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Love: The Eternal Home; by Brook Bhagat

I was in Pushkar, Rajasthan, home of one of the two Brahma temples in India and in the world, drinking mango juice and watching two monkeys making love in a tree. Ironically, out of respect to Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, all public displays of affection--even hand-holding--are strictly forbidden in Pushkar; why are the monkeys allowed to be so free? The better question is, why are we humans so restrictive, so afraid of freedom and love? The monkeys are the natural ones. I remember that birds are not being questioned for any visa or passport. Isn't it a degradation of humanity? Love is bigger than any human being, uncontrollable, the only phenomenon which gives light to all darknesses around, but this vast sky can't fit in the small room of mind. That brings fear; losing control is the death of personality or ego but being possessed by love is to be part of an endless mystery.

Eternal Flame
Eternal Flame
by Francene Hart

Before meeting Ullas I had never quite experienced something like this. But what to say now, being part of the mystery, itself? I don't need to believe now, as I know that there are more and more. We met in a dance meditation, danced together but never knew in that moment that we would become part of each other like this. But what is in one's hand in front of this existential dance, which goes on and on without even letting us feel tired? This rhythm of love is not so new.

Two years before meeting my husband I made a sculpture in my art class which looks exactly like him; when I made it, I felt I was making a sculpture of myself, my inner possibility--Jesus, Buddha, rapture, divine ecstasy, enlightenment--something at once so close and so far away. I never guessed that that possibility was a living human being, a being who would meet me, hold me, and teach me about myself; life's poetry is always more beautiful than the imaginable. The sculpture was also a picture of my goal, my reason for leaving my home and job for the unknown waters of India, my head full of mystical fantasies of sadhus and truth and bliss.

Two years later, as I made the final preparations for my dream of India to become a reality and wondered what would happen next, Ullas and I both dreamt of floods; dreams with a different taste, a different intensity than the everyday. In Ullas's dream, it was a flooded town in which the last half-broken home's roof was his destiny. Somebody told him, "See, it's so beautiful there, far over the mountains!" Ullas's words came out, "Just wait, and see for yourself if there is any beauty there." The sun went down and that faraway place became nothing but darkness. Again the voice came: "But your home doesn't have light, and it's broken badly." Ullas connected the broken wires on the wall and decided to repair and live in that broken home. Amazingly, he found the next day that his body was not behaving like before--he had been literally depressed to the death, and was getting constant electric shocks from inside the body, everywhere for no reason. After the dream, he became well, learning the lesson that life is here and now, not far away. All the beauties we see around us are nothing but just the expansion of our inner beauty.

Two weeks later I also dreamt of a flood, and that my home was destroyed. My dream seemed to offer the opposite message, in a sense: the water was rising to the attic of the house, and I was getting ready to get in a small boat and leave through a window or hole in the roof. Someone was telling me, "Don't you want your books? What about shoes?" and on and on; come on, come on, I was saying, who cares? The water was coming and I only wanted to go, not caring that I was leaving everything behind. A week later I left for India, and like my dream, I never went back.

Life brought me to the point where love was bigger than myself: simply put, from the first time we hugged, I felt myself falling into him, my body into his, my mind silent, nonexistent; we had never even spoken, at that point, but I remember thinking, (i)I am following you, wherever you are going(/i). One thing led to another, and soon we got married; love's wings continue to open in its endless sky, but one thing remains the same, changeless, timeless: that silence, that feeling when we hold each other in dance or even just with our eyes. This is meditation, this is the path of love, this is the power that all reason is powerless against.

I still remember those Osho Commune days, when formal meditation was all I wanted to do; I came to India to find silence, but I never expected this: life has its own ways. It gave me a new kind of meditation, being in love and being in this world, where every single moment is heaven in hell or vice versa, depending on what I wish. Ups and downs, love and hate, peace and anger, they all seem to be part of the same energy depending on the expression I choose, moment to moment. Wisdom, like life, is paradoxical. It is old wisdom that one must die to be born, one must lose oneself in order to find oneself; while it is one thing to think about the beauty of the phoenix, it is quite another to live it in the everyday: to drop being right and say, "Actually, I can't stay angry if you give me half a smile; actually, I don't need whatever I was demanding; actually, you can do anything you want to me."

