Monday, January 04, 2016

THE BEING AND THE BECOMING-XXX

The bus caught up with us halfway to the central building, and deposited us in the circular porch that seemed to encircle the whole building.

Many of the passengers knew their way about and they walked off. Sankar, I and another two were taken to the Director's room. A large and well ordered room - tables that ran the length of the room, stacked with books and pamphlets; elegant curtains on windows; modern canvases on the walls; cushioned seats for visitors: a large office-table; gleaming telephones, four I saw; and a man with a large bald dome of a head, spectacles on tip of nose, podgy hands on table, seated in a revolving chair.

He beamed benevolently at us, waved us to the cushioned seats and said "At your service!"

"We came to find out about the soul," said Sankar.

"Yah, the soul; you have come to the right place," he said, " But, pray, what particular angle, what particular aspect of the soul?" he asked.

"How can I say what angle or aspect when I haven't seen it? I really came to see one," said Sankar.

"Yah, you want to see! Then maybe we put you on to physicism; you may get a little more about seeing, there," he said. "I shall put you on to them, what name shall I give them - Sankar; yah," here he grabbed a telephone "index, 426, physicism, p for pig, h for hyena, do you hear me, y for yak, got it - good - that damned new secretary I got, foisted on me by the local bigwig, corrupt country, you know, but -" The Director stopped midway.

"But," vehemently interrupted Sankar, "look you haven't told me if you yourself have seen the soul?"

"Seen!" steam-rolled the shining dome, "seen! you ask. What a question! You haven't seen my monograph on the 'Multidimensional approach to the soul,' - got my doctorate with it from Minnesota, Milwaukee and Midnapore; Fimfam foundation, money, you know. That's why I am director, here. Seen the soul, asks the boy. You haven't seen the bibliography, of course; that will be, let me see; Rs. 100 for the one week compressed course for you; plus 60 rupees for the books; plus 20 rupees for bus fares, of course you won't stay here, rooms all booked and all that; and now, you, sir," he looked at me.

"Well, I am most happy to have met you - apparently I needed it, and you needed to meet me - I am happy, and how do you do?" I asked.

"Come to the point, sir," he remonstrated, "our Indian spirituality has suffered enough by lack of business like precision. Be precise, sir."

"I am happy to have met precision," I said.

He clutched his head. A huge python was coiling and uncoiling itself.

Sankar intervened. "Oh, alright, he comes with me," he said.

"Ah," said the dome, "then it is two for compression; section 426; that will be, let me see, rupees 360 for two, less 10% discount, 360 minus 36, that is 324 rupees," he noted on a pad of paper. "Useless to talk with that secretary chap - thrust on us - finance chap's nephew, I think - you know our people, ha ha." He chuckled.

"And you, sir," he turned to the other man.

"Well, you see, I want to learn walking on water, and things of that sort," the man answered.

"That is simple - one year's course, residential here - really requires three isms: physicism, Tantrism and Mesmerism - concession, of course, for such an eager student, sir; that will be, let me see, rupees 100 plus 1,500 for residence, say 2,000 inclusive of use of swimming pool for flotation and locomotion, and incidentals and contingencies about 500; that will be 3,400; making it a nice round figure at 3,500 rupees. Of course, your father wrote to me all about you and your, er, spiritual interests." He jotted down figures on the pad. 

The python seemed to take just one look at the victim, and make a spot decision on the course needed, its duration and charges, and not one victim murmured, it seemed.

Diamond rings were sparkling on the flotation aspirant's fingers, and a uniformed chauffeur was to be seen in the offing.

"And how is your dear father," asked the Dome.

"Alright, I think, thank you. He is shooting a picture in Bombay, and I have been floating in spirits. He thought it a good idea if I relaxed a bit at this joint - I will be out of his hair, and I will be really able to concentrate on the thing I really am interested in since my very birth, that is to walk on water," the fellow replied, taking a cigarette out of a gold cigarette case.

The last man was a little rabbit of a chap, in dhoti and a patched shirt.

"And you, sir," the dome tapped the pencil impatiently on the paper pad: The python loathing the sight of a long dead toad.

"I want to learn about meditation," it squeaked.

"Ah, Zanism, subsection of mentism - can be learnt in three days - even in one day. If you can't do it in three days you will never be able to do it - waste of good money. That will be, let me see, special concession for you, 50 rupees," here he looked at the rabbit's face, "minus 20% discount, ah, less books and all that, 30 rupees, sir, and thank you!" He firmly put away the pad and pencil. "You must learn Zanism, son, and you will conquer the world!"

Then he asked us to wait in the anteroom while the bills were presented and receipts given. "Then you will be guided to your ismic units." He added. 

While we waited we looked around. Boards and charts on the walls displayed the isms, the professors, the layout of the compass, the cafes, the swimming pool, the tennis courts, the get together halls, and timings and time tables and so on.

"The following list of isms is designed to break down the artificial barriers of religious isms, and draw attention to the basic isms underlying all of them; hence an important step towards universalism. This classification is approved by the International Council of Universalism, Chicago:

"Thus we have: Altruism, Autism, Animism, Asceticism, Agnosticism and Atheism - Divinism, Devilism; Egoism; Negativism; Positivism; Physicism; Mentism; Mesmerism; Fence-sitting-onism; Kowtowism; Spiritism; Voodooism, Zanism, Vocalism and Chantism.

"Section of Biologism soon to start with the Savant, Swami Marzipan, founder-director in charge."

Many Swamis were on the list of professors.

A cinema theatre and auditorium were under construction. Modern hospital facilities were available, for all types of cases - curative and prophylactic.

We needed the compass and met it. Our education at the compass began each day at 9 am and ended by 4 pm, when we were all bussed back to the camp.

Swami Marzipan stayed at the compass only, having been given professional quarters, nearest to the hospital as was required by the risks of biologism.

At night, after supper, we five, used to sit around exchanging information.

After Marzi left there were no monologers and everyone seemed at ease and eager to talk and listen. Limited funds was one of the common factors that kept us in the camp - more than that was the love of an open and simple life at the camp. We were getting to know one another without inquisitions.



   

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