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Memories from the burning ghats.

Article Submitted By: GeorgeFarrow
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2011 Time: 4:57 AM

During the late 1970's and the early 1980's, authentic, spontaneous tantric instruction and rare experiences could be obtained on the burning ghats of Pashupatinatha and elsewhere.

Recounted by George Farrow aka., 'sadhu' George, Ram Avatar Das,  Hari/Hara-ananda Giri etc.

'Living beings' are those born in the six modes of existence and [this  also] refers to [the minds of] beings composed of the Aggregate of the Five Components of Phenomenal Awareness.

The yoga-ratna-mala commenting on hevajra-tantra 1.7.28.

     Many modern devotees of both Hindu and Buddhist tantra and even some academics are often fascinated with the strange and weird tales associated with the historic hagiographies of tantric masters and with tantric rites etc. Certainly histories of the Great Adept yogi lineage like the ‘Seven Instruction Lineages’ by the Tibetan historian Taranatha are fun, generally instructive and are well worth reading. But the more straight laced, ‘serious’ academics tend to discount such literary traditions and these tales, simply suggesting that they are just tall stories made up to attract, amuse or beguile easily impressed devotees.

    However in company with other Indian and western devotees/practitioners who have spent some years/decades roaming India in search of adept masters; in search of instructions and intuitive knowledge the author has had a number of unusual experiences and strange encounters in the company and direction of his adept lineage masters. But these incidents and encounters etc., certainly only occurred occasionally being inter-spaced within the ordinary events of daily life.


     One of the author's main Hindu tantric guru's was the late Dr., yogiraj Ramnatha Aghori Baba who initiated me into mantra etc. Ramnath Baba was a guru of the late King Mahendra of Nepal. Ramnath Baba became the king's master from granting the king’s request to have a vision of Shiva and Kali. To the amazed king Ramnatha Baba is widely reported to have granted this request by manifesting the dancing images of Shiva and Kali on his open palms. ­

    I first came into contact with the late Ramnath Baba he was already a hail and hearty centurion plus. I had already heard that Ramnath Baba was a reputed siddha, adept lineage master of the Natha yogi tradition before I first met him face to face. But until that time I was quite leery of 'left-handed' Aghori sadhu-s, who had the reputation among Indian/Nepali devotees of wielding malicious mantra powers etc. I first met Ramnatha Baba at the '78 Shiva Ratri, the festival of the Night of Siva, held at Pasupatinath, Nepal just after the Prayagraj Kumbha Mela.

    Ramnatha Baba came to Pasupatinath every year for a month to celibrate the festival of Shiva Ratri etc., and was held in great honor by the various types of Shaiva sadhu-s and by the Nepali devotees etc. As an adept, lineage holding master Ramnath was the senior Natha yogi with his 'seat' situated beside the Bagmati river, on the premier Natha 'dhuni' of the burning ghats,

   As mentioned the '78 Shiva Ratri festival was held after the Kumbha Mela and was even more busy than usual with more sadhu-s and devotees attending. Ramnatha's 'seat' was situated on the river within the burning ghats just downwards from the main temple of Pasupatinati. As a foreigner I was not allowed to visit the main temple and this rule this was even more strictly enforced at the time of Shiva Ratri.

     Normally at the time of Shiva Ratri etc., I would go to 'see' and smoke chillums with the more orthodox Shaiva Natha baba-s or the Udasi baba-s etc., who had 'dhuni-s' situated above the burning ghats. Or I went across the Bagmati river, to sit near the eka-lingam image, in order to watch the whole 'show'. I would always go up the hill to the Mrigasthali where the constantly burning 'dhuni' of the Great Adept Goraksa was situated. Here I would take some offered ashes from this 'dhuni' from the Nepali, Natha sadhu who was in charge of this 'dhuni'. But that year, and despite my reservations regarding 'left-hand' Aghori sadhu-s, I chose to go directly to the burning ghats where Ramnatha's 'seat' was located to take 'sight' of him.

