23 September 2007

update from malavika in DC:

A brief bleep on what's going down here in DC, for those of you who aren't in the area. The capital of this country is on fire, y'all.
Since last Monday when the congressional hearings for Petraeus' reportback began, there has been at least one, if not 4 different actions, most of them involving both civil disobedience and unintentional arrest (Big Brother cracking down on random activists walking down the street or standing in line peacefully to attend the hearings), EVERY DAY in Washington, DC, and this is scheduled to continue at least for the next month.....
The Iraq Veterans Against the War and iraq war resisters (www.couragetoresist.org) are part of the spearhead for this movement, and it has been an inspiration to watch them at work, but I'm sad that the stories of what's happening in the streets, the offices, the parks, the halls, the jails, both the mindboggling injustice, and the creative people's resistance, isn't going out to the rest of the country, let alone the rest of the world.
Or maybe it is, and you already know? Or maybe you have stories of the ragings in your own community that you can spread like the wildfire that has thousands of signatures on this petition already?

- Malavika

21 September 2007

program notes from dungeness

good morning friends,

and a good morning it is. the fog has succumbed to a flaming sun here in the dungeness lowlands and the flowers have all taken note. jess sneezes in the kitchen and scott is off running his dog. the roosters and drying machine proclaim in symphonic regularity: all is right in your corner of the world.

we have bathed in desserts -- peach cobbler, spice cookies, carrot cake, coconut frosting, delicata squash -- and are free and clean. at last.

there are hundreds of species of mushrooms in the mossy old forest, and miles of mycelium beneath are feet. i suspect the earth is made of mushrooms, even as i suspect dick cheney is made of love.

i'm supposed to have the gift of presence here in rural washington for almost four months this time around. from august 6th to thanksgiving. and riding down the hill yesterday it's very clear how important this time is -- that though there are various threads of color weaving structure through my spacetime, it is my involvement with the earth and the people here at nash's ( nashsproduce.com ! farmers meet the web) that really supports me.

we can lean heavily against the earth. and we do.

i spend my mornings picking carrots by hand, riding the back of the harvesting machine ("carrot cowboy", video to come), grabbing beans of the vine and purple potatoes from the dirt. we wash the tops gentle and the roots with gusto, pack ice into cold boxes and send them off to the unmet city dwellers who make this large (and somewhat unsustainable) circle a reality. it's a great mix of grunt and reflection, spanish and english, political indignation and noblesse oblige.


we dream up recipes while picking potatoes and have the afternoon to make blue potato tacos and fresh pico de gallo, whirl together

dates pinenuts cocoa chile clove and butter

to top a baking delicata squash.

beetsteaks and beetcakes and beetsalads and beetjuices. breaking the local challenge with coconut frostings and chutneys with dosa and ginger beer fermenting behind the back burner, the only region warm enough for fungal procreation.

as far as other projects go, i'm happy to announce

* cooking com bigode 1st edition is out of gas and still rolling, sold out. we are looking to print another edition in the next month
* the book about the pilgrimage in india is in revision and should be ready for typesetting in two weeks, hopefully available online by october 2 (gandhi's birthday)
* we are soon hiring a Marketing Director for somethingconstructive.net to get the word out so I don't have to
* i will be moving into a small wood-heated abode for october and november, a little more isolated to favor music and other reflections
* you are still welcome to visit until thanksgiving -- denali and mali will be rolling through with all kinds of fan and fare
* the foundations sits foggily on the horizon.

now, 10 minutes til the carrot washing begins and it's time to ride down to the packing shed.

one love
psychiatric vedanta


in sequim from august 2nd through thanksgiving
201 . 736 . 9684  +  360 . 683 . 5398

18 September 2007

neilu on vacation

mangolandia's iranian correspondent, hired in india and on duty
through sri lanka and various amerikan suburbs, has taken a hiatus
from her organc farm life (nashsproduce.com) to hike for two weeks in
the bosom of olympic national park's hoh rainforest.

she's leaves the following words of wisdom as a parting note to our
dear friends:


just in case i don't make it out, i was thinking that this might be
something for the blog. you can decide.

this is an except from a response my brother wrote to something in
time magazine many years ago. but the last line has stuck in my head
for this long. and i asked my mom to read me the quote this morning
before i go off into nature for two weeks. so this is what i wrote
down this morning as my mom read it from a framed picture of my
brother with the article, downstairs in the basement, next to a huge
screened tv (this is the second huge tv in the house). my point is
that, no one would EVER notice this small framed thing sitting there
next to this huge ass tv in a basement that no one ever uses. any
way, here it is:


Insights Into Iran

"The reader asks 'where are the self appointed moral authorities who
condemn the late shah's cruelties and were so happy to see the caring,
compassionate mullahs assume authorities?'

I am certainly on of the many who condemned the alte Shah's cruelties
and I was certainly overjoyed at his departure. The receptivity of
the Iranian people to Khomeni's promises was a reaction to the
policies and methods of the Shah's government. The emergence of the
mullahs as the dominent power was an unfortunate result. I can only
answer the question by saying that those of us who were against the
shah are quietly going about our business, but our hearts ache for our
country and sometimes when we are alone and no one is watching, we


god i love my brother. i love him so much and i feel i may never get
to tell him that before one of us dies cause for some reason we do not
talk. the stupidity of the whole thing explains all the wars. i
still can't even talk to my own brother that i love, my own blood
family. and i still feel that i have the right to question why we are
at war. for god's sake, the fight is here, right in front of us all
the time, and we have the fucking audasity to even think for one
minute that we have the right to judge anyone else. take a look at
yourself, stop judging, and just to the right thing. spike lee was
always right. DO THE RIGHT (FUCKIN') THING.

see you on the flip side ank.


more on the only message there is

Love is not a virtue ... it's a neccessity of greater importance than
bread and water, and more important than even light or air. Let no-one
have pride in their loving. Inhale and exhale Love just as
unconsciously as you breathe in and breathe out air. Love needs no-one
to exalt it. Love will only exalt the heart that it finds worthy of
itself. Don't seek out rewards for Love. Love is rewarded sufficiently
with Love, just as hate is a sufficient punishment for hatred. Love
accounts to no-one but itself. Love neither lends nor borrows; Love
doesn't buy or sell.

