A Resonance between Two Models – Leonard Cohen & Ramesh Balsekar

Ramesh 1

Read more of this conversation Part Two

During my visit to Ramesh in Mumbai, in early 1999, I witnessed the following conversation with Leonard Cohen, and bought the tape.
After I got home, I made this transcript:

Ramesh – You live in a Zen monastery, I am told?

Leonard – That’s correct, yes.

For how long, three or four years?

I’ve been associated with this institution for about thirty years – and about four and a half years ago, I was ordained as a monk.

I see. I see. Would you say it is a pretty stiff discipline?

It’s – very rigorous.

But you like it?

Not particularly, no.

Well that is honest. So what I would like to ask is this: the understanding before you came here, and what I talk about – how does it compare?

It was the resonance between the two models, yours and my teachers’, that led me to study your books with some diligence. And because of the experiences I received from your books, and because of the advanced stage of my Teacher and yourself, I felt it would be appropriate to come and sit with you.

leonard cohen 1

I see. But you used the word ‘resonance’. Can you explain that a little bit, Leonard?

I found that during some of the rigorous retreats that we’re subjected to, I would find myself opening one of your books, specifically The Final Truth; and I would find that your writing would illuminate the discourses of our Master, and vice versa. It became urgent that I …

A similar thing happened to me. When I was with my – Nisargadatta Maharaj. You know Wei Wu Wei?

Yes, Sir.



Particularly one book which a friend of mine gave me twenty years ago, which I knew was a treasure, but I couldn’t understand it – I kept it aside. So that was what used to be – what Maharaj said, and what was said in the book – amazing. …   You’ve been here for ten days!

Yes, Sir.

But you’ve been so silent!

Ramesh talks at home

I’ve been sipping at the nectar. It’s very delicious to be here.   On the intellectual level, your model becomes clearer and clear to me – your conceptual presentation – and so does my old Teacher’s. On the experiential level, I feel the weakening of certain proprietorial feelings about doership.

That is a very good word!   Proprietorial – me, mine!   I see. Now, this weakening – how do you mean this weakening, when did it start?   Did it start thirty years ago? Is that what you are saying?

I couldn’t characterize this seeking as spiritual. It was a kind of urgent …

You mean what started thirty years ago was not really spiritual?

No Sir.

I see. I see.

I don’t know if it is today. The description seems to pale in the urgency of the actual search, which is for peace.

Yes. Yes.

And you know, over the years, especially anyone who hangs around a Zendo meditation hall, is going to get a lot of free samples, as you put it. If you sit for long hours every day, and are subjected to sleeplessness and protein deficiency, you’re going to start having experiences that are interesting. It was a hunger for those experiences that kept me around, because I NEEDED those experiences.

YES! The HUNGER for those experiences. Yes! So?

leonard cohen 2

I forget where we were. I’m sorry.

You said, experiences happened, and there was a hunger for those experiences.

There was a hunger to maximize, to continue, a greed to … a greed for those kinds of experiences develops. Which is what happens in monasteries.

I entirely agree, yes. There is a greed for those experiences.

Very much so. And I must say that my old Teacher puts little value on those experiences.

I see. In fact, did he WARN you against them?

Warns you, and BEATS YOU, against them!

With his stick? On your shoulder?

Yes Sir. We are not encouraged to take these hallucinations seriously.

But how effective are those beatings, Leonard?

Not effective at all. I’ve seen them more effective in the case of other monks than they were in this case. So I respect the system; it’s a rigorous system based on a very useable model, but it wortks for some and does not work for others.

Quite right. I see. And what you’ve been hearing for ten days, has it made some difference, do you think?


leonard cohen 3

Some difference in this greed?   Can you explain that a little bit, please Leonard?

Your emphasis on the disidentification with the sense of doership, is crucial to the weakening of – the modification of that greed.   And by the grace of this activity, I have experienced …

You have tried it, during the last ten days?   I see.

Yes. Of course, greed arises. The hunger arises, legitimately, and without my bidding. The greed for peace, for equanimity, for balance, arises spontaneously. But I feel that somehow I don’t have any leverage on the apparatus. Somehow there is a sweetening of the whole experience.

I see. You see, what happens is – Wayne and I had a very brief talk a couple of days ago; we were both walking on the roof. He made a point that while certain practices bringing about these free samples, inflate the ego, could these practices also not inflate the ego to an extent where it bursts? Which is one way for the annihilation of the ego.


That is a very excellent characterisation of this kind of practice.

I see. That is what it is supposed to do. But I told Wayne, the explosion will happen if that is the will of God, and if it is the will of God, that that bodymind organism follow THAT PATH. … … Ramana Maharshi used the words “Who am I” because in English there is a marvellous distinction between ‘I’ and ‘me’, but in the Tamil language and most other languages I am told, this distinction is not there. So when Ramana Maharshi said, “Find out who am I”, he really meant, “Who is this me I’m so concerned about?”