      But that whole location, including the two or three meter wide walkway between the building housing the Aghori sadhu-s 'dhuni' and the actual busy burning ghats together with this raised sadhu area was full to bursting with Nepali devotees and mourners. There were no foreigners around and then as I couldn't even get near the Natha/Aghori 'dhuni', let alone see the baba-s because of the crowd, I decided to go across the river to my usual siting area.

    But as I going to do this a Nepali devotee caught hold of my arm and said that the 'Aghori' baba wanted to see me right now. I replied that I didn't know the 'Aghori' baba and this must be a mistake. But the devotee said that the 'Aghori' baba was very insistent and I, being the only foreigner around, should come straight away to answer his call.

     Within this mass of devotees etc., I squeezed my way throught them to finally arrive at Ramnatha's 'seat'. Already being leery of Aghori baba-s, I was on my best behavior, with my mind aware, concentrated and my with my hands folded etc., I offered my respect to this adept Natha tantric yoga master. At the same time to my astonishment, Basudev Baba, who had impressed me at the Prayagraj, Kumbha Mela, was also in this small company of sadhu-s seated before Ramnatha Baba.

    Having been seated and having some very good Nepali charas I offered a good chunk to Ramnatha Baba. To my suprise Ramnatha said that he had given up smoking chillums and right off the bat said that I was a 'bad boy' by smoking chillums and that I should aslo do the same as him if I wanted to advance further on the path of yoga. But Ramnath Baba didn't stop me from offering this chunk of good charas to his disciples and then smoking chillums with them. During the evening and into the night etc., I more than once saw Ramnatha Baba closely observing me while I smoked chillums and afterwards when I was joking in 'sadhu style' with the other Natha baba-s etc. This was a little unnerving given that I was still somewhat leery of the mantric power held by adept Aghori baba-s.

      Over the next few years, in my later conversations with Ramnath Baba he recounted that after he became a sadhu at the age of sixteen in the late 1890’s, he wandered for the next fifty odd years on foot and without possessions all over India and Asia. Initially Ramnath Baba traversed India on the ancient pilgrimage circuits placed in the five classical regions of India. As mentioned Ramnath Baba achieved this feat on foot etc., all the while applying himself to mantra recitation and yoga at the numerous temple sites located on these circuits.

     Then upon leaving India Ramnath Baba Baba continued his foot borne journeys as far afield as Tibet into China and eastwards to Vladivostok in Siberia and back through China, Central Asia to Persia, Iraq even Arabia. This indomitable yogı eventually returned again to India from Persia via a pilgrimage to the temple of Hing Laj Devı revered by the Natha yogı lineage and located on the arid Makran coast of modern Pakistan.

     Ramnath Baba was an adept yogi whose mind was certainly established within the divine quantum field and who possessed the powers of energy/capability transference as well as the powers of clairvoyance and telepathy. Disciples of other guru-s, including the author were sent to him to check if they correctly mentally recited mantra-s. Ramnath Baba did not need to hear the spoken mantra but could readily intuit error and would then instruct on the correct pronunciation of particular syllables or words.

    Ramnath Baba did not have a high opinion of the then contemporary yogı/ascetic scene suggesting that today’s yogı-s were often lazy and weak. He said that modern ascetics were generally lazy etc., because they had been seduced away from the required detached ascetic’s path by seeking name and fame; by relative materialistic goals; by their over-indulgence of drugs and the convenience of modern transport, electricity etc. Ramnath Baba thereby advised the author against seeking to become an full time ascetic sadhu and especially emphasized to the author the need to cultivate and awaken the coiled-up energy/capability by way of the tantric approach of the householder/yogı.

    He was also not at all impressed by conventional caste conventions and social/religious mores. He often declared that caste conventions etc., had simply become a means to justify social inequities. Further Ramnath Baba said that caste conventions acted as a convenient means for a great many of his devotees to avoid coming to terms with the doctrinal and applied, householder/yogı approach actually required for tantric emanation and yoga.

