Such A Perfect Day – Elephant Orphanage

srilankaelephants121Volunteers with the elephants

My trip is half over now, must say the time went by quickly. I have been busy taking pics. – lots of them.The heat is well into the 30 degree range with rain sometimes. It’s really too hot to do anything. I have enjoyed my stay in Prashanthi Nilayam and so enjoy the Vedas and the bhajans, also other chants. Oh! how sublime it is here, away from the daily drudge of cleaning, washing and doing the shopping. I have many stories to share with you all, but they will have to wait until my return. My most pleasant surprise has been the superb food, not usually what I expect on my trips here to Puttaparthi.  

– love eve xxxx


 

I’ve dragged out another old document with a travel story from long ago. I can’t remember just what year I visited  Pinnawela? I guess it was at least 12 years back. I’d forgotten I’d written this yarn. This adventure, is one worth sharing, although not really in keeping  with  my blog. I could blog it under Ganesha, I suppose, the Hindu Elephant God Ganesha – the remover of obstacles. I love reading myths about Ganesha, still there’s nothing like a real elephant. To see them is to love them dearly.

Ganesh wood carving. Japan. Early Buddhist brought Ganesh to Japan.
Ganesh wood carving. Japan. Early Buddhist brought Ganesh to Japan.

Such A Perfect Day at Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage – Sri Lanka

Although the mini-bus was fully air-conditioned and comfortable our three-hour drive from Kandy to Pinnawela proved exhausting.

The boiling sun roasted the countryside making the air thick with dust. Also the war had taken its toll on the roads where we encountered numerous pot-holes and rough patches that caused our stomachs to roll over. Our driver manoeuvred our vehicle to avoid them but it was an “un-perrrrrfect” skill on his part.

My friend Karon who lives in Sri Lanka, helped to make the drive interesting by pointing out favourite landmarks along the way, telling me their history. She also insisted that our driver play her favourite cassette tape. The cassette had only one song – “A Perfect Day,” by Eric Clapton. The song amused me with its endless repetitions of the same four words – dare I repeat them, “Just A Perfect Day.” But after an hour or so our poor driver sighed and pulled at his hair,

“Enough!” he wailed. “Enough, enough, enough.”

I nodded quietly agreeing with him.

We continued our journey to the steady rhythm of Enya singing “In Memory of Trees”.

Our driver gave a mischievous grin, “Wonderful!” he exclaimed and began to sing along, but horribly out of tune.

At exactly 11.40 a.m. the driver informed us we were entering the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. He hurriedly parked the mini-bus and urged us to go quickly because at noon the baby elephants were to be fed.

We rushed to the entrance paid our 50-rupee each fee, then sped to the enclosure where the babies were kept. Oh! What a beautiful sight met our eyes. Miniature elephants of varying size stood eagerly waiting their morning meal. Several really small ones, stomped their feet anxiously as they waited.

Others moved their heads up and down in an attempt to draw attention to their hungry bellies. The older ones trumpeted with undisguised impatience; they had to wait until last. We struggled to get nearer to the orphans but there was a large crowd.

elephant

Eventually we managed a front row spot,  where I could stretch out my hand to stroke one of the smallest babies. The infant still covered with baby hair felt like a brillo pad! I continued to stroke him/her, but he/she wasn’t having it. He/she roared at me, until I withdrew my hand. The infant although appealing still looked dangerous. The keeper seeing my concern came over and began to feed the baby elephant, who took the bottle greedily. The little thing closed her eyes, her long lashes looked almost like false ones. They were long and thick.

We tried to find out more about the orphans but the keepers were too busy. Our friendly bus driver joined us and offered intriguing details about the orphans. He had been bringing people here for years and had a wealth of knowledge he could share. He told us that most of the orphans had lost their parents in the continuing war in Northern Sri Lanka. We heard that one youngster had been found wandering with a group of wild buffalo and was eventually rescued and brought to the centre only a few days earlier. Another teenager elephant, crippled by a land mine, had been saved by soldiers and brought to the orphanage where the vets had amputated a back leg. The injury had taken three years to heal. The injured elephant had little trouble following the rest of the herd to the river, even on three legs.