--Mikhail Naimy, From "Book of Mirdad"

14 September 2007

ramadan karim

This year, September 12th was the first day of the lunar month, the
first shiny scrap of moon to cross the sky. It's Rosh Hashanah and the
first day of Ramadan. The year we lived in Lebanon, Amanda and I had
the opportunity to practice Ramadan, to abstain from letting anything
-- food, drink, or smoke -- pass our lips during the day. To gorge
ourselves at night. To cook without tasting and work without water.

As I'm back on the farm and it's the busiest time of the year, I don't
quite have the strength or discipline to celebrate Ramadan this year.
But the consciousness is no less important -- especially here on the
farm with so much abundance and blackberries and carrots and apples
and chard, to remember those who are lost in a world without food. Who
feel poor.

So I write this blessing and encourage all our friends and lovers to
try fasting for Ramadan, even if it's just one day -- from first light
to last -- or at least to wake up in the morning and take a few
minutes to consider what it's all about before that morning glass of
water or dried mango or whatever.


With this hunger
let us take consciousness
of the hunger,
the suffering,
and the poverty
of our brothers and sisters,
across this world we share.

With this pain
let us take consciousness
of the pain we bring
to our brothers and sisters
though our excess and apathy.

In a world of abundance,
there is no poverty without waste.

With this food,
with this satisfaction,
let us take consciousness
of the satisfaction we bring
to our brothers and sisters
through our hard work and compassion.



love ankur

07 September 2007

the rollercoaster is made of love

or a carpet of green polarized glass and one white bar across your consciousness with cottonwoods in the background against the dungeness river. this morning i went for a walk and saw salmon chilling in the ponds, perhaps on their up the watery hill.

last sunday we went to the fremont barrio of seattle to work the farmers market. the dodge diesel and myself. alana met me there and unloaded in the early morning, preamble to goat cheese and roasted red bell peppers and pointing carrots at clueless passerby and learning for myself the age-old lesson: marketing is about sex appeal.

people weren't interested in the vegetables as much as smiles and flair and innuendo. they would stop for my lines and end up with a (reused) bag full of organic vegetables. which i am prone to feeling bad about -- it is manipulation -- but its manipulation to buy organic vegetables which could possibly


as jen pointed out, im not using sex to sell crack. and poetry, too, is manipulation.

alana told me her friend, who works as a nurse, undertook a prozac study at the altitude of 80mg (whereas 20mg might be a normal dose). she said she noted she simply couldnt feel emotion. not that she wasn't sad or depressed, but rather, that she had no ability to feel those emotions, nor happiness, excitement. it wasn't until the study ended that she cried about her friends who had left town.

another dimension to the antidepressants and the war on language that should be calling them antiemotives or something. how can you be depressed by the incredible harsh reality of the Wars we undertake if you're on medication. could that be the point? a pleasant side effect for the power structure. you couldn't write it better. like dick cheney's robotic heart.

somehow the news got to me this week, harpers index, so in an overture to the social nature of misery, i'd like to share. cough up the prozac before starting if you want to short your keyboard with some tears. but its not online. oh well.

one love for everyone, even the robotic hearts,

in sequim from august 2nd through thanksgiving
201 . 736 . 9684  +  360 . 683 . 5398

05 September 2007

my favorite line in the book, so far

They are hard and tart
and full of mangitude.

01 September 2007

i cannot say it enough

how incredibly cool the possibilites are for collaborative art, and thusly, peace, with these weird machines.

astronaut . post-due

astronaut's last theme was "backyard" and here was our (ank + eric) contribution:

post-dude next swap is tuesday, i believe.

one love / many artists.

30 August 2007

Gotta Love Rumi

There are many ways leading to God; I have chosen that of music and dance. ~Rumi

29 August 2007

rakshabandan hier


shikshantar rakshabandhan exhibition

speaking of the old world and indian family ties, yesterday was rakshabandan. rakshabandan, in my american-born confused understanding, is a holiday bringing together brothers and sisters to celebrate the duties that bind them.

women are supposed to tie a bracelet around the wrist of the men (senhor of bonfim style, leave it on until it falls off) and men are supposed to give cash money to the women. which represents taking care, one of the other, in this complementary and assymetrical way. part of the constant festival scene in indian culture, i think, has to do with making sure you remember to think about everyone in the extended family/society, giving everyone their due attention and rule.

so in rakshabandan its a chance to honor and respect all your female sisters and cousins, the women of your generation in a sense. and in the context of strained family situations, its an opportunity to cry, to let it out how shitty your situation is.

in my mom's family there's some estrangement between a brother and a sister, a situation that started years ago and has gotten steadily worse. and they can go on and ignore it and feel the pain digging deep but not really do anything, until rakshabandan. this year the brother didn't call the sister on rakshabandan, which is breaking a huge commandment of family and social relations. its this huge thing, without analogy in the secular disjoint of amerikan culture that was my birthright. so my mom spends hours on the phone with this crying sister and can finally feel her own anger and sadness as well.

and after years of talking to people and their families and the casual mentions of "we just dont talk anymore" it seems like a really beautiful ritual -- not the exchange of the money and bracelets, but rather the crying -- to be able to acknowledge how shitty it is that we have brothers and sisters we don't talk to anymore.

or in my sense of the family structure, that we have people in the world that we have loved to whom we no longer speak or otherwise communicate. it seems that it is only through the awareness of these tragedies -- the separation, the war, the loss of topsoil -- that we give ourselves the opportunity to transcend them. it is through this lens, only, that i can stomach the political situation, the rape and torture of humans and planet as an opportunity for all of us who claim to care really to do something, to motivate, to gain inspiration for our work and service to the planet and each other.

so, happy rakshbandan, brothers and sisters.