It is that belly power, as I think of it in my head, that wordless feeling that we are one being, one full circle. In the face of that power, my ego forgets how it was insulted, how it was planning to protect itself, forgets all its petty nonsense. Actually it is we who forget our egos in those moments and are truly ourselves. Being part of the most ancient Indian society is not that easy as it was for me. Wonders of life address me again and again to find myself at a place where I can't speak English to everyone. Learning Hindi seems the most important meditation these days, regardless of whether I will be enlightened or not by this. Opening the balcony door of my room shows me the Hindu temple and the people who come for prayer every morning and evening. It makes me feel that I need to do something or at least meditate; I don't know much but what else do I need if I can just be?

Doing nothing seems the hardest work, which leads me to do things. I remember Osho saying that in ancient times people were able to meditate just by closing their eyes. They were so at ease that they didn't need any sleeping pills or any particular way to meditate. Lucky people. It seems impossible in this era, but love is still the same. It was the same before me, and it will be the same after me, too. The only thing that changes is people; their minds and values. I don't say that life has completely changed or we don't feel earthy anymore; our problems are the same. We fight, we shout, we cry, we live with all the stupidity our minds have, yet something beautiful brings us back together with the same warmth we felt in that first hug.

Is that enough to lead us through this life? Love? Osho was quite descriptive about love; he said many times that love and meditation are two different ways to achieve the same goal, and there is no division in quality--if one grows in love, one grows in meditation, too and vice versa. Everyday we find a new peak to climb, and from here everything looks Everest-high, but the wings of love are big and strong, and we have crossed many rivers and oceans with ease until now.

Looking back makes me think of the starting days when we were running to the court for our marriage registration, solving visa problems or other worldly things. I still can't forget those true eyes of that district officer who helped us in getting the marriage registered. Does he need meditation? We were so grateful to him for that favor, as well as astonished at how he kept his eyes so bright in this dark world.

Someone once asked a rabbi, "How can we serve God?" He answered, "How can I know?" and then told the following story: Once a king had to punish two people who were his friends. The punishment he devised was crossing a valley by walking on a rope, and the survivor would be set free. One of them crossed it, and the other asked from the other side, "How did you make it?" the answer was, "I just know that whenever I was falling to one side, I bowed down to the other side." The second one tried and fell down into the valley. Another metaphor is this: One man jumped into the river with trust and learned to swim; the other died because of his calculations, because he was trying to swim.

Being spontaneous is the greatest meditation in love and life; such a simple thing but so difficult when we go for it. No one would accomplish anything, I don't think, if they knew what was involved before they started. I didn't wonder, over a year ago, whether I could cook and clean and live somehow in this Indian world, so different from what I knew before, much less leave behind my American life and loved ones; I was thinking only that being away from him wasn't an option.

One old fart was warning us once about all the cultural differences, saying it wouldn't last, and why didn't we consider the consequences before we did this? If anyone really considered the consequences, or knew, I thought, how would anyone ever fall in love or get married? For now, our culture, our language, our religion is love--when people ask how I like India or Indian culture, I say that I love my home and my family. Liking is so much on the surface--something from the personality. Society's culture, society's religion--these things are the outside world, made by human beings for human beings, but human beings are made for love.

For me, it is the state of the inner world that determines how much peace or tension I feel, where love is, my relationships with others--mostly him--and with myself. I remember one of the most ancient stories, of Adam and Eve. I don't believe what the Scriptures say. There should be some reason! And what can be a better reason than that love was there, and we are creations of love? Why believe that she ate the apple? Why not believe that love opened its wings, and it's vast, bigger than the outside sky and deeper than the depth of oceans.

The more I say, the more I find that is left out. The language of the eyes has the quality of the fragrance of the rose which can't be defined in words, as love.

I've told Ullas before that he is the death of me, and it's true: that is, he is the life of me, too.

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Edith Buxbaum, Ph.D. | Love: The Eternal Home

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