After the baby orphans had been fed we made our way down to the river, where the joyful trumpeting of the adults was heard as they wallowed in the water. The elephants were divided into groups to aid them in establishing new family herds. They rubbed and trunk-hosed each other fondly, trying to keep cool in the soaring temperatures. Several youngsters caught my eye as they stood heaving their trunks over their backs splattering mud and water everywhere.

Fascinated by these gentle beasts, I wanted a closer view. I removed my shoes and with Karon’s help, climbed down the steep incline to the riverside. From my new vantage point, I could see that the river run deep in the middle, while flanked on both sides by a steamy jungle. A perfect setting for the wild elephants. Directly in front of me two huge adults, were lying on their sides in the river, being lovingly scrubbed by their keepers. Being within hearing range, I could hear the keepers giving commands to the great beasts who followed them attentively.

“Come closer,” one of the keepers shouted to me.

“Oh! no,” I cried. “It’s too muddy and I may slip.” Being close to the elephants was treat enough but I didn’t want to push my luck.

“Beautiful creatures,” I yelled. “What’s their names?

“This one is Lila.” The keeper nearest to me shouted back while pointing to the beast lying in the water beside him. “I’m the mahout.” (keeper)

Lila eyed me curiously, rolled over, and stood up. He was of gargantuan size!

“Oh!” I exclaimed, gingerly stepped backwards. “Is Lila dangerous?”

The keeper laughed and called a command to Lila who trudged towards him through the thick mud.

He can be dangerous but not with me in charge.” Assured the mahout with a chuckle.

aawhiteed

vols-river2From the rocks. A good vantage point for seeing the elephants in the river

aawhiteed

Karon stretched out her hand, “Here take your camera,” she said. “And be careful.” I took several photos of Lila until he came a tad too close. At which time I made a speedy retreat through the rocks.  From the safely on the riverbank, I waved to the mahout who continued to brush and wash the elephant.

“Now you’ve been close to a wild elephant,” Karon joked, her eyes twinkling with mischief. “Maybe you will be brave enough to ride one.”

Wiping the sweat from my face, I answered that I only might consider it. Karon took several more photos then we made our way to the cafe overlooking the river. We remained there sipping our ice-cold cola for sometime, watching the elephants. The younger ones as they played with each other, provided us with a glimpse of how elephants inter-act in the wild. The older ones explored the far side of the river, trumpeting as they went. The babies, farther down the river, enjoyed lessons in “elephant hygiene” given by their keepers.

One sad looking male stood chained to a rock. We were told he was ready to mate. He stood in the water, roaring ominously. Very upset with the hoards of tourist. We felt sorry for him as he stood there looking at the females, who flirted outrageously with him. Several of the elephants appeared to be sick, due to the terrible ordeals they had been through. We could only hope that with time and care they would recover and lead normal elephant lives.

At four p.m. the elephants were rounded up and led in a single file back to the orphanage. We stood captivated as each one filed past. Last but not the least; the three-legged teenager strolled by lapping up all the extra attention tourist gave him.

“Ah,” we cried, ” he’s so sweet.”

Sweet, yes, but powerful and majestic beyond measure.

From my travels…………

aawhiteed

Pinnawela-Elephant-OrphanageProperly taken from the Cafe – overlooking the river.

aawhiteed


 

I have no idea what Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is like today. I hear different reports, some suggesting the elephants are not treated too well. On my visit The elephants looked very well cared for considering a cruel  war was waging. the orphanage lacked funds, often relying on volunteers to help out.  Might add the photos are not mine. They come from the Internet. My photos are on film.

aawhiteed

Ganesh wood carving. Japan. Early Buddhist brought Ganesh to Japan.
Ganesh wood carving. Japan. Early Buddhist brought Ganesh to Japan.

The Meaning of Ganesh in Japan

Ganesha assumes 30 distinctive forms in Japanese iconography, often as a dual entity. One erotic form, specific to Shingon Buddhism, features two embracing male and female forms with elephant heads and human bodies. These are rare idols, worshipped with secret rituals inside temples. Typically, they are made of metal as they must be immersed in oil during worship. Gumyo-ji, an 8th century temple in Minami, Yokohama has one such image. Often, Japanese temple doors feature two long-robed, elephant-headed figures in an embrace.

