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2004-01-20 08:29:00

I have taken a turn from liking this place to wanting to leave. I am not sure why and that is what is strange. I met a very interesting and intelligent guy that studies engineering here in Sawegram. He spoke excellent English and was able to clarify or explain about the Ashram.

He was saying that an Ashram is not just a Hindu religious retreat but also a place where people go as more of a retreat. It is a place that is not for study, but a place to think, a place more to experience, and less of a place of research. It is a place where you are separated from real life so you can understand real life, or at least have time to think about real life without the constant noise and clutter of real life.

I made that a little longer than the actual explanation of the boy, but you get the idea it is not just for religious reason, but also for a refuge from the world.

I walked around the Ashram this morning and read all the information signboard and try to understand them. This whole place is like a big private joke and I am not included in the joke. Everyone is under some great conceptual idea that they know what they are doing, and no one seems to want to say that the King has no clothes.

Malta the girl was outright rude today and would not even say Hello. I am not sure of the reason, and I suppose I do not care. I do not take much stock or value in people that change emotional status by the moment. I like the true and steady.

So today is good because I am starting to put together who or what Gandhi the man was up to, but the Ashram is more of a shrine to him, and not really anything in the end. I thought there would be lots of people inside doing things, but so far it is more or less a very nice museum of how Mahatma Gandhi lived in the last years of his life. I looked at his home and office, and where he planned or helped to separate India from England.

I do like the place, but it is very quiet and very boring in the end, because of the lack of people and of any real natural beauty. It is maybe what Gandhi wanted, or desired a lack of temptations of beauty. I am just guessing and do not assume to understand how or why this place is here. I think he needed a home and he made this place his home, and since he wanted a lot of people to be accepted he called it an Ashram. But this is all just opinions of mine, and I am still lost to understand. Weird or strange how difficult it can be to learn about a place even thought I am right at the place. I could go to the library in the USA and in 3 hours have this all figure out. I will probably leave this place not really understanding the whole picture.

Enough of the minor issues of life like Gandhi and Thoreau and such, I am off to find some Puri and Chetnee Coconut. I am farther north and they may have aborted the Coconut idea. (Note, I did not find Puri)


I WOKE UP THINKING - Tuesday Morning
I woke up this morning full of thoughts in my head and mulling, musing and just downright drudging around with thoughts. It would be harder to debate if I were thinking about the Gandhi Ashram or about the fact that I am cold. I now have put 3 blankets on me to try to get warm, and really miss a good gas forced air furnace, that I can crank up and make the air warm.

So am I thinking about the similarity of this wanna-be self-sufficient project of Gandhi and of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond Experiment? Blah blah blah is my head. Trying to group, regroup, and find the consistencies, congruencies, and inconsistencies and rid my mind of the confusion.

Maybe this is what the mediation is about. To stop thinking. But a good drug addict knows how to do that very well also, but let me not be sarcastic.

I will say if I was going to write the prelude or that is not the right word. I cannot think of the right word. I am sure it is not Quaalude, but what I am looking for is the word that would say the conclusion maybe to the story of Gandhi and Thoreau it would be the story of my experiment of curiosity, and how to be curious without going crazy.

In the end, I am not sure, but I think a good cup of coffee in the morning is ok for me. There is some friendship involved in just waking and drinking a cup of coffee, and not worrying about the mess.

I suppose all my thoughts are too much sometimes for me, but I have learned to not care about my thoughts. They are just a lot of noise and give me a way to spend the day, and in the end all I really want is enough money to be curious and / or probably look for girls. I suppose I am looking for a wife like any other man, but the search is long and tedious, but the world is big.

It is nice to be high minded when you have money, but a little more difficult when you are poor. I relax when I am more self-sufficient. But not needing people is to me is silly. Better to be needed.

I am going to go read in my Encyclopedia about Thoreau. In the introduction to my Autobiography it mentions that Gandhi learned from Henry David Thoreau and the Christian bible, and a few other source, and for sure Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and H D Thoreau were in the same play together. But who was the first? That is my curious question. Who had the original ability to combine the thoughts together and come up with civil disobedience?

I went to read about Gandhi and what I learned is that I was spelling his name wrong. So now the way I was spelling it Ghandi is replaced thanks to Bill Gates and CTRL H with the correct spelling of Gandhi. I really like CTRL H.

I am enjoying my stay here very much so far. I do not think the people have a clue on how to deal with an Indiana boy in the middle of a bunch of people searching for God.

I say,
“Hello, how are you?”
And strangely a lot of people just look at me and stare. I know the greeting is something like amistat or something like that, or marajaba sometime they say to me, but when they say this to me, I give them a nod of the head, and a look in the eye and sometime wave according to the situation. So they got to understand the same idea. When people talk to you… Acknowledge their presence… hehehe…

What good fun.

