Three mists and the fire that ignited the sky

Seventy million stars shattering
And a breath creating crystals
And jellyfish inside an octopus
And the most majestic cliffs inside dungeons
And grass blowing out from your eyes
And thoughts about sleep
And letters written on computers
And swimming dressed as the ocean
And sunrises above the cloudline
And fires with rainbows shooting out
And mountain girls
And children playing poker
And staying home on a Saturday night
And badgers living in fox dens
And foxes living in rabbit burrows
And rabbits living in garden hutches
And skies without aeroplanes
And feeling emotions and not giving them names
And going to sleep every night cuddling the girl I love in the form of a teddy bear
And cobbled streets
And walking barefoot in the pissing rain
And loving life without money or friends or a job
And wanting to be a dad
And looking for shooting stars
And thinking and feeling love for one girl every single day for months without questioning it
And feeling happy
And crystal bowl soup
And croutons on toast
And dreaming of stars
And chasing squirrels across trees
And catching your lips in mine
And waking up again
And chanting to Sai Baba
And sleeping in the snow and waking buried in snow but you in my arms and warm
And singing lullabies in folk clubs
And hitching lifts in tractors
And drinking homemade scrumpy made out of rotten apples and water
And leaving the doors unlocked
And driving motorbikes naked
And making a wish upon Mars
And sharing lunch with tramps
And screaming in the streets at nighttime
And keeping the party going constantly
And breathing for the sake of breathing
And worshipping my love with a wildflower garland
And beer hymns
And flying whilst running
And singing on trains
And placing a policeman under citizens arrest
And declaring oneself free
And cuddling foxes
And going where the wind blows
And singing like kingfishers
And wishing for no more wishes
Just to enjoy
What is here.

Do you have no memories to recall your testaments?

It doesn’t matter how much older I get (it won’t sound like much, but I’m 27!! 27!!!! I was thinking about ten years ago doing silly things with friends, just being a little more reckless and wild and stuff… And really, that’s ten years ago. I’m not like that now, it seems).
But it seems I can never be too old to listen to some Boston Street Punk at the loudest possible volume, dancing away to it as every single part of the music makes my heart jig a little, way up high on Brading Down.

I think I can do this forever.

And the pieces of life that I’ve picked up, of that life that I seemed to maybe be living before I moved into my 14½ months of monastic life, they’re almost like postcards from the edge. I’m a torn apart person, in many ways, and it’s really a very good thing.

I’m not pushing myself towards doing anything other than daily walks, and often really long ones. I’m officially looking for a job, but a job will come when the time becomes right for it. This is a sacred Isle. I’ve come pretty much from a sacred mountain to some of the best places in Britain to be by the sea. I now begin my search for lost springs and holy wells, on the island. The local history society have anyway stated their interest in my plans, and said they’d definitely consider publishing it when it’s written up. It’s about living life, not searching for something that doesn’t feel so right. The job search can be a terrible thing, especially having to effectively falsify yourself in order to meet someone you don’t knows ideals. It’s selling out in many ways. I’m an unforgiving prick and I’m just living the bastard’s way.
Swami Narayana said that he thinks I’ll never be the bread-earner. It’s probably true. I think I’d much rather live happily in poverty than unhappily in luxury.

There’s no punk whatsoever on the island. This is quite limiting, especially in that I’ve different at least 6 months craving to stumble around in the middle of the dancehall crashing into everyone with lights everywhere and the beat totally absorbing, a trance of fast words and trembling basses and so so much energy. There’s folk here and everyone dances, though. Which is pretty good too. But the place needs something edgier. Punk, reggae….astro-trance….

And so I’m 27 years old, and living on this crazy island with my mum. I banned myself from leaving until I get some money saved up and a driving license. Mum told me a lot of people ‘need’ me, here. Need my help.

I’ll bring them since punk.

Pujas on a solitary island

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The moon setting over the back of Brading

And it kills me, yeah it kills me,
that I don’t know what I can do.
Just one more beer, and then grow up.
You’ll finally know that life’s okay
even when bad things happen;
Just one more beer, and then grow up.

My walking meditation for my daily practise is averaging about 10 miles at the moment, and needing to be longer each time. Tomorrow may be a really long one. So much to process, and so much to deal with.

But my pujas – each puja is an incredible experience, it is so concrete and I absolutely have to do them, I have no choice in the matter. I always have had choice with any practise I’ve done before, but now I’m not included in the equation. I’m simply the boy doing the job.

