I remember reading one of Father’s books titled, I think, the Story of
Pi, about a boy who gets shipwrecked and is on a life raft with various animals, including a lion, and survives, and the book
says it is ‘a story that will make you believe in god’.
I’m thinking the same about my story, so far.
It’s as if the entire universe has made a sudden shift, just for me; lurched, somehow, in my direction, and everything
is different, changed.
In just a matter of a few days, up is down, black is white, the impossible is within reach.
My dream, or my fantasy, seems to have taken on some kind of reality.
Here I am, fourteen years old, sitting in The Coffee Shop, sharing the Regency Suite, in a five star hotel, with a
seventy years old professional blackjack player, dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, talking about the possibility
of winning a million dollars, from the Casino across from us, when, just three days ago, I was in an abandoned concrete apartment
block, getting drunk with poverty stricken radicals, and hoping to get fifty thousand rupees from father.
is a story to make you ‘believe in god’.
We’ve all heard amazing stories; we read them, marvel at them, but never
expect such things to happen to us.
But when they do, what do you say?
No, I don’t believe in god; at least not
as something, or someone, out there, or up there. Even Jesus said ‘the kingdom of god is within’, and I like something
I read in a book father encouraged me to read.
‘ … being my Self is all there
is … everything that exists … exists as my Self … there is nothing which is different from me … I am that in which they appear and disappear …’
as long as I can remember, I have had a deep feeling, but never been able to really pin it down with words, as you pin down
a dead butterfly, that my physical body is only a very small part, almost an insignificant fraction, of a material body, the
whole universe, the entire creation.
That tree, that flower, that bird, that star,
is part of a material body, and my physical body is, equally, also a small part of it; the idea had been there, hovering somewhere,
but never really graspable, all my life.
Until I met Jack.
Then I started to get some kind
of handle on it.
is a consciousness that orders creation, but calling it god projects the mind out there, or up there, pointing in the opposite
direction from where it arises.
We were sitting at a table in The Coffee Shop, with a view
of the Casino entrance, Jack eating imported pork chops, potatoes, tomatoes, and cauliflower, and I had a Russian salad.
He was enjoying making the Casino wait to start, maybe, recouping the money the Regency Suite, and the Champagne, was
Most of what he was teaching me was going in, I think, and, for me, had its own authenticity.
‘Truth is its own validity …’ he had told me ‘You can’t demand proof. That means bringing
in something other that also may not be true. You can’t know the truth. You can only know the false. You can only be
To be an authentic human being means, firstly, understanding what has happened to human beings or, rather, what has
happened to their mind. It has developed a self, or ego, and almost everyone now believes this self, ego, is who they are.
has become dysfunctional, taken over by this entity, and if you knew someone as untrustworthy, undependable and deceitful,
as your own mind you would sensibly never trust, or rely on, or believe anything that person said, but you accept whatever
your mind says, or believes, as if it was your dearest and closest friend.
There were three others at our table, an American girl,
with long blonde hair, playing with an older Indian man, and a very fat, elderly Indian woman.
fat Indian woman ignored us, but the American girl looked up, smiled, and said a cheery ‘Hi …’, and her
companion nodded at us.
said ‘Hi …’, nodded at both, then focused on the game. I got a blackjack, and he busted.
had a feeling we were going to see a lot more of this American girl.
was cute, very leggy, in a very short skirt, and her hair falling over part of her face. The elderly Indian man she was with
was obviously paying, in some way, for her company, and not just to learn how to play Blackjack.
I liked her right away.
Getting out of the head is difficult to do, and, the desperate
need to, hard to grasp
The mind, of course, doesn’t want either, and it will give every reason not to even try; some very convincing,
but, if you persist, it will even give you methods to follow, techniques to try, books to read, or courses to go on; anything
to avoid the one thing it doesn’t want, the only thing that will work.
Drop the mind.
That had been Jack’s constant refrain with me from day one.
Stop all that incessant chatter going on in your head, most of it irrelevant to what you are doing.
The American girl knew how to play, and the man she was with
was taking her advice, but the fat Indian woman didn’t seem to have a clue, and was losing heavily.
We won over three thousand dollars in just over an hour, then took a break and sat in the lounge and got a waiter to
bring snacks, an orange juice for me, vodka and orange juice, and a cigar for Jack.
