Pilgrimage to india: 1976


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  • Evening. Smoking. Very hot. Had a little look around for presents. Bought Jade a little guitar. Can’t see anything else worth getting anyone. Joss-sticks?

-Tomorrow could be an important day. At 10 I go to see or not see the Cardinal. God knows what I’ll say to him, the truth if I can bring myself to say anything at all. And depending on what happens then I may go on to the ashram that my man says is free.

Was angry as much as disappointed not to get any post.

My goal is freedom.

Strange how Bombay freaked me out. Was very scared to suddenly lose it all. Thought I was going to collapse like in Stuttgart. Would be too much if it happened here, absolutely too much.


Friday 19th November

Very little sleep owing to heat and noise. Am now in my hotel room, all showered and cleaned and ready for the cardinal. Don’t think I’ll go to the ashram today cos fancy another night in with a smoke and a biro. Or is it the girl who arrived at the hotel? No, I was minded to stay anyway. Of course it will take more money but that’s just about all gone already. –Am in the waiting room of the Cardinal’s house. They say he is ill and can’t see me. In some ways this is a relief! I have written a letter which they have taken to him. Did not know what to say. Was writing this and looked up and there he was. He read my letter and we spoke a little but superficially. He sends blessings to my parents, says god will bless me for my pilgrimage and tells me to settle down when I get back to England. To conclude he gives me a book, a big heavy book, a souvenir of Pope Paul’s visit to Bombay in 1964. He signs it and all is done. I’m happy. I’ve come to Bombay & seen Cardinal Gracias. I’ve even got heavy proof of it. Glad it didn’t turn out to be all a fantasy.

Later got very stoned and wrote letters. A storm in the evening which I thought might be a cyclone. Thought maybe I’d come to Bombay to face death but I couldn’t do it.

-Bought some silk for Calla, a cheesecloth tshirt for Barby. Just Steve, Moo and Abby to go. THE DAY I MET THE CARDINAL

Saturday 20th November

Got stoned in the morning and wrote letters. Quite spaced out so took my time getting to the ashram, arriving about 4. First news is that it isn’t free at all! It is 30 dollars a month so I’ve enough for a week with about 20 rupees left over. Generally had a look around. Met people who reckon Baba is a very high guy. Went to a chant & joined in the best I could. Can’t feel the excitement I should feel. Here is the dream and I don’t feel up to it. Anyway had the evening meal, a cup of tea, a chant and went to bed.

But couldn’t sleep at all. Then I had stomach trouble which I tried to tell myself was necessary purging.


Sunday 21st November

Fortunately didn’t have to get up at 2.30 a.m. Actually 4.30 a.m. for brief period of (non)meditation & long period of chanting. Had breakfast at the café which severely attacked my little monies. Actually feel quite depressed this morning – maybe it’s the rain in the countryside reminding me of Anglesey. It seems I’m not ready for this. Was higher and happier in Bombay.

-Mood fluctuation during the day, mostly down. Went for the blessing (darshan?) of the guru but didn’t ask for mantra. Immediately felt sad and went into the gardens by the banana trees. Came back to se Baba feed his elephant. Later a guy lent me a couple of Baba’s books. Baba is obviously a holy man. But me? Lack of self-love, depressed, fearful, incapable of meditation. And to love the Baba? To meditate on a guru that I do not know? Baba says to meditate on the self. The Self? The affirmative self? I am happy, I am love, I am peace, until I believe it? Did get off on the Hare Krishna in the evening. Keep thinking of Steve and Calla. Baba is their guru. THE DAY I SAW BABA FOR THE FIRST TIME.

Monday 22nd November

Another bad night. Thinking it was late I got up, only to discover it was 3.15 a.m. tried to meditate for a while – all the gurus seem to say you have to meditate – but I got nowhere. I try to let my mind go into peace but nothing happens. Went back to bed. Then got up again for a short chant, didn’t enjoy it so went back to bed yet again where I listened to the singing and maybe slept. – Trying to understand the way I feel. Am uptight and anxious, meditation is a fight, not enjoying myself at all & feel ashamed about that. Maybe I should blow a joint and relax. Today I’m working and attending a class, maybe that will take the pressure off my thought and expectations. Why can’t I treat being here as something quite normal, as nothing special that I can take or leave? Dearly wish Steve and Calla were here.

