I asked what he was doing

上一篇 / 下一篇  2016-04-26 11:16:20

I don't like the tune, and I don't like the words. Whenever I tell anyone around the Ashram this, they say, "Oh, but it's so sacred!" Yes almo nature, but so is the Book of Job, and I don't choose to sing the thing aloud every morning before breakfast.

The Gurugita does have an impressive spiritual lineage; it's an excerpt from a holy ancient scripture of Yoga called the Skanda Purana, most of which has been lost, and little of which has been translated out of Sanskrit. Like much of Yogic scripture, it's written in the form. of a conversation, an almost Socratic dialogue. The conversation is between the goddess Parvati and the almighty, all-encompassing god Shiva. Parvati and Shiva are the divine embodiment of creativity (the feminine) and consciousness (the masculine). She is the generative energy of the universe; he is its formless wisdom. Whatever Shiva imagines, Parvati brings to life. He dreams it; she materializes it. Their dance, their union (their Yoga), is both the cause of the universe and its manifestation.

In the Gurugita, the goddess is asking the god for the secrets of worldly fulfillment Carpet Cleaning Hong Kong, and he is telling her. It bugs me, this hymn. I had hoped my feelings about the Gurugita would change during my stay at the Ashram. I'd hoped that putting it in an Indian context would cause me to learn how to love the thing. In fact, the opposite has happened. Over the few weeks that I've been here, my feelings about the Gurugita have shifted from simple dislike to solid dread. I've started skipping it and doing other things with my morning that I think are much better for my spiritual growth, like writing in my journal, or taking a shower, or calling my sister back in Pennsylvania and seeing how her kids are doing.

Richard from Texas always busts me for skipping out. "I noticed you were absent from The Geet this morning," he'll say, and I'll say, "I am communicating with God in other ways," and he'll say, "By sleeping in, you mean?"

But when I try to go to the chant, all it does is agitate me. I mean, physically. I don't feel like I'm singing it so much as being dragged behind it. It makes me sweat. This is very odd because I tend to be one of life's chronically cold people, and it's cold in this part of India in January before the sun comes up. Everyone else sits in the chant huddled in wool blankets and hats to stay warm, and I'm peeling layers off myself as the hymn drones on, foaming like an overworked farm horse. I come out of the temple after the Gurugita and the sweat rises off my skin in the cold morning air like fog--like horrible, green, stinky fog. The physical reaction is mild compared to the hot waves of emotion that rock me as I try to sing the thing. And I can't even sing it. I can only croak it. Resentfully. Did I mention that it has 182 verses?

So a few days ago, after a particularly yucky session of chanting, I decided to seek advice from my favorite teacher around here--a monk with a wonderfully long Sanskrit name which translates as "He Who Dwells in the Heart of the Lord Who Dwells Within His Own Heart." This monk is American, in his sixties, smart and educated. He used to be a classical theater professor at NYU, and he still carries himself with a rather venerable dignity. He took his monastic vows almost thirty years ago. I like him because he's no- nonsense and funny. In a dark moment of confusion about David business center, I'd once confided my heartache to this monk. He listened respectfully, offered up the most compassionate advice he could find, and then said, "And now I'm kissing my robes." He lifted a corner of his saffron robes and gave a loud smack. Thinking this was probably some super-arcane religious custom.

He said, "Same thing I always do whenever anyone comes to me for relationship advice. I'm just thanking God I'm a monk and I don't have to deal with this stuff anymore."


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