27 August 2007

notes on the namesake

yesterday i read most of a book, not having read a novel in sometime.
written by a gorgeous indian woman -- at least according to the back
cover -- a novel about my mom. "the namesake". there's a lot going
there and for me especially, back here near my mom again, and trying
-- as always -- to understand how the past and present play into our

the mother in the book has feelings, confusions, fear, and attitudes.
she is not just am other or an indian mother but actually a person
with a beautiful and tragic story, always so out of her element,
always trying to hold on to a cocktail of past tradition -- indian
ritual and familial expectations. in some ways she's a lot more
traditional than my mom and in some ways a lot lower pressure. but the
parts of the book that really got me had less to do with her
relationships than her story, his emigration, her relationship to this
cold, foreign, and english place we call america.

she goes into a store to buy the cheapest address book available,
afraid she won't say the right words to buy it. she writes down the
three addresses she knows: her parents house in india, her in-laws
house in india, her husbands apartment in boston. she has left this
world of everything (and so much everything) for this emptiness of

when my mom moved to california they went through the phone book
looking for gujarati names and called all the families therein to make
friends. she had to get a job at some sort of walmart-analog and left
crying the first day, shelf in mid-restock. those might be the only
stories i know but i want a whole book, a whole life of them. to break
into me and really get a sense of what these people went through and
why they act the way they do.

it's all connected of course.

neilu came over last night to decompress a bit. her mother and aunt --
from iran, from maryland -- are visiting. she has known five minutes
of silence all day. my mother's cousin came for two weeks and we noted
the same -- there is no silence, continual chatter, worried questions,
repeated confirmations of the known or the irrelevant. a constant
worrying and nagging, a behavior that not only radiates stress but
begets it? why? why do my indian-american friends -- all of whom i met
in ahmedbad, escaping to the our roots -- all complain of the same

why do we talk so much?

do we really want to talk so much
to be so busy?
so worried?

what is really going on?

i think it has less to do with talking and more to do with listening.
i think most people -- and these immigrant women in particular -- do
not get listened to. they have uprooted themselves from all sense of
family and community and coping and find themselves in america
surrounded by responsibilities. husbands, jobs, kids. nobody listens
to them. i certainly did. and they don't know how to express
themselves either, perhaps, how to speak what's really going on, in
english or any other language. they're not aware of the depth or
subtle trauma that they've grown into, adopted, as the framework of
their lives.

so they talk and worry and talk and worry and pretty soon it's this
nightmare and nobody is listening and nobody is expressing themselves
and there's no other avenue to try so we just go on.

that's my conclusion, anyhow, as a foreigner, in so many senses of the word.

jhumpa lahiri writes:

Though no longer pregnant, she continues, at times, to mix Rice
Krispies and peanuts and onions in a bowl. For being a foreigner,
Ashimsa is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy -- a
perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts.
It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been
ordinary life, only to discover that tat previous life has vanished,
replaced by something more complicated and demanding.

and the way out? the best I can think of is silence. Through silence
we can learn to see, to develop other strategies, to express ourselves
in ways we can actually express ourselves.

And ultimately of course it comes down to this feeling of not being
understood. More than X or Y not understanding me -- because it's not
about them -- but simply Not Being Understood. And the only way to
deal with that, I've found, is to understand yourself. And the only
way to Approach that himalayan peak, I've found, is some sort of
meditative practice (be it sitting, running, dancing, etc). Something
that points to the underlying dissolution of ego, the (beautiful) lies
that expression is based upon, the presence of this detached Self that
seeks expression to a discrete and foreign other...

Anyhow. Thanks jhumpa.

in sequim from august 2nd through thanksgiving
201 . 736 . 9684 + 360 . 683 . 5398

05 August 2007

spring giddiness (rumi)

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don´t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don´t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don´t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don´t go back to sleep.

I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.
Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let´s buy it.

Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning, our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?

All day and night, music,
a quiet, bright
reedsong. If it
fades, we fade.

23 May 2007

chiles en nogada

from the university of mexican cooking and beautiful ancient woman, comes

Chiles en Nogada

literally translates as " chiles in your nose" or "chiles in dark walnut wood" or something too poetic for these rough fingers to pass along. you must start as Senora Lopez-Sol does, meditating not on the dish nor your desires nor even the bloody succession that is the history of mexico, but rather those young stomachs to whom you've dedicated your life, and what they simply will not eat.

in this case the traditional filling has been politely rejected by two young guests on pseudo-religious grounds (it's the only way to explain it over here, that works). both the traditional and vegetarian fillings have been rejected by a studious son.

so the warm light finds two senoras and three pans sizzling around the stove and you my friend are going to hear about the vegetarian one.

four persons seem to want:

half a white onion, diced
one smallish eggplant in scrabble-tiled cubes
an equal volume of mushrooms to eggplant

and, to demonstrate the creativity and abundants of the ancients:

1 apple
1 peach
1 combined cup of pinenuts, walnuts, almondnuts
as many raisins as you had almonds

the infamous "salsa inglesa"

that's shopping for the filling but when you get to the kitchen the first thing you're going to do is roast the chiles. whole green chile poblanos, mercilessly decapitated, deseeded, and deveined before laying them next to the sacred gas fire. the skin will blister, pop, and blacken; they will be done long after you try to remove them from the fire. which is to say: maintain hope! trust the coming blackness and retire the chiles from the flame (always turning, seeking greener angles) only when entirely soft and black.

as each chile finishes (you might be able to handle two or three at a time) move it to a plastic bag or otherwise sealed environment, so its own steaming flesh may help to loosen the burned papery skin.

this whole time, as you're waiting for the second chile to roast -- the first one we were mesmerized, briefly saved from the monotony of time -- you've been cutting onions and eggplant, mushrooms and fruit.

the onions you cut first and set to sauté in olive oil on medium heat, adding the eggplant and mushrooms when translucent. i didn't see her do it, but you could salt the eggplant and let them sweat before carrying them to the fire -- just be sure to rinse and to lightly squeeze off the bitter juices.

as they vegetables cook down you humans soak the almonds and walnuts in hot water to blanche the tan perfection of their skins, exposing the tender white underbellies within. the almonds will be easier and the walnuts perhaps impossible, depending on your species. if you can't, then you can't. eat one and move on.

chop all the fruits and nuts. even the raisins. mix together or keep in separate beautiful ceramic bowls so when the masses come in for another beer they Know the coming Beauty.

add the fruits, salt, and pepper to your vegetables when they seem to have given up most of their water. take a breath to contemplate the " salsa inglesa". a translation and appopriation of the british "worcestershire", the "salsa inglesa" seems to be a swamp broth of low-quality soy sauce, vinegar, MSG, and caramel coloring. if i had any moral force upon which to draw and speak with authority, i would recommend against it.

perhaps one day, vendra.

perhaps your assistants have peeled their peppers. perhaps they have taken the green and black wonders from their hermetic cave and gently scraped them with a small knife, flaking off the black paper to reveal a tender verdant flesh below. perhaps they have placed the peppers, intact and lovingly prepared, on a blue ceramic plate for your stuffing pleasure.

perhaps not.

