all he wanted was to get some pot, so he had to go to the graveyard, because that's where you get pot in india, and now he was watching a body burn before his eyes. the skinny, dark, dirty little man who was one of the keepers at the smashan, graveyard, had recognized him from when he came with my group of yoga students to meditate the week before. gabe said the keeper got the pot and put it in the clay chillum pipe and motioned for him to say a prayer and take a hit and then watch the body in flames as the plant hit his brain. he said he saw waves of energy coming off the burning corpse. the arms shot up and had to be pushed back into the fire. where does our spirit live?
"bom bom bole, ah key uh kolay" means "great lord shiva, open my eyes".
the shaivites, worshippers of shiva say this prayer before they take a hit of hash off their chillum pipe. they say life is maya, illusion of shakti, the primal feminine force of creation. the hash is a strong dose of shakti. they smoke the maya to see through the maya.
there is a statue of shiva in the smashan, bright blue with a leopard loincloth, his lips rosebud pink and his dreadlocks piled on top of his head with a crescent moon in his hair. he is painted as bright as a disneyland attraction and when i pointed him out to gabe, he thought it was a woman god at first. trani- shiva. god of the graveyards because he is a corpse himself, he represents awareness watching the dance of his female partner shakti as she dances the lila of maya, weaving the filmy sheets of illusion before our eyes like a great bellydancer, keeping us enticed but never revealing too much at once.
after that day, gabe said everything started moving. when he would sit and stare, energy would start moving off the trees. the southern jungle can swallow you up like a technicolor malaria dream, time slows down until it eats itself and you half expect a dinosaur to come walking through the dusty red earth and green palm trees. i guess if you are used to using drugs to escape the suffering of reality, it is a strange day when they start waking you up to a bigger reality. i was worried he wouldn't like india, but he loves it. he walks around the ashram skipping my yoga classes with the village girls following him around like a movie star. he slept through and missed dinner one night, so the girls brought him dinner to his room the next night. one of them peeled his hard boiled egg once when is was too hot for him to touch, now that's admiration. he hasn't had a haircut since we left america, so his brown hair is puffed up like a pompadour. mostly he has been hanging out, getting stoned and meditating sitting under the trees like a nineteen year old cross between james dean, sid vicious and the buddha.
that's my son, a son of shiva. the god of the low caste, outcast and the original punk rocker. shiva sits in the formless void watching the world dance, the world burn, the world of form shifting forms. through death we are born. the tantriks say "die before you die" to exceed the power of other mortals who fear death and so only half live.
i have missed my son for years. for the six years i have been coming to india, most of my prayers have been for god, for the creator, to watch over him when we have been apart. i came to india the first time right after he moved in with his dad at fourteen, we had always been together before that, like a mama kangaroo with her baby in her pouch. i had been such a young mother, pregnant at seventeen, that i had struggled to survive and to scratch and fight in this world for a place to keep us. i made a lot of mistakes. i had a lot of regrets. there is nothing more painful than being a parent looking at your childs pain that you know comes from your choices. after he moved in with his dad he stopped talking to me for a year. i circled holy temples and mountains repeating my prayers. on the outside i was halfway around the world. on the inside, i was circling the innermost sanctuary of my heart.
god help me to heal the pain i carry from my family. god help me to not cause my son the same pain. sandwiched between fate and free will, the things i can change and the things i cannot. i close the distance between the two with prayer and acceptance. just a little over a month ago i wasn't sure he would come. i picked him up drunk drinking bottles of cheap alcohol with his friends in a bad part of town when a few gang members pulled up. for a minute, it looked like things could have gone horribly wrong. god get us out of here alive, i prayed. and here we are, in india together.