-Later. Went to a class which cheered me up a lot. Then a big thunderstorm. Hung around then went to be with better hopes of sleep. THE DAY BABA OPENED THE COURSE.

Tuesday 23rd November

Up at 4.30. Went to meditate in the gardens but fell down a hole and got massacred by mosquitoes. At 8a.m. (after missing morning chant) I went to work in the gardens where I was bitten even more. Worked with a ditch guy who lived in the states. We got talking about fear and paranoia and mine grew as we talked. Also kept getting dizzy. Went to the doctor about my head which has been itching badly. He said I had a stitch abscess where I had pulled out the stitches. charged me 2 rupees. Asked Paul to give me 10 rupees.

The class is meant for people thinking of starting centre but I’m on it so I’ll stick with it. Silly things bother me, like why is Baba allergic to flowers?

-I’ve been asked to pour the water at mealtimes. At lunchtime in such a funk I couldn’t do it.

At 3pm went in the darshan line to ask for my mantra. Again very nervous and inhabited by the people who sit around Baba. Frantically smoked bedis before going. Didn’t feel anything off Baba. Confused. Kept repeating my question when the translator was telling me that Baba was asking where I came from. I said England and escaped. Took myself away, sat down and cried a little, felt very sad. Then went to the afternoon class which again cheered me up.

Was late for evening chant so stayed outside which was just as well as Baba was there. At the evening meal actually got myself together to do the water pouring. –Am beginning to meet some good people. – My ego is so afraid of humiliation. Really hoping there will be no money in Bombay and I’ll be able to go home though I suppose there is no escaping karma and destiny.

Again went to bed in hope of proper sleep, again none. Thinking of conversations with Steve and Calla. I’m sure Baba is their guru. OM NAMAH SHIVAYA.

Wednesday 24th November

Stayed in bed until5.45. My meditation is non-existent anyway so though the rest may do me good. Went to the morning chant which was very long and hard to handle because I feel I ought to make an effort. Today having trouble with my feet where my sandals have rubbed. Actually my sandals have been fucked by the thunderstorms and unseasonable rains. Went to work in the gardens which was better today, though sweaty and again I got dizzy. The guy I was working with offered to treat my foot but when he saw it he reckoned I should see the doctor. I said I couldn’t really afford it so two guys immediately gave me some money (about 13 rupees) which was really nice. I do keep spending money on tea which I sometimes feel guilty about but I’d pay back loaned money if I could. Turns out my foot is infected and now has a dressing.

-Class in morning ok. Did my water stint without disaster. Which takes to now, just in time for the afternoon chant.

-Of course I must get to meditate. Once I miss the morning period the day goes quickly and there aren’t the opportunities. I have my mantra now, should put it to work.

-The afternoon class was good. So much trust you have to put in the guru but if he initiates you with shakti power there is, apparently, no doubting it happened and after that things must get a lot easier.

Again was late for the last chant and had to sit outside but a plague of mosquitoes, flying beetles and rats sent me to the café and bed.


Thursday 25th November

Last night I slept. Slept! Woke up at 3 but stayed in bed until 4.30. Had some tea then briefly tried to meditate. In the Siddha path the guru initiates and all else just follows. My meditation could certainly do with some shakti power. Went to the Guru Gita chant because Baba is really keen on that, sat in the courtyard. Didn’t stay for the subsequent chants. Went to work & class. Quite enjoyed the work, sweeping leaves. This afternoon we’re to have ‘a communication session’ which sounds very American! Not quite so scattered in my mind today though still plenty of thought of Steve and Calla. And missing Jade.

In the afternoon session people were talking about Baba and shaktipat, the guru’s initiation. Would love to get it. –Went to the evening chant and got off on the Hare Krishna chant. DECIDING I WANT SHAKTIPAT.

Friday November 26th

Woke-up at 5.30 after a reasonable night’s sleep, obsessed by wanting shaktipat. Also thinking I’d be better off not collecting Adrian’s money unless my need is great. It’d be another debt. Or is it just I’m being impatient to go home?

Is Saturday afternoon now and I can’t recall yesterday’s details. Did meditate in the afternoon, with the usual lack of success.