    Ramnath Baba also suggested to the author that elaborate orthodox rituals were a ‘child’s game’, acting to waste time and simply diverted attention away from protracted effort and deliberation required for ‘true’ devotion and the application of system of emanation and yoga. Ramnath Baba suggested that if the time spent on Brahminical rituals was gainfully used on attempting to attain inner concentration, adepts would become more commonplace. He taught that even a little but appropriate effort spent every day towards attaining inner concentration eventually becomes a mountain of fruits.

    However, although Pashupatinatha is the premier Hindu tantric Shaiva temple of the Kathmandu Valley the author was considered as an impure foreigner, a mleccha, ‘barbarian’, by the South Indian priests of this temple. Thus he and all foreigners were/are barred from access to the sanctum of the inner temple. The blanket approach of this regime actually often irritated Ramnath Baba. On occasions Ramnath Baba apparently intuited the relative nature of individuals entering or leaving Pashupatinatha temple and bemoaned the fact that ‘good’ devotees including low/out-caste Nepali-s, even myself and other foreigners could not take ready 'sight’ of Pashupatı’s image.

    On one quiet afternoon when no one was around Ramnath Baba chose to ‘give’ the author prajna, ‘insight’ into the nature of Pashupatinath. He instructed the author to sit under a Bel tree, a tree associated with Shiva’s resonance, located in a courtyard on the other side of the Bagmati River some hundreds of yards away from his seat in the cremation ghat and to meditate there in an already instructed manner.

    From Ramnath Baba’s grace and energy/capability I enjoyed some hours of blissful meditation and gained some enduring ‘insights’ into the amazing potential offered by the finite physical body/mind. From such insights offered by the grace and energy/capability of this adept and other adept masters I came to appreciate the benefit of a spontaneous oral mode of lineage transmission/instruction that has apparently existed within the tantric tradition since pre-history.


    Another of my Shaiva lineage gurus, a guru brother of Ramnatha Baba, who gave basic instruction on the manner of applying vows, was Bhairava Baba. He was a very eccentric Nepali Natha yogı. In his obvious daily behavior Bhairava Baba manifested a very erratic, odd and apparently very undisciplined approach to conduct. Bhairava Baba was also physically perhaps the ugliest man I have ever encountered in his life. Additionally Bhairava Baba never bathed, stank, wore the same clothes until they fell off, often appearing deshabille. He slept anywhere, on rubbish heaps or with the dogs and did not conform to any fastidious, Sh aiva orthodox mores.

    On occasions Bhairava Baba drank to excess local ‘rot gut’ rice liquor and then sometimes got very animated and excessively used bad language. On such occasions Bhairava Baba loudly passed wind, threw up anywhere as well as urinating or passing stool simply where and when he felt like it. Bhairava Baba also sometimes continuously smoked ganja/hashish until he fell into a stupor. Because of his unsavoury condition etc., he was not popular among some of the local stall-holders of Pasupathinath who attempted to move him on.

    However even when Bhairava Baba was intoxicated he had the ability of clairvoyance and readily knew hidden details relating to the darker aspects within the life histories of particular disciples; of stall holders or of passing individuals and even their wider families. Thereby when aroused by some irritating individual he would loudly and publicly recount these apparently true facts much to their annoyance and shame.

    This often led to disturbances sometimes leading to his being beaten by members of the public and even by his own disciples. However despite being initially roused by someone Bhairava Baba  was not vindictive and never re-acted further to the seeming loss of face from being beaten in public. In fact during limited personal conversations with the myself, even when drunk he was mild and often kind to the extreme. Even when much battered he would simply smile and say that Shiva was allowing him to overcome bad aspects within his cycle of cause and effect generated in this and in earlier lives.