Ramana Arunachala III


If this process starts, it is the will of God. And if this process reaches a certain depth – every step is God’s will and the destiny of that body-mind organism – the actual arising of this question is there a me, out of DEEPEST FRUSTRATION, is what is perhaps called THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL   In the time lag between the arising of the question and the arising of an answer, the deepest frustration is the dark night of the soul. And the dark night of the soul awakens you into the answer: “There never has been a ‘me’. There is thinking, but no thinker. There is doing, but no doer.”   The thinker, the doer, the experiencer, comes later, and becomes proud, or has a feeling of guilt.   Thinking happens. A thought arises and leads to some action. And later on, the individual ego doer comes in and says “I had a brilliant idea which I put into practice, and now I am Bill Gates, making five hundred dollars every second.” That is how thought occurs. But the one who says ‘I thought’ comes later. And it was God’s will and the destiny of the mindbody organism that that should happen. Albert Einstein in his total humility, has gone on record as saying the equation came to him from outside.

I think that’s the experience of every artist and mind worker.

Yes. Nureyev the ballet dancer has said, “Nureyev dances best when Nureyev isn’t there.”   And the same thing is said by I suppose, any artist in whatever field … …   Bhagavad Gita says this: “Out of thousands of people there is one seeker. Out of the many seekers, there is ONLY ONE who knows me in principle.” … … Many Gurus, unfortunately, tie down their disciples, saying “Now you have come to me. You wanted to be initiated. Now our relationship is life-long.” You see? But to me, that is ridiculous. You initiated him, but who sent him to you?   That Source certainly has the right to send that disciple somewhere else!   Who is this Guru, to bind him for life?

In the Zen tradition as you know, monks went from one Master to another, in search of different aspects of the teaching. I don’t feel I am betraying my Teacher by being here.

leonard cohen 4

Yes. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. In fact, Wayne told me, you told your Teacher.

Yes. He asked me to cook him one last meal. Because I’m his cook.

And what is his favourite dish?

Uh – salmon teriyaki.

Oh. Well, that’s – that’s my favourite dish too. I mean, the particular dish you mention, I don’t know what it is, but … salmon.

It’s just marinated in soy sauce and saki, ginger, pepper, for a certain period of time, and then battered.

So is cooking one of your talents?

It’s not a talent, it’s a duty. I cook for the old man.

So it is your duty to cook salmon for your Guru.

That is correct.

And it is the Guru’s duty to eat it, whatever way you cook it!

He is very cavalier with his duties.

I see. Yes. YES. So, Leonard, is he likely to ask you when you go back, what did you learn?

My understanding, he will discern exactly. I think the issue more urgent, is whether I stay there or not.

Yes. But if he does ask you – which is not impossible, is it? – what would you say, Leonard?

Well, we have – I would try to convey to him in the terms that – but he doesn’t speak English.

Ramesh Balsekar 14 feb 13_0001

So you speak Japanese?

No. He speaks very very little English. I speak very little Japanese. But we’ve been studying together and drinking together for a long time.

What is his favourite drink?

I tried to introduce him to vintage French wine, which I consider a refined beverage, but he insists on drinking saki.

If you ask me, I’d prefer Scotch or sherry.

I agree with you. He did – he was very discerning about cognac.


He liked cognac, and he established masculine and feminine qualities to the different brands. For instance he thought Remy Martin had a feminine expression, while Courvoisier had a masculine expression. None of these designations were taken too seriously after the third or fourth drink.

You see, that is the whole point, Leonard. The whole business is taken far too seriously. That is the ridiculous thing about it. There’s nothing serious about it, because there’s no seeker!   And who is serious about it? – the seeker!   You see? The seeking goes on, on its own course. So, if this question were asked you Leonard, is there a specific point which you learned from Ramesh – which is NOT what you had earlier – what would you say?   I don’t want to suggest an answer …

I would probably gasho to him. (Bows deeply)   And depending on the truth of the moment, whether I could step aside from the understanding and let the understanding communicate itself …

The answer is, “I don’t know”.   Is that what you meant?

It’s correct.

Then that is absolutely correct: “I don’t know what answer will come out.”

ramesh listening

He has, you know, the Japanese rigour.   So he would question, he would listen carefully to my saying “I don’t know”. Because “I don’t know” is the answer to many koans.

No no. What I’m saying is: “I don’t know” is your answer to me. … …   Must be a pretty hard life there?

I’m given many privileges that the younger monks don’t have, because I have a family and obligations, so although I’m not free from the general form, which is very early waking up and long hours in the meditation hall and lots of work, I’m allowed to go down, into the city from time to time, to take care of my affairs and see my children.

Yes. I see. Yes. You have a family?

I have two children.

Two children. I see. And a wife?

I never married.

I see. So the two children are grown up?

They’re in their middle twenties.

Oh I see. But they’re on their own then, yes? – You have to help them?

They’re on their own, but I feel I can be of use to them. It’s difficult raising children in America. It’s a difficult manoevring and navigating through a lot of dangerous waters. So I’ve tried to stay close to them through some very difficult periods. A child growing up in America with money.

They have their own money?