-At the end of the evening chant Baba announced that there will be an ‘intensive’ next weekend. As far as I can gather this is when Baba gives his touch, shaktipat. Really irresistible. The intensive costs 100 rupees. Am talking to people in the café about it, about my position without any thought of asking. Going to my bed I discover an envelope with 100 rupees in it. I suspect Paul out it there but who has guided his hand? Baba? God? Seems a clear message as to what I should do. Puts my head in a flux & takes me a long while to sleep. GOD DROPS A HEAVY HINT.

Saturday 27th November

Up at 5.30, so missing the self-promised meditation session. Guru Gita’d but didn’t last the whole thing. Worked in the garden. An Australian guy comes and tells me he’s gong to give me 50 rupees – what can I do? Is obvious I have no choice in the matter. For a while I still think I need a little more but then I remember I’ve kept £5 for the return to England and decide I must commit that to the cause. Means I’ll be totally at the mercy of the British embassy but so it goes.

Generally enjoy the day though being who I am I’m impatient first for next weekend & then for home, not because England seems attractive but because it is my nature. Was talking today to a guy about Sagittarius; it isn’t the quality of the travel that concerns them but ‘an indomitable desire to cover great distances’. Went for meditation at 5, just focused on mantra, had maybe a taste of success. Took a long time & a great effort to stay with it, to keep the mantra going even for a few minutes. Went to the evening chant because Baba was there but my stomach hurt. Went to bed very tired. REGISTERING FOR THE INTENSIVE.

Sunday 28th November

Got up 4.30 to meditate. Stuck with mantra but didn’t get anywhere. Stomach hurt. Aware hat there is a dysentery and cholera scare on at he moment in North India (though not here). Not so high at the moment. Work cut short because Baba has arranged a concert by his favourite singer. Need to pay the rent but have to go to the bank tomorrow first. –I’ve no evidence of, no feeling of Baba’s power or sainthood. When I’ve seen him in the distance I’ve seen a fairly severe figure or a man feeding his elephant. I have doubts, many doubts, about his divinity. I’m not sure about the bread scene people have mentioned because I’ve not been denied anything through lack of money. Anyway I’m staying for the intensive. I can not judge Baba, just see what he gives me and in return follow the instructions as best I can. The journey was intended to be magical and to encourage me to commit myself to magical belief but of course experience is the test. All I can do is to open up myself as far as possible to experience. The signs are good; I’ve enjoyed the last few days and the future could be interesting.

Worked in the garden. Took a good look at Baba during darshan. Went to meditate, attained a light meditative state i.e. could feel my body relax a little. Evening time chanted. Then to bed, couldn’t sleep; so tired but the mind dancing everywhere. 1 was thinking how much missing Jade disturbs me. Very emotional and really unnecessary because she doesn’t need me and has to have me for the sake of my emotion and Barbie’s conscience. VIRTUALLY A DAY OFF.

Monday 29th November

Really nothing to say. Got up 3.30 by mistake. Failed to meditate. Evening chant was really good and got very stoned on it. Felt appreciation for the scene; the ashram and I guess the magician in his courtyard. GETTING HIGH ON Hare Krishna.

Tuesday 30th November

Up at 4.30 after a better night’s sleep. Meditated unsuccessfully. During the night dreamed of Lucinda, that she’d come to India to marry me. I wasn’t very enthusiastic by enjoyed holding hands. Dream interrupted by the dogs, which always seemed to fight at night.

Have p [aid my rent so all post-ashram security gone. My foot is reinfected by really nothing to worry about.

Afternoon meditation brings first indication of a kriya with my tongue curling itself backwards. Great excitement by Dominic. Too much; brings himself out of the state. Made me very high for rest of day. Evening chant went really well. Time for bed but can’t sleep. TONGUE CURLING MEDITATION.

Wednesday 1st December

Up 4.45 for useless meditation and morning chant. Last night dreamed of a she lion that was protecting me against burglars. Reminded me of Aslan. Maybe I should think of Baba as an Aslan rather than as a god. Been drinking too much tea, 2 or 3 cups every break. Affecting my finances. The man who lent me his chantbook asked for it back. I’d lost it but it turned up at the office. A Swedish guy who had paid for 2 months says he is leaving tomorrow. Thought of substituting myself for him but can’t afford to maintain myself that long. I’ve been poverty conscious now for 3 months and it is getting to me. My clothes have disintegrated. When I get home I may have to pay back an enormous amount of money and I guess I won’t like it. In fact I bet after one night back with Steve and Calla I won’t want to be back in England at all. A guy approached me today to ask if I was the same guy who arrived last week. You look so different he said, transformed.

