HIS FEET AND HANDS
Kanya Kumari — Cape Cameron — at the southern tip of India, is where the currents of three oceans meet; the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean. Their different colored sands eddy and whirl together along the beaches in red and gold and black. Higher up, on the low surrounding hills, are ageless temples and monuments, many to Kumari, the virgin goddess — Siva's maiden beloved. As this is one of five official sacred pilgrimage places around India, it was usual to see bands of pilgrims from many regions in their unique local costumes. I would go to worship services there in the depths of a womb-like shrine to Mother Kali, always awed as the priest revealed the Beloved's flower-covered dusky image with his circling candle flame as he intoned the ancient chants. A very special and hallowed place.
The Vivekananda Ashram, where I was a resident for some while, was just up the coast from there, on the Tamil Nadu side of South India. The Ashram was dedicated to training people to do social work around the Nation. It was a basic training of some six months in health and sanitation, agriculture, family planning and skills in community service. Most of the students were fairly bright young men who wanted to dedicate themselves to helpful work. A wonderful and essential service. Their life style, as well as we residents and faculty, was very Spartan and peaceful, completely centered around the training.
My main service there was to teach a more universal English than many of them spoke. Occasionally, I taught Hatha Yoga and meditation. I'd taught these practices in the States for some years and found teaching this to Indians especially satisfying and somewhat humorous. I also had lot of time there for solitude that I enjoyed. Often, I would walk the usually empty expansive beach and through the tropical forest of coconut and palm trees that bordered the Ashram's land. The only others I might see there would be a few fishermen in their raggedly sailed long canoes.
That life and location were wonderfully exotic and soul satisfying for me. On this particular afternoon's walk, I was especially touched with profound gratitude for the sense of guiding Presence in my life. The light staccato rattling of palm fronds high overhead in the fresh off shore wind, the interweaving of plaintive gulls' calls, the calming murmur of waves washing into foam nearby, all wove a music that my whole being sang with.
I was drawn to a spot just beyond the forest's edge where the beach began its downward slope to meet with the ruffled turquoise crystal of the Oceans. I sat in a cushioning hollow in the slope, took my pilgrimage battered sandals off and, unawarely, placed them before me on the swirled mosaic of the sands, side by side, toes turned out, the right heal just above the left.
Prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving poured out of me with no forethought. "Thank You, Lord God. Thank You for Your perfect guidance and provision. Thank You, thank You," my heart joyfully sang out.
Being in a Hindu Ashram and often taking part in their religious services, their prayer imagery was potent for me. From that background, I intoned, "I praise Your Lotus Feet, Lord. I bless Your Lotus Feet," as I bowed, face down on my joined hands resting on my sandals with tears of thankful offering.
The Lord then spoke through the core of my devotion absorbed soul, "I PUT MY LOTUS FEET INTO THOSE SANDALS." Utter silence engulfed my mind. A blaze of sacred flame seared up through my feet. Utter bliss-filled bewilderment consumed me.
What He said, I now know is true, without doubt. And yet how to live that will astound me for the rest of my life.
Some decades later, I was long back in the States. I'd had a practice in spiritual counseling and healing for some while, sharing from what I'd learned and experienced in India, and some psychic gifts. In that role of helping others find their own fullness of being, I was somewhat fulfilling that visionary knowing of God putting his Feet in my shoes. But I was always seeking yet a fuller merging with Him.
This splendid afternoon, I'm visiting with friends, Jai and Lauren, in their spacious home in a northern suburb of Chicago. They are both spiritual seekers, so its comfortable being fully myself with them. After some time of catching up with each other's active lives, I'm ready to go out and enjoy their amply lawned back yard that slopes down to a crossing stream. Perfect place to be with Nature, though still well within urbana.
There are seeming hours of ecstatic frolic in this precious solitude this afternoon. Embraced and drawn heavenward by dear companion twin Birch trees, their story-high branches entwining above, I dance upon the platform of earth their roots are interwoven through, our souls embraced. Bountifully expressed and utterly emptied, I slide flat on the ground in an offering of devotion. And am absorbed.
A blissful, eternal time later, I glimpse through a crack in my reverie into Reality and see my right hand close before my eyes cushioned in the lush grass. Still in that God-absorbed state, in that luminous locus of mind, it is evident to me; "This is His hand in the World." That realization opens me to the cosmic import and ineffable possibilities inherent in that right hand. I'm elated with its possibilities in my life. The fullest of joys!
As I settle back into my body-mind — my soul fitting into its worldly glove —I feel a long held twist straining my neck and shoulders. I'd long been lying on my belly, my left cheek pressed into the lawn. For just how long, I can't imagine... It is sweet to get partly back into my body, even just enough to arch my head up, stretch my neck and turn my head to the other side.
And now, there is my left hand before me, as totally awing and potent as my right one was. Another revelation! "This is also His Hand in the World". Undeniable Knowing.
His Presence awakens them to their true nature and calling. I understand this sacred, complementary natures of my hands is to honored in the day-to-day.
Carrying all this with me, embodying it, I roll over my right shoulder and thump lightly onto my back. Sweet, sweet release. Newly returned to this nest of flesh for the soul that is me. Fresh back and not yet caught up in the ever tightening webs of delusion and ignorance, it is perfect. I cross these sacred hands over my high chest in devotion, my Heart Chakra, that pulsates with the Shakti, the divine power that flows through me. Here is the center of my being, the Bindu at the center of my Mandala. The Eye of God.
Now I connect the vitality of that fiery tingling back to its Source, And not only my hands know that blessed flame of devotion. My whole being, on every level and nuance, flares with that Heart sourced sacred conflagration.
HOW DO I REVIVE THESE REVELATIONS?
An awakener of these Revelations can be merely
I'm drawn away from every outer thing to reconsecrate,
Vibrant holiness courses through me,
The main quandry yet to be solved is,
Copyright Nathaniel Schwartz 2003 www.WisdomVisions.com