Perspectives on Present and Future
30th of December, 2007 - 6:15
With the new year right behind the corner, some thoughts on present and future are in place.
The Great American and His Four Kinds of Devotees
23rd of December, 2007 - 3:37
The story of the Great American and his four kinds of devotees.
New E-mail
14th of December, 2007 - 13:22
A new e-mail address, please use for all future correspondence.
An Ode to Solitude
9th of December, 2007 - 7:25
Part two of the previous blog entry. From ashram life to nirjana.

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Perspectives on Present and Future
Posted: 30th of December, 2007 - 6:15
With the new year right behind the corner, some thoughts on present and future are in place.

Life here for the past 16 months has no doubt been the experience of my life, even if I can't say it would've exactly matched my expectations. It has left me with a vast horde of experiences, as fulfilling as at times shattering, and as enlightening as at times disillusioning, all for the ultimate good.

As readers of this blog have no doubt observed, ever since my move to India activity has been sporadic at best — owing to the great deal of attention life off the keyboard has demanded, leaving little energy or attention for sharing something with others, if indeed the themes I've at times dwelt on were fit for a public blog to begin with. Personal company with people who've made it to the holy land carries hundred-fold the impact on an individual than any quantity of my writings ever will; so has my experience been, for a number of reasons best left for a later study.

On all things online and electronic, the trend has been one of withdrawal, conscious or otherwise. A time will come in the not so distant future that'll take me underground altogether, for in solitude is God to be found. It is time enough for me to start paying attention to my own quest, lest I be the proverbial blind man, confident of the salvation's road yet ending in the ditch with the rest of the poor lot. While we're on the theme, if there are volunteers inclined to do something — anything — about the future of the current websites, now is the prime time to make yourself known. While I have no timeline fixed for my vanishing, take it as no more than half a year. Which brings us onward to our next theme.

Towards the summer of 2008, and no dates have been fixed as of yet, I will need to take a detour to Finland. Our country has a law of compulsory military service (6 or 9 months depending on your wits) on all young men, to start latest during the year of their turning 28 (which is 2008 for me). An option is 13 months of civil service with a "salary" of 10% of the normal pay (€5 daily). Total refusal, which is what I am opting for, gives one a six-month prison sentence, having gone through which one's duty is considered fulfilled. Some quality time in that ah-so-precious solitude I've been calling for.

For people worried over prison conditions, suffice it to say that even a segregation cell in a Finnish prison is in all likelihood bigger and fancier than my current cube-kutir (2.3x2.3 meters), and I am quite capable of doing a fruitarian diet. (No, I would not take food they have cooked.) For those assuming there'd be a way out, religious or ethical grounds do not qualify for exemption. I did send in a long'ish document calling for exemption over a year back, but typically it went unanswered. Medical reasons would qualify for exemption, and some indeed go to charlatan doctors to get a false statement, but I am not one to lie.

The option to this would be to go underground here in India. Having sent in my letter of refusal, I would need to stay underground until the end of the year I turn 30 (2010) for the charge to expire. Were the subpoena delivered to me but I failed to show up either in the court or in jail, it would be three years more, up to the end of 2013. The large problem with this (otherwise compelling) solution is that my passport won't be renewed until I've cleared my accounts with Finland, and no passport means no renewed visa.

One staying without a visa in India, again, runs the risk of being captured, deported and blacklisted for an unpredictable amount of years from obtaining a new visa. This would then mean that, after a successful three years underground, I would have to sneak across the northern border to Nepal with local pilgrims and show up at the local Finnish embassy, or otherwise secure another route out of the country through bribery. This, again, is a bit more hassle than I care to tend to.

People have been asking about Malati and the house. Let's start with the latter. The house was completed, for as complete as it ever needed to become, towards late spring. The budget kept bulging as the work progressed — the local contractors seem to have the idea that you'll be pleased if the initial estimate is low — and effectively totally depleted our finances. A kitchen, one room and and underground room (incidentally flooded, in the process of drying), a separate toilet and bathroom, and a decent two meter boundary around the land is what it ended up being. I never ended up moving to the house, owing to the depletion of funds that left the second room unconstructed, and the flooding of the basement where I could have, in theory, lived.

The yard is now a blossoming garden with a good selection of vegetables, flowers and tulasi growing, thanks to Malati's efforts. Yes, Malati. People know little of us, and have wondered of my having lived separately since her moving into the house. To give this a general context, for the past several years we haven't really been a grihastha-grihini or a husband-wife sort of team, not by a far stretch. We have both been increasingly minding our own business and our own meditations, following our own routines with a great deal of mutual freedom — more of a dynamic resembling room-mates and friends in fact.

I believe it never went to the blog, at least in so many words, the depth of our relationship with Sanatana Das Babaji. He was a siksa-guru for us for the better part of three years, and still is for Malati. With a sleight of providence's unseen hand, some misunderstandings and misgivings drove a serious wedge between myself and the babaji. No details need to be delved upon here, for people unacquainted with the whole story will be prone to undue critique. The intimate guru-disciple relationship between the two, we found, weighed heavier in the grand scale of life when things turned out to be irreconciliable; for after all, was it not an objective of spirit we once settled on?

Consequently, in due course of time and with no small amount of reflection, our consensus was that the future would be more fulfilling for the two of us, were we to pursue our own ways. For, after all, a great wedge had cut into the spiritual synergy that once held us together. Each must pursue his and her ultimate; for does not the Brihadaranyaka say, "This, which is nearer to us than anything, this Self, is dearer than a son, dearer than wealth, and dearer than all else."

"Do you call it a divorce, then?" asked the other person. Ah, the negative connotations of the word. Divorce, and re-marriage, and re-divorce — the cycle of the civilized world. If that's what the word means to you, shun the thought of it here. A natural evolution into the next phase of life. The forest-dweller, the hermit, the ascetic, intent on contemplation, worship and inner discovery. For all practical purposes, the life that already was to a great extent, and is now finding its fulfillment. The path that leads to inner joy and final emancipation, may that be the path of the thoughtful, whichever the choices be that need to be made. Yes, the house — the house is her hermitage. I am where destiny takes me. So much on that.

To return to the beginning. Both of this writing, and indeed to the dawn of all things that matter. Life has provided me with an abundant supply of riddles to solve, boulders to demolish, and light to be seen. With this, it is unavoidable that I withdraw my long and once active arms back into the shell they grew of, investing myself internally. For did the sages not say, "And if one were to say to another who declares other than the Self dear, that he will lose what is dear to him, very likely it would be so." For those who feel a sense of comradeship with me, whether for illuminating experiences or for a lack of better judgment, I am, but cannot vouch for frequent communications.

"And the forest-dweller shall grow a beard and wear matted locks, living in a thatched cottage or a mountain cave, enduring snowfall, wind, rain and the blazing sun." Speak no more!
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