in any case, you've managed your relleno until moist but not wet -- soft chunks of fruit, tender vegetables, rehydrated bits of nut, a pleasant and soft sweetness, the smiling west wind. you will have a pan of hot filling in one hand and a plate of empty peppers in the other. the rest is as obvious as the spring.

for the salsa, the real "nogada", brace yourself, bury any sympathies for the rights of mammalian bodily fluids, and collect the following:

1 cup of walnuts (similarly blanched and peeled, if possible)
1/2 liter of crema (like sour cream, but thinner, you could probably use half sour cream and half water)
200g of queso panela (gringos use cream cheese)
1/4 cup of pure white refined sugar

before proceeding it's very important to order your ideological priorities. personally i don't eat white sugar. personally, i don't dig on factory dairy products. personally, to be totally honest, i only eat organic fruits and vegetables. and i know i am not the only one.

the joke is there's very little that is personal in the real world, the world of dust and grandmothers and unconditional love and rolling down the river without a semblance of a helmet. so when three generations of beautiful mexican women are teaching me how to live and the 13th chapter of the gospel involves two heaping plastic spoons of heaping plastic sugar, i'm too caught up in the gratitude (with a side of hunger and a rotting sweet tooth) to complain.*


blend over any controversy, taste for sweetness -- more than a tad, less than a smoothie -- and serve, lavishly over the top of the stuffed, reposing chiles. it's fundamental to the tradition to garnish with chopped cilantro and pomegranate seeds, whether they're in season or not. which is why it's best to control the young egos of spring and save the effort for the just time.

pictures to come.

in siesta,

* ps: if it gets to the point in my life where i have a choice about anything, i would make a mixed walnut/almond cream (3/1), thinner than "butter" and thicker than "milk", and use that for the nogada. moreso i'd dash in the lightest dust of cinnamon (if anybody guesses, it's too much) and a spoon of cactus honey for the sweetener. if i didn't have the money to buy the nuts i would get (plain) soy yogurt or make it from (plain) soymilk, to whip and possibly to thin. either way the vegan and animal kingdom parts of your soul can relax, and with the former there's no taint of the big monoculture industries...

The 10-Days Real Mexico

[ from early may, mexican coding bunker, cruz azul, mexico ]

The 10-Days Real Mexico

The Real 10 Days Mexico lows on burritos and highs on tacos. It's where the fear is thick and the crime is real. All the women are beautiful, some are Indian, and most are in high school.

It's okay though, generally, because it's the Real 10 Days Mexico and everybody buys hot tortillas and wraps them in homebrought towels and there's six* kinds of mangos in the market and it's not sepia like Traffic told me (at all!) but rather a scrubby grey green of contaminated air and tall trees and cigarettes at the end of the line, time.

Though in the Real 10 Days Mexico there is a lot of all kinds of traffic and lana* and corruption and the police on horseback bid me halt to talk Buddhism for an hour so you can be sure nobody's really evil like a mestizo version of that Fine Balance. And even though everyone in the ads is white the taco women are brown and bold and sharp enough and here neither in the Real 10 Days Mexico is there a bad mango and so what if the children in general are fat. It's from the cheese and the closeness to that wide parched border, gateway of endless slurping desire.

Because in the Real 10 Days Mexico they celebrate 16 September and leave 5 Mayo for the gringos along with the tortilla chips and twister tequila rituals. I mean they have Margaritas but it's more the Micheladas* that make them sing, but at least the guacamole is real, 10 Days Mexico Real, and even the half-Mexicans you meet know how to make it good.

The restaurants are expensive and generally empty and the peasants are poor and the politicians bathe in their salty impunity as we all imagined anyways. So some things change and some things don't but it's real true the girls smile and brush against you between stalls in the market or football field or wherever it is that you are, and well that's what holds it together, for me, after these Real 10 Days.

- ankurbhai

[editors notes --
* actually eight. there may be other mistakes or prejudices
* meaning wool. but really, graft, bribery, personal gain
* with worcestershire sause, not just salt lime and chile

21 May 2007

tactics of peace

As the days go on and the action at Cerro Quemado (may 31st) gets nearer, I'm preparing more and more. It's in the walking and the meditaiton and the long hours with strangers, making mole and talking life and interviewing Sonyaji.

She told a little more about some of the previous actions, a few days ago. A morning prayer at the Sabarmati Ashram where they find a team of workers with a crane and noise all going at 5h00 in the morning. So Sonya goes down and breaks all kinds of Indian protocols and class barriers and invites and cajoles and demands that they leave their work and attend the true Work. And they call their offices and headquarters and wake up the Gods know who and eventually come and everyone prays together.

The same Sarva Dharma Prathana that I sing every morning. It might be the only tune I know, written by Vinoba Bhave and recited every morning at Manav Sadhana and maybe everywhere else.

Sonyaji's learning me that "working for the peace we understand that the peace is very diifcult to reach and we start working for reconciliation, which must be our first step on the path to peace". It is a way for the grand and noble conscious to aterrizar a little, to come back to the concrete of domestic squabbles and poltical intrigue.

It's a way to take the global and make it local, to start with the heart and move, reconciling, to the friends and to the families. Putting the building blocks of kindess and positivity together; the foundation for the peace that is coming. The personal reconciliation and then the public one.


magic mexiphone through june 7th: +52 (1) 55 24 39 03 70
ground line: +52 55 50 25 34 12
because elephants are vegetarian.

Sarva Dharma Prarthana / All Religions Prayer

Om Tat Sat Sri Narayana Thoo,
Purushotthama Guru Thoo

Siddha Buddha Thoo,
Skanda Vinaayaka,
Savitha Paavaka Thoo

Brahma Mazda Thoo,
Yahva Shakthi Thoo,
Esu Pitha Prabhu Thoo

Rudhra Vishnu Thoo,
Ramakrishna Thoo,
Rahim Tao Thoo

Vasudeva Go
Viswaroopa Thoo,
Chidaananda Hari Thoo

Advitheeya Thoo,
Akaala Nirbhaya
Aatmalinga Shiva Thoo

one translation I found (there can be many, as many as there are names of the nameless and forms of the formless, naturally, quite):

Om Thou art that, Thou art Narayana, God in the form of man;

Thou art the Embodiment of perfection and the perfect master. Thou art enlightened Buddha; Thou art Subramanya and Ganesha, the remover of obstacles; Thou art the Sun-fire

Thou art Brahma, the Creator; Mazda, the Great One; Thou art Jehovah and the Divine Mother, the creative Energy. O Lord! Thou art the Father of Jesus.