Tonight, the evening Shakti puja (which means the puja finished with 108 Shakti names and then Chamundaye arthi) ended with something special having to happen. Offering the arthi to the large cloth image of Kali on the shrine, I was taken to the lower belly on the image, and felt an intense tightness and kind of throbbing pain. It was accompanied by the usual tenderness of my heart area, that suddenly made itself known again a bit more. I knew that it was her, and that somehow it was all going to unravel in the next few moments. Offering the arthi for a while whilst concentrating so strongly on the breath and waiting for a sign of things clearing somewhat. Then I got a clear message that the lingam – which is the primordial manifestation in essence, the simplest and purest form of Shiva carrying all the concentration of universal energies in one form – had to be offered. So I offered the wooden lingam that I got given on my birthday (by Lee, a friend at Skanda Vale). And gradually I felt a real sense of things clearing. Relief, but so much uncertainty.

Sometimes this spiritual stuff can be so uncertain. How do I know that this isn’t just things playing around in my mind? How do I know that I’m not just making it all up in my mind and that’s why I’m feeling these things, because it’s all conjured by me? This is like asking myself how do I know that anything exists at all. And that settles things. Things calm. I keep moving with what moves in the right ways. There’s infinite different directions that my life could go in now. I know really strongly what I want. It’s the strongest that maybe I’ve ever known what I want. And I offer it all up every single day. Because in the end, it’s not mine for the choosing. None of this life has been mine. And so I keep offering it all, every day.

And I keep walking into the face of uncertainty with every pace forwards.

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Shivoham Muruga

[previously unpublished]
written late December 2016

I am Shiva,
I am Bliss.

Tonight I was the second choice singer from the men’s side. The first choice didn’t want to sing – he’d said at supper time that he’d refused to sing before, but sometimes does sing.

I’d sung only safe, or easy, bhajans upto this point since being away from Soma Skanda. Despite learning quite a few new bhajans at Soma Skanda, and being very confident singing them there, I hadn’t sung them here yet. I had an internal spark about this today – it became clear that a big part of Soma Skanda is with me all the time, but needs to come out in the singing.

Satchara Chara Para Purna, Shivoham Shivoham.

Lord Shiva is everywhere. But he works through some of us, selected by him, whose roles in life are to give service always to Lord Shiva. I was reminded this by Babaji at the end of the inauguration, he’d asked me how I was doing, then told me to keep offering seva, service unconditionally, to Lord Shiva. Here at Skanda Vale, they’ve been through a lot over the last half a year since we’ve been away, and were very low on people at times to look after everything. They got hardened by it all, and the temples too. Now it all must be softened again. My bhajan is one of the most powerful to do that, sung by Judith on the last day of the inauguration I think partly to ground everything in a cosmic sense.

I had several comments after the puja about it. It was actually so much harder to sing it here than ever at Soma Skanda, I think partly because the rhythm section of Brother Danny and Brother Tobias were overpowering and slowing down and didn’t speed up when I tried to on the ‘namah shivaya’s’. But the energy is also different, though I did find a very similar resource of energy whilst singing tonight as I would go to in Soma Skanda when singing. But people were quite taken away by the bhajan. It reminded me a little of numerous pujas at Soma Skanda when the Swamis would tell afterwards about what an incredible puja it had been, when I’d been the sole bhajan singer and had tapped fully into the vast ocean of grace that was available there in the temple. I didn’t explain the process to them at all, that I would just offer myself completely at the beginning of puja and then I would be an instrument of Lord Shiva for the entire duration, singing exactly what felt like what he wanted to hear. And Shivoham felt like one of his favourites.

Sri Kamala Lakshmi Namostute

[previously unpublished]
Written late December 2016

Whenever she comes to me, Maha Lakshmi is watching over.

Whenever my heart thrive, and cries for comfort, Maha Lakshmi is there.

Whenever I feel even the littlest bit lost, Maha Lakshmi carries a lamp lighting the way.

Wherever I am, Maha Lakshmi is somewhere nearby.

This isn’t meant to be poetic or lyrical, or metaphorical. It is what I feel and experience throughout life now. I give the name of Maha Lakshmi because it makes it easy to find her in a worldly sense. But really she carries no name. She just is there, watching everything that happens and ask that I do. It’s just this essence of someone divinely beautiful. This is partly why I was so taken away by my experiences with Anja – because, to me, she’s so very beautiful, in all ways, that she carries a very similar energy to Maha Lakshmi. Maybe it was that I wanted more of Lakshmi in my life, and I saw Anja as being able to offer that.

I feel so thoroughly energetically frustrated – there’s so so much Shakti inside of me, and it’s not able to go anywhere. It’s just there. Now more than ever, I feel I need to share that energy with someone compatible, and it doesn’t have to even be for any purpose other than transcending the shakti inside of me into good vibrations. It could be through dancing, or playing music, or physical intimacies, or whatever…. As long as it’s shared with someone else in a good way…

Discontentment at low altitude

[previously unpublished]
Written just before Christmas 2016

Arriving back in Skanda Vale Wales has been a very mixed experience. Knackered when we got here, I crashed out in my old room for the night turning off one alarm after the other until 11, when I stirred properly.

