Remembering The Day In Puttaparthi – More Sathya Sai Memories

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I remember on the day Sathya Sai Baba left us five years ago, someone wrote these few words about how radiant Baba had been. Time and time again we were to read similar accounts from those who visited Sai Baba over the decades he gave darshan. So for the last time, I shall report these simple but beautiful words again.

 

“Baba’s face was radiant and his smile so beautiful. He was walking towards me. I could hear my heart pounding loudly in my chest as he came closer. Baba now stood close to me. My attention was focused on his lotus feet. As soon as the border of his orange robe exposed his feet, I stretched out and rested my head on them in a state of total surrender. My head lay on his feet  for a while. Baba then gently moved back and walked away.

Baba walked around the hall slowly, raising his hand in blessing now and then. After some time had passed, to my astonishment, I realized he was walking towards me again. He searched in the crowd, and when his eyes sought mine he stopped and stared. I noticed  his large penetrating pupils, they seemed to be the color of amber, I was  completely taken aback, stunned and dazed. I sat there dumbfounded, in a trance. When I regained my awareness, Baba had already left.  All the devotees were getting up and leaving.

On the journey back home, I was silent, I felt strange and tranquil.”

 

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Remembrance Day-By Terry Reis Kennedy

April 24, 2016

 

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The sun burst upon me like a blast of heat from a furnace as I stepped outside of my house, Sai Prem, on Coconut Grove. It was only 9 a.m. and my clothes were already dripping with sweat. I made my way towards the ashram in a daze of grief, of bliss, of ineffable mixed emotions.

I walked through the tiny streets of Puttaparthi town remembering how I used to run to the main road when word rustled through the air that Sai Baba was out in His car, on the way to visit the students, or His pet elephant Sai Gita, or patients at the hospital. I was crazed with joy seeing Him in His car. I was not the only one.

We hurled flowers at the windows, we touched the doors; we were Gopis and Gopikas that not even the police could stop. Swami loved our madness as He smiled out at us, sometimes even having the driver stop the car so He could have a word with someone. The blasting heat, the monsoon downpours, nothing could keep us away from Him. Before we had a cover over the mandir He would often stop the rain when He came out for Darshan. He loves us that much.

And today it is the same. It was the 5th anniversary of my Sat Guru, the Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s leaving—the day He chose to exit His body, a day the Hindu’s say, “He took Mahasamadhi”, meaning the day He returned to the Supreme Consciousness He is, the Great Quietude. In plain America English, He died. Yes, He is immortal. We are all immortal. But for me it was a day I felt pressed into a mold of mortality. Everything I’d lived for, been living for, seemed to have vanished.

Until I got home to my writing desk where I could record my thoughts, I felt barely part of the world as I had known it. Luckily there was a message from my editor at Bangalore’s Deccan Herald asking me to write a recollection of Sai Baba’s life and to have it done in two hours. Most of my professional life I’ve spent meeting deadlines. I was so relieved to have another deadline to meet. As I typed the remembrance I realized what a gift My Baba had given me….a deadline. But in this case it was a lifeline. By having to go to work, to be of use, to focus on readers that would be wanting the news of Swami’s passing, I felt purposeful. There was no time for crying.

Within hours of completing that news story millions of people from around the world were on their way to little Puttaparthi to say good bye to Sai Baba, the “man” who had changed the face of India and the world. The God we loved, the One Who had loved us beyond our understanding.

Today, five years later, He remains the same for me. As I continued on my way to the ashram the crowds grew thicker. I heard that 40,000 people were in Hill View Stadium eating their free breakfast provided by the Central Trust, Baba’s Trust, ensuring Swami’s devotees that nothing has changed for them. Puttaparthi town continues as before. Swami will never leave His home. He had promised us and He had promised His mother Easwaramma. The breakfast plates were also carried home to those who could not walk to the stadium. Everyone got fed, the poorest of the poor, the richest of the rich.

As I neared the Ganesha Gate entrance, I saw that some people were going up Gopuram Road to the stadium and some were coming down carrying their gifts of saris and dhotis, heading towards the ashram. As I entered and passed through the security check I felt lighter, less hot. A slight breeze was turning the leaves and swaying the bougainvillea blossoms. Incense wafted towards me.

After hearing Swami’s discourse from years gone by I found myself smiling at the youngsters who smiled at me. “From which place did you come,” their perennial question made me happy. Though I have lived in Parthi for 25 years I told them the truth they wanted to hear. I replied, the United States of America. Oh, the USA one of them said, as if to let me know how informed she was.

