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Be careful what you wish for

Being grabbed quite roughly by the arm and having a piece of scrunched up paper placed tightly into my hand in the middle of a busy marketplace, it did not surprise me too much because i was after all in India!
Half way through my first six month visit to India and i was already feeling a little jaded. You see i was only 21 years old and for a couple of years my main goal/obsession was to wake up. Yes, i longed for enlightenment. Hearing on my travels to the Middle East that India was THE spiritual playground of the world, i quickly booked myself a ticket to India.
Once i was actually in India i dived deeply into yoga, chakra meditation, mantra meditation, Vipassana meditation and a few more meditations not even worth mentioning. I was becoming a bit less naive, but still very hungry for enlightenment. Fed up with all the other "seekers" i made friends with the locals.

One day on a visit to the market with a beautiful Indian girlfriend of mine called Madhu we met a lovely looking sadhu woman. She had such a holy look upon her face, she smiled into my eyes after pressing the scrunched up paper into my hand. She smiled, turned and disappeared into the crowd. I turned to Madhu and asked her to translate the Hindi written note. She laughed and told me it had a guruís name and address on it, the only message was: "he is for you". I was intrigued and delighted at this obvious act of divine intervention. I told Madhu i would leave the next day, she couldn't believe it and said i was crazy. She was actually worried about me because as a general rule women do not travel alone in India. I could understand her concern but as a western woman with a totally different mentality for me it was an adventure.

The address was an ashram in Abu road, Mount Abu, Gujarat. I had never been that way before and was very exited to just follow this note. My own intuition told me to follow the note too, so early the next day i set off.
I don't know how many of you have travelled in India on a government bus but let me tell those of you who haven't even a short journey is an adventure all by itself. This was a long journey full of the typical incidents that naturally occur when riding on government busses in India. I won't go into the sights, smells and sounds because most of them were not pleasant.

Finally after what felt like weeks the bus arrived at its final destination Mount Abu. Gratefully stepping out of the bus and incredible sight opened out before me. Mount Abu is a hill station in the middle of desert like area. It is a special place for Indians to get married and as this was wedding season it was full of nearly wed couples.
I was the only westerner in sight. So i looked around and saw a respectable looking elderly man. He surprised me with his British public school boy accent as he explained that i needed Abu road, which was way down the hill side! The next bus down was due in 3 hours!! I spent the waiting time chatting with the very interesting man who i called Mr. Jones because he was more British than British.
The bus journey down was much easier and in no time at all i was heading down a dirt road towards my "awakening".

Before going on i would like to share with you that after my many spiritual influences i had come to the conclusion that the only way to become enlightened was to isolate oneself in a cave and through deep meditation and total abandonment of the world await gods grace. I had more than once declared in the comfort of a chai (Indian tea) shop to anyone who would listen "i would so love to retreat into a cave and devote myself totally to god and just forget this Maya".
Typically although i said this i never went looking for caves, instead i looked for quick fixes and other such enlightenment promises that are so abundant in India.

The ashram at the end of the dirt road was no more than a small temple with a room attached and a roughly made kitchen next to it. What was very impressing was the wonderful garden surrounding. Everything looked so alive and so well cared for. I felt peaceful and knew i had made the right decision. Turning around i stood face to face with Guruji Laxshman. My instant thought was of a smurf, only he wasn't blue. He had long white juttas (dreadlocks) reaching down to the floor. A long white beard, gorgeous twinkling eyes and a childlike grin revealing no teeth. He welcomed me as a long lost friend. Showing me all around the ashram and introducing me to the few people who either worked or lived there. One was a very grumpy looking westerner, Rampryadas from America. He was deep into his trip covered from head to toe in ash, mostly ignoring everyone except Guruji. The routine was strict, but everything felt so natural and smooth that i easily slipped into the role of chela (disciple). I was learning a lot and having so much fun with Guruji that i did not notice the days slipping into weeks. I was fascinated by the regular local visitors in particular one very old almost blind man. He would hobble down the path every morning at 6am and sweep the grounds. After a short blessing from Guruji he would leave except on Mondays which is Shiva day where he would linger and spend a few hours with Guruji in celebration with Shiva.

One evening after our Arti (prayers) we sat looking up at the sky idly chatting. All of a sudden Guruji looked into my eyes with a serious expression and said: "I know your hearts desire and i can give it to you, just 5 min away from here is a cave, a perfect cave, one you could live in." My head throbbed and my heart did somersaults and i thought OH NO, but i only smiled tightly.
He went on: "You wouldn't need to worry about anything, Ganesh (kitchen boy) would bring you water and enough food every day, you wouldn't have to speak to anybody or do anything." His eyes were a bit softer as they bore into my very soul. Oh my god, did i panic, i never had a panic attack before, but this really felt like one. My mind raced to find an answer, a way out because i now knew deep down that i really did not want to become a recluse, even if it did lead to enlightenment. I began to stutter some lame excuse when Guruji exploded into loud tearful laughter. He actually hugged his belly with his both hands as he laughed and laughed. Instead of feeling insulted i felt so relieved, i joined in with his infectious laughter until tears streamed down my face, too.
I felt so alive, so light, so real and so grateful to this childlike ancient being. After we had both calmed down he told me that he knew me and could see right through me. He recalled memories of he and i together in caves in the Himalayas and of many other lives together. Gently he explained that i had already done all what i craved to do at the moment many times before and at this time life was to be very different for me. I was to forget all about retreating from the world and i was to jump deeply into the Maya to get married, have kids and find awareness and inner peace through the every day ordinariness of the "normal" life.

I had already been celibate and i never desired kids. So to say his advice was a shock to my system is putting it mildly. I couldn't deny the ring of truth to his words and the feeling of his compassion for me. I tried in vain to sleep that night, looking up at the stars and digesting the new perspective on me and on the possible future. Something within had ended, something in my very DNA had changed, i felt really different. I didn't know what was for me, but i knew what was not for me.
The next morning i decided to leave and go back to Pushkar to meet up with my long suffering friend Paula who i had left behind in my search for enlightenment. Guruji must have already known my plan, i could see it in his eyes. It was quite a melancholic morning, but surprisingly Rampryadas was warm and friendly (probably because i was leaving).
Guruji insisted on escorting me on to the bus, he even arranged my place safely between two families and far away from a drunk. We looked into each others eyes both of us tearful. I truly felt as if i was saying Good Bye to a very close family member, he blessed me, left the bus and waved until i was out of sight. I never saw him again and it took a year for his prediction to begin to formulate.

Now many years later as a mother of 3 beautiful daughters, my life could not be further from the life of a nun. I give thanks for a great lesson and feel my path now truly is the path of awareness for me. So please do be very careful what you wish for because you just might get it.........

In love and light

Yamuna

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