Breakfast in Nimboli
It is mid morning, a little past time for nastah (breakfast) - - Vanita, our female distaff worker is not here today, so Jeanetta has prepared some wonderful mung pancakes served with a delightful chutney, banana slices, ghee, and the ever present chai. We insist that Rhoidas and Ananda ( our grounds maintenance men) come and eat with us. At first they would not eat with us, due to the segregated caste system, but now they are relaxed and we honor and love each other. Today we honoured our Indi-American family with raised clacking-together-spoons raised on high and exclaimations of joy and happiness and gratitude and Happy Diwali. These Adavasi people are precious and important friends of ours who connect us to the cultures and the earth-nature elements here. We are living in/on their “turf.” We need and enjoy their friendship and contributions to our lives.
As we sit to enjoy breakfast, Mohan, the milkman arrives, and after a short period of entreaty, he accepts our invitation to sit and break-fast with us. As i wrote earlier, he is tall, thin, very dark with most often a big pearly white smile and a peaceful cow-milk-moon radiance which generously blesses all. We talk about his life and how he gets up at three o’clock to milk the cows and only gets two hours of sleep at night because he stays awake to burn the dope (cow dung incense) to keep the mosquitos from biting the cows. The cows are part of his family with names of the devis, like Saraswati, Laxmi, Durga, etc.. We laugh and joke and enjoy images of him calling the “girls” by name and gesture with milking motions. The men begin to talk tomorrow about the annual bull fight at the next village over - -about the pageantry of decorating the bulls and the festive celebration of bullhood. At first i recoil from this suggestion, but now think it will be a good yoga for me to go and practice non attachment and learn more about the locals here. The milkman invites us to his home. When he comes tomorrow morning, we will go to his home a see his wife-children-cow family and participate in the annual devotional cow arati blessing. Before this we will go to Ananda’s home and participate is his annual cow arati devotional ceremony. Ananda’s two cows live inside his house with the family. They are beautiful beings and i am looking forward to breaking through all my previous conditioning about cows being unclean or lesser.
It is easy to find simple things to laugh about here with them- - they are not educated into pretentious distinction, and are quick to laugh or anger or ?? We learned so much about their earth wisdom as they guided us up Mondagni Mountain, teaching us about climbing difficult terrain, about the vegetation, edible and not, about the animals, and about natural immersion in the elements. Another example: yesterday i brought my new cockatiel birds into an empty room, removed the roof of the cage and released the birds to fly for exercise. Ananda wanted to see them. As we entered the empty room, our voices echoing in the big emptiness, i cautioned him that they might bite as the female had done to me a few days ago. Ananda earnestly looked at me as a wise man would to a novice and softly, emphatically voiced, no Dewa, no Dewa, after which he approached the birds, which i had coaxed onto a stick to avoid being bitten, with relaxed seamless oneness, magnetically presenting his outstretched slowly, gently approaching hand to the pair. The male, Krishna, stepped onto his hand and as a little separation occurred between them, they began to chirp-squak to each other as they do when separation happens, and shortly the female, Rhada, flew to join her mate. I, the recently bitten one, stood dumbfounded but delighted by Ananda’s natural ease with “my” pet birds. Ananda recounted how he gets the birds in the mountains to land on his hands and walk up to his shoulders. He gently moved his face to caress them with his cheeks and lips. I, the student in this “pointing out” darshan of Ananda the bird-nature Guru, proceeded to replicate this experience with a good deal of success. Indeed, the Guru is the way to achieve that which seemed impossible.
The breakfast has gone well, we laugh about “enough of this enjoyment, let’s get to work! Cam kara, cam kara). Nastah is over and we all go back to our pursuits with the joy of human love and compassion filling our beings. The day is beautiful, sunny, not yet too hot. Bliss in Nimboli – bliss in the Guru - - bliss, bliss, bliss.