Friday, December 11, 2015


 I would have liked to walk. But Sankar was not used to it, and we took a train. We reached Manogram by nightfall. From here we would take a bus to Compass in the countryside about ten miles away.

 Monogram was a wayside station. Large posters appeared advertising the Compass. There was a small encampment set up by the Compass for the comfort of overnight stayers and also for non-residential students, who could not afford stay at the main Compass, or simply didn't want to stay there. There were residential flats and a restaurant.

Sankar and I registered our names and were shown to a dormitory.

A bearded white gentleman was seated on a rope cot - strings of beads adorned his bare torso; leopard spotted loincloth for his loins; cross-legged; inhaling incense smoke from incense sticks held close to the nostrils. His eyes were half-closed in silent ecstasy. Hung on the mosquito-net frame of his cot were a leather case with cinema-camera; a tape recorder and typewriter and haversack rested at the foot of the bed.

On another cot a girl sprawled with one leg across the bed, another hanging down, puffing at a cigarette and watching the smoke swirl to the rafters of the hut.

On another cot sat a young man in white shirt and dhoti, contemplating the origin of smoke and causes of fire.

On a fourth cot was a dark young man in saffron shirt; back to everybody and face set firmly towards the wall, on which was painted a magic symbol of some kind.

Books and pamphlets lay strewn all over the floor and on the cot.

We were shown to the two spare cots by a young man in a spotless linen lounge suit, who told us that we were already on the way to brotherhood, and collected some money from Sankar.

Sankar said that we should stay with this brotherhood and sisterhood, here only, and explore the Compass, before embarking further. There were more brothers and sisters to be seen around the place by supper time.

By supper time we all managed to say ‘hi’ to one another. By the time we returned from supper it was Marzi, Joan, Ram, Domby, Sankar and Krishna.

Sankar and I strolled around the camp for a while, looking: the stars and sky; the small lighted huts, the signal light of the station in the distance.

At the office of the camp we bought some books and some symposia of the Compass.

When we returned we found the brothers and sister seated on their cots in contemplation. Shankar and I sat on ours.

After a while Marzi inhaled deeply from the incense sticks stuck almost inside his nostrils, and broke silence:

“Well brothers,” he said, “I see you have just come. I am actually Swami Marzipan to everybody, but just Marzi to my friends. Everyone knows me there, I mean, over there in the States. Here, it is a shame, I have to be introducing myself, to the Indian brothers. You, too, seeking something, brothers?" he asked.

“Quite a guy, Swami Marzipan,” said the girl and giggled.

“What you seek, brothers?” asked Ram.

“Jointly or individually, who seeks what?” asked Domby enigmatically and drew circles in the air.

 “Whatever you seek, brothers, I have the answers,” said Swami Marzipan. “Ask Marzi, he knows all that is to be known. Brothers, I have travelled the whole globe, the whole compassful of it; I have explored, investigated, uncovered, discovered all that can be known; in black and white and yellow and brown; and here it is in clear print.” He took three large paperbacks from his capacious haversack, and handed them to us.

The title was ‘Naked Truth’ a trilogy.

“See what I mean? No clothes, ha, ha!" He laughed.

“Don't I know it, Marzi,” giggled Joan.

“Marzi thinks he has all the answers,” said Ram.

“Who answers whom? And with what?” asked Domby. Now he was drawing triangles on his chest.

“Well, it is the best seller, now running into the umpteenth edition,” said Marzipan. “I have been commissioned to find if fellows at the compass have anything different to offer. Boy, I don't think they are different. I peeped at them. I have tapes and photographs - all same - and all lead to one answer or three. Only three things constitute man or woman: the good old Indian knew it - the trinity - you meet the trinity everywhere - you show me one man or woman who hasn’t got this trinity, or even one animal: SEX; TOILET; FOOD! Wherever I went I didn't fail to find this Trinity, - these gateways to the holy Trinity.

“I explored sex - mine, others, at different ages, different times, different cultures - illustrated and amplified - with humour and pathos added to it - that is volume, one.

“And I explored food and I explored toilets; they are the volumes two and three.

“And I have traced wars, famines, falsehoods and floods to the suppression of this trinity by civilized man.

 “I am glad, brothers, that the book sold like hot cakes showing that this is the word the world was waiting for!

“Even your education man got so excited about it and its implications that he wanted me to get a local edition - your customs fellows don’t permit the import of this gold mine - it was wonderful, he said, how an American like me knew all about Trimurtis and Satchidananda and Siva; he wants a simplified but highly illustrated version for children at school.

"So, as I say, you will find all you need in a nutshell. Answer to all your problems - Free Sex, Free Food, Free Toilets. I have come here to establish Conscious Biologism. But, excuse me,” he clutched his stomach and got up, “this unsterile water, maybe, but I will be back,” and he rushed out of the hut.

“Free food and free toilets,” said Ram.

“What comes after all this - your freed trinity,” asked Sankar when Marzi returned.

“Why, of course, the ecstasy of death - the final Nirvana - you know what old man Buddha said in Dhammapada - and you know a chap of one of your universities said what a great guy I was, mastering Buddhism in a week, I, even, wrote a book about the sex life of Buddha and traced Japanese militarism to Buddha’s enforced rejection of the trinity,” declared Swami Marzipan.

“What happens if everyone wants free all this at the same time and place and persons,” Ram asked.

“Oh, the glory of fight! Did not your Krishna say you should fight for your Dharma? I have introduced Krishna and the Gita to the West. I have written a monograph on the relevance of Krishna and his sex life to problems plaguing the West. Boy, did he know what he was talking about, and to think that Marzi has same ideas as Krishna - glory of fight and survival of the fittest!” Marzi beamed through his beard.

“Did not Krishna say something about controlling of desires?” asked Ram.

“Yah, yes; the Brahmins wouldn’t let him say otherwise, would they. Your caste system, you know. But, wonderful country you have! Right place to locate a unit of Biologism at this Compass joint. Actually a States foundation, you know and they are anxious to finance it. Boy, I thought I was going to meet with resistance, you know, all sadhus and sanyasis - But, boy, within a week of landing here I found the trinity , here, too. That is the beauty of universal biologism! That set is just eight dollars or forty rupees. If you can let me have it now,” and he extended his hand to Sankar.

Sankar returned the set.

We put our mosquito nets and slept.

In the middle of the night there was the sound of a scuffle, and a crash and Marzipan’s voice shouting, “You dirty wild cat!” and Joan’s voice, “Your fourth volume!”

Everyone tumbled out - someone switched on the lights, and there was Marzipan at the edge of his bed, holding on to his bleeding nose and half torn beard. “She hasn’t read my books,” he grinned.

Ram got out of the bed; gave one look at Marzipan and went back to bed.

Domby got up, made crosses in the air, looked at the ceiling, said, “Soham, he is I”, and went back to bed.

Sankar and I said it was stuffy and went for a walk.

I saw things needing each other meeting each other and getting the things needed.

“Where is the soul,” asked Sankar.

“I do not know. It might meet you when it needs you,” I said.

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