Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Attaing Mañjari Bhava

I woke up from a strange dream this morning and decided to write it down. We went to temple this morning for Guru-puja and Bhagavatam Katha. I dreamt that I was back in Braja-Dham searching for something. I was at the marketplace searching for something or someone. It was unclear what it was, or who it was, but I was desperately searching. At the marketplace, I spotted a lovely yogini dressed in tattered cloth performing yoga postures in the muddied road. She wore no garments save for a shredded loincloth, and kept an old, ragged mat which she sat upon. There were shoppers that would place alms in her bowl and after some time she collected her belongings, shattered, tattered, and bare, and left. Intrigued, I followed her alongside the road back toward her hermitage, which was shockingly clean, resplendent, fresh, aromatic, and wonderfully decorated with auspicious symbols. The courtyard area fumed with cow dung smoke billowing out into the atmosphere laced with purifying herbs and resins that reached out and caressed my hair and face. I gazed around the courtyard and spotted well-manicured gardens with fruit, berry, and nut tress of various types. I couldn't believe my eyes and rubbed them to be sure it wasn't an illusion. The very site of such a spiritually infused domicile lifted my consciousness and mood, and I suddenly felt that I was transported to the real Braja-Dham.
Along the walls were written names of Sri Radhe and Sri Krishna along with beautifully drawn flowers, creepers, and invocation symbols: lotus, oil lamp, plow, discus, club, water pots, bow, leaves, and syllables. I announced myself to the yogini and she re-emerged from within the residence dressed in fresh, clean garments, adorned with tilak, scented with intoxicating oils, and ornamented with enchanting cosmetics and donning a large set of chanting beads. So different from before, she looked more like the goddess Durga in her mood of meditation as Brahmacharini rather than the dirty, ashen, gaunt yogini from before that I hardly recognized her!

She introduced herself and pointed out that I was not a local, therefore, I should not traverse these parts unknown alone. I asked her forgiveness and stated my intentions clearly and boldly. She understood my mind and heart immediately and accepted me in her home. She said that I would receive a day's instruction from her, and then in the evening I would have to bathe in the holy river Yamuna, and change my garments. I readily agreed and asked what services I should render. She told
me that she was self-sufficient and perfectly capable of serving herself, what need was there for a servant when we are borne in ignorance and serve our senses since birth! Admonished, I apologised, and rephrased, "Devi, what tasks should I perform that serve me best?" She said, "Naturally, you're inclined towards the arts, so you should perfect those traits and qualities that are your strongest. Master this, young one, and you'll be a favourite among the damsels of Braj". She introduced a simple choreographed step, which I mimicked perfectly, then another, and again. We continued for some time until it was time to rest and eat. Somehow, it seemed that she did not cook, ever, her plants, vines, and trees produced food that were so complete and perfect, it would satiate all thirst, fatigue, hunger and unrest. So she continued tutoring me in political arts. "In Braj, you must master diplomacy, tact, wit, and stratagem in order to manage the various camps. Each has their strong suit, yours is to know their hearts and engage them rightly. Master this, and you'll learn the secrets of the universe."  Much of what she taught was veiled in cryptic allegories and coded messages about battle, politics, and military stratagem.

We practiced yoga and dhyan for some time in the afternoon, and she taught me bits of her bhava sadhana by which I understood that she was an adept practitioner deeply realised in the raganug path. In the evening, my mistress sent me away to the market while she continued to immerse herself in her evening meditation of the Divine Couple and Their elevated servants. She cried out names of various mañjaris. I almost didn't leave her presence for fear of never seeing her again. If I found my mistress by chance, certainly I could lose her by chance. As I made my way to Loi bazaar, back to the clamouring marketplace buzzing with chatter, swarming with throngs of anxious shoppers and sweaty shopkeepers, inundated with cheap trinkets rattling and colourful cloth waving in the air, I was brought back down to earth. I had to find clothes that were more suitable to Braja-vas, for as my mistress said, what I had on screamed out that I was a Mayapur-Vasini, an outsider, a foreigner. Not from Braj. Right then, a large dark, ominous cloud in the heavens burst on the scene and I suddenly found myself caught in the height of a monsoon storm. Soaked to the core, I waited around for a break in the rain with no luck. The shoppers scattered here and there. Some attendants retreated into their shops to relax and eat while my eyes darted around restlessly looking for shelter. I woke up from my dream. It was yet only six o'clock. 
Post a Comment