Thou art Rudhra, the Transformer, and Vishnu, the Preserver; Thou art Rama and Krishna; Thou art Rahim, all kindness, always giving and expanding; Thou art the Tao.

Thou art Vasudeva, the Sustenance of all, omnipotent and omnipresent; Thou art Hari, Destroyer of illusion, the blissful Spirit.

Thou art unparallelled, beyond time and fearless of adversities; Thou art Shiva, Creator of the lingam, Symbol of the formless Absolute.

jugos and chilaquiles

friday the 18th of may

talking to the fruit juice man this morning, he asked me what name i had for dios and i said krishna but really brother it's god that's love and told him about the event last night, the misa of the sufis and the singing and dancing, not what you would expect from these media these muslims live in a grove of peace and love and their liturgy is rumi of his nations and his gentle reflections on the agape, the unconditional love.

and he was like, well, you know, i really dig what you're saying. this from a moustached middle-aged mexican man running a styrofoam juice bar on the side of the ride. no long-haired hippie activist spiritual ombliguista we're talking to.

slowly as he humbles through oranges and grapefruit makes peoples juices and with them their days. all of this, "dios es el dueno de todo, the dueno of the creation". he has made all of this, the celery and even the mangos.

it's pretty clear to both of it. is it mango season after all.

"we can call him jehova in spanish or yahweh but he is the father and you know the important thing is that well do you think the father would create a large fire a hell of fire and sending his children there"

no, no uncle i don't.

im pretty excited to say no and i shake my head at him and there are some moments shared as i reach over the glass and jars of cut fruit -- all part of gods creation -- and shake his hand yes no i dont see how the father would do anything but care for his snotty kids.

it was just like the painting jessica showed me yesterday on the tour of san angel and coyoacan, the barefoot carmelite convent with the huge mural of a mother hen sacred mary and all her carmelite children, nuns on one side boys on the other, like chicks tufted in her holy wings. and that's how the juice man feels i think though he's probably never been down to that part of the town, as a working man shouldn't, and that's how i feel on a good day under a kind moon.

he continues, as humans are wont to do:

"and then look at this world!"

"hijole!"  [ damn ! ]

"look at all these beuatiful women, so many beautiful women!" there's the woman he works with, she blushes and i blush and there's no telling whose wife or duaghter or mother she is but well you know what i think she's beautiful,

"and look at these beautiful women and hijole!" he trails off into a private paradise and leaves me smiling at his partner.

"not just women but the animals too! and have you seen horses running", wiping down the counter, "its all from god", rinsing the juicer, "the birds! and the birds are animals too, and part of the Owner's creation, the garcas and pelicanos and eagles and, well, yes!"

and he's on to fruit cocktails with whipped cream and honey and granola and top and i'm off to work you know but its everywhere all around all the time its the air we breathe as he said. And the sufis too last night in the liturgy too before the dances, that we are like the wish and the god is the water we swim so much we have no idea its even there, that this very gift of energy and sunlight and prana and what it is we call Life slipping through our fingers and into our smiles, it's just everywher all the time so Thank You.

its free.


17 May 2007

mestizaje #23

in the plaza de las tres culturas in tlateloco, where the 1968 student matanza happened (more details after i see the movie tomorrow), denali and i encountered a stone inscription, carved in memory of present and past, that on such and such a day Cuautemoc fell to the power of Cortes, and

"no fue triunfo ni derrota,
fue el doloroso nacimiento del pueblo mestizo
que es el méxico de hoy"

that is

"it was neither triumph nor defeat,
it was the painful birth of the mestizo people
that is this mexico, today"


a darker twist on my theories of interracial marriage (and heightened beet consumption) being the fundamental prerequisite for world peace. the mestizaje in this country was a violent one, a forced mixing of indigenious blood with spanish conquerors and spanish missionaries, african warriors and african slaves. the people are as beautiful as you might imagine but there's not the same lightness and postmodern pleasure in the mixture here; perhaps the mestizaje happened early enough that instead of developing a consciousness of unity (or in addition to the roots of it), they have developed an actual race in itself, a mix that preserves its mixture and thus certian features of its "doloroso nacimiento" that fill the crime reports and avenues until today.


chiles at the post in mercado la merced, yesterday between mangos for 2 points a kilo and a witches cauldron of guanabana puree. i'll also have you know there are four kinds of sapote i've seen -- the mamey sapote (salmon colored, vulvlic seeds, really sweet), the chickoo sapote (common to india, very sweet, brown), the white sapote (green on the outside, haven't tried it), and the black sapote (a ball of gooey tar that uz once descibed as mexican acai and im compelled to agree. it is pudding).

all of which speaks to the infinite density of the amazonian project, how exotics we view as singular from afar turn out to be whole communities of exotic goodness up front. there as many kinds of apples as wines with as many varities and subtleties of perfume. we learned the same about mangos in india -- the pepper mango, the coconut mango, etc -- and now im learning that the once fabled and unique sapote is in reality a whole family of strange fruit trees shedding their sweet goodness on the violent crowns of this tropical mestizaje.

(back to the chiles)

ancho (reddish with a clear hint, a dried poblano)
mulato (almost black)
pasilla (longer skinnier spicier than the first two)

chile del arbol and the puya

meco (the last three all beings kinds of chipotle, which is a form of dried xalapeno, i think...)

magic mexiphone through june 7th: +52 (1) 55 24 39 03 70
ground line: +52 55 50 25 34 12
because elephants are vegetarian.

14 May 2007

traitors and poets

"The poem is the dream made flesh, in a two-fold sense: as work of art, and as life itself, which is a work of art. When man becomes fully conscious of his powers, his role, his destiny, he is an artist and he ceases his struggle with reality. He becomes a traitor to the human race. He creates war because he has become permanently out of step with the rest of humanity. He sits on the doorstep of his mother's womb with his race memories and his incestuous longings and he refuses to budge. He lives out his dream of Paradise. He transmutes his real experience of life into spiritual equations. He scorns the ordinary alphabet which yields at most only a grammar of thought, and adopts the symbol, the metaphor, the ideograph. He writes Chinese. He creates an impossible wold out of an incomprehensible language, a lie that enchants and enslaves men."

