Day 43 Monday 13th July 2009
[Note: This is a page from my diary when I was at a course at this Ashram. I was in a quiet room for 24hrs. It was an exercise meant to give time for the student to observe the tendencies of one's mind.]
Swamiji seemed a little pissed for Bhaja Govindam class. He had told us on Saturday that he wants us to know the how to chant the shloka and its meaning for all the verses we have been through. Myself and a couple of friends had spent our Sunday at Pune City proper, so expectations were that we had done our studying. He asked one of my friends to start chanting a particular verse. She couldn't. He asked her to do another one, she couldn't. And another. She gave up. My balls fell. Actually I was sitting on a chair so they couldn't have fallen, but I can't think of a better way to put it. He said in English “Day and night ...” hoping I knew which Sanskrit verse he was talking about. I hesitantly chanted and passed. He moved on to someone else. He asked and asked but no one could answer him satisfactorily. Phew.
I remember Swamiji calling me to his room during breakfast. We chat about the Bhaja Govindam scene for a while and he mentions how he only gets really angry when the name of the mission is at stake. Apparently, apart from that, he's just pretending. He then told me that I was to go it the silent room that afternoon. Perhaps for forty-eight hours. I ran off, rushed my breakfast and reported a little late for sanskrit or chanting class.
I don't remember what much happened till the afternoon. There were a couple of guests from Hong Kong or something and one of the girls was getting married. They ooed and aahed over my name and they asked me what I was wearing around my neck. It was my ID tag and two silver rings. I explained the significance of the tag (being an identifier for your dead body when you die in a war). They giggled and thought I was a fuckin retard. I packed my stuff and got ready to go.
Sumedha lead me to the room and gave me a few last minute instructions. Swamiji's advice was to simply watch the mind. I made a mental note to try it out some of the little experiments I thought I would do while I was there.
The location was some sort of semi-detached bungalow. It occupied the section on the right. It was cozy and everything was kinda new. They folks had left me a jar of chivada, a jug of cold water and biscuits on the teapoy and Sumedha told me that she would send me lunch the next day. She locked my room and wished me luck. I put my stuff down, took a shower and settled in.
I stuck to my usual observing the breath technique. I had absolutely all the time in the world to do my stuff so it was fun. The technique is damn simple. You sit down, semi-relaxed. Keep your back straight and your head facing the front. Make sure that your sitting position is stable and not too difficult to maintain. You can rest your hands face-up on your lap. Take a few deep breaths and then just stop trying to control your breathing just observe your breathing and how your body feels. Being fully conscious of the present moment occupies your mind and it doesn't need to think too much. It calms you down and you can just relax and enjoy the good feeling.
So one of the first things I noticed was that the kinds of thoughts we have on a daily basis are kind of fuckin boring shit. We either fantasise about the future or re-enact the past. Or sometimes imagine what the past ought to have been like. Plus in terms of time span, they often revolve around the immediate past, often the past few days at most. And you just keep rotating over and over in the absence of new stimulus. Imagine all the thought power you might be preserving by not thinking when you don't need to.
I sporadically had a few handfuls of chivada, a biscuit to change the taste and water to moisten the dryness. I think I spilled some on the floor and had to sweep it up. Swamiji or someone left a bone on the shelf. It was about a foot or so long and about the circumference of an “O” you would make with your index finger and thumb it distracted me for a while when I contemplated what kind of animal it would come from and which part of the animal it was.
At some point I thought it was dark enough to sleep so I switched off the lights, lay down and did the meditation business again...
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