No, I mean, in a comfortable surrounding.


monkeys 2


Yes. What is your relationship with your children? What advice do you give them – depending on the circumstances? The point is, how does one raise one’s children with the total acceptance that each child has its own destiny? Each child is programmed in a unique way. And yet you have to do your duty, as a father. What has been your experience, Leonard? Was it interesting?

My experience is to rely on instinct at the moment, and discard principles I myself received from my own parents, which were quite effective in their own way. I find for instance, that that the way I did it, or the way it was revealed to me –

Do they live on their own?

My daughter lives in my apartment, and I live on the mountain, and my son lives around the corner.

And you provide the money for them, or do they work?

They work. They work hard.

And they earn their own living then?

Yes, Sir.   But they grew up in a privileged environment. They didn’t have to work. They didn’t have to struggle.

They didn’t have to earn and learn?

No, they didn’t have to earn and learn, and not only that, but  they were exposed to things very early in their lives, as many American kids are. I had been through that myself. So I was able to react in a way that was unconventional. But having understood something  …

From personal experience?

From personal experience, I established a connection with the child on the basis of that common experience, rather than on a principle of right or wrong.

wei wu wei vi

Quite right. Yes. It worked?

And fortunately, it seemed to work.

Oh? I see. In other words, you talked to your children not like a father to a son or daughter, but as one person who has experience of what they are experiencing.

Yes Sir, that’s correct; not only that, but having taken that course, it’s enabled a real usable friendship to develop.

Yes! Yes! In fact the relationship itself must have taken a beautiful turn.

It has! My daughter says, like “You’re really cool, Dad.”

That is the highest compliment, isn’t it. Cool. And the curious part of it is, this word is really the definition of the traditional word ananda. The traditional word ananda is translated as “bliss”. But my objection to the word “bliss” is, it raises expectations in the seeker.

It’s a tyranny.

Calm. Cool. Well, this is a great compliment from your daughter!

It was, it was.


Wei wu wei ii


You are cool, Dad. And what about your son? What do they do?

My daughter runs a store for antique deco furniture. She goes to England and buys furniture and brings it back and sells it. She got a job with an antique dealer two years ago, who apprenticed her. And my son has just put out his first record with a big record company.

Oh well! So he inherited your talent for music?

Well, I don’t have much talent for music, but he has. People who know my work will, er … I have a kind of croaking delivery. But he actually is very musical.

What you are saying is, your son is better than you are – were.

He has strengths that are much more apparent!

And you have told him that?   So he must ALSO have said “Dad, you’re cool.”

He has.

The son being praised by the father. So you have a very good relationship with your children!

Thank God, I do.

wei wu wei v


Again, God’s grace. You know what I say about God’s grace and God’s will? We use the word God’s grace when something nice happens. When something not so nice happens, and we know we can do nothing about it, we put our head down and say God’s will. So now, if somebody asks you Leonard, “how do you live your life?” – you are about sixtyish?

Getting to be sixty-five.

I see. How do you live your life? Does living your life present a problem? What would be your answer, from personal experience? Is living your life now, with this understanding, a difficult thing?

Well, if it is – and it’s been the experience of this being, that things come with difficulty rather than with ease – so I think the perspective on that programming is changing.

I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that. Things come difficult?

Yes, for instance I’m a song writer by profession …

You still write?

Yes Sir. And I’ve always found that I write one word at a time. With sweat and difficulty.

Like pulling out teeth.

It’s like pulling teeth, and it takes a great effort. I’ve written some decent songs, and people ask me about song writing, you know, they say “How do you write a good song?” And I always say, “If I knew where the good songs came from, I would go there more often.” I don’t know where they come from. I know that I have to sit at my desk or in my café or wherever it is, and sweat over it. Other song writers greater than I – and I’ve had this conversation with them – will give me completely different information. They’ll say, like “I wrote it in the back of the taxi cab” – you know, a great song. So it seems to be my experience, that things are difficult in just the way this programming works.

That is correct.

ramesh for cover

So the understanding now is, that this programming, unless it is the will of God to change the programming, is going to be as it is, but I don’t have to get involved in the programming. I can work at my desk as I’ve always done, but without that additional tyranny of disapproval of the method; because this is the method that …

… is supposed to be for you

… is supposed to be for me.

I tell you how I understand it. What you are saying is this: writing a song comes easy for some people. They can write one in a taxicab. For you it becomes much more difficult. But what you are saying, I think, is, that there is no wish that you could do what that other fellow is doing. Isn’t that right?

No. There is no wish.

Wei wu wei iii

That’s the whole point. You have accepted the way YOU write your songs, and you have accepted the way someone else is able to write the songs.

And deeper than that, Sir, there is – I’ve always had a sense of this – this perception of this bodymind orgasm – organism … !

The American pronunciation!

… has been that there is a background of anguish, of mental anguish, that does not seem to respond to any methods that I impose on it. So as that understanding deepens, I try less to impose any methods; and although the chatter and the activity of the mind continues, it doesn’t seem to have its poisonous sting.

Say that again, please? The chattering of the mind goes on?