The guru and the inner self are one. The self of one is the self of all. I like these teachings. In meditation my body bowed. To whom?


Thursday 2nd December

Awoke 2.30, got up 3.30. Poor meditation. Worked on the compost. Just about my last work session. Suddenly England seems very close, and cold and full of things I don’t want to face. Missed the chanting sessions to clean my clothes for the Intensive. Shame my favourite trousers have fallen apart. Day drifted by, half asleep, half in meditation. SPACED OUT SORT OF DAY
Friday 3rd December

Day One of the Intensive and what can I say? In my head I know this is one of the most important days of my life, initiation by the guru, the kundalini awoken, the shakti redirected into an irreversible ever-evolving form. But the reality was different. In the morning Baba’s touch put me into a profound depression, tears of frustration, then boredom. Incredibly disappointing though they say the work is done nevertheless whatever the experiencer feels. Felt all my old bitterness and despair. The afternoon was different. The touch got me mildly stoned, nothing compared with the experiences other described. I want bliss and I want it now.


Saturday 4th December

Is 7 am now and on my way to the second day. Guess I’m hoping for something special, a good experience, to take away with me. In fact the work has been done; now it is up to the shakti and Baba. Last night slept well and dreamed I was playing beautiful music on a guitar.

6pm and it is over. Again, what to say? While the guru sat outside and said all is well, I felt inner turmoil. Baba built it up, promising a real glimpse of the Self but I didn’t have one. I felt so incredibly disappointed & angry. In my head I begged Baba to give me just a little peace, a taste of bliss, a reason to believe. But no, it seemed another god has let me down, like they do. Maybe it is my own fault, maybe I don’t cooperate, don’t love myself. Please, teach me how to love myself.

Cheered up somewhat before bedtime. Talked to a Swami. Slept very well. LAST DAY AT THE ASHRAM.

Sunday 5th December

Writing this 8 a.m. Reluctant to leave. Will miss Baba, will miss the centreing on him and fuck, Bombay promises sod all. Still…

3 p.m. Sitting at the railway station, waiting for the Bombay train. Had a final darshan this morning. Had hoped to tell Baba I was going, to thank him but I couldn’t do it. Spent 2 rupees on a ring with Baba’s image on it. Its not the Baba I saw but a cosmic & loving one who is telling me off with a smile on his face – the spirit of Baba, if not the human face I saw. Am more grateful to him for 2 experiences I had this morning. First, had a peaceful mediation in which I was getting quite high until interrupted: secondly, during lunch I was watching Hans who has been annoying me, unintentionally, all week. Suddenly I saw a look on his face, of vulnerability, that I recognized as being what I had been feeling so much of the time. I felt overwhelmed with compassion and love. I went to spoke to him, just exchanged a few friendly words to make up for my bad feelings. (A group of Indians are staring at me; I’ll light a beedi and stare back.)

9 p.m. Blown my money on a hotel room, the same one as before. Then smoked a leftover joint and got very very stoned. Wrote to Dana, told her ‘I feel I’m nearer the end’, and ‘They’ve told me all I need to know.’ S I smoke I feel I can understand everything if not experience it. Should I be meditating instead? GOODBYE BABA, HELLO REALIZATION

Monday 6th December

It is about 11 a.m. Sitting in the office of the High Commissioner waiting to see somebody. There were no letters at the post office and no money from Adrian at Thos Cook’s. Really am destitute so no need to make any decisions. Just hope this all goes smoothly. Need to get on with my spiritual path and learn how to experience the realizations I had last night without the dope. Or maybe I should leave it to the guru/god to provide dope as he/it sees fit. If only I could get rid of these petty guilts that bring me down. –This morning sat in the hotel room and chanted the Guru Gita but meditation was beyond me.

- 12.30. The Embassy want me to phone my parents to ask them for some money. I so much don’t want to do that! A girl gave me 100 rupees, which confused me. I went for a walk and remet my Indian guide. He’d worked out a scheme by which I could make some money by faking receipts when a French guy intervened and warned me off. If I have to contact my parents I’ll get the minimum amount of money and go back overland. So much don’t want to do that especially now it is winter. Am going back to the Consulate to try again.