But Malta has got my number. She is a girl that is somehow connected to the Ashram and was giving me orders. So I called her the boss. I am in a sexist culture and that sort of brought the eyebrows at me, so I said,
“Pretty obvious she is the big boss!”

Men are jerks in the whole world, and this place has more than its share of male jerks, but so be it.

Malta says to me,
“When you was you, I think you be naughty boy.”
I replied,
“I still be naughty boy.”

She has my number, but she is working on instinct and not on some drummed up, I want to analyze and make sure who and what your are, and they I make a judgment sort of thing.

I find the more intellectual a person tries to be the more stupid they become. What is so good about trying to be intellectual? It seems pretty intelligent and high mind, and you may say intellectually astute to me that I must try to enjoy the day. Trying is not part of living or enjoying. I try to find something, but I do not try to be someone. I am me… I think, at least last time I checked.

There is little song and dance here going on, as people are visiting the Ashram. It is a sort of perma-culture environment or you may say it is self-sufficient with the help probably a lot of tourist. I am not sure thought they did not want money for the dinner, but they said something about working tomorrow morning after breakfast. I really would like to go chat with Malta, but I find the idea of working in an Ashram anti cathartic, but I am positive the 3 girls across the way need to have some guidance, and I will encourage them. Maybe?

I do not like to compete with he local workers for jobs, and made up my mind to not do any menial task that could employ locals in poor countries. So.. I will give them some fair money for the food. I already was told I needed to pay 80 Rupees for the room, and the room is great. Has a western style toilet, and it has a pull flush. I am not sure, it maybe the first full on Western toilet I have encountered. I have seen a few flush squat toilets.

The room has a desk, some shelves, and everything but a closet. They included a mosquito net, but I am packing my own newly modified one, which is ready to hang up. I really needed it tonight and have set it up in my room.

I am always wondering about the word empathy. I wish they would empathize with the people that live in hotel rooms. The did give me a mosquito net, but the room is not set up for a mosquito net. It has a lot of plastic conduit on the wall, but the room is a trapezoid or something like that and has to many angles, and 2 single beds. Only one mosquito net. I better check that tomorrow. But you get the point the functionality is missing. (Note - I found 2 mosquito nets in the room, so there is the proper amount of nets, but for sure the proper type of hooks on he walls are missing, or for sure not obvious.)

I will chat up Malta tomorrow and get some of the details. I can say that I do think the drinking, drugs, and noise is down to a minimum here.

I took a sign today of a “No Horn” sign. It was a trumpet with a back slash through it. I had to take a photo of this. The culture of India says that if you have a horn, you must use it at least every 100 meter, or less, and this no horn sign is great. All these signs, and concepts, but I just like I was thinking at dinner tonight.
I said to myself,
“Self, there are a lot of people here searching for God.”
I then though about the people that complain about the people that sin all the time, then go to Church on Sunday.
“At least they are going to the a repair shop, and the ones that do not go are broken also.”

But this is a place for people to search for God and there are people here searching for God. Duh?

I got a kick out of the Ireland girl telling 2 Korean girls tonight about her former French roommate.

The French girl married a Sadhu from Nepal or the Himalayas.

Now the Ireland girl was sort of inferring that this was a holy thing to do, but I was laughing. A Sadhu has or is suppose to have a vow of no women or living a life without possessions. I personally think they make up the rules as they go, but I must be careful with my opinions. But I do know a very drunk one that lives and works the streets begging in Hampi!

But none the less people speak of Sadhu with reverence, but I look at them like they should get a job and stop asking me for money. I do not get any holy feeling from them, but I do get a distinct,
“I be a beggar, and you should feel guilty and give me money feeling.” So like the naughty boy I be. I don’t give them money.

God has a lot of work to do here in India and there is a lot of people walking around with no arms, legs, old, and other very ugly problems, and I am going to help God by giving to the ones with serious problems before the Sadhus that do not wish to work. Plus I am not Hindu. Although I do support all the good Gods of the world.

I was laughing at the 3 girls today.
They were talking about there being a prayer in the morning and a prayer in the evening. Now this is an Ashram and I would hope they would do something like that, but I am not going to believe that it is “non-denominational”

Tonight at the 5:00 dinner we had to sit on the floor, cross-legged and eat, and the man said some chant. He said something,
“Hari Krishna.”