3 jan 1937 from henry miller to lawrence durrell,
apparently from a book miller writes on d.h. lawrence


that's kind of how things are these days. sunlight on freshly shaven face and the jaw still sore from the force of the cheap razor. we had an action of safai last night and ill write about it with an update but for now to report that after Mango Week, during which erik and i only ate raw food and listen to live music, im back onto the beans and rice and corn and chiles and mexico is filling me with enthusiam for the world of the wikis and creating a mandala of love and starting an illiterary magazine and all the other deliria and debrayes. rest assured.

looks like monsoon hotel is coming out in a couple of works and we're working with the website designers to have the technical background up in time. look out for a cd release part on flag day. as it should be.

* ankurbhai *

10 May 2007

dia de la madre, may 10

this is how it can be done. just a point of cultural comparison, mas alla del huitlacoche and incessant traffic (of all kinds, naturally).

today is mother's day. may 10th. a national holiday giving all women a paid holiday and everybody else a half day off. everyone recommends not going out as if their would be riots, because of the incredilbe amount of happy smiling mothers out eating and buying things and whatnot.

so, happy mothers day everyone. there is a monument to the mother in the middle of mexico city, huge and alongside a concrete plaza where protesting farmers camp and prostitutes ply their wares. its not frequented much from what i can tell and i'd go out to check today but im too afraid to leave the house.


magic mexiphone through june 7th: +52 (1) 55 24 39 03 70
ground line: +52 55 50 25 34 12
because elephants are vegetarian.

09 May 2007

invitation to cerro quemado

this is the invitation i just translated for the event we're putting together may 31st in san luis potosi. more information and background on the project at our website, which i'm currently trying to edit.


Action Cerro Quemado (Real de Catorce)
31st of May, 2007
Full moon

Following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, we invite all participants to offer this action in Silence and with respect for the Earth.



I. Invitation
II. Lines of Action
III. Program of Action
IV. Logistics


Dear Friends of OraWorldMandala,

On October 2nd of 2006, in the Sabarmati Ashram, Mahatma Gandhi's center of operations for many years, we opened the Archive of the Earth: the union of earth from India and Mexico symbolically marking the cultural alliance between two ancient civilizations on opposite sides of the globe, which have united in the common cause of Ahimsa. It is Ahimsa, Mahatma Gandhi's message of love for all life through active non-violence, which threads through the fabric of our actions, experiments, and lives. (see http://www.oraworldmandala.org)

The Archive of the Earth is a large earthen vessel, traditionally used in India to store grains or water. Now this Archive is open to receive earth from all over the world, offered by people and institutions who share a vision of a peaceful planet and are ready to explore their own evolution as a means of achieving this larger Peace.

On the other side of the world from India's Sabarmati Ashram, we find the Cerro Quemado in Real de Catorce, the sacred mountain of the native Wisharrika, better known as the Huicholes. On the 10th and 11th of June, 2006, we ceremonially collected and offered earth to the Archive, sealing the alliance between India and Mexico. (see the fourth action, http://www.oraworldmandala.org)

OraWorldMandala has committed to return to the Huicholes for five years -- each year finds us alongside the Huicholes' elder shamans, collecting the earth of the Cerro Quemado for the Archive, building together the road to Ahimsa.

Continuing with this commitment, the 2nd offering of earth will take place under the full moon on the 31st of May, 2007. Once again, we will walk in silent pilgrimage from Real de Catorce to the sacred Cerro Quemado, guided by the Huicholes. The installation of the Eye of Truth, a work of art created with colorful threads and bamboo by the participants in the form of a Tsikuli (a sacred tool of the Huicholes) will close the ceremony.

The intention of this second offering of the earth is to promote Ahimsa as the point of convergence among different belief systems, and to benefit the well being of all.

OraWorldMandala invites you once again to join this action and offering on the 31st of May and 1st of June, 2007, Cerro Quemado (Real del Catorce).


Cerro Quemado, an important center of Huiricuta Natural and Cultural Reserve, is located in the mountains of Sierra de Catorce. The Huiricuta Reserve is the first protected area in Mexico created specifically to conserve spaces sacred to humans in addition to its biodiversity. The Chihuahua Desert, of which Huiricuta is a part, is one of the three most biologically rich semideserts on the planet. The reserve includes the traditional route of the native Wisharika, in the state of San Luis Potosi, culminating at Cerro Quemado.

The respect shown to this Sacred Ground by the native Wisharika is a microcosm of what we would like to express on a planetary level. The current action proposes a Silent walk in the practice of Ahimsa. Indeed, it is Ahimsa, Mahatma Gandhi's message of love for all life through active non-violence, which threads through the fabric of our actions, experiments, and lives.

"When one comes to think of it one cannot help feeling
that nearly half the misery of the world would
disappear if we, fretting mortals, knew the virtue of
silence. Before modern civilization came upon us, at
least six to eight hours of silence out of twenty-four
were vouchsafed to us. Modern civilization has taught
us to convert night into day and golden silence into
brazen din and noise. What a great thing it would be
if we in our busy lives could retire into ourselves
each day for at least a couple of hours and prepare
our minds to listen in to the Voice of the Great
Silence. The Divine Radio is always singing if we
could only make ourselves ready to listen to It, but
it's impossible to listen without silence."
M.K. GANDHI - Harijan, 24/9/1938, p.267 (from "Notes")


Guided by Wisharika elders.

To maintain the intention of promoting Ahimsa as the goal of this convergence of different beliefs, and for the wellbeing of all, we humbly ask all participants to respect Silence and Unity during the entire action.

Thursday 31st of May 2007

15.30 hrs. Meeting in Plaza Hidalgo to share the schedule and discuss logistics..

17.00 hrs. The Silent pilgrimage beings to Cerro Quemado (the Wisharika open the sacred doors)

19.00 hrs. Fire ritual in the middle of sacred circle (in Silence)

Dusk Prayer in silence, the setting of the sun in Mexico bringing forward the dawn in India. Each person, following his or her tradition, belief, or simple perception, maintains their focus in Silence.

20.00 hrs. Sharing of food in Silence

21.00 hrs. Circle around the fire, listen and dance to the traditional music of the Wisharika

23.00 hrs. Official preparation of the Marakame's song (chant of the elder shaman). The natives prepare the offerings. Observe in silence.

24.00 hrs. The Marakame's Song. At this moment, in silence, we unite in the sincere attempt to understand the significance of our action: the offering of earth from Cerro Quemado to the Archive of the Earth located in the ashram of a man called Mahatma Gandhi. (see I. Invitation).