Young Japanese popularly worship Kangiten as a symbol of conjugal bliss. Many entrepreneurs, especially those whose business involves food and drink, worship Ganesha as Shou Ten, a benevolent obstacle-remover and enhancer of wealth.

Many thanks to the Ganesh blog for details.


Have you made it to the end of this epic read?  Need a break? Here’s Lou Reed with “SUCH A PERFECT DAY..” ~  Karon, if you are still reading my blog, this one is for you and Sam!

And it was a perfect day – as Lou Reed describes !

 

The Arrow Parable From The Buddha – Myth and Legend

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Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.”  – Gautama Buddha

BUDDHA’S PARABLE OF THE ARROW

“Imagine a man that has been pierced by an arrow well soaked in poison, and his relatives and friends go at once to fetch a physician or a surgeon. Imagine now that this man says:

“I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know the name of the man who shot it, and the name of his family, and whether he is tall or short or of medium height; until I know whether he is black or dark or yellow; until I know his village or town. I will not have the arrow pulled out until I know about the bow that shot it, whether it was a long bow or a cross bow.

I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know about the bow-string, and the arrow, and the feathers of the arrow, whether they are feathers of a vulture, or kite or peacock.

I will not have the arrow pulled out until I know whether the tendon which binds it is of ox, or deer, or monkey.

I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know whether it is an arrow, or the edge of a knife, or a splinter, or the tooth of a calf, or the head of a javelin.”

Well, that man would die, but he would die without having found out all these things.

In the same way, any one who would say: ‘I will not follow the holy life of Buddha until he tells me whether the world is eternal or not; whether the life and the body are two things, or one thing; whether the one who has reached the Goal is beyond death or not; whether he is both beyond death and not beyond death; whether he is neither beyond death nor is not beyond death.”

Well, that man would die, but he would die without Buddha having told these things.

Because I am one who says: Whether the world is eternal or not, there is birth, and death, and suffering, and woe, and lamentation, and despair. And what I do teach is the means that lead to the destruction of these things.

Remember therefore that what I have said, I have said; and that what I have not said, I have not said. And why have I not given an answer to these questions? Because these questions are not profitable, they are not a principle of the holy life, they lead not to peace, to supreme wisdom, to Nirvana.”

– Majjhima Nikaya

The Wise Deer – Myth And Legend

https://sathyasaimemories.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/deer_by_yaphleen-d53y92k.jpg
https://sathyasaimemories.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/deer_by_yaphleen-d53y92k.jpg

Sri Yogananda and the 16h Karmapa have both stated most strongly, one of the worst actions a human can do is hunt wild animals. There is no gain in killing an innocent animal for the sake of blood sport, yet often the richest people and the most powerful among us, in all countries, indulge in blood sports. Those who do not need to kill for food or for any other reason than for taking life are attracting to themselves very bad  karma in future.

Although it was a crucial part of humans’ survival 100,000 years ago, hunting is now nothing more than a violent form of recreation that the vast majority of hunters do not need for subsistence.(1) Hunting has contributed to the extinction of animal species all over the world, including the Tasmanian tiger and the great auk.(2,3)

Less than 5 percent of the U.S. population (13.7 million people) hunts, yet hunting is permitted in many wildlife refuges, national forests, and state parks and on other public lands.(40 Almost 40 percent of hunters slaughter and maim millions of animals on public land every year, and by some estimates, poachers kill just as many animals illegally.


The Tale Of  The  Wise Deer – Buddhist

It is written in the great books of the East, the Buddha once took on
an incarnation of a beautiful deer, possessing the qualities of
strength, swiftness, intellect and above all a deep love for all
creatures.

Like all deer he lived simply and according to his dharma. He ate
grasses and berries and drunk only pure water from the mountain
stream. In silence he wandered through the forest showing respect for
all the other creatures who dwelled there, in returned they too,
respected him.

