by Mark Ulyseas
In Gethsemane: Transcripts of a Journey www.amazon.co.in
The Buddha says that if we taste a single drop from the ocean, we have tasted the whole ocean.
Thirty years ago on a beach we met, stragglers and social enigmas connected by Siddhartha and Gurdjieff. As the sun set we smoked, drank the local juice and sang Hava Nagila. And when twilight tweaked our senses we spoke passionately of the fallacies of civilizations and the iniquities of gentiles while lying naked under the starlit sky.
In the ensuing days and nights we journeyed into Ixtlan with Castaneda and reveled in the lyricism of Neruda. It all ended in two weeks when we went our ways to do what we did best – rebel. The kaleidoscope of yesteryears still rotates and faces appear quite often like that of Yusuf the Sufi and Ashkenazi the Refusenik. Both embodied fragments of universal truth – that people everywhere want to co-exist in peace, in prosperity, to follow the faith of their ancestors. They taught me to belong not to anyone or any country but to everyone and everything.
Recently one returned to the same beach in the hope of meeting my friends Yusuf and Ashkenazi. I never found them. Instead one was greeted by aggressive vendors and rampaging tourists. The omnipresent octogenarian chai walla, Babujee, told me that Yusuf was murdered in a communal disturbance and Ashkenazi apparently lost in the labyrinth of some metropolis.
I waited on the beach for the stars to rise, smoked a cigar and walked away for fear of doing what my friends had warned me never to do…grieve for the past.
Khuda Hafeez Yusuf bhai and Shalom Ashkenazi, I know we will meet in another lifetime. Hopefully it will be in Ubud; a place where cultures continually conspire for coherency.
One shall leave you now with this excerpt from Siddhartha by Herman Hesse -
“”Siddhartha,” he spoke, “we have become old men. It is unlikely for one of us to see the other again in this incarnation. I see that you have found peace. I confess that I haven’t found it. Tell me, oh honourable one, one more word, give me something on my way which I can grasp, which I can understand! Give me something to be with me on my path. It is often hard, my path, often dark, Siddhartha.”
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
October 02, 2010