Monday, May 11, 2009

May the master be with you

Certain experiences can totally catch us off guard -- I happened to have one today.

On my way back home on the bus this evening, a caucasian guy sitting besides me asked me about the spelling of 'beneath'. He appeared to be a drunk junkie from his disheveled appearance, and his inability to spell 'beneath' only strengthened my suspicion. I spelled it out, taking a quick peek at the text he was writing. The writing was far from neat but I could make out references to 'love' and 'heart' from the little I was able to peek at. It appeared to be some sort of a love letter.

A few moments later, he inquired where I was from. Upon hearing Pakistan, he mentioned that he was a poet and in fact had read many of the poets from that region. He mentioned Kabir and Rumi among several others and inquired whether I knew about any of them. Most of the names were alien to me, other than Rumi, and the guy seemed rather surprised at that, rightly so perhaps, exhorting me to read more about my culture and heritage. He also appeared rather concerned, almost a little angry, when talking about the present situation in Pakistan, rhetorically asking about how one can put a life back once its taken.

My stop was near when he volunteered to read aloud his poem. I reluctantly agreed. I don't remember most of it as I was still taken aback by the suddenness of the experience and the anxiety of my stop arriving, but it did sound very beautiful and spiritual -- ending with 'beneath your feet'.

He mentioned several times during the conversation -- turns out that its a spiritual organization led by a Sikh guy. From first impressions, it seems to be have a low fishiness to usefulness ratio.

My stop finally arrived and I shared my first ever fist bump goodbye with him along with the parting expression: "May the master be with you".

Its not everyday that you get to have such eventful and novelty filled bus rides :-)


  1. Be careful. I'm a spiritual seeker myself so I don't say that all such spiritual teachers are fake ... but many, if not most, are. The New Age "spiritual supermarket" is full of as many, if not more, irrationalities as organized religion. You are right to be cautious.

    Usually it is the ones who don't promote themselves at all who might actually be genuine. Unfortunately as you can imagine these types of spiritual teachers are very difficult to find.

    Kabir's poetry is great though.

  2. Btw when anybody tries to give me unsolicited advice, whether about spirituality or anything else, I run in the opposite direction. It's a sure sign that something's not right.

  3. I do agree that there is a lot of absurd stuff going around in the name of spirituality. I have even read about people making connections between quantum theory and spiritual dimensions. As always, there are far more charlatans than actual sages.

    And yes, running in the opposite direction is usually my gut reaction as well.

  4. I've had very eventful, and highly unpleasant bus rides! :P

  5. Any particular reason for the unpleasantness?

  6. Well people who take buses often suffer from psychological problems. There are drunks on buses, people who smell bad, and severely developmentally disabled people as well.

  7. "I have even read about people making connections between quantum theory and spiritual dimensions."

    This is generally all hogwash.

    There is an interesting book called "Quantum Questions" by Ken Wilber that you might be interested in. It's actually a collection of essays by some of the major names in physics, including the founders of quantum physics.

    What this slim volume shows is that many of the main individuals involved in modern physics including the founders of quantum physics were either mystics themselves or highly sympathetic to mysticism, but were equally convinced that there was nothing in their own domain (i.e. physics itself) that had any particular bearing on spirituality per se.

    Empirical science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of supraphysical realities.

  8. To quote Feynman: "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics."

    When people have such a hard time just wrapping their heads around quantum theory, actually going forward and relating it with spirituality is guaranteed to result in unfounded nonsense :)

    Thanks for the book suggestion. It looks like an interesting read.