One day the king was out hunting in the forest but he took a wrong
path and found himself in a dense and dark part of the forest where he
hadn’t been before. Suddenly between the thick trees, he spotted the
great deer grazing in a nearby glen. Over come with excitement at the
size and beauty of the animal, the king quickly laid an arrow onto his
bow. But the deer was too quick for him and ran towards a hidden chasm
where he quickly jumped over to the other side and to safety.

The king unwilling to lose the deer, followed him but when his horse
arrived at the chasm it came to an abrupt halt, hurling his royal
master into the darkness below.

The deer became aware of the silence behind him. Looking back, he saw
the riderless horse peering into the depths of the ravine and realised
that the king must be lying on the rocks below.

With wondrous compassion the noble deer slowly retraced his steps
towards the one who sought to take his life for mere sport.

At the edge of the chasm the deer looked down and saw the king laying
in a heap below. His sharp ears picked up a faint sound of moaning as
the king, obviously in pain, cried out for help.

Tears welled up in the deer’s large soft eyes,

“Oh Your Majesty,” he said,

“You command the respect and loyalty of countless subjects. Through
God’s grace you have brought goodness to the land and prosperity to
your people. I pray that you have not suffered any serious injuries
from your fall and that you will continue to rule your kingdom with
love and respect in your heart. Although I am only a creature of the
forest, I ask you to trust me because it is within my power to help
you out of your unfortunate situation – but only if you grant me
permission.”

The king replied, “my armour saved me from serious wounds, but now I
suffer a greater pain and that is one of great shame for wanting to
take your life, a creature of such righteousness and compassion. I
accept your offer of kindness. But first, tell me why you would risk
your life to help the one who sought to kill you for sport?”

The deer answered, “does not the Lord of Life who illumines my heart
also illumine yours? Beyond the superficial awareness that I am a deer
and you are a man lies the supreme Truth that within us burns the same
light of God. So in saving your life, O King, I acknowledge and honour
the divine Self within us both.”

Then the deer began his perilous journey to the bottom of the ravine.
The King embraced the sacred animal, who knelt to allow the king to
climb onto his back. Carefully the deer climbed up the rocky path to
the horse waiting patiently at the top.

Once the king was safely on his horse again, he asked the deer to
return with him to the palace where he would live his life protected
from hunters in the palace gardens.

“Your offer is very kind,” answered the deer,

“But my home is in the forest with my family and other creatures. If
you really want to help me, then protect the forest by banishing
hunting altogether. Let the animals live in peace and according to the
laws of nature. If you agree to this your life will be ennobled and
you will be a monarch of supreme virtue and wisdom.”

Then the Deer bestowed his grace upon the king and turned and walked
back to his sylvan domain, leaving the king to return home with a
profound realisation of the sanctity of life.

– Anon

Lilith Snippets – Myth And Legend

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I can’t resist the myth of Lilith, although I don’t believe one word. Lilith has been unkindly treated by history. And of course she is just so easy to find fault with. She actually would not obey her husband and declared herself equal to him in every way! And like all strong headed women she left him! She spoke the Ineffable Name of the Creator and soared up into the air. Thereupon Adam stood in prayer before the Creator and thus he spake: ” O Lord of the Universe, the woman Thou hast given me has fled from me.”

The Lilith teaching is actually used to divide the relationship between man and woman and destroy the start of marriage which God intended for all creation. The Lord did not create two separate beings in the book of Genesis but one. Adam existed as a dual being until  God caused him to sleep and divided Him into another separate creation, creating Eve in Genesis 2. Man is neither complete by himself nor is woman, but the two come together to create the original creation. The story of Lilith is intriguing, but also dark. Lilith, the first wife of Adam, spoke the truth when she said, “I am equal to Adam in every way.”  She suffers a dreadful fate from a  wrathful God and vengeful men. She will be forever known as the demon-ess, the dark one. The seducer of men and young boys.