In spite of the heat, in spite of the crowds I managed to get into the Ladies ‘side of the dining tent. And I was served a heaping plate of south Indian delicacies, foods of a region that I have come to love…slowly, very slowly. It was like an arranged marriage, Telugu country and me. First I found I could not adjust. But Mother Sai taught me how to accept the things I could not change, and to change the things I could—that meant transformation. I learned how to grow where I was planted.

Today, I heard a little voice inside me say, “Remember Who loves you, Baby.” And I remembered. Thank you, Bhagawan, for my life.

A Stranger Is A Beautiful State Of Being- Spirituality

 

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Do not be misled by what you see around you, or be influenced by what you see. You live in a world which is a playground of illusion, full of false paths, false values and false ideals. But you are not part of that world.  ~ Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Here is a small interview with Satish Kumar the Indian Activist, that I thought I would share with you today.

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Satish Kumar: When you accept the state of being a stranger, you are no longer a stranger. I have been an exile when everything around me seemed strange and everybody was a stranger. Once I accepted that I didn’t have to belong and I didn’t have to be part of the world, then I was free to be part of it. There was a paradoxical release of the spirit. The world became mine when I was no longer holding on to it. I experienced a deeper monk-hood after leaving the monk-hood. I felt much more release of spirit and was at ease with the world

Parabola: Why do you think that human beings find it so difficult to feel at home?


SK: What happens is that human beings are, from the very beginning, brainwashed. Our parents, our teachers, our churches, impose a particular set of values and living style, telling us what we ought to be and do. So our minds are conditioned by society, schooling, media. It’s not the fault of the human being, which is a pure soul. It is a society which tries to imprison the free human being. When teachers like the Dalai Lama or the Buddha or Mahatma Gandhi speak about an unconditioned mind, we find it difficult to understand because we are so conditioned over twenty or more years. You have to have patience. If you have been conditioned for forty years, you have to allow at least ten or twelve years to be deconditioned.

Parabola: Babaji, the wise man that you met in Benares, told you, ‘With the third eye one can see and experience the whole, the totality.” If this is possible, to experience the totality, does one feel oneself more or less a stranger in the world?


SK: If you can see with the third eye―which is seeing reality when you close your eyes, because there is something more to the world than meets the eye―then you find that what is around you is a metaphor, and then you find that metaphor beautiful. Then the trees and the ponds, the lilies and lotus and birds and animals and parents and children and women and men, everything becomes beautiful. It is a transformation of your perception and of your consciousness, so you see the world with fresh, new eyes―which is the third eye, the eye of the heart. The Buddha told us in his Lotus Sutra that when you sit by the pond and meditate on the lotus, you see the lotus has its roots in the mud, deep under the lake, but the petals always remain above, and that beauty to me is wonderful. And in the same way, being a stranger is a beautiful state of being. So it is difficult to answer whether you feel more or less a stranger.

Source: Satish Kumar, Indian activist, editor,  Parabola Magazine 1995 issue, “The Stranger.”

 

The Magic of Colour and Festival – Holi 2016 – More Sathya Sai Baba Memories

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Rodney Harris ghats varanasi 25.3.2016

Rodney Harris
ghats varanasi 25.3.2016

The photos will grow if you click them. Thanks

 

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photo source: P.S. Prattoy

 

Holi fest. Inzamam Azez Raad

Holi fest. Inzamam Azez

 

I had completely forgotten about the Holi Festival this year, perhaps due to concentrating on the chaotic aftermath of the Brussels attacks, that was played out time and time again on the news. To get away from the tragic news, I spent more time than usual in the garden. I had missed the postman when he called with a parcel from India. Later that evening I opened the surprise package to find a real gift of memorabilia from The Sathya Sai Book Shop in Prashanthi Nilayam. The precious gift was sent by a young friend living in the Ashram there. There was no note with the parcel, only the gift of books, book marks, trinkets and other wonderful  bits and pieces – all of which instantly brought back memories of those days with Sai. The parcel had arrived on The Holi Festival day and that in itself was a good omen.

My  friend who sent the parcel had told me the following story some time ago. I would like to share with you all. It is quite an amazing one. It’s a story that spans decades and led to my friend and his family going back to Prashanthi Nilayam to settle down and live for the rest of their lives.

