Chapter Six: Sixth Trip to India
The next year I went back, but the Kirtan Woman was unable to come because she needed to have surgery. I was going to stay at her Luxury Flat and close it up so she would no longer have to pay the yearly lease. When I arrived and moved in there was no way I could let it go. I called her and told her “We” should keep it. She was shocked when I referred to us as we. But even though we weren’t a couple, I felt we had a musical relationship. I continued having the Kirtans on Friday night. I would invite other musicians to come, and we would pass the harmonium and take turns leading chants. This worked well and groups of yoga students continued to participate. People were still reacting strangely towards me and out of naivete I thought it was because I was gay.
The woman who spent her summers in my hometown with her mother came to Mysore for a week that winter with her boyfriend from Maui and I let them stay in a room at the flat. Two women from my hometown also came and stayed at the flat until the couple arrived. Before I left for India that fall a woman, I practiced with in the mornings in the studio said to one of them that they could see if it were true. Intuitively I knew she was referring to the statement the owner of the studio had made “the only reason homosexuals go to India is to sleep with young boys.” I called the woman who owned the studio and asked her what she had told her. The next day the woman chewed me out for almost getting her fired as a teacher. I should have used this as an opportunity to clear up the rumor, but again I could not talk about it and just hoped it would go away.
The German Woman really liked to travel and invited me to go with her to Mumbai over Shivaratri weekend. While preparing for the trip she asked me where I would like to spend Shivaratri. I immediately said Ganesh Puri. She contacted an Ayurvedic Doctor she had met in Germany who taught meditation and gave Shakti Pot or Kundalini awakening. He was also a Jyotish Astrologer as the two go hand in hand. He lived in Pune and agreed to meet us in Ganesh Puri, but the day after Shivaratri as he felt it would be too intense for us with thousands of people there for the festival. The Doctor had a car and driver pick us up in Mumbai that morning and drive us to Ganesh Puri to meet him. It was an amazing trip. I had been involved in Siddha Yoga and Ganesh Puri was the epicenter. Nityananda or Bodi Baba as he was affectionately called had lived in Ganesh Puri and frequented the hot springs. The Doctor took us each through Nityananda’s home and through the hot springs which were a pilgrimage spots, although the springs had been drained because of the heavy use the day before.
We ate lunch at a restaurant, I was troubled by because of its appearance, but when the food came the tali was incredible. After lunch we went into the temple where Nityanada’s Maha Samadhi Shrine was located. We sat in meditation, with the German woman on one side of the isle and I on the other. We slipped into deep meditation and when the driver and his friend came to get us, we did not want to leave. We were ready to sit there forever. In fact, all Ganeshpuri exuded Nityananda’s energy as well as the Ayurvedic Doctor. It was incredible. I had gotten a taste of it when I had visited the Siddha Yoga Ashram in upstate New York in the 80’s, but it was not until this experience that I came to understand Nityananda was a true saint.