The chattering of the mind, and the alleged anguish of the mind continues to operate sometimes in degrees of intensity that make one gasp or cry for help …


But with this understanding that is dawning, it seems that I am less willing to criticize or impose.

I see. Again, the same thing. You write the songs the way YOU are programmed to write, but there is no wishing that YOU could do what some others can. Doesn’t the same thing apply here? Isn’t that what you are saying?

Yes Sir. (Bows deeply). Yes, Sir.

Exactly the same thing. The chattering of the mind happens, but there is no wish that the chattering of the mind should become less. Isn’t that what you are saying? So whatever happens is accepted. Alright, there IS the chattering of the mind! It is the nature of the mind to chatter. It is the nature of the monkey to moan. So you let the monkey moan – the way he wants to! Therefore, the chattering of the mind may be there, but there’s no anguish. Is that what you are saying – as I think you are?

play monkeys


It is. But even if there is anguish …

You mean, accept even that anguish is acceptance? Quite correct. Even if the anguish does happen, even if the involvement does happen, acceptance of it means “the cutting off of the involvement, when it is accepted.”


So, even the involvement has to be accepted. Involvement happens – oh, alright, so it is happening …   Thank you very much, Leonard. That is exactly what I was hoping I’d get from you. (Obeisance).

First published in Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK Journal
“Self Enquiry”, summer 1999


Read more of this conversation in PART TWO





My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

More Sketches of Ramana & Advaitins


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From the mountain which is a humanity, rivers flow, sculpting ridges, valleys and relationships.  The young Ramana scampered all over the mountain like a goat.  As he grew old, he became its teacher.


Mani and Sundaram greet visitors at Ramanasramam


3 Sunyata - a Danish devotee

Sunyata, (Emanuel Sorensen) a Danish sadhu, with his Tibetan dog Sri Cho Chu Wuj.  He wrote:

“In this life play I have not been in quest of Guru, God, Truth, Grace, Salvation, nirvana, or power lust.  I had no ambition to be different from what I am.

“Blessedly, I had escaped headucation, and was free of any imposed knowledge. I had no property.

“I did not marry. I did not belong to any cliques or creed. I was not attracted to their magnetism.

“I felt all is within our Self.  I had nothing to assert or resent.  Nor had I anything to boast about or regret.

I was fully contented.
I had joy in that which is.”



Catherine Ingram on her first teaching visit to London.  Poonjaji of Lucknow liberated her strong Buddhist practice to “dialogue the dharma” around the world, watching storms in the clear sky.   We don’t run from the pain and breaking heart of life.   We witness and keep quiet with it, hearing it speak, seeking the true, as it begins to flow and the cloud dissolves.   “Let our words” said she, like a Taoist – “be well placed stones.”



Isaac Shapiro, another of Poonjaji’s earlier Western messengers:  Satsang, company of the wise and merry in the Self.


Papaji:  Peace


Harilal Poonja

This is how I imagine him as a young man.  I didn’t meet Papaji, but knew some of his messengers.   The three volumes of “Nothing Ever Happened” which he dictated to David Godman, narrate his long and adventurous life as a yogi, siddha and modern master.  In his travels he helped countless people to become aware of ‘the impersonal reality that underlies the world and all phenomenal experiences”.  Often he was a “mystery man”, appearing on the mountain, on a train or in the jungle.  Young westerners adored him, and he as a bhakta couldn’t help falling in love with their Self.  His diaries explore the guru disciple relationship.

Ramana with Poonjaji and a devotee


It is amazing how much the Advaita people like to talk.



Mouni Sadhu from the western occult tradition, visits Ramana “In Days of Great Peace”.


Spreading the good news – V.Ganesan, founder-editor (with Arthur Osborne) of Ramanasramam Journal The Mountain Path


This is Ranjit Maharaj of Mumbai;  he and Nisargadatta Maharaj (Ramesh’s teacher) were initiates from another old Advaita lineage, which flowed fruitfully alongside Ramana and the Hill.  I have many drawings of Ranjit, because once I was commissioned by some of his devotees in America, to do a portrait of him … and none of my efforts to draw their beloved guru were successful in their eyes.


Ramesh Talks

Sketches from life of Ramesh Balekar – these appeared in an earlier post, I think;  certainly the one on the right.   But they speak well enough, here.

 Out of a pile of newsletters fell Ramesh’s devotee Wayne, the other day …


and here are Douglas and Catherine Harding built open for each other, exchanging billets-doux of the Obvious.


From Papaji’s “stable” – Bernardo (Satyananda) enjoying a good meal at Osho Leela in Dorset, and …

Neelam, who gave him a name to sign his letters with.





My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Poems of Eclipse for Ramesh & Wayne


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I do not have to go anywhere else but here
to hold your hand, smile into your laughing
elder dove-hawk eyes

and thank you
for helping my understanding
rock steady ;  whatever rock may roll,
nothing can alter the rock itself.

Jane loves mountains and rivers.
Mountains and rivers
move within the people
and break the outline of her heart.

Who is jane, indeed –
the projectionist – the
indispensibly inefface-able
Tarot card in her long floating dress ?