 

The Story of The Father

“My father,” said my young friend:

“He had been a smart man and was well educated. He had also been a religious one too and had leanings towards a spiritual life. He didn’t want to settle down and take a wife. He wanted to take Sannyasa, to dedicate his life to seeking God. My father had heard about  Sathya Sai Baba from friends.  He was very curious about “The Baba.” He  later visited him several times in the 1960’s. He’d believed in him fully, and in his heart  felt that Sathya Sai was a very special guru.  My father then made a decision that he’d like to live there in Puttaparthi.  He wrote Sai a letter telling him of his plan to stay in Prashanthi Nilayam, the letter had been accepted. Sathya Sai  had responded to him with the word, “later.”

My father’s family wanted him to marry as is the custom with Indian families. In due course they found him a wife. He felt he had to fulfill his family duty and was married. He forgot all about going to live in Prashanthi Nilayam. When a chance presented them both with an opportunity to go and live in the USA, they did. The family thrived there and kept Sai Baba alive in their hearts by attending Sai bhajans and functions.”

My friend went on to say,  “We children grew up in the States and did very well at school and college. Then at some point I wanted to visit Sai Baba in India and I did just that. After only a few weeks with Baba, I knew I wanted to stay here for good. I didn’t want to return to the States. I had to explain this to my parents and they were, at first, profoundly upset. I then told them, they should also join me here in India. Eventually they did after many hardships in having to sell their business in the middle of the 2008 financial crash.”

My friend bought a flat large enough for them all to live together  right there in Puttaparthi. By that time, Sai Baba was quite ill and was to pass away in 2011. Still, the promise made to the father all those decades ago had been fulfilled.

There are many legends about the significance of Holi. Here’s one of them:

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Lord Krishna Statue – Ashram Gardens, P.N.

Isaac's Krishna with flowers

An alternative account of the basis of the holiday is associated with a legend involving Lord Shiva, one of the major Hindu gods. Shiva is known for his meditative nature and his many hours spent in solitude and deep meditation. Madana, the God of love, decided to test his resolve and appeared to Shiva in the form of a beautiful nymph. But Shiva recognized Madana and became very angry. In a fit of rage he shot fire out of his third eye and reduced her to ashes. This is sometimes given as the basis of Holi’s bonfire.

The festival of Holi is also associated with the enduring love between Lord Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu) and Radha, and Krishna in general. According to legend, the young Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about why Radha was so fair and he so dark. Yashoda advised him to apply colour on Radha’s face and see how her complexion would change. Because of this associated with Krishna, Holi is extended over a longer period in Vrindavan and Mathura, two cities with which Krishna is closely affiliated.

Krishna’s followers everywhere find special meaning in the joyous festival, as general frivolity is considered to be in imitation of Krishna’s play with the gopis (wives and daughters of cowherds).

 

PankAj Dey pic.

PankAj Dey pic.

 

Habib Hossain pic

Habib Hossain pic

 

 

Mandir Photos

Sathya Sai Darshan

Sathya Sai Darshan

 

the darshan area P.N. Mandir

the darshan area
P.N. Mandir

 

flowers from the Mandir

flowers from
the Mandir

 

 Thanks to the Photography group Photography Is My Hobby for the glorious images.

 

 

 

Indescribable Presence – Flowers For The Soul

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Hibiscus

 

 

“God is without form, without quality as well as with form and quality.
Watch and see with what endless variety of beautiful forms
He plays the play of his maya with Himself alone.
The lila of the all pervading One goes on and on in this way in infinite diversity.
He is without beginning and without end.
He is the whole and also the part.
The whole and part together make up real Perfection.”

Sri Anandamayi Ma

 

All photos taken with a Lumix XL7 camera on macro setting. Click on each image to enlarge for details. thanks.

 

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Divine Mother,  “When flowers are brought to you, how do you give them a significance?
By entering into contact with the nature of the flower, its inner truth. Then one knows what it represents. ( The Divine Mother, from her timeless words on nature and flowers. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India.)

Gentle and lovely, flowers share their beauty with us and bring us a touch of eternal things. According to the Mother, each variety of flower has its own special quality and meaning. By establishing an inner contact with the flower, this meaning can be known. “Flowers speak to us when we know how to listen to them,” The Mother said. “It is a subtle and fragrant language.” As if to provide a key to this language. She identified the significances of almost nine hundred flowers.

