Why are we all drawn to this place?
Why did we, from all over the world, travel to India, Rishikesh, Laxmanjhula?
Only ONE reason, our heartbeat called us beyond reason to gather in Satsang with ShantiMayi.
Satsang: A Gathering of people who are dedicated to find Truth.
ShantiMayi is sitting underneath a majestic tree, dressed in the finest silk.
She radiates Totality through every gesture, word, laughter, look and stillness.
We, the Sangha, have taken our places on a circle of white-silver sparkling sand in front of Her. Softly we chant a mantra.
The sound of the endless stream of the river Ganga behind us is merging with our voices.
I hear ShantiMayi say:"Whenever you are ready, you can begin the Satsang".
We are invited to ask, to lay at Her feet the Quest that is burning inside.
And we do it with seriousness!
With tremendous compassion, unconditional love and patience She answers.
Sometimes with one word, sometimes with an extended discourse, sometimes with a chant, always calling upon the light within ourselves.
This particular Satsang, it was as if we all decided to stay serious; after all spirituality is a serious matter.
And than suddenly She breaks through with a liberating laughter and says:
"There really is nothing to do, we might as well hug an elephant".
The next day we all jump into taxis.
A convoy of 'white ambassadors'*, filled with disciples all equipped
with a bag full of fruits and carrots. (* "Ambassador" is the brand name of the most popular Indian car.)
We are heading for Dehra-Dun, the residence of Arundatti, the elephant.
There she is, chained by one foot to a tree, radiating the same totality as our Guru.....
ShantiMayi walks up to the elephant with a childlike lightness. The Sangha follows.
The first banana is offered by ShantiMayi, a peeled banana: prasad.
The Guru dissolves in Her action; the elephant receives with dignity. So simple.
When one after the other starts feeding Arundatti, I see this reverence revealing itself in all.
The scene is ended by Arundatti throwing her offerings on the ground and stepping on them.
She has had enough, no compromise.
Her caretaker unchains her. She is free to play with us!
With a full stomach she has no urge to run around.
ShantiMayi seduces her to take her opportunity by running in front of her.
Who is running? Ganesha, ShantiMayi, Ganesha in ShantiMayi?
Arundatti understands and the two are now in a gentle pace together.
Oh, the heart cannot but rejoice, sing and dance along...
Ganesha Sharanam, Sharanam Ganesha...
At the end of the field suddenly Arundatti stops again, enough is enough, no compromise.
The Guru caresses the elephant skin, 120 hands follow in the same action.
The rough skin, sparsely covered with long soft hair, feels very thin and sensitive.
In silence we find ourselves massaging an elephant.
Who? What? Who is massaging whom?
Here she is, this huge elephant, slowly, slowly she closes her eyes.
Softly and gently she rocks her body under this splendor of tenderness.
We all seem to disappear, dissolve into this moment.
No Quest, no search, no seriousness nor non-seriousness.
Only a soft sound of the wind through the trees is heard...
After Arundatti is taken back by the caretaker,
ShantiMayi silently steps into Her taxi again.
We wave until we cannot see Her anymore.
The Satsangh is over…