Thursday, June 02, 2011
21) Tarzan and the Mirage of Shangri-la.
These stories, that have been available on Blogspot for 10 years for free, will now only be available on Amazon at the address above. They are contained in “Vagabon Freak”, the 1st volume of a trilogy titled “The 7 Lives of the Punk Poofy Cats”. I have been the archetypal starving artist in his garret, painting, drawing and writing, writing, writing as if I were some waif crying out in the wilderness. Now I need you, dear reader, to hear my cries and go to Amazon and buy a copy of my book and keep me alive. There you will find my complete tale, from beginning to end, in one place, for you to hold in your hot little hands. When you read it straight through, I assure you, it will blow your mind.
Below are introductory paragraphs and some pictures that I still retain to illustrate this story, hopefully to give you a come-on to get my book. Thanks for giving me a go, TZ.
Hidden deep in the foothills of the Himalayas is a super-natural site known as Shangri-la, where Rishis and High Yogis had meditated in the jungles and caves for thousands of years, emanating blissful vibrations that have sunk into the very rocks and become a permanent essence of the place.
Here the sacred green Goddess of the River Ganges flows swiftly down from the glacial heights of the great Himalayas, and above the river’s silver beaches nestle monasteries and rest-houses wherein a community of like-minded soul-seekers reside, study and contemplate the wonder of existence. It was the paradise of spiritual learning that Arthur had been promised in all the grand myths he’d imbibed and he arrived in the town dusty and tired but with high hopes.
Though famous in folklore, Shangri-la’s exact location still remained an esoteric secret, an oasis hidden in the mountains, a small medieval village with little traffic, scarce electricity, no multi-national consumer products and no advertising screaming from every wall. Cars were rare, only a few Indian-made white Ambassadors graced the roads, everyone got around on bikes, buses and horse-drawn tongas, and the latter-day plague of auto-rickshaws and motor-bikes were as rarely sighted as Western tourists.
Pilgrims had to be ferried across the Ganges River in great heaving boats, as Ram’s Bridge had not yet been built, and in the monsoon flood it was a rollicking, wild ride. There were no televisions, refrigerators, air-conditioners or ATMs. Commonplace activities in the modern world like telephoning, ticketing, banking and posting were a horrendous chore where one had to fight amidst a riotous rabble to get to a window and still get nothing accomplished as the clerk wouldn’t have a clue what you were on about.
Modernity was best forgotten and an ancient, simpler lifestyle adhered to; candles to light the night, a thin cotton cloth used as sheet, towel, carry-bag and wrap-around clothing and, with no phones, connection to the greater world was severed. To Arthur’s mind, living with the animals was the most reassuring aspect of this devolution, many of them putting their heads through the door in greeting, cows, horses, camels, pigs, dogs, monkeys, elephants, snakes, squirrels, lizards, mongooses and bears, every space had some beast lumbering through.
To get on a horse-tonga one had to run up from behind and leap upon the backseat while the carriage kept moving for the horse didn’t like to stop. Perched precariously thus, in high spirits, Arthur rushed up river to the Sivananda Jungle University where he had an introduction from Compassion, who was an original chela of the big guru who’d founded the Ashram in 1936. Presenting himself at the reception desk with scraggy beard and tatty hippie clothes, Arthur was not the image of the ideal acolyte they were looking for. “Hello, here I am, after travelling 7000 kilometers, I’m all yours!”
An officious old Swami in orange pursed his lips and grumbled, “Chello to Swiss Cottage down town, that’s where you are belonging. We have no space for you, hippie ragamuffin!”
“But I’m a student of Swami Karunananda, I’ve done advanced yoga, I’m serious about Samadhi, I want it so bad I could die, you just can’t knock me back!”
“We’ve never heard of you, you’re nobody, chello Swiss Cottage.”
Shedding tears of disappointment he dragged his sorry ass down to the forested, rock-strewn banks of the Ganges River just outside of town. Stumbling across a field of round, white stones he discovered the improbable “Swiss Cottage” amid a grove of trees, a two-story white concrete cubicle with a thatched hut at the back of it. The only other building in sight was a moldy old ashram up the non-existent road. Created by Swami Brahmanananda, a disciple of Sivananda, from donations from some Swiss devotees, the Cottage was a sanctuary-lodge for foreign freaks, deadbeats and deviants who couldn’t fit in with the traditional regimes of the established monasteries.
(If your curiosity is piqued please go to the WEB address above and buy the book to read further.)