The pujas have been odd. The energy feels almost really lacking. Whereas we’d give it absolutely our all for every single puja in Soma Skanda ashram, here it feels kind of sleepy, and even the Shakti mahabishekam this evening was a mostly sleepy affair. Everybody’s drumming slows down throughout each bhajan, like to the point of near stopping at times, and it’s very hard to sing when the drummer is going much slower than you’re trying to sing. And the acoustics are strange in the Murugan temple and the Shakti temple. But, the Vishnu temple is pretty mega awesome. There’s something much more raw, and alive, in the Vishnu temple.

It’s been great to see the extended family some more. Deep communications with Vikram through kind of dog-talk. Telling stories of Switzerland to those who haven’t been yet.
But there’s key family members missing. Swami Durga, David and Linda and Celina, Ralph… and it feels now strange that the love stuff has subsided somewhat. It was really all-encompassing even a week ago, but somehow it’s shifted somewhat.

And it’s feeling more and more important that I set up my shrine properly when I arrive, and hold regular pujas.

Mountain rescue beauty

[previously unpublished]
Written December 2016

Amritham Madhuram.
Amrithapureshwari, akhilanmadhuram.

We reach the height of the world. The view is extraordinary – everything suddenly completely opens up, the world becomes complete. The sun does superb displays upon it’s disappearance.

Venus shines so incredibly, just West of a mountain peak we’ve just come a little down from.

The world is gentle up here. The wind is still. There is only us here. There’s noone and nothing else here. On top of the world.

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The ridge gets narrower and narrower. There are slopes down either side, which get steeper and steeper. I’m concerned about Shakti, who’d showed signs of her hips seizing up earlier in the walk, and I theorise that it’s only because she’s always moving that they seized up properly. She’s obviously unsure about the route, and proceeds very cautiously. I walk on the slope down the side – a little precarious, but I’m aware of Shakti’s nerves and am ready to catch her if she slips. I take a few steps further along as the path gets more awkward, waiting for Shakti’s next moves. Shakti turns around, and darts back the way we’ve come, and descends down the slope on the other side of the ridge, walking fast. I call her, but she’s determined to find an alternative path.

Before I start going after her, I hear a shrill scream. I rush – time suddenly becomes very short. A matter of seconds late could be the end of her life. I get to her, relieved, but completely without idea of what to do. I position myself underneath her, where the slope becomes almost sheer. I have just enough footing and have grip to stay there a while, but my gloves are so thin and my hands start hurting a fair bit.

Shakti looks at me, trying to tell me how frightened she is, she made a mistake and really doesn’t know what to do now. I tell her it’s okay. I will put my life before hers, in whatever way that means. I’m young with a fit body that can recover well from damage – she maybe wouldn’t recover now from any breakages. I’m blessed with this functional body, and it’s really quite an honour to use it in saving a life, no matter what it means for my body. On a deeper sense, that is completely what this life has been about, at least for the last few years. There’s been no greater purpose than the purpose of saving lives, in whatever way. I commit myself fully to saving Shakti’s life.

Swami B calls out asking me what’s going on. I tell him the tricky predicament. He asks me to try getting Shakti up. I try, and strain a lot just to move myself without slipping, but realise it’s impossible to do it safely with my lack of equipment.

All the time, there’s a deep concentration of energy in prayer to Lord Shiva.

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Swami B comes down towards us, very reluctantly because it’s so dangerous. I get given a miraculous brainwave to tie my scarf around Shakti’s collar as a lead, and I chuck it to Swami. He’s able to stay a bit higher up where it’s not so steep, so is able to pull Shakti up very successfully.
My attempts to get myself up are futile to begin with – my limited footing became no footing at all, but I find a bit of slate to pull myself up from, and I get to the ridge again.

We keep Shakti on the lead, and I move backwards on my hands and knees pulling Shakti towards me and Swami Narayana pushes from behind. The moon is extremely full, yellow, and has only just risen.
We get to the trickiest bit, and Shakti’s collar slides off her head. I scream assertively, and grab her quickly, and put the collar back on, and take it much more slowly.

Descending, we have to slide down a few parts because it’s too steep to walk. The first slope I hold Shakti on my lap and she gives me complete trust on what’s happening. The next one’s, we get her to slide down alongside us.

Swami Narayana is silent for most of the descent, then opens up that I saved Shakti’s life, and he owes me for the rest of his life. I tell him anyone would have done the same, I just happened to be the one needing to immediately respond.

We drive back to Wales a week or so later. For most of the journey, Shakti needs to cuddle my arm in order to lie down and sleep in the car. Without my arm, she’s restless and won’t settle.

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