Listen to the song, asleep or awake, around the Fire in Silence.

The answer arrives in its own perfect time.

Dawn Sun Salutation and candle offering (and acknowledging as well the birthday of the Buddha), maintaining silence.

Earth offerings. In a circle around the Fire, each person takes a small amount of earth to offer to the Archive of the Earth at the Sabarmati Ashram. In the wake of the Marakame's Song, we unite our lands in conscience of the Mandala's future.

Next, we install the Eye of Truth, a work of art created from bamboo and threads of various colors, in the form of a Tsikuli, sacred tool of the Huicholes. Continue in silence.

Safai: Before returning to the town of Real de Catorce, we peform Safai to leave the Cerro Quemado clean. Mahatma Gandhi lived his entire life yoked to this discipline (Safai means cleaning in Hindi). This last stage, also, in silence.

After our descent we will meet in the watchman's house. The silence ends to allow a constructive dialogue and to share OraWorldMandala's plan for actions in 2007-2008.

All actions will be recorded for an experiment in consciousness research by PEARlab/I.C.R.L
(Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research/International Consciousness Research Laboratories).

08 May 2007

from the notebooks of the mahatma

"When one comes to think of it one cannot help feeling
that nearly half the misery of the world would
disappear if we, fretting mortals, knew the virtue of
silence. Before modern civilization came upon us, at
least six to eight hours of silence out of twenty-four
were vouchsafed to us. Modern civilization has taught
us to convert night into day and golden silence into
brazen din and noise. What a great thing it would be
if we in our busy lives could retire into ourselves
each day for at least a couple of hours and prepare
our minds to listen in to the Voice of the Great
Silence. The Divine Radio is always singing if we
could only make ourselves ready to liste to It, but
it's impossible to listen without silence."

M.K. GANDHI - Harijian, 24/9/1938, P. 267 (From "Notes")

07 May 2007

What can Ali do for them?

I'm at a meeting with the OraWorldMandala staff and it's something of a party with vino tinto and fake pig skin chips and of course I brought some mangos and the star for me is this gentleman Ali. He's past the youth but no less earnest and Muslim though wasn't born that way. I couldn't tell though from the shape of his face and fire in his eyes I could swear he was born hard square loving arab muslim and all of it.

And the whole time we're trying to talk out ideas about non-violence and reconciliation, put them into practice with the May 31st event and the October 2nd event Ali is relentless about action.

Karen Armstrong makes a strong point (in _Islam_) that Islam and Judaism are "othropractical" religions, as opposed to Christianity being an "orthodoxical" religion. Whereas the latter places importance on speech and belief (ie accepting the lord into your heart) the formers actually want you to do certain things -- if you don't practice Ramadan and tithe and all that, you're not really a Muslim. Is her point anyways and Ali shows that pretty well, with no tolerance for ank-style silent meditation nights and getting together and sharing energy. The brother is big and in motion and wants to do something.

He's been getting to know the Hindu community here in DF, which I think mainly consists of the Hare Krishna folk, and is frustrated at being invited to participate in their events (which already is awesome, considering the last fifity and few hundred years of Hindu/Muslim nonsense) instead of to help present them. He doesn't want to see their temple, he wants to help them build one.

What can Ali do for them? He's been reading some Gandhi, always dangerous, and getting into this idea of Ahimsa is Love and Love is Submission (Islam, in Arabic) and that means I am devoted to You and really, at every moment, what can Ali do for you.

Neither of us are supposed to be drinking but it's a postmodern world and after the deep red has faded to dregs of Chilean Merlot it's even harder not to interrupt someone with your latest greatest important idea that supercedes the eternal doctrine of listening. Which is maybe why they recommended against the Merlot in the first place. But eventually we sort it out, inspired by the Jayeshbhai part of the Self.

We're going to map out a mandalic route through Mexico city and try a morning/day/night walk hitting a holy house of all the major religions, once we can get figure out where they are.

What can Ali do for them?

But first we're going to start with Safai. Gandhi's pet activity and nourished in us all by everystar from our mothers to sacred plant experiences to Gandhi's very ashram. And all this talk of the here and now got me excited enough to demand we set a date and time that very minute to gather together -- at least the two of us, the foundation must be built -- and get to together and clean one of these nasty parks or something.

So it's going to be 11h00 on Sunday May 6th which has nothing to do with Maximillian and they don't celebrate that here anyhow. We're going to meet at the lotus feet of Gandhi, at his statue across from the Museum of Anthropology in the Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City, United States of Mexico. We'll each bring a broom and the converted Sufi and imported Indian will clean Gandhi's piece of Mexican parkland and look forward to new beginnings, today and every today here ever after.

thursday in mexico sunday in america

Mother's Day Proclamation of 1870
Mother's Peace Day

Julia Ward Howe - The History of Mother's Day The first person to fight for an official Mother's Day celebration in the United States was Julia Ward Howe. You may be more familiar with her name as the writer who wrote the words to the Civil War song, The Battle Hymn of the Republic:

Howe was born in New York City on May 27, 1819. Her family was well respected and wealthy. She was a published poet and abolitionist. She and her husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, co-published the anti-slavery newspaper The Commonwealth. She was active in the peace movement and the women's suffrage movement. In 1870 she penned the Mother's Day Proclamation. In 1872 the Mothers' Peace Day Observance on the second Sunday in June was held and the meetings continued for several years. Her idea was widely accepted, but she was never able to get the day recognized as an official holiday. The Mothers' Peace Day was the beginning of the Mothers' Day holiday in the United States now celebrated in May.

The modern commercialized celebration of gifts, flowers and candy bears little resemblance to Howe's original idea. Here is the Proclamation that explains, in her own powerful words, the goals of the original Mother's Day in the United States...

