An Invisible Pilgrim

Aug 14, 2005

July 31, 2005

It was March 30th, the night before we left. Guri and I were leaving into the hands of the unknown, within four hours. No one knew the plan; we were just gonna take off "south" with a back-pack. Mark Peters, the night before, gave us a guess that was as good as anyone else's, "Hey, we'll see you next week."

We wake up at 4:00AM to find a note on our door with a huge smiley face (from one of the two Anjali's sleeping over that night): the force is with you. It definitely felt like it. Viral asked us to wake him up, so I reluctantly did; he woke up immediately as we exchanged our brotherly, always-together hand-shake.

Jayeshbhai and Anarben, whose house we were at, also insisted on waking up. Jayeshbhai was going to walk with us to the Gandhi Ashram, where we were to meditate at Hriday-Kunj (Gandhi's residence) for a few minutes before officially launching ourselves into the abyss. Anarben stood at the gate waving goodbye, with unstoppable tears in her eyes. I valiantly lifted both of my hands up in the air, to inform the forces around us: "We rest in your hands now."

Three of us turn the corner and I notice the license plate of an oddly-placed motorcycle. It said, "Viral". I couldn't believe my eyes! I have never seen such a license plate in India. Turning to Guri and Jayeshbhai, I excitedly tell 'em, "Hey guys, in case you had any doubt, Viral is right here with us." Right after we read it, a man comes out of nowhere, climbs on the motorcycle and zooms off onto the barren streets in those early morning hours. We had an invisble pilgrim amongst us.

After four months, yesterday, that invisible pilgrim became visible once again. Guri and I saw Viral again. All three of us were so happy to see each other; it felt like a familiar reunion that's been happening for eons. :)

Today, Viral is gone again. He will be in a meditation cell for the next 30 days, penetrating the depths of his being. Thirty days of no reading, writing, talking, or any other contact with the external world. Unless you are steeped in virtue, you will go crazy if you try to attempt this. But this is, of course, Viral. I'm not worried at all.

In the Mahabharata, before an epic war between the Kauravas and Pandavas, Lord Krishna asks both sides about the distribution of his resources: do you want Krishna, an embodiment of virtue, or leagues and leagues of armies? The leader of the bad guys gets the first pick; he says, "What am I going to do with one man? Give me all the armies!" And sure enough, he loses the war.

Viral is no Krishna (yet :)) but still, if you put all of the world's resources on one side and Viral on the other, my scale will always pick the invisible pilgrim.

Meditate on, bro. Always together on the Way.

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