    Despite his seemingly negative, bizarre anti-social guise Bhairava Baba was actually and certainly an accomplished adept who not only possessed clairvoyance but was able simply from uttering the word ‘yes’ to make business deals become fruitful. This was not just by random chance but was a consistent, ‘proven’ power.

    Thereby Bhairava Baba was sometimes to be seen being pursued around the Pashupatinath complex by merchants from the very wealthy Marwari caste. They trailed in his wake seeking his favour by offering him presents and by giving him the simple things that he might fancy. He was sometimes seen garishly draped by some length of calico or even a length of silk over his ever-soiled regular garb. However Bhairava Baba could not be simply swayed by the prospect of presents, intoxicants etc. He would only grant his favour and ascent upon those merchants that he considered deserving, no matter what was offered by others.

    Certainly upper caste devotees from Bengal etc., who came on pilgrimage to stay up with Ramnatha Aghori Baba during Shiva’s Night of vigil were deeply shocked by Bhairava Baba. He would invariably appear deshabille and these pilgrims were certainly further disgusted by his drunken or stoned antics. They simply sieved Bhairava Baba's behavior through the limitations of their own fastidious caste conventions or under a prim, proper, idealized contemporary view of what tantric yogı-s behavior should be, thereby rejecting this bizarre but adept yogı out of hand.


   Bhairava Baba’s appearance, smell and overall mode of behavior even put off more liberally minded western researchers of the Natha tradition. However caste Hindus and westerners, even the author for a while generally misunderstood his daily approach and manner of applying vows. But Bhairava Baba’s approach to applying daily vows was clearly in the classic mode of the Shaiva Pashupata tradition.

    The application of vows according to the Pashupata tradition is by way of the panca- avastha-s, the ‘five stages’. These stages are broached in the pashupata-sutra (PS.) and are further discussed in Kaundinya’s commentary the pancartha-bhasya (PAB.) that exposes more  details on the basic approach discussed in the PS.

    Here the first two stages define the basic outer approaches to the daily application of the vow and the last three essentially represent the further inner mental stages in the graduated attainment of the actual nature of these vows. The first two are the stages of vyakta, the Marked stage and avyakta, the Unmarked stage. The first, the ‘marked’ stage refers to the normal practices of a Shaiva ascetic. Here the yogi lives in a temple complex, ‘bathes’ or covers the body with ashes from the funeral pyre, daily puts on the sectarian ‘mark’, wears flowers from the Shiva image and performs the six acts of worship.

    In contrast the ‘unmarked’ stage is where the Shaiva ascetic actively seeks public censure by way of performing anti-social behaviour. He does not live in a temple complex, wears no sectarian ‘mark’, carries no sectarian accoutrements and actively refuses to discipline the nine dvara-s, the physical ‘doors’.

    These acts of ill discipline can include snoring, drooling and acting as if asleep when not asleep; loudly passing wind and/or shaking the limbs as if affected by ‘wind’ sickness as well as walking as if crippled. Further yogi-s following such a mode act erratically seemingly without any judgement. This means they always act erratically such as becoming intoxicated, stoned also making lewd gestures and lascivious remarks to passing women and deliberately uttering foul or incomprehensible language as well as making contradictory statements etc. In short they seem to be madmen.

    Clearly Bhairava Baba applied himself to the vow of the ‘unmarked stage’ and followed the curious ancient tribal Shaiva doctrinal approach to the transfer of personal good and bad cause and effect. According to the pashupata-sutra 3.7-9 the ‘unmarked stage’ is followed ‘because of the censure of others he [the yogi] gives [his accumulation of] sin [demerit] to them and [actually] takes from them their [accumulation of] merit’. 


         The author’s lineage master of the Shaiva/Shakta, Kaula Dasmah›vidy› lineage tradition, the late Basudev Baba was a remarkable adept. Basudev Baba not only possessed a seemingly inexhaustible font of energy, devotion, devotional love and soothing compassion but also possessed the power of clairvoyance and other powers.