No matter.
The rock is that
as well as the mountains and rivers.

Companionship when the outline
which separates us, breaks
is indescribable.

when there are no persons is indescribable.

The companion ship of being
is indescribable.

The companionship of no earth, no trees,
no people and nothing to think or see or be
in any direction, is indescribable

naked of sight
and containing everything.

Such is tantra, web of the universe,
the sparkle of its mountains and rivers

11 July 1999


A high tide at Alet in Brittany




Thunder draws the bow
across a barometric current.
It shouts.

Thanksgiving trembles in
my string when she is tuned,
like light from primrose spilling
bright stars in a grassy bank,
dazzles the camera,  a blur.

Wild flowers are light sources.
They answer the sun.
They pulse.

Bluebells in a photo,  fade
to a hint of amethyst,
too bright.

See how we connect
through what we
do not see.

When YESHUA went up the hill to pray,
leaving his lambs asleep,
he rested from the multitude.

In the soul’s deepest rest,
as Eckhart says,

the prayer which is silence,
makes the primrose shine.

It shines because
there’s nothing to stop it shining.
And nobody.


Daisies through shadow




Certain types of stress
may be removed for good,
but what remains is variable

                                … (as Swami Liquorman would say).


For instance :  a relative integration
into the herd of sheep,
their concerns with wool ;

For instance :  release from the drama –
to clarity, peace,
but the gears still turn my wheel ;

For instance :  One who is free
recognises another,

A line of destiny shivers,
at crossroads. ‘Rivers’
renouncing the known
may in one another, drown.

Conception’s silence is the GAP
where streams of current
in one another’s wave, fragment
to an interference that doesn’t add up.

From the gap,  as death exhumes,
a flowing mystery resumes.
What is your and my cross
of life ?   Awareness !


Shock plummets through
the shivering ship
reaction, flinching, from the nails,
strata sagging, breaking timbers,

as before sleep
sudden stumblings on the rock,
fog of nerve-ends jangling bells.

The secret of soul shock
is to open and soften.

Let it be.  Let the alarm be not
walled up or out.

As Robert in Arizona used to say,
it is preordained while you lie asleep on the gears.
Awakening has no preview, nothing, no way.
No-one knows where the car might go.   Who cares ?

7 July 1999





If God removes a rock or obstacle
upraising the wave of standing-over,
the understanding coming strong, itself
rolls the rat that sat in the river, away.

So, what happens ?   Why !
The whole standing-over lot falls down
to the bed of the river, melts as
the ever it was, the river, the river, the river.

Dislodging a stone from the bed of a river
is a wondering weight to feel.
My language is not flowery
but applied, precision tool.

The words dropped in the gap are not mine.
They come.
Then I polish the pebble,
inward casting, better to see.

The corner stone I yesterday heaved, and could not place,
and wanted to cast away,
today shifts into true, the treasure
exposed,  the Stone.

See how the water rolls away, and on ?
See water, stone, stone, water, wall of stone,
fluid, all of stone, cold, hand in water, solid current
presses my hand
just like stone, which it is,
flowing, chuckling, splashing, racing
river, mountain, stone, sky, space.

Hand in current, ‘cross the river flowing
imagines a solid surface, pushing it.
My hand, now rivering rivulet,
the current itself is showing.

The standing-over wave resounds
high over the stone,
a curve of space and time and planets

into the hidden presence of stone,
tickle the stone,

guddle it like the sides of a fish,

gently from bed if the time has come,
to chuckle and roll.
The current does that, not I.

Should I move before its time, one stone, there are others;
the nature of the river bed
is stones.

7 July 1999


Ramesh at Home




My standing-over sounds and choirs,
and cries out DOH RE ME
(from the depth we cry to Thee …)

but a smoothly flowing
river, you’ll note, is quiet.

As I wrote, a stone became
a fish.

No sound uplifts the hidden matter,
it swims,

receiving opening halls
of flow, upstream or down,
or across the stream, does not

Like a bird in the breeze, the
fish is aqua-dynamic, may come to the surface, you see,
hello little fish, then gone again.

I don’t want to guddle my
fish or flip it onto the bank
for its natural element
is my teacher ;

open the root,
where I am right now.

My pipeline into earth
is not behind closed doors.

Ah yes !

Ah yes !

Got you ! … but let it go again.
Never seize or trap the fish or it will die
and be your belly-concept only,

in all your dreams
a flavour far too strong for life.


I think that’s
enough for now.

7 July 1999


ramesh at home




If I drop a rock into a pool
shakti rises, turns
it into a fish.

If a Fool patiently all day waits,
the Moon arises to the bait.

Weary, by noon’s end,
felt my dowsing around with fish
is foolish.

The leading part of my masque,
disapproving the task,
scolds my lethargy – not
a kind friend.

Yet as
the bed where it lay, levels,
the Stone itself unravels:

a hollow that held
soft silt embedded,
the sky has seen.

I hope
that if my follying sits a-fishing all day still,

a High lunar Priestess will
my following entice, beyond the fringe capacity
of my Foolish cap-&-bell capability
to “cope”.

