement and equilibrium. It was nice to remind these young Russians, ready to absorb market capitalism like sponges the blessed water, that Marx and Lenin did also have something sensible to say.
Baku, Azerbaijan January 1998 J’entre dans l’enceinte du sanctuaire zoroastrien de Alashkah avec mon groupe d’azéris, aussi joyeux que bruyants. Le site est entoure par la désolation des infrastructures pétrolières qui poussent vers le ciel leur structures Je parviens tout de même a me recueillir devant la flamme qui danse au centre du mausolée central. On dit que Zarathoustra est venu en ce lieu. Un collègue m’observe : si vous restez plus longtemps ici, vous allez devenir zoroastrien. La flamme est vivante. Sa joie danse ä l’intérieur de moi. Je me sens pacifié, léger. Le nom de mon contact évoque le passage de Ogotai et des ses hordes mongoles et de Jaafar, le vizir maléfique que Walt Disney a décrit dans « la lampe de Saladin ». L’aventure continue. J’adore être assis dans un avion qui part. Je me donne l’illusion que j’ai un ailleurs qui m’attend, un autre lieu dont je partirai dans quelques jours avec le même soulagement.
Island of Samoa; June 2000 Orgy of seafood, sashimi and lobster at the balcony of old restaurants, in the sticky warmth of the evening. In this country, policemen and the prime minister alike wear a miniskirt. Churches mushroom all over and the televangelists spit their rubbish on all television channels. Poor islanders, if only there would be a way to protect them. Merchants of snake oil and spiritual dreams are so greedy that they shall rob even the poorest of the poor.
SPIRALS The Alchemy of the Ascending Trend. Through trials and tribulations, tests and blessings, apparent success and failures, we consolidate, very deeply and not always obviously, the process of our transformation. The movement is of a rotating wheel, an ascending spiral. It leaves us, day by day, and years by years, imperceptibly but really improved.
The Netherlands, October 2001 Written as the train speed by Arnhem, a bridge too far for the British paratroopers during World War II. But, thanks to HHSM, what was too far is now within reach! Decrease having, increase being! Additional luggage weight is denied in The Big Trip. Do not create desires if you do not have to. Owning, possessing is THE illusion. At the end, we shall have nothing and we should prepare for it. At the end, we only take with us what we ARE. Philip, the northern knight, asked me what was my hobby. I searched, could not come up with a good answer. I told him: “my hobby is existing”.
Lake Piru, California, October 2002. She spoke about the path of devotion and the path of faith, leading to this greatest of prizes, wisdom. Surrender is a bit like inviting God to your house but faith is like running towards Him. And She went back to the essential necessity of meditation, with a big incentive. Because, when you love, you want to meet. I meditate for love. I walked in perfect happiness with my daughters and friends, on the beach where, in July 1975, I had called on the Power to find me. On Sunset Boulevard, the coffee was great, the taste terrible; you can rarely trust food in the USA. In Cologne yogis report they meditate better after this Diwali festival.