I am pretty sure that Krishna is, no I am positive…

1 Sanskrit Krishna one of the most widely revered and most popular of all Indian divinities, worshipped as the eighth incarnation

Yep he was making a not so non-denominational prayer to Krishna in a Hindu retreat. Now that would make sense, and I would hope in a Hindu retreat they would make this type of prayer. This is good and I respect that, but this malarkey about it being non-denominational is just some not too clear on why they are chanting, but like the feeling so they do chant malarkey.

The Ashram has represented itself correctly, but the other travelers are filling in their misunderstanding gaps as they go. This is very common and if a traveler or anyone does not understand something they make it up as they go. I on the hand drive myself crazy with an overabundance of questions all the time I am researching. I doubt that I can find any clear answers, but I am sure that chatting up Malta can give me some help, and also she has no toe ring. I hope that means she is not married. But if she is living in an Ashram she may be similar to a Monk.

There are some really good “Souls” over there, and they are nice, and the other I will take under advisement. The 3 girls on the other side need to be here, and me. I must need to be here, because I am here, so that would make sense. But I am pretty sure; no I am positive that God is not lost.

I am sure this drives my mother crazy all this talk about Hindus and such, but relax mom. I am pretty sure it all the same God with a different twist to keep think up for guessing. They always said something about faith. I do not think Faith and Logic fit together.

Note that I told Malta I was naughty in a good boy sort of ways, and a not a bad boy. I often think what they mean to say is,
“Andy, you are uncontrollable.”

I know that also.

I was hoping for some Yoga stretching classes.
I will ask Malta. They need to hire a couple more girls over there to answer my questions.

Location: Sevagram or maybe Sewagram, India
Home of an Ashram founded by Mahatma Gandhi.

I think I am living in rooms owned, or maybe managed by the Ashram.

1 : a secluded dwelling of a Hindu sage; also : the group of disciples instructed there
2: a religious retreat

The name of the city is Sevagram. Encyclopedia Britannica says:

town, eastern Maharashtra state, western India. Originally called Segaon, the village was given its present name a HindY: Village of Service) by Mohandas Gandhi, the Indian nationalist leader. In 1936 he left his ashram (a hermitage) on the Sabarmati River, near Ahmadabad, and settled at Sevagram. There he founded another ashram and directed the independence movement. Within this he created a model community that still flourishes, in which the inhabitants live a simple existence.

The town is also the site of the Nai Talimi Sangh, the educational centre established by Gandhi. He gave it the tasks of building a self-sufficient community by providing its own food, clothing, shelter, and tools and of establishing a society able to fulfill its aesthetic, spiritual, and intellectual needs by creating its own art, music, literature, and drama.

Sunday Afternoon
I am jumping a train tomorrow morning at 4:30 AM to Sevagram, India. I asked a few people when the train left for Nagpur and one said at 10:30 and another at 11:30. The both seem extremely reputable and truthful, but the station was only a 10 Rupee Rickshaw away. The man in the station said, something different, but this is the game of travel. I never would trust anyone but the horse’s mouth when traveling, most people do not travel outside there city or village and they are unreliable.

I am looking to stay 3 nights in Sevagram and clean up a little. There are these Mahatma Gandhi signs around saying something to the extent of “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Being that there is a Mahatma Gandhi founded Ashram or Hindu Religious Retreat in Sevagram it will be interesting to see if it is cleaner.

I am learning a lot by necessity on how to clean up while traveling, how to find a clean restaurant, what are the signs of a clean place, and how to look or inspect people for good hygiene. India training ground for people that would want to learn about how to view or inspect for good healthy cleaning habits. The country of India is both one of the cleanest countries and dirtiest in one place. The water is controlled more than most, but the smells, dust, and waste management is disastrous.

I am really expanding my Tips area of my page. I write, add, enlarge, and create tons of small tips daily, then add to the index of tips. I am really happy to be able to capture so many concepts daily.
I was just thinking,
“What I need is a beach full of women, and not so much learning.”

The Internet Café here in Sitpur is or will not open. He said he would open at 2:00 and then I took a Taxi to the place and he would not open. Do not for a minute think that the people of India are hungry for money; in most ways they are exactly the same as the rest of the world. If the money is easy they are ready, but if they have to work no.

But I do not understand this “Holiday.”
Friday is Muslim day, and I am not sure what is Hindu day, and then there are bunches of Tribal people that are having a big market day. Sunday is a Christian day and I have found nothing in this city that resembles or smells of Christians. There are pigs everywhere and that is because of the Tribal people. Some Muslim guy said if the pig touched them they would go shower. I am in favor that everyone in India taking a shower, but that is a whole other issue.

The level of dirt is getting to me, and I thought I could live with anything. The only clean place is in my room, and I would not say that I am in a clean room.