Here in the living-room, meanwhile
my unsuspecting spouse
serenely contemplates within our house
his intelligent Companion –

quicksilver Knight by sleight
of holy Bishop, the Rook to pit
computerized ‘pon black and white – a Master pantheon,
in shades of courtly grey to dance , the winsome imp beguile.

My rocky river stone brought to rest
gently today, is only shifted
to an ease of being, solidity just
coming alive, watery bed sun-bright uplifted.

8 July 1999


Fool & Priestess Tarot




When the pores close up
and rain pours upon unforgiving stone,
my tell-a-vision is left to herd
the leaking word.

Unable not to spin the top,
gone is all I saw so clear
to a blur of mere
foolishness, mine alone.

In the piglet’s trough where they feed,
how stupid indeed
my words: “Oh! now there’s peace and light
on wave’s crest, here in sight !”

All my boast can see
is troughs at sea.

The way got blocked again with stuff half seen
and over-workings on the screen.

Let it be –
does the cog which clogs the wheel
care what consciousness
does or does not do today?

If it is honest, it cannot miss.
In service to ME, it is coffined,
In service to Being, it is defined:
a limitless clogged-up-ness.

The way of the American Al Anon hero
paved with sonorous  “Oh
Mother fucks and Holy Shits”,
with jovial laughter roars
giving scant ear to choice bits
of sentiment that blister at the oars.

Salt of the alky tank, his sage sobriety
helped to reduce his popularity.
The people went off feeling edified upon the wagon, but
a little sad.

Cloud with brightness shining round or through the edge
is my depression with tiny tasks of clothes and teeth,
and a simple life’s a weary hedge, toiling at my archival debt.
I hate hot weather, I boil and sweat.

Lonely ?   Can’t stop chattering ?   monkey moans
feeling bored, tired, fidgety, drones.

Stuck.   Life too full – fool,  foolish,
heavy chatter.
Stuck.  And curious it is,
alive and stuck,  to own my issues.
Personal behaviours are wearyingly irrelevant.

When stuck, light floods in and chimes,
There’s nowhere to go.
The way she feels obliged to spell it out
at all times !


The truth is stuck, stuck up and bored.
Consider day after day this song
crossing a river (no banks to board)
with a staff, a pole, a pen to feel me along.

Of what accord my tiny gleams, the triumphs few ?
Step, then step, then step, don’t slip,
foot forward, the view
is walking –

strange it is to be me, like being you !
an insect, deep beyond belief.

Nothing can “help” – not this
writing, not a teacher, not anything.

I’m a ravening basket-case.

This to realize, awe inspires
for nothing can help the water of life –
no hope.  No end in sight.  No goal.
No change.   No charity.  Why ?

This is real – not badges
with sages upon them to wear.
With no fantasy to prop my spirituality up,
what progresses ?

Ow ! my ankle
misjudged the hidden rock,
tumbles into and as the flowing river !

Caught, I am, as  fish
on the hook, this open-ness.

8 July 1999






water … stone


I found a pressure point
in my left hand, whose sore signal
probed, released
a tingling trap in the upper arm.

Like this, a teacher
gently penetrates the core.
The kink slowly slow uncurls ;
by ancient acupunctural science.

Wherever the sore signal manifests,
apply the gentle there, there – let it tell.

Pull up the core with the seed.
Your patterns take you home.  Honesty
pulls up my taproot,
with the mouldering weed.

Leaning on points of life, the touch is unavoidable.
I till the field for decades.
The meridian comes out and up,
and seasonally discharges.

There are parcels undelivered
from the post-office of my
In sight is seeing.

Seeing doesn’t mean seeing something.
It moves the finger to write.
I learned this,
exploring tantra, art of touch, of love.

You see, nothing, in the web
of days, months, years,
changes, or gets better, or what ever.

The touch continuously
taps the combination
here, there, everywhere, the same place.
I have my ideas, but what are they ?

How can I see the ineffable
except that it is,
through crest and trough ?

11 July 1999


Ramesh at Gut Schermau




Does loving you
in that being-with sort of way,
through frameless window
touch him, here and now!

You see, our separateness
is a myth.

The unknown quantum of A appears in B
through other souls, C, D, F, or X,
like electron’s double rotation.

Positive and negative “spin”
through virtual and manifest seas
are our polarised probabilities.

(but are “known”…)

and as for the
crotch-forks in the street
going to parties, to dimly drink
unanimous uni-formity …

What am I?
Which hidden part
proliferates, up-rises, ripples?

Which of you, within those I see,
seeks out and touches me?

Under the ground
the life sparkles, warms, is husbanded
in ways we cannot conceive.

Indifferent to the container,
and spilling unique into each and every one,
each and every one thinks he or she
begins or ends !

and we play these unknown factors,
ciphers of fascination to one another, in T.S.Eliot’s
four quartets
till we close the book –

the mystery breaks here on the beach
in wave after wave after
wave after wave unending
from the mist :  out of dingy daily mist.

If a gentleness comes through that probe
upon the place, why not ?