‘You like her?’ I asked him.
‘Who?’ he said.
‘The girl at the table …’ I said ‘She sounded American.
It’s okay. I don’t mind …’
I took a long sip of my orange juice.
‘Do you want to fuck her?’ I asked him.
I’d been on my journey of self-discovery for the last
five years, though I hadn’t, of course, really been aware that’s what it was, since I was nine, with Father, enjoying
what we did together.
Then there was Priya, and the boys in school.
Sex fascinated me; it didn’t need much thinking, and I’d intuitively got hold of the notion that’s
where most people’s problems were; not wanting to talk about it, or even admit they did it, let alone actually liked
I started reading some of Father’s books; mostly popular psychology and philosophy. Father was all for self-improvement,
and spiritual development, and we sometimes had intensive discussions on the subject.
It may have been from a book, or a conversation with Father, I got the idea that pushing myself to the edge, and, maybe, beyond, was
the way forward, for me. It felt right, as if some other than my self had come
up with it, and, therefore, I needn’t feel bad about it.
I’m sure there must have been a word for it, an art form, poetry, a way of living, but I didn’t know what
it was, and it didn’t really matter.
Experience is always preferable to explanation, and I wasn’t, after all, trying to formulate a philosophy, a
theory, but just trying to live my life the best way I could.
I tried radicalism, but that meant radical thinking, when it wasn’t just
getting drunk; thinking was the trap, and a very seductive one; living an arty radical life among those who professed disdain
for money, social values, and conventional thinking, was the same ego-trip as anything else.
What I needed, and was waiting for, was someone to push me, or, at least, help me to jump.
But the landscape was barren, and the horizon was empty.
We watched the news on the TV in the lounge.
Groups of youths, pro-Maoists and anti-Maoists, were fighting in the streets, both afraid of what might happen next.
It was unsafe on the streets, and there had already been several deaths; taxis and shops had been set on fire, and the police, it seemed, were keeping
out of it.
we got back to the table, the American girl, and her Indian companion, had gone. I hoped they were going to be okay; and the
fat Indian woman was still playing, and still losing badly.
The dealer asked us if we were staying in the hotel, because, if not, it
wasn’t safe on the streets after dark. Jack told him we were, but anyway they were unlikely to attack foreigners. It
was a domestic war.
Jack was extreme, in a word. He was vulgar, didn’t
hesitate about sharing his opinions, on anything, and everything, and if folk were offended, that was their problem; it amused
him, nothing fazed him, and I wasn’t at all surprised, despite his age, and his physical condition, he still had a very
active sex life.
That resonated with me.
It was, I knew, instinctively, a way of getting out of my head.
The dealer gave me a ten, and Jack got an ace, the fat Indian
woman got a six, and the dealer got a five.
Then I got a Queen, making a pair of tens
I looked at Jack.
‘I’m going to split them …’ I told him ‘Just for fun …’
When Jack first told me about tantric sex, something clicked,
though, at first, I took it to be a smarter than average ploy to get me into bed, one I hadn’t heard before, and was
worth listening to. He was older, a lot older, and, obviously more experienced, than the ones I usually had to deal with,
so I wasn’t surprised he was that much smarter.
But the idea grabbed me, and the simple, and open, way Jack presented it impressed me, and I listened, really listened.
Of course, I wasn’t going to tell him, yes, right away, and, naturally, I wanted time to think about it, which was,
in fact, heading off, again, in the totally wrong direction, but what else did he expect?
I was ready, the next time he asked.
I got a King on one, and a Jack on the other.
In theory, if you’ve split a pair of tens, and get another pair of tens, why not split them again; because, if
it was the right thing to do the first time, it must still be the right thing to do again, and again, and again.
In practice, it’s
I stood on both hands.
The dealer got a seven, then a ten, and busted.
‘See?’ I said ‘It works. Sometimes …’
I was ready to go with it; after all, it was only sex.
turned out to be the right thing to do; the first, tentative, step in my own self-improvement program. I would have probably
fucked him anyway, but he was the one I’d been waiting for, and, when it was done, there it was, as clear and bright,
in the night sky, as I could wish for.
What can I say?
It’s enough to make you believe in god …