      I had some very unusual and even very strange experiences in the company of this adept master of tantra. On one night when Basudev Baba was staying in Pashupatınatha he even demonstrated to the author his mastery of v›yu-yoga, the yoga of the winds, by being able, until unfortunately disturbed by the chance entry of a devotee, to make the upper part of his physical body invisible!

      Afterwards Baba said did not want to reveal his mastery of the winds to just any one. Further Baba said that this was not a ‘miracle’ or even hypnosis but was actually a naturally available attribute of the mind. This attribute is simply derived from the protracted harnessing of the coiled-up energy/capability and a subsequently attained degree in the mutability of the atomic field. Basudev Baba in fact clearly ‘proved’ the scientific theory of the fluid, transmutable nature of the underlying atomic structure. He indicated that this partial demonstration was appropriate in order to encourage the author to apply the yoga of the winds.

    When Basudev Baba visited Pashupatınath temple for the early spring Shiva’s Night of vigil he made his ‘seat’ in the burning ghat within the area of Ramnath Baba’s 'seat' and 'dhuni'. However on one particular afternoon during his annual sojourn there, he chose to sit on the other bank of the Bagmati River opposite to Ramnath Baba’s ‘seat’ within the cremation ghats.

    Here on this new, temporary 'seat' Basudev Baba was joined by the author together with a Bengali devotee/astrologer K.L. Majumdhar, a western Tibetan monk Michael Lewis and the western sadhu, Ramgiri or Jasper Newsome. We remarked on why Baba had chosen a different seat from his usual location. To this enquiry Baba cryptically replied that something ‘unusual’ was going to occur.

    The cremation ghat at Pashupatinatha is formed by a number of plinths abutting into the river so that the remains of the pyre can be readily swept into the river. During the early part of the year the river level of the Bagmati River is low and the flow quite weak. Unusually on this particular afternoon there was no one else around and there were no burning pyres in progress just the debris of an earlier pyre already swept off the plinth that lay smouldering in and around the riverbed.

    Baba then called our attention to a large, apparently well-fed ‘black dog’ that was rooting in the debris. This is not an unusual occurrence as some left-over parts of a corpse, not completely consumed by the cremation pyre, are often seen being eaten by stray dogs. In Hindu tradition ‘black dogs’ are associated with the retinue of Shiva.

    As soon as Baba asked us to attend to this ‘black dog’ it found a chunk of human flesh that had been roasted in the funeral pyre. But instead of immediately grasping and eating this chunk of roasted human flesh, the dog held the chunk of roasted flesh in its jaws and then calmly trotted towards us across the twenty or so meters forming the river bed. After ascending the bank, the 'black dog' directly deposited the chunk of pyre roasted flesh at Baba’s feet. The 'black dog' did not hang around but just a calmly, trotted off and disappeared into some bushes by the riverbank not to be seen again.

    We were more than a little surprised even stunned by the ‘black dog’s’ very strange and unusual behaviour and only gradually began to wonder why this dog had placed a chunk of partly roasted flesh at Baba’s feet. Baba broke the spell of the moment by picking up the chunk of flesh that the dog had deposited at his feet.

    To our astonishment Baba immediately tore off a piece of the roasted flesh and popped it into his mouth, chewing it with gusto. He then tore the flesh into further pieces and with mischievous glee offered them to the rest of us. However being familiar with the radical, spontaneous tantric milieu we all chose to forego caste and cultural taboos and actually ate the pieces of roasted human flesh that he offered us.

   Was I disgusted? Well actually no! What did it taste like? Was it as like chicken etc etc?! No that's immaterial !

    But immediately after the ingestion of the meat a strong energy surge occurred and we all agreed that a feeling of exhilaration, euphoria coursed through our bodies. By way of explanation Baba indicated that he had earlier intuited that the individual burnt on that particular pyre was a householder who had an extremely auspicious cycle of cause and effect and had actually been liberated at the time of his death. Baba added that he intuited that this dog was not actually a dog at all but what we had thought to simply be a ‘black dog’ was in fact an auspicious manifestation of Bhairava/Shiva. Baba further suggested that we had been fortunate to come on that day and to witness the ‘black dog’ and its unusual actions.

