“Things aren’t as they appear said Baba.” I had just climbed up a thousand feet elevation of stairs carved out of a mountainside. A few students, myself and an Elder of the Ashram woke around 4am and packed into a tiny van that should of been made by mini it was so small. We stopped at the local temple and the Elder convinced the holy man and keeper of the temple to allow us in despite us being foreigners. The Elder said few foreigners ever enter here. It’s one of the three natural shiva lingums.
After spending time in ritual and meditation, we journeyed to the base of a cliff that jutted 1000 feet or more into the air. We began a long climb, considering and paying respects to the people who with hearts of devotion hand chiseled out every single stair from the side of the mountain. It was humbling to place our feet on each step knowing the sweat, devotion and love it must have taken to accomplish this impossible task. India is like that. They say “Anything is possible where there’s love and devotion to the Gods.”
After a grueling climb we arrived just as the sun peaked the horizon. We performed the traditional sun salutations voicing the Surya Namaskara mantras.
We then visited Baba who lived in a abode beside a spring burbling up from the ground. We stayed in silence for a long time absorbing his presence and the sacred vibrations pulsating from this place.
Then he smiled warmly and asked why we had come. A fellow student asked, “how can we find peace when it seems so many are suffering?”
Baba smiled warmly and said “Things aren’t as they appear.” He continued “You see people suffering and struggling and this is obvious to see. But is this all that’s happening to them?” He asked “Does a flower begin as a flower? Does it not have to tear apart it’s own shell only to struggle through the dirt and mud to reach the surface and once there does it not then have to climb into thin air with only the light and warmth of the sun to guide it and once again have to tear itself apart to blossom every single day?”
We sat there in silence absorbing this. When you’re in the presence of a true teacher, you seem to enter a heightened awareness where understandings more easily enter your consciousness.
Baba then said “The only difference between the flower and us is we doubt our divinity, we doubt our process of becoming that which we already are.”
He said, “Just as a baby elephant grows into an adult elephant, so too we are Spirit growing into the potential of spirit. Our struggles along the way is like the pressure that turns a coal into a diamond.” He said to honor our process and honor where others are. Struggling is real and it’s also releasing us of what no longer serves us so we can step into a more expansive paradigm.”
He said “Remember, don’t be attach to the image of Peace (Sattva). Peace is attained no by the absence of struggle but by our ability to remain grounded within our center despite what’s happening outside.”