Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Winter Adventure

Lonely Plains
There is nothing but lonesome empty plains as far as the eyes can see as we enter the Texas landscape. Gone are the regal red rock mountains and rugged terrain of Arizona and New Mexico. Why, the very sight of the gentle slopes and fields signal my imminent arrival back home. I am relaxed and poised as I arrive in my home state. It isn’t as if I was unwelcome elsewhere, but something about Texas welcomes me, soothes me, and lulls me into a restful state.

Last night I had a strange dream that broke me from my sleep. When I awoke, I realized that I had the same dream before, except this time I couldn’t recall the exact details. While I wanted to disclose the entire dream, I could only recall a few things and those caused me shame so I didn’t tell my husband. At last, I told him that I was startled awake but that I couldn’t remember why.  Interestingly enough, he told me that he had a strange dream that was also identical to a previous dream, almost a year old.
My dream went something like this: we were traveling en masse throughout India on pilgrimage; this isn’t unusual as we have plans to travel to India soon. Around that time, a young handsome man seduced me and to atone for my sinful thoughts I resolved to shave my head and give up any semblance aisvarya or opulence. This detail is also striking because for years, I contemplated monasticism and a few years ago I grew obsessed with shaving my head much to Chandaneswar’s protest. A few days ago, Chandaneswar mentioned that we were going to visit Thirupati Balaji and I could shave my head there if I still wanted to do it. Anyhow…
In the dream,  I removed my precious gems and metals and dressed myself only in simple cloth. Thereafter, I decorated myself with tilak, sacred clay markings upon my upper body and asked my husband’s blessings to perform penance. He indicated that he would not give me his blessings because he felt that it was unnecessary for me to atone for a mere mental lapse in chastity. After lecturing me on the nature of Kali Yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, he advised me to forgive myself and move forward with my spirituality with greater enthusiasm but not to remove myself from society or take to asceticism or renunciation.
At this point, I argued that if I remained in society and continued to associate freely with materialistic society, it was possible or very likely that the quality and sincerity of my spiritual endeavors would slowly deteriorate over time.
I added that if one man had so easily tempted me after only a passing encounter, it was highly probable that I would be weaker in more trying circumstances. To that, he countered that everyone in Kali Yuga commits sins by mind and we should neglect them. After some discussion, we both decided to take to renunciation and travel together.  Strange dream, no?

What Shall I Do?
The other day I looked into your eyes and wondered if they had any end. Where do you come from, dear one, and how were you created? From which materials did the Creator fashion you that rendered you immensely and intensely sweet and tender?

How can I understand your mind? Have you anything else in your heart besides inherent saintliness and compassion for fallen souls such as me? My Liege, bestow your warm embrace and poised grace upon me!
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