Who cares if I get tired and sore
and obsessive over tasks, and say the wrong things ?

11 July 1999

A Sequence from Poems of Eclipse






See also the earlier blog in this series – A big Peach of Yin and Yang – Four Advaita Poems

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Way in


“Okay, so this is where I get to do my Kleenex trick.  No rabbits though.  Sai Baba materializes all kinds of things.  I play with tissues.  Watch me pull a universe out of my hat.”



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Touching the Liquorman’s elbow,

how soft, loose and tender

the bar-room beanstalk really is.

Old Ramesh comes up with gentle

   un-toothed smile

like a petal, speaks my name,

opens his arm in a half embrace.


These small encounters touch me,

   knowing those beings

whom Being destroyed,

for all their mannerist wit

   and wordiness

are un-resistant like the sky.


They wear white garments

for crowded web site seminars,

watch tennis on TV, and fondly meet;

but sky, the waterspout, earth

and persons through them pass

meeting no resistance,

catching nothing up.

from Poems of Eclipse, 1999



A Peach of Yin and Yang – an Advaita sequence from “Poems of Eclipse”



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                        24 June 99


In a sense that   
each engenders the others' seed,   
the polarities are not fixed.   

In a sense that  
a curve is an arc of a hidden sphere,   
polarity is never fifty fifty,   

more like   
seventy thirty.   

In a sense that   
Light and Dark may manifest   
at any point of growth,   

some lives have wide lenses,   
a capacity for the tapestry;   
and some lives can only see at any point   
   a fraction,    
fragmenting wholeness;  and in   
frustration mode, must fumble,   
try to fix.  

With innocence   
the littlest point of light in all the dark   
is the peach.   

There are no localised opposites.   
You cannot fix the flow.   

The attempt to fix right now, the flow   
is a trapped nerve later on.   

I cannot fix life   
any more than I can   
   fix a river.   

Problem solving, therefore   
is a mug's game on a seesaw plank.   
   It spills.

(with gratitude to W.Liquorman)







Getting the wrong end of the stick   
he saw the snail's frail horn withdraw   
from intimate confrontation   

and felt an implacable hostility   
to him personally   

A door appears shut   
to one who tries hard   
to batter it down.   

There is no   
door at all.  It only shows   
what we try to get through.   

Softly, openly   
I know nothing of you,   
being your space.   

Let it be a muddle.   
Let it sink into itself.   
Let it be tenderly obvious   
and obscure.





INDEPENDENCE DAY – A Modern Neo-Advaita Fable    24 June 1999

A brave and tall hero from from the battle   
  propped up bars, until one day   
suddenly his bottle   
  got taken away.   

Oh, Californian tragic tale!   
  Un-propped, and unresisting heroism,   
into a pit of darkness one day fell   
  his pendulum. Orgasmatic egoism   
poured out, both sides, when thwarted.   
  The bottom of the bottle upturned   
fell down. The liquor unsupported   
  is A Anonymous unlearned.   

A giant takes baby steps around this place   
like a beanstalk which has lost its stake.   
Within the boldly sprouting carapace   
is the Sage's empty lake.

'Tis vulnerable to be a has-been, even   
have Jack climb your leafy stalk   
looking for his cat that went to heaven.   
Cut down so far, 'tis strange to walk.   

And yet, the long careful construct   
  to butcher the Californian hero -   
whodunnit, the evidence self destruct,   
  was a thriller a minute, the plot had nothing to show.

The Sage unlearned, found out his learned friends.   
  His hanging glide, to sure destruction bound, 
crashed on the web world wide, and there remains   
  out of depth, an inch or two above ground.   

His pillar now - "no others*" to uphold -
  is a wayward tender plant.   
Talking this non-resistant stuff, the bold      
  stalk itself stalks ... the occupant.

*Advaita-speak:  "there are no others"     



  MORSELS     26 June 1999

  Rose petals turn now   
brown and brittle around the edge   
  of the phenomenon.



            27 June 1999


On a rattling Bombay omnibus   
shunting from Chowpatty Beach   
to Peddar Road, where baking beggars squat, 
the passenger stops.   

It is clear (though still in place)   
that my NAME   
is a veil upon my nose,   

which I cannot remove,   
nor from IT, remove myself.   

Only the sun   
cooke smell of the bus   
and beggars can   

stop the world   
and in my absence   
for a moment,   
bus runs on.   

To be, and to be NOT the passenger   
is where my naming stopped;   
and the in and out of this occurring   
is a key to beauty.



       PONDERING PROJECTIONS :  CLAY FEET     28 June 1999

It is a wonderful thing to discover   
my guru's clay feet walking along in life   

and to ponder projections of perfection that I place   
in my limited way, on his way of living.   

Those teaching truth, are supposed to appear   
like expectant mothers of conformity,   

but they don't.   
They are what they are.   

A controversial deformity   
such as eight mis-fittings in the womb,   
which poor old Ashravakra endured,   

cannot by one jot or tittle   
sway the herd.



