Sublime, dreamy days, hot and sticky, confronting, difficult, blissful, exciting, uncomfortable – yet essentially Happy! – everything seems to come up on retreat on Naitauba!
On my first retreat in 1990 I well remember the opening orientation given by our retreat manager Dennis. He said that coming on retreat, on pilgrimage to this Holy Place put us in the line of a long tradition, stretching back centuries, of men and women, from all different faiths, dropping out of ‘the world’ to focus on concentrating their attention most intensively on God, without distractions. He said it was a manly endeavour (man or woman), honourable, something to treasure, to value and make much of.
And now here I am again five or so years later, sitting on the truck with my fellow retreatants as we bumpily wind our way along the track that joins our retreat quarters to the complex where Adi Da Lives called (at that time) ‘The Matrix’.
Beloved is such a genius with names! One of the definitions of ‘Matrix’ is ‘womb, another is ‘situation or surrounding substance within which something else originates, develops, or is contained’. As we drive along, hot and dusty, excited and happy, I feel as though our hearts are contained in His Divine Heart, whatever purification or upheavals this retreat is putting each of us through, somehow we are protected. We can trust Him. We are in a safe place, a ‘womb’, not in the sense that nothing bad will happen or we won’t suffer, but in the deeper Spiritual sense. As Adi Da says ‘Faith is a deep matter, a profound matter at the core of the being in the heart. Profound trust Awakens in the heart of one who responds to the Realizer and the Blessing of the Realizer and this heart-Awakening is the source of sanity.’
We meet on the edge of ‘The Matrix’ at ‘My Plain Word’ and are oriented as to what Beloved will be doing today. Other days we have had devotional groups and recitation of Beloved’s teaching Word. Today we participate in a beautiful Puja in The Divine World Teacher Mandir, and we meditate afterwards. Then Lydia assigns us Guru-Seva.
Today, as usual, there are all kinds of services being assigned – sweeping, bleaching, dusting, gardening, weeding paths, it is such a happy thing to be doing simple contemplative service, and Beloved Adi Da, our Loved One, our Ishta, so close by! It is as though we are His Children, that He has gathered close to His Heart, and we feel His Love for us, His Caring, His wanting us to be close to him and feel intimate with Him. His Presence lingers in the air, in our hearts, and as we serve we drop down into that sublime feeling of him, distracted by Him, letting thoughts come and go, without holding on, just keeping on returning our attention to Him, the Heart of all Hearts.
And when I feel resistance to the service, like today I am clearing palm fronds (so many and heavy too) that have blown down, and I am starting to feel tired in the sweltering heat! well it’s like Beloved says: ([paraphrasing) ‘if you want to go out and enjoy yourself and your father tells you you have to stay home and paint the wall, you will have no trouble remembering your father, while painting the wall.’
We have just heard that Adi Da, as has often been the case, will be spending time at Kaya Kalpa Kutir a small Fijian bure, in His Jacuzzi, after He has circumambulated The Island in His Boat ‘Na Galala I Dau Loloma’, a voyage which He has been doing every day for many days now! Yesterday one of my friends served at Kaya Kalpa Kutir, she said it was wonderful to see all the gifts waiting there from newly arriving retreatants, displayed around the Jacuzzi for Him to receive when He chooses to. Recently some of us began sending him cards every day, making funny faces on them out of leaves and sticks, shells and such from the Island, very tribal looking, and ‘fetishes’ traditionally used in rituals by Red American Indians. He really enjoyed that. He Loves receiving spontaneous gifts from His devotees. He doesn’t mind if the gifts or cards are a bit crazy sometimes! He is a little Crazy Himself! Crazy with Love for us I can tell you.
It is so wonderful Here with Him. I never want to leave. His Love is infectious and it draws all of us into this ecstatic Bhava, this Ecstatic Place of love with Him, where there is only this Love, this Bliss, this Happiness, this thrilling Intimacy with Him, Adi Da Samraj, our Beloved Master, who Lives only to receive the devotion of His devotees. When we touch His Heart He widens us to ‘God Knows Where’, just like He Writes In His Dawn Horse Testament.
Oh we have just been told that His Boat is leaving from Lion’s Lap. He will be arriving very soon! The women are laying out a flower path for Him on the beach and I am raking the sand to make it attractive for Him. Sometimes we make patterns in the sand and sand ‘rangolis’ (decorative designs traditionally made on the floors of living rooms, courtyards and temples during Hindu festivals).
A few days ago we knew that Namleela and Beloved would be watching ‘The Lion King’ together some of the women retreatants under Lydia’s direction decorated the interior of Kaya Kalpa Kutir to be like a jungle with a ‘Lion’ theme. Beloved really Enjoyed that very much, and when the Guru is Pleased with His devotees, when He feels our deep, fresh, spontaneous, ever-new devotional heart response to Him, well then His Heart Opens To His devotees, His Transmission Flows, and everything feels ‘right’ and Happy.
Now the conch is blowing signalling Beloved’s boat is very near, and coming into sight preparing to land, and we line up on the beach for the best thing in the world! His Sublime Darshan! ! There He Is, So Beautiful and Radiant. He Stands Gazing at us from inside His Boat, which is swaying alongside the beach, His arms up above Him holding the awning of the boat, holding Himself steady. He Gazes at each one of us, His Form is so Lovely, so Sweet, His Peacefulness, His Bliss, we feel it in our hearts, nothing feels better than this! His heart-broken love for us, it breaks our hearts to. We breathe Him in.
For a while my friends and I are in this Timeless Zone of Bliss with Him, this Womb of Love, this Matrix of Sublime Heart Feeling, this Pleasure Dome of Heart Intimacy with Him, God, The Transcendental Being, The Divine Person, Consciousness Itself.
Then after some time has passed (did any time pass in this eternal Timless Moment of Being With Him?) He Steps onto the sand and walks along the flower path. He stops at the Snoopy cookie jar at Kaya Kalpa Kutir where one of His serving ladies is also waiting with His basenjis. He opens the cookie jar, which makes a ‘woof, woof’ sound, and we laugh and he Smiles, and He feeds His dogs a cookie each. The scene is so intimate, so Happy, so sweet!
Beloved is already feeding us with His Love, His Grace, The Love-Blissful Fragrance of His Divine Person, and now it’s the basenjis turn to be fed.