Wednesday, April 25, 2007
POLAR BEARS ARE THE NEW WHALES
What do Aldous Huxley, Alice Coltrane, George Harrison, Nina Hagen, jd salinger, actress Heather Graham, jazz fusion guitarist John McLaughlin, and "Cabaret" author Christopher Isherwood have in common?
They're all converts to Hinduism.
Which is interesting, because the way I understood it is that you're either born a Hindu or you're not.
But apparently you can be naturalized, sort of like how Arnold Schwartznegger became an American.
Since Monday's intense astrology session, I've been doing a little bit of research on Ram Dass's book Be Here Now (in which the former Kermit Riggs aka Bhagavan Das figures prominently) and BD's own memoir, It's Here Now (Are You?), and thinking about the idea of giving up everything in order to have everything -- which is what both of them did.
I did that once, when I moved away from my father to live with my mother when I was 12.
I gave up my horse, a massive bedroom, swimming pool, tennis court, indoor and outdoor riding arenas, a Winnebago and more (including, it turns out, my inheritance. But that's for another chapter).
What I got in return was freedom, access to knowledge and a chance to become a full-fledged (albeit rather annoying) human being.
I'd had an epiphany while sitting alone in my mother's living room during a visit. I felt such a sense of peace I could not return to my father's house, where I'd lived in fear 24/7 since the age of 8.
Being a coward, I called to tell my father and Xmas Judy I wasn't coming back -- rather than doing it in person.
The decision wasn't noble; It was what I had to do. I had no idea what I was giving up. Or getting into (my mother was so poor, despite the monthly payments, that we qualified for the free school lunch program. And for a long time we had no car).
When I returned to say goodbye and retrieve my things from my father's house, I found out that it was a wasted trip. Xmas Judy had given all of my clothes and toys and other worldy possessions to her niece -- who had been like a sister to me. Buckwheat had already been sold.
Actually, they saved my gym uniform for me (my name was embroidered on the back and there aren't that many Satya Cacanandas in the Midwest). And for some reason I got to keep my brand-new red, white and blue Bicentennial Schwinn Varsity ten-speed.
When my mother complained that I had nothing to wear to my new junior high, my father gave her $200 for a new wardrobe for me.
I ended up with something like four tops, three pairs of pants, shoes and some sneakers.
Not exactly the path to popularity in the purgatory that is seventh grade.
I created an elaborate chart where I recorded what I wore each day, so that it would seem like I had more clothes than I actually did.
It didn't work; no one liked me, except for my friend Jeanine.
I wonder if that's what it'd like to give it all up and become Caca Das....