6 p.m. No progress, even tried phoning my parents but couldn’t get through. The Consulate said they’d phone on my behalf and that I must return on Friday to see what they’ve sorted. Thanks Baba for having the girl give me the rupees. Was feeling quite overwhelmed and dispirited by the thought of going back overland but a period of meditation helped calmed me. My body seems to meditate more easily now but my mind is hopeless and now it has a 6,000 mile winter journey with limited funds to worry about. Dreadful, dreadful. Might as well light up and continue my epistle to Dana. I’m in a room with 2 Australian girls, one of whom is the spitting image of Calla. THE EMBASSY CHANGES THE SCRIPT.

Tuesday 7th December

Woke-up feeling gratitude for the various amounts of money I have received these last few weeks. At 9.a.m. a French guy passed me a chillum so apart from buying 3 rolls, bananas, an omelette and bread, I’ve spent the day in the room. Smoked and spent time in bed with no actions required of me. This evening I’ve borrowed Fanny & Zooey for a night’s read. –This morning did the Guru Gita and then in meditation my body felt forced to bow, as if to Baba’s photograph. I resisted but the bow continued. They kept telling me this is the natural yoga, that it happens to you and mostly I don’t really believe that it is true for me. Baba is with me and maybe he won’t let go. BOWING TO A PHOTOGRAPH.

Wednesday 8th December

Evening meditation, head swinging and swaying. Realize that for enlightenment to happen, Dominic has to go. Dominic is the ego, is the illusion that needs to be transcended. I guess we keep his body but he goes; his voices, his images, his attachment to being Dominic must all the surrendered. Is this the imagination or truth? Immediately thought I shouldn’t go to England because facing the Barby and Jade situation will make me the old Dominic again. On the other hand a cosmic being has no home or everywhere is his home so there’s no point in hiding. Thoughts…

Did the Guru Gita, meditated with a lot of head movement but no peace. Didn’t do much else, read, went to the post office and got a lovely letter from Dana, visited Thos Cook & then of course got stoned and carried on writing to Dana. Did think of exploring Bombay, of going to the beach even but once I got outside I lost all interest and energy. On the other hand seen an awful lot of this hotel room. LETTER FROM DANA.

Thursday 9th December

Have spent so much time writing to Dana today I’ve neglected my diary. Read Huxley’s Island today which is brilliant. Poor meditation. Been thinking about the ego. It isn’t pride, it is identity. Can’t make a better Dominic. –Got angry with the hotel owner today for leaving the door open. Does it matter whether I keep calm or not? Went to Thos Cook; still no money. READING ISLAND IN THE HOTEL ROOM.

Friday 10th December

9.30. Radio blaring next door where a group of Indian are discussing and counting money. Traffic noise from the road below is almost deafening. An Austrian guy gives me a smoke on this fateful morning. Am shitting myself with nerves, identifying with the petty self, asking ‘what’s going to happen today?’

-At the ashram people kept saying, you’ll change completely, your viewpoint, your lifestyle, everything. I thought, bullshit, I’m cleverer than that. But sitting here, stoned now, I think maybe I am wrong and perhaps it will change me. This dope is really strong and on it I think I can almost see the truth.

-4.30. Back in the hotel. Made an effort to get away. First I went to Thos Cook, no money, then to the Embassy who sent me to a bank to pick-up money from my parents. Bank took some persuading but finally released the money. Went to station to book sleeper to Delhi. Met a guy who offered me cut price deal for train in 2 hours. Rush about, get myself together, arrive at station, no train. Check ticket, train is for tomorrow! So, 110 dollars to get back home. Wasted a fair bit tonight on good food at a good restaurant. THE ARRIVAL OF MONEY TO GO HOME WITH.

Saturday 11th December

Up fairly early to find book to red, failed. Had a nice walk interrupted by bad stomach. Is 10 am; have come back to the hotel to recuperate (get stoned). Meant to get visa photos but didn’t. Must keep it in mind. Went for another walk, on impulse, to find Baba books. Liked Bombay more. Went back to hotel for another smoke then to railway station. On train now. Did I have a sleeper? No. Read Zola and repeated my mantra until I sat uncomfortably against the window and closed my eyes. BEGINNING THE LONG JOURNEY BACK.

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