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“It is intended by the word Presence to indicate the sense and perception of the Divine as a Being, felt as present in one’s existence and consciousness or in relation with it, without the necessity of any further qualification or description. Thus, of the “ineffable Presence” it can only be said that it is there and nothing more can or need be said about it, although at the same time one knows that all is there, personality and impersonality, Power and Light and Ananda and everything else, and that all these flow from that indescribable Presence. That is always the fundamental significance, — the essential perception of the essential Presence supporting everything else.” ~ SRI AUROBINDO

 

the Rose from the window box - today

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Take A Crocus – Rumi Inspirational Poems

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The beauty of the heart
is the lasting beauty:
its lips give to drink
of the water of life.

Truly it is the water,
that which pours,
and the one who drinks.

All three become one when
your talisman is shattered.
That oneness you can’t know
by reasoning.

 

– Rumi, From: Mathnawi II, 716-718

 

Photos taken today with a lumix Camera on Macro setting – please click to enlarge for details. I am having a lot of difficulty with Word Press technology and especially with photos. I hope whatever you are using, ipad or iphone, lap-top or  desk-top, this is okay.:)

 

 

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from the top of the fridge

from the top of the fridge

Sex, Rock and Roll And Those Other Messiahs – Book Review

 

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Buddhist monk in orange robes sitting in Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Buddhist monk in orange robes sitting in Angkor Wat, Cambodia – David Bowie

 

So you are attracted to Tibetan Buddhism and David Bowie, have read some really good books and learned a few meditation techniques, now you want to delve deeper and spend real time with Buddhist Masters? How do you guard against being fooled by a charismatic charlatan? What criteria do you apply to your search for an authentic teacher? Lama Jampa Thaye’s advice reflects a commonsense approach:

“Although one may come across examples of authentic Buddhist masters who dress or speak unconventionally, there is no licence in Buddhism for unethical behaviour. Thus oriental or occidental masters who claim their selfish and abusive behaviour is a display of ‘skillful means’ or ‘crazy wisdom’ are to be given a wide berth – unless we want to jump over a cliff hand-in-hand with them.”

Sound advice, I have nothing to add to this except these few words.

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I have been and still am a seeker. Older now and perhaps a bit battered by the experience but still a seeker. I have ceased to question stars, books and alchemy. I have begun to listen to the teaching my heart whispers to me in the dead of night, when all is still.  Eve

 

David Bowie:

 Mary Finnegan has a new book released about David Bowie called the Psychedelic Suburbia: David Bowie and the Beckenham Arts Lab.

 

You can read it in about two hours. It’s all about who was there, who was who and leaves one with the feeling of who cares.  Well, aficionados of David Bowie days will care and read it, particularly now that he is dead, and young people into bi-sexuality.  So will those curious about the  “sex, rock and roll” and  early drug scene in the sixties. A pretty large and  marketable crowd.

What is interesting is  that in Mary’s blog post  in 2013, in the archives at her website Flower Raj she writes about her motivation for writing,  which was to expose the”horror stories”  and the “dark side, the very dark side” of  Tibetan Buddhism that she sees has gone down a wrong path. This is because of corrupt Tibetan lamas, she says,  and the naiveté of old flower children, like Mary.

In this  post she also notes she became a “one-woman activist”  to expose her Lama Sogyal and his corruptions, as well as the shadow side of Tibetan Buddhism which she knew quite well. She  was a one woman activist and she did expose Sogyal the predator Tibetan  lama , relentlessly. For she knew a great deal about the dark side of Tibetan Buddhism,  having been in his inner circle. She was one of his older  female students who ‘pimped” for him to find young ,  naive women to join his Lama hareem.  Unknown to the public, pimping for their lamas is a common task of devoted Western Tibetan Buddhists inside their communities or sanghas.  Mary also writes explicitly about her  experience,  in her short memoir about Sogyal.

1)Rigpa:Behind The Thangkas” (link to the book on line.)

  1. This would have been the better book and more helpful to the younger generation who sadly now will  be fooled by this book about David Bowie. This of course is the one people will want to buy. It is a shame, all the same, because Mary was a feminist voice for the many women that had been abuse by this Tibetan lama and so many others like him. She was a feminist voice with experience of the sexual abuse inside these Tibetan Buddhists sanghas that  appears to have been silenced. I post this link for those who wish to read the entire details.

 

hhtp://www.extibetanbuddhist.com/2016/01/11/david-bowie-mary-finnegan-and-the-marketing-of-tibetan-lamas/

 

http://theflowerraj.org/ 

highly recommend this blog.

