by Joanne Sullivan (Divya)

[Editor’s Note: Joanne (Divya) wrote this while recently in the USA.]

It is such a shock to go for a walk and not feel the familiar red bush, the one-note bird call Who knows me, the 100-gardenia profusion, the spindly brave gulab (Indian roses) greeting me as I make my way. There is something about the land there at SRSG which has become a second skin to me. The world all around me in the SRSG tiny world--even in the almost unbearable heat of summer ---when I am the next to last holdout from the West there---is my family. How I miss SRSG!

My kind hosts are in the Caribbean. Their children and housekeeper drop in and make me feel at home. The peace in the house, the quiet neighborhood, the garden all invite me in.

I even have the use of a washing machine, and there are asparagus, fennel root, bursting greens, bright lemons and a profusion of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, not to mention apples that stand proud to be apples!

I know it is foolish but the rich forest of deciduous trees and clear blue skies here leave me cold. These are not my family. I miss the profusion of flowers that blush with a heavenly scent at the approach of evening as I leave the meditation hall.

I have fallen into the pit of old food habits--chocolates and the best cookies (even organic) and so many sweets I am swimming in -----such that they are eating me alive. Yes, the sugar habit is doing me in.

I was feeling so terribly lost and sad the other night when an old scribble of paper fell out of an old pouch---a very dear, old Friend.

It was the Shiva Sankalpam astu that I had chicken-scratched in English and in kindergartner-like Devanagari scrawl when I was first memorizing it. I would keep it in my pocket and take it out and look at it many times in the day until it became my Velveteen Rabbit---like an old ragged stuffed animal come alive and looking back at me.

When that scrap of Raggedy Andy paper surfaced the other night, I too came alive. Swami Veda definitely has a long reach. Yes, he has his ways.

At the time when this snag of paper surfaced here, the house was filled with twenty-somethings (my host's son throwing a birthday bash) having a party ‘til the wee hours. I was tucked away in my room.

I quietly let the words of that fire-borne chant out in the softest voice such that no one but I could hear it---and I suspect perhaps Swami Veda. He had said to chant it or think it many times in a day. It was a practice I used to keep that had fallen by the way side. I found that it was still alive with the mighty, steady surging stream from which it was given. After the last word--astu--- my eyes shut and I went still for a little while.

When you fall off a cliff no one can help you. It is this no one who catches me.

It has been very difficult to be away from the support of regular practice and the friends in nature who speak to me at all hours there at SRSG - not to mention the good human friends.

I want to be open to whatever form of bird or bush presents itself. The sweet tooth has retired to its proper place for now. There is a renewed sense of balance.

Wishing you continued strength and resolve in the One.

Editor’s Notes:

Shiva Sankalpam astu is part of the practice given by Swami Veda Bharati in 2013: http://ahymsin.org/main/practice/practice-for-the-next-five-years-and-the-rest-of-your-life.html. At the transcript at that link, you can also find a link to audios for the purpose of pronunciation as well as links to Shiva Sankalpa Sukta and other related articles.

Shiva Sankalpa Sukta by Swami Veda Bharati is available in Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Shiva-Sankalpa-Sukta-Swami-Bharati-ebook/dp/B074KXM9SV



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