Adventures in India

This is an open journal of some of the things I see and think about while trying to find a place to live in India. It may or may not be interesting. I make no promises.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

At the Cremation Grounds

The cremation grounds are always on the outskirts of the village, and so was this one. It was night and there were no street lights around. Monsoon clouds blocked out the stars. There were no cremations tonight so the place was deserted. I sat down on a patch of ground where a cremation had recently occurred. I wore a wrap around dhoti cloth and no shirt, the closest I could manage to the nudity I was asked to practice. I smeared the ashes over my arms and chest, across my brow and in my hair. Chanting a mantra to Kali Ma, All Devouring Time..I fired up the chillum and took in a huge lung full of acrid smoke. Kali dances in the cremation grounds at night. She is the Mother of ghouls and twisted freaks, and delights in the infinite nightmare play of flesh. She haunts the cremation grounds because this is the place where it is easiest for Her to help people wake up. Her devotees sit here to contemplate the truth of their own dissolution. Making a cremation ground of the heart, the devotee traps Kali inside by the intensity of his love. God is enslaved by devotion and destroys the "inside/outside"..."me"/"you" illusion of upon which the whole ego illusion is based. This is the death that leads to eternal life. When the little ego self-destructs in a paroxysm of pure love...then things are seen as they have always been and must always be. When Kali Ma slices of our arms She is freeing us from attachments; when She slices of our heads, She is liberating us from the burdensome illusion of a separate and distinct ego. The atheists only got it half right, if only they took one small step into foolishness, they would wake up.

The ganja explodes at the base of my spine and gently uncoils the white serpent, which starts to rise up my spinal cord, tonguing my chakra buds as it goes. Something is coming towards me in the dark. It is some kind of dog or jackal. It sits down at a distance and we look at each other. We regard one another. We recognize one another. No words pass between us, because there is just an empty cremation ground. Darkness. The darkness or the dog says silently: She only destroys that which is capable of being destroyed. It is a tremendous grace. But it looks terrible. We fear death because we believe this ego identity has some independent reality, and that it should endure forever. But Kali Ma cuts through the illusion with love. She is the innermost prompting of the soul that is always asking, "Who am I?" . She is also the wordless answer, the truth of its being shining everywhere. The jackal starts howling at this point and my back is rigid as a pole and my astral asshole is getting a very high colonic indeed. Out comes pouring accumulated karmic junk and wads of mental nonsense, half chewed desires and vomited regrets, faded self images, stunted ambitions and pipe dreams and Kali Ma just gobbles them up, just pops them into Her mouth like bon bons because all of it is based on the notion of a self that is only conditionally true. I scoop up another handful of ashes and smear it across my forehead. The dog has now stopped howling and is chewing something in the dark and I am not sure I want to know what it is.

So I sit in the dark, smoking my chillum, and hang out with the dog/jackal who is actually Kali but then so is everything including you. After a while I go and wash up at a pump and go back to my room.


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