The Guest House – Rumi

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Vinca Major - found it growing at the very back of the garden

Vinca Major – found it growing at the very back of the garden

 

 

The Guest House

 

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks

 

All photos are my own and taken today while out in the garden. The top photo is of spirea buds, the rest are of crocuses under the Weeping Ash Tree, and along the garden path. Eve

 

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Under the Weeping Ash Tree

Under the Weeping Ash Tree

 

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Crocus

Crocus

 

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Noosphere – Teilhard de Chardin

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A Jesuit priest and paleontologist, Teilhard was one of the first evolutionary mystics to popularize the term “noosphere”.

quotes:

You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.
We are one, after all, you and I. Together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other.
The world is round so that friendship may encircle it.

 

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Noosphere

Noosphere

Noosphere

 

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Ever since the Big Bang, our universe has gradually grown in complexity.  From an initial point of intensely concentrated and homogeneous matter, we see the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies, and planets as the primordial ball of plasma expanded, cooled, and formed structures of ever-increasing complexity. In the case of Earth, we also see the development of biological life with its even more complex forms of matter. These organic structures are actually containers of sorts-densely packed with information. The more information an object carries in a given volume, the more complex it is. A strand of DNA is not only smaller than a grain of sand, it is also considerably more complex because it contains more information than the silicon in the grain of sand.

The densest collection of complex information we know of thus far is the human being, and human activity gives rise to even greater complexity. Teilhard states that this reflective consciousness is “the specific effect of organized complexity,” and that it follows that some sort of intensification of human consciousness is the next step of human evolution.  In other words, a massive amount of information is building up within the relatively small confines of the planet Earth. This, Teilhard believed, will result in the blossoming of the noosphere into some form of super-consciousness, once the amount of information it contains reaches a critical density.

Teihard de Chardin first used the term noosphere in approximately 1927, but the intellectual concept was first developed during Teilhard’s service in the trenches of World War I.

 

 

Quote from T.D.C.s writings:

 

The atmosphere of ‘the Front’: it was, I am quite sure, from having plunged into that atmosphere—from having been soaked in it for months and months on end—and precisely where it was at its most dense and heavily charged, that I ceased to notice any break (if not any difference) between ‘physical’ and ‘moral’, between natural’ and ‘artificial’. The ‘Human-million’, with its psychic temperature and its internal energy, became for me a magnitude as evolutionary, and therefore as biologically, real as a giant molecule of protein. I was later to be astonished on many occasions to find in my own circle that those who could not agree with me suffered from a complete inability to understand that precisely because the individual human being represents a corpuscular magnitude he must be subject to the same development as every other species of corpuscles in the World: that means that he must coalesce into physical relationships and groupings that belong to a higher order than his. It is, of course, quite impossible for him to apprehend these groupings directly as such . . . but there are many indications that enable him to recognize perfectly well their existence and the influences they exercise. . .  I have no doubt at all (as I said earlier) that it was the experience of the War that brought me this awareness and developed it in me as a sixth sense.

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre (1980-07-23). Heart Of Matter

 

and following on:

 

The concept of a universal connection of human consciousness is very old and forms the heart of the Christian tradition.  Teilhard’s contribution was to take this concept put place in within the scope of recent knowledge of the universe being a work in progress from the Big Bang, through the development of individual human consciousness, through the future convergence of collective human consciousness and unification with the Cosmic Christ or Omega Point.  As Teilhard described our current evolutionary state:

 

Quote From Teilhard’s writings:

 

“[H]ow can we fail to see that the process of convergence from which we emerged, body and soul, is continuing to envelop us more closely than ever, to grip us, in the form of—under the folds of, we might say—a gigantic planetary contraction?

The irresistible ‘setting’ or cementing together of a thinking mass (Mankind) which is continually more compressed upon itself by the simultaneous multiplication and expansion of its individual elements: there is not one of us, surely, who is not almost agonizingly aware of this, in the very fibre of his being. This is one of the things that no one today would even try to deny: we can all see the fantastic anatomical structure of a vast phylum whose branches, instead of diverging as they normally do, are ceaselessly folding in upon one another ever more closely, like some monstrous inflorescence—like, indeed, an enormous flower folding-in upon itself; the literally global physiology of an organism in which production, nutrition, the machine, research, and the legacy of heredity are, beyond any doubt, building up to planetary dimensions; the increasing impossibility of the individual’s attaining economic and intellectual self-sufficiency”

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre (1980-07-23). Heart Of Matter (Kindle Locations 499-510). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

 

Excerpted from a blog-post on Teilhard de Chardin by W. Ockham

 

Images of the Noosphere – Modern

 

 

Noosphere

Noosphere

Noosphere

Noosphere

 

 

Noosphere

Noosphere

Earth-Ascending