    Baba said that Bhairava/Shiva had appeared in this guise to offer us a gift, a boon, necessary to allow us to overcome a degree of mental aversion. Baba said that we had passed the test and had received a boon of a degree of mental purification, characterized by the feelings of euphoria, from our ‘fearless’ ingestion of such normally taboo flesh.


    Within the historic tantric textural tradition the Mantrayana root tantra the Hevajra Tantra indicates that ‘the yogı must eat the flesh of one...who is a seven times returned’. Here according to the Yoga-ratra-mala [YRM.,] commentary ‘seven times returned’ refers to the unusual human being who has a sufficiently auspicious cycle of cause and effect to be ‘born seven times [consecutively as a human being]’. Here the YRM., indicates that the eating of such flesh ‘is the supreme protection for one’s own self and others...’.

    This commentary certainly indicates that the consecutive attainment of a human incarnation ‘seven times’ is very unusual and that upon the completion of the cycle of seven incarnations allows such an auspicious being instant 'release' at the moment of death. Thereby the flesh of one who has attained this natural state of purification/being certainly has very particular and rare qualities.

    Whether or not the individual whose chunk of roasted flesh we ate was ‘born seven times’ I cannot say for sure. But I certainly did witness the ‘black dog’s’ unusual behaviour and in the company of the other devotees including Jasper etc., saw him deposit the chunk of flesh at Basudev Baba’s feet and then make his immediate departure!

    No doubt some orthodox devotees and followers of other traditions will be appalled by this incident. But in the Christian tradition the performance of the rite of Holy Communion is certainly centred upon eating the sanctified wafer, the substitute for the Christ’s flesh and in drinking the sanctified wine, the substitute for the Christ's blood.

    Then what is actually the difference between this spontaneous encounter with an aspect of Bhairava/Shiva, as a divine ‘black dog’ and the ingesting the flesh of a liberated being when compared with the symbolic aim of ingesting sacraments signifying the Christ’s divine flesh and blood? I suspect actually very little other than from the purely narrow considerations of sectarianism and ritual symbolism etc!


    On other occasions the author had the opportunity to go on pilgrimage with Basudev Baba to important Sh›kta ‘seats’. These pilgrimages including Kamakhya Devi near Gauhati in Assam as well as to Tarapitha in Bengal etc. The author was able to meditate at night on the adept’s seat at the top of the Blue Hill overlooking Gauhati. At Kamakhya Devi the author was able to touch and press his forehead on the symbolic womb of the Goddess in Her underground sanctum. At Tarapıtha the author was able meet the last remaining direct disciple of Vamakepa Baba and was additionally directed by Basudev Baba to meditate on a sava-asana, a ‘corpse seat’.

    Vamakepa Baba was a well-known adept of the cycle of Taradevi during the early decades of the last century. From Vamakepa Baba becoming accomplished at Tarapitha this ‘seat’ became a pilgrimage destination for Bengali and other devotees of the Goddess. During the visit to Tarapıtha we met Vamakepa Baba's last remaining direct disciple. He was a very old, very skinny and unpretentious householder living in a small cottage adjacent to the cremation grounds. From a distance and at first glance this very old disciple appeared no different from any other ordinary householder.

    However after Basudev Baba spoke with his relatives we were invited to come forward and take ‘sight’ of him while he sat in his chair. On approaching within ten feet a marked and very blissful, strong energy surge occurred within the author’s body and it was clear that this seemingly ‘old’ man was in fact a veritable powerhouse, who had awakened and existed within the field of the harnessed/channelled coiled-up energy/capability.