             DYING IN THE BAVARIAN ALPS     1 July 1999

When the guru in the rosy cloud is gone   
real peaks appear, rain fresh.

There is a huge   
four-dimensional ripe peach   
of yin and yang.   

The scroll unwinds, mile upon mile   
paints an Alpine amphitheatre:  everything   
that was, and is to be, is here.   

When I step back a way to see,   
both past and future glaciate as now   
upon that mountain.

The face in bright cumulo-nimbus shredding   
paper thin, transforms;   
rabbit in a pink and golden meadow   
burrows home. 

Over every rock of living and loving I climbed   
since infancy, was splashed the difficult obscuration   
of that face in the cloud commanding.   

Rocks re-emerge   
rain washed, bright from the passing   
of inappropriate projections   
of the Beloved sacred muse.   

I think the underlying nature of the change   
is more profound than anything I can say,   
because the Guru was "I want"   
and this I see, is fading. 

Life is - with no   
figurehead to limit it -    
un-personed, a fruity wonder.   

Life is the being of mountains, valleys and rivers.   
My name however tired, does not get in the way.   
My name is a visiting card in the thunderstorm   
soaked right through   
and dying.   Dying.  Dying.  Dying.   

My feet that stumble in the flood   
downhill with tumbling clouds of rain,   
have trodden grape, and in earth's blood   
are drenched with ebony stain   
and dying.  Dying. Dying.   

My bones are melting to the ground,   
to worms, metatarsal   
grace of feet and limbs the dainty step,   
and every one of us in this manner is dead,   
  unveiled skeletally the same,   
and bare mountain veins above the vale   
review indestructible being   
and dying.  Dying. Dying.   

This alone is sure;  that I and you and the stranger   
over the road all, all are bones, and wrapped around   
with one bright cloth of sky, our dying,   
the wine drunk, the end of our tiny lives, of time;   

and birds   
and bare bones of mountains over the vale   
review indestructible being.



            THE WEATHER      1 July 1999

My depression, tiredness   
jails. Yet, my GOLD   
isn't wanting "something else",   
isn't judging it "not good",   

but as if I   
newly arrived in the body   
with no preconceptions   
how this should feel.   

The world-earth is heavy   
or light-foot with   
various weathers.



            SORROWING      1 July 1999

There is no escape   
from my recurring sadness.   
It is the same pole, I suppose,   
  as my joy.   

As Self   
is traditionally said to be   
joy without cause   

can it be, that uncaused   
in like manner   
is sorrow?   

There is no definable reason   
for my state tonight   
apart from her own tendency   
  to groan.

I carry tendencies   
to judge and criticise and   
  cut my cloth.   

Hallo.  I love you   
un-personed, this state of being.   
I love you because   
I AM and discover you.   

You are eye in the dark;   
because I do not know why.   
A baby might grizzle so ... 

grey driftwood   
on a soaring beach of crying gulls,   
wood saturated with salt   
and bleached with sun.



            AND SHARING SORROWING     1 July 1999

The world is a legion of untapped sorrows.   
The air in this room vibrates the Armageddon   
homeless in war zones, and the stricken.   
The air is thick with the universal kind.   

Thus a sad film on the water grows.   
The raft attaches to itself, like a sail,   
some I-thoughts of more local kind.   

My friend Mrs B   
would dance and sing   
and weep her sadness.   
She knows and has it too:   
the humanness.   

Some of the Master's messengers   
don't actually say anything wrong   
but they don't get it right either.   

It is kids' stuff,   
far out bliss, in-speak.



            CATS PLAY      2 July 1999

My problems are an   
for the beloved.   

Cat's paws: mouse play.   
The cat is loving   
the mouse it gently, deftly kills.



            ONLY FOR THE TIME OF MEANING     3 July 1999

I am struck, this afternoon   
by an imponderable - life   
following no formality   
yet precise,   
recognises no penal codes   
  nor morality,   
for these are manufactured flotsam   
needful for their time   
  of meaning.   

Human values require some guilt   
to bring to order;   
but God   
is more often opposed to the   
social capital.   

Comes then no label   
but an act from God willing   
the pregnant void.

A secret glimpse   
through ordinary things   
into the limitless   
stops my voice.



         ABOUT JOHN       4 July 1999

He tells the truth.   
He gives no teaching   
but a way of being.   

His acupunctural point   
upon the meridian discharges Being   
turning tables in the anteroom.   

His razor edge softly opens   
a named and aching contour   
from the nameless   
peace be still.   

This is a perilous   
yet fluid position   
of the Master.   

Ever increasing numbers gather,   
adore, and project upon him   
the moving hunk.   

Because he isn't there,   
I'm not either.   

In the deep and   
inner sense, settle for less,   
he says,  
not more.




Masters upset standard notions.   
They tend to break the world;   
break up concepts and ideals   
that form around them.   

The Rose of many teachers,   
many messengers,   
over-blooms its petals.   

There is no place for me to be but home.   
Home has no script.   
The teaching flits around   
and through it like birds.   

Home is a magic   
mountain being revealed   
by melting clouds.




My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.


* Advaita-speak —  “there are no others”