Aramaic Demon incantation bowl depicting female figure bound by rod and chain – dated between the 5th and 8th century AD. Translation of text: “Elisur Bagdana, the king of demons and the great ruler of Lilliths, I beswear you, the Lilith Hablas, granddaughter of the Lilith Zarnay, who resides upon the threshhold of the house and kills boys and girls, in order that you should struck in your pericardium – the mighty Siqaros – go out from her son of Ahata from the threshhold of Yaya daughter of Aya. Behold, I write to you and behold, I dismiss you, just as demons write deeds of divorce to their wives and they do not come back. Flee and go out and do not appear, from this day and forever. And may you go out from her, from her house, from her dwelling place, from her entrance, from her exit, from the four corners of her house, from this day and forever. Amen, Amen, Selah, This bow is for the curse of the brother and of the sisters, and from the curse of the neighbours, and from the curse of the male nurse, and from the stranger and the relative, from the curse of the Aramaean and of the Jew, and from the curse demon, from the blow demon, from the vow demons, and from idol spirits, and from the blow demons, and from the mevakkalta demon, and from the tormentor, and from man and from woman, neither during the daytime nor during the night, from this day and forever. Amen, Amen, Selah. Yah Yah Yah, yyh Elohim.”

the Story of Lilith can be found on this link..

https://sathyasaimemories.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/goddess-or-demon-lilith-myths-and-legends/

O My Heart – Myth And Legend

aheartnnamedgold

Our thoughts are powerful, and just like the Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul said and I quote  here: “The average man is often the victim of his own thought forms. He constructs them, but is neither strong enough to send them out to do their work, nor wise enough to dissipate them when required. This has brought about the thick swirling fog of half-formed, semi-vitalized forms in which eighty five percent of the human race is surrounded.”

There is an ancient image of the heart and its function that likens it to the way a sound arises from an underground cave. To an older way of thinking, thought begins below in our hearts.  Then ascends to our brains, where it brings insight and intelligence to our awareness. Silence is a requirement. When our thoughts has collected sufficiently, they are ready to be carried outward, in words. Only then do our voices call to express what  needs saying as it was meant. Then, we speak truly. Our words are heartfelt. All is well, we hope.

..


 

That The Heart No Longer Moves – Sufi Tale

Long ago, in Andalusia, a Sufi merchant awaited the arrival of his shipment of goods. A messenger came running to inform him of a great mishap – the boat had sunk, carrying the livelihoods of many to the bottom of the ocean. Upon receiving the news, the merchant paused, cast his eyes downward, and softly said, “Praise be to God – AlhamduliLah.”

Some weeks later, the messenger joyfully appear at the merchant’s door.

..

“O Merchant,” he cried out. “Your goods arrived safely and are at this very moment being unloaded on the dock. The ship did not sink after all!”

..

At this the merchant again lowered his gaze and murmured, “All praise is due to God.” The messenger inquired, “What is this pausing and lowering of your gaze?” The merchant replied, “In both cases, I was checking to make sure my heart didn’t move.”

..

-Retold by Gray Henry


aheartnnamedgold

To end on a wise quotation from the Peaceful Warrior. 

“You haven’t yet opened your heart fully, to life, to each moment. The peaceful warrior’s way is not about invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability–to the world, to life, and to the Presence you felt. All along I’ve shown you by example that a warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is a warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death.” – Dan Millman

One and One Make One – Myth And Legend

aadonkey998

Mullah Nasrudin was on a journey, and he stopped for the night in a town where he did not know anyone. He found an inn, and slept comfortably. The next morning on awakening, he discovered to his dismay that he did not know who he was. He thought for a while about his predicament, then decided to go out into the street to see if anyone might recognize him and tell him who he was. There were many people in the street, but since he was a stranger in the town, no one recognized him. After wandering around a while, he decided to go into a clothing store. Perhaps someone in there…?

The shopkeeper pounced on him. “Ah, good sir, I have just the suit for you. Here, try this on.” The Mullah complied, and tried on several suits and jackets, none of them being quite satisfactory. After humoring the shopkeeper for some time, he turned to him and said: “Excuse me, my good man, but did you see me come into your store?”

..

“Well, yes, of course,” the shopkeeper replied, puzzled.

“Tell me then,” said the Mullah, “how did you know that it was me?”

source: R. Brown


The greatest riddle, the greatest mystery of all, aside from the Creation itself, is the mystery of the inner world and the outer world, and of their relationship to each other. Perhaps it is even the same as the mystery of the Creation. Along with this short myth, I have posted a link to the video, Innerworlds * Outerworlds, the movie. I highly recommend it.

http://www.innerworldsmovie.com/index.cfm?page=video&videoid=1

Silence, A Parable – Myth And Legend

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PAINTING: Odilon Redon, “Buddha Walking Among the Flowers,” 1905.