    We both bowed and touched his feet in the time honoured fashion and this accomplished devotee of the Goddess was pleased that even foreigners sought the Goddess Tara-s’ grace and therefore wished the author well. Yet again the author came to appreciate that people, circumstances cannot simply be judged by convention or simply on relative appearances etc.

    The author last visited Tarapitha during the rainy season when the location was infested by some of the largest and most tenacious mosquitoes the author has ever encountered. Here in the cremation grounds those who do not possess sufficient cash to burn their departed family members are forced to bury them in this auspicious, but for some, terrifying location.

    In the rainy season torrential downpours lead to a sudden rising and then falling in the flow of the local river that uncovers these shallow graves often only leaving a minimal covering of silt on them. The place therefore stinks of rotting corpses and is pervaded by the immanence of death. Many of the ascetic’s huts of Tarapitha are in part constructed using the bones, skulls etc., of those who had been buried in the cremation/cemetery grounds. One night during our stay there Basudev Baba took the author together with some other Bengali devotees and disciples into the lonely cremation grounds for an authentic, night time meditation session. We had to take a lamp along with us to light our way, as the cremation/cemetery grounds were not then electrified.

    We had all previously agreed to meditate alone for a long as possible at spots chosen by Basudev Baba. While wending our way through the cremation/cemetery grounds in search of appropriate places for individuals to perform mantra recitation etc., the Bengali devotees became more and more nervous and were talking of the possible dangers from ghosts, hungry ghosts and ghouls. To this Baba gave an ironic laugh and asked them if they did not have any confidence in his lineage mantra-s and the lineage procedure of seizing, sealing and protecting the ‘seat’ of meditation.

   This did not steel some devotees who declared their intention to immediately return to the rest house. Upon hearing this Basudev Baba asked the author if he was afraid of any of the possible denizens occupying the cremation/cemetery grounds and if so directed would I even be prepared to use a sava-asana, a ‘corpse seat’, for this meditation session. Being not particularly bothered by the vibrations pervading the cremation/cemetery grounds and thereby being ‘up for it’ the author agreed to do whatever Basudev Baba directed.

    Again Baba gave a more chilling laugh and berated his Bengal devotees with the fact that they preferred to listen to their fears whereas a foreigner apparently had more courage than they seemed to possess when faced with something tangible and really terrifying etc. This seemed to buck them up a bit and after a while Baba found suitable spots for us to meditate in.

    However rather immediately seeking a suitable ‘corpse seat’ for the author to perform mantra recitation on Baba decided that this event would be postponed until the following early morning. Subsequently alone with Basudev Baba the author went back to the cremation ground and within a few minutes Baba intuited a suitable corpse for the author to be ‘seated’ upon.

    As mentioned corpses were not fully buried in the ground and this selected corpse was no different. After the last torrential rainstorm the corpse had been washed by the rise and retreat of the river and was a clearly visible, oozing, stinking mound whose funerary wrapping cloth was barely covered by silt.

    Baba then became quite formal/stern and instructed the author to ‘face north then place your wool meditation blanket here and assume your seat and perform the procedures of seizing, sealing and protecting this corpse seat before performing invocation, visualization, recitation and emanation of the guru mantra’. The author somewhat gingerly placed his blanket as directed and hoping that the corpse wouldn’t split open or pass some even more foul gas, gently sat down on the designated corpse seat.

    What did this feel like? Definitely a somewhat liquid sensation akin to sitting on a firm water-bed! Did it smell very foully? Yes! Did the mosquitoes bother me? Not really! By being very involved within the procedures and the manner of meditation the author did not take too much notice of either the smell or the mosquitoes!

   Certainly after performing the appropriate preliminary instructions and while performing recitation and emanation the author actually found that the ‘corpse seat’ by its very impermanent nature had a very strong influence on the author’s mind. On the moment the author’s mind became impressed with an appreciation of the impermanence of the physical form/mind and with the need to gainfully use this opportunity to apply consciousness towards the goal of attaining a degree of undifferentiated mind flow.

   Apparently Basudev’s intention was for the author to become so impressed by the impermanence of human existence. By this appreciation, by this instant cultivation of detachment the author was able to clearly concentrate on his task of emanation and mantra recitation and remained there until called to discontinue by Basudev Baba.

[This essay is copyrighted to George W. Farrow.]

About the Author



        The author was raised in the UK., had a loving family and thanks to the efforts of my parents I received a good education etc. Also allied with these facts I was also born and brought up in the freest era of human social history etc. But thanks to the rise of the fascist US., Empire, occurring from the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 etc., that unique era is now well and truly finished.

       Apart from the normal interests of youth etc., I was interested in literature, physics,  history, jazz, art as well as travel and even eastern philosophy etc. Since the '60’s I had the opportunity to travel in North Africa, the Middle East as well as South and Southeast Asia. I first traveled overland to India in '70 and made further visits there etc., in order to explore South Asian ‘applied’ yoga doctrines and the various sectarian systems of emanation and yoga.

    I went to India in order to make further sense of my personal explorations of consciousness aimed towards the 'now moment' and the innate 'one' nature. Then and still today, I was really only interested in the applied esoteric and cosmic yoga doctrines of the South Asian masters of emanation and yoga rather than in the popular, theistic devotional doctrines of the Hindu religion or any other theistic religion. I sought and still seek direct, intuitive experience of the non-dual 'divine birthright' inherent to humanity rather than 'belief' and 'faith' in a personified causal deity or the doctrinal concepts, the myths etc., of popular theistic religion.

      While still living in Europe I sought and received some yoga techniques. After receiving these efficient yoga techniques I was very quickly forced to distance myself and dettach myself from the idiotic and fascist personality cult surrounding the Indian 'master' of this avenue for inner application.

       Even so my explorations of consciousness became more directed and more efficient from receiving and appying these techniques. This efficiency came from concentrating upon the inner bipolar nature of the breath together with the inner yoga components such as the 'winds', the 'nerves' and the spinal 'centers' etc.

    Since then, on good, auspicious days, from concentrated practice with these and other yoga techniques, mantra-s etc., my finite body/mind could reach surprising (for me!) levels of internal energy. Once attaining an 'overdrive' of this internal energy or the energy of the life force, a true dawning of natural, undifferentiated consciousness occurred. For me the advent of undifferentiated consciousness was/is marked by degrees of bliss and by love and compassion felt for all beings etc.

    But even so, from one day to the next, my ongoing inner quest is not stabilized or complete. I am in a position similar to the words drawn from an old Grateful Dead song: '...sometimes the light is shining on me but other times I can hardly see...'.

    I came to see that my habits of mind or rather my personal process of past and present cause and effect, could aid me or bar me from reaching the stabilized aims of my personal inner quest. So I decided to first travel to India and then later to eventually stay in South Asia etc., to further my studies of Indian yoga philosophy and further my inner explorations under the direction of the adept masters, both Hindu and Buddhist, who I was very fortune to meet there.

     So I have lived in South and Southeast Asia for more than forty years and have been quite busy with my studies, my translations projects and meditations.

     Despite having a stroke four years ago, leading to a difficult period involving the rehabilitation of my body and the recovery of my mind, to this day I still continue with my life long quest for the 'one' consciousness, the 'now moment' etc. I still follow an efficient atheistic regime of emanation, yoga and meditation etc.

All hail to the kundalini-shakti, the normally coiled-up Energy/Capability of the optimum life force, the 'secret fire' of the Cosmic Mother!


Rating: 4.0


Mon, 26 Sep 2011 at 4:31 AM, by admin
This is an excellent article & reminds me of Robert Svoboda's Aghori series (three books).

What George has not said (not wanting to blow his own horn) is how much time & effort it takes to get to know such people. उपनिशद is the relevant term I think; 'upanishad' - a teaching only acquired by, literally, "sitting close to" (and listening & watching carefully with attention & concentration).

Thanks George!

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