The mystic and author G.I. Gurdjieff, suggests that there are two world. He says, “There is in us a zone where noise and tumult have no place, and a zone where everything reverberates. Hazrat Inayat Khan also tells us through his writings, that everything emanates from silence and gives rise to all that exists, including ourselves and our many manifestations. There is so much to say about silence, but shhhh! – I won’t be saying it. Here’s a Zen tale on the subject… Enjoy! 🙂 

Learning to Be Silent:

The pupils of the Tendai School used to study meditation before Zen entered Japan. Four of them who were intimate friends promised one another to observe seven days of silence.

On the first day all were silent. Their meditation had begun auspiciously, but when night came and the oil lamps were growing dim one of the pupils could not help exclaiming to a servant: “Fix those lamps” The second pupil was surprised to hear the first one talk. “We are not supposed to say a word,” He remarked.

“You two are stupid. Why did you talk?” asked the third. “I am the only one who has not talked,” – concluded the fourth pupil.

sorry about errors on first post.. (Had to repost.)


The Soul As An Image Of Nirvana – Myth And Legend

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….

I found this to be an interesting tale and well deserving for a post here on the blog. The story goes that once a great king of India asked some fundamental questions about the basic teachings of the Buddha. The text is preserved as a dialogue between King Milinda and Nagasena, a representative of Buddhism. I might add  that according to Buddhist tradition, King Milinda (c.155 b.c.) was a local ruler of a province in India that had been part of the conquests of Alexander the Great. Archaeological evidence indicates that Buddhism had reached some degree of official status under King Milinda. Popular Buddhist legend recounts that in his constant search for new truths, King Milinda asked a number of questions about how man should live a good life and meet a good death.. Here is the story:   

King Milinda said: “I will grant you, Nagasena, that Nirvana is absolute ease, and that nevertheless one cannot point to its form or shape, its duration of size, either by simile or explanation, by reason or by argument. But is there perhaps some quality of Nirvana which is shares with other things, and which lends itself to a metaphorical explanation?”

“Its form, O king, cannot be elucidated by similes but its qualities can.”

“How good to hear that, Nagasena! Speak then, quickly, so that I may have an explanation of even one of the aspects of Nirvana! Appease the fever of my heart! Allay it with the cool sweet breezes of your words!”

“Nirvana share one quality with the lotus, two with water, three with medicine, ten with space, three with the wishing jewel, and five with a mountain peak. As the lotus is unstained by water, so is Nirvanan unstained by all the defilements. As cool water allays feverish heat, so also Nirvana is cool and allays the fever of the passions. More over, as water removes the thirst of men and beasts who are exhausted, parched, thirsty and overpowered by heat, so also Nirvana removes the craving for sensuous enjoyments, the craving for further becoming (the craving for reincarnation), the craving for the cessation of becoming (the craving for the end of reincarnation). As medicine protects from poison, so Nirvana protects from the torments of the poisonous passions. Moreover, as medicine puts an end to sickness, so Nirvana to all sufferings. Finally, Nirvana and medicine both give security. And these are the ten qualities which Nirvana shares with space.

Neither is born, grows old, passes away, or is reborn; both are unconquerable, cannot be stolen, are unsupported, are roads respectively for birds and Arhats (Someone who is or is becoming a Buddha) to journey on, are unobstructed and infinite. Like the wishing jewel, Nirvana grants all one can desire, brings joy, and sheds light. As a mountain peak is lofty and exalted, so is Nirvana., As a mountain peak is inaccessible, so is Nirvana inaccessible to all the passions. As no seeds can grow on a mountain peak, so the seeds of all the passions cannot grow in Nirvana. And finally, as a mountain peak is free from all desire to please or displease, so is Nirvana.”

“Well said, Nagasena! So it is, and as such I accept it.!

from Buddhist Texts, Throughout the Ages. (New York: Harper & Row 1964), pp.97-100