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosum of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

04 May 2007

some details on the laptop affair

just so everybody knows what to do and whom with:

i flew alaska airlines from san francisco through los angeles to mexico city and i checked my very old but cute laptop under the plane.

i have done this to various other countries with no negative results.

as soon as i picked up my bag in mexico i knew something was wrong and immediately opened it to find the laptop gone but the nice indian ba pooja had given me to be intact (that is, still falling apart). i filed a report before going out to say good morning to jesica and have since called once and of course there is nothing to be followed upon.

another interesting twist was there was a note from some company contracted by the US Transportation Security Agency saying they had searched my bag (in SF). so maybe they took it.

or maybe it had written enough books and thesis of various humans and willed itself to some sort of elysian field of skinny shiny mobile computation.
so dont check your expensive stamp collection or anything on a plane to mexico especially if you're inuit: jessica and erik shake their heads between mangoid offerings and note how five friends in the last year have been similarly "equalized" as it were in the grand game of possession and detachment.

pilgrims be ware.


everything has of course been happening at once and i have very little inclination for internet cafes but here i am working on the Ora World Mandala and jesica between planning her wedding and giving gringo tours is translating the O Bigode into mexican slang and today I'm meeting with peasants and teachers and eventually the famous non-existent Other Side trying to learn more about the uprisings in Oaxaca and Vera Cruz and it's increasingly clear to me -- every day more, and it's never going to stop methinks -- how land reform has always been and will continue to be the focal point of what we need to make this a world fit for humans and plants alike.

so that's what I'm going to do.

love ankur and with contact information dont forget.

magic mexiphone through june 7th: +52 (1) 55 24 39 03 70
ground line: +52 55 50 25 34 12

24 April 2007

mexico 1, ank 1

+52 5524390370

c/o jesica lopez-sol
oceano 116
jardines del pedregal
mexico DF


Arrived at six in the morning after the emptiest airshisp I've ever slept upon to find the beautiful fiancee of my brother Erik waiting at the airdoor and a mango in the car to get me started.

Morning breakfast included mamey-sapote, guanabana, and chickoo-sapote, and starred three native mangos: the paradise, the manila, and the atualfo. Mangitud and highspirits in effect as we took down 1/2 a kilo of fresh corn tortillas from down the street.

Which just about erased any lingering attachment to my laptop which lifted off during transit, carefully pilfered by the TSA in sf or an enterprising youth in DF. They were carefully to take the power cord, memory dingdong (with so much good music!), and brand new wireless adapter.

And I've always known that owning in general is a hazardous pursuit in a world and country and culture of inequality, oppression, and poverty. So I deserved the theft perhaps as much as I deserved the laptop, a gift over four years ago.

And in honor of that tiny little creature, who hosted Denali's thesis, my cookbook, Hannah's thesis, and the first third of my next book (backed up on the internet), I'd like to take a moment of mangos and silence. And Jorge Ben Jor, somewhere mixed in to keep the silence light.

Key takeaway that I've arrived safely and happily, have showered and am almost ready to get down to work (oraworldmandala.org).


ps I feel justified in contuining to write to 'mangolandia' because i've eaten more mangos than hours i've been here.

17 April 2007


i have graduated to the ranks of the fulltime privately owned magicbox using professional. my personal device has the potential to take your picture, store your phone number, and play a perfect C note to help me tune my flute. it is therefore indispensable. the number is valid as long as im in amerika (see calendar or below) and when im not i am committed to acquiring (by hook or by crook) local numbers with the swiftness of a chased gazelle.

* 201 736 9684 *


in america until april 23rd
and again in early june until early july
and again after august 2nd until december sometime


bling. ding.


Is the latest project I'm working on. In the middle of packing out of Sequim and towards Seattle, SF, and Mexico (where I'll be from 23rd april onwards, for 5 weeks at least, address forthcoming) so this isn't going to be lucid as your recent dreams. But I'm going to paste in some links and documents to give a small sense of what this project is all about.

the website:


a summary of the first experiment
an invitation
to follow...


First experiment: "Opening an Archive of the Earth"

The first experiment of the OraWorldMandala project, Education for a
Culture of Peace and Non-violence, started on April 2005, in Gujarat,
India, the native soil of Mahatma Gandhi. To date, the ongoing
experiment includes five actions.


The first action took place on the 23rd of April, 2005. An inter-faith
communion was initiated, bringing together people from various
religious communities to remember the message of love and harmony of
Mahatma Gandhi through meditation, prayer, song, and dance. The action
culminated in an offering of the element "Earth" in which each
religious group brought earth from its sacred places to place in a
large earthen vessel normally used to store grain and water: the
"Archive of the Earth". Over five hundred people representing eight
religious communities, various Tribal peoples, artistic, scientific,
and social institutions, participated in the action at the Sabarmati
Ashram, whose resonance and radiance will spread through the world.

Yatra for a World of Equity and All Religions Prayer

From this seed of peace, on the 18th of December, 2005, a second
action bloomed in the shape of colourful lotus: thousands of paper
petals, created by thousands of children, were installed around the
"Archive of the Earth". The children, including differently-abled and
blind children, led a Yatra (march) for a World of Equity, holding
their petals to their hearts. Through their petals, more than five
thousand children expressed their dreams of Ahimsa in writing,
painting and singing the "Chant of the Wind" to represent the beauty
of a world that still believes in the value of Unity in diversity.
Three days later, at sunrise on the day of the Northern Solstice, the
founders of the ongoing experiment met at the Sabarmati Ashram to
perform the Surya Namaskar (Salutation to the Sun) and the Sarva
Dharma Prarthana (All religions prayer) of Mahatma Gandhi, around the
beautiful flower that bloomed from their aspiration of peace. A
message from his Holiness the Dalai Lama encouraging the continuation
of the action reached this auspicious moment of communal harmony:
"…Harmony among different religions is essential for peace not only in
the world at large, but also in the very localities where we live. In
order to develop genuine harmony, it´s extremely important that we
cultivate genuine respect for one another. I believe that people with
religious interests have special responsibilities in this regard and I
am impressed by the efforts being focused in this direction by
concerned citizens of Ahmedabad…"

The Eye of Truth

The fourth action took place on the 10th and 11th of June 2006 on the
Quemado Mountain (Desert of San Luis Potosi). In accordance with the
Huichol tradition, Reunar or Cerro Quemado is a vision of devotion to
the Sun guided by the Eagle. For the first time in history, the
Huichol people or Wisharica (as they call themselves), opened the
sacred doors of the Cerro Quemado to a large group of people belonging
to different visions and backgrounds. This gesture of love and
tolerance suggests a new approach to the process of social inclusion
that is going on in the country.
Around two hundred people (representatives of the five Huichol
communities, leaders from different spiritual traditions and
movements, managers, scientists, social workers, individuals and the
OraWorldMandala friends) coming from various sites of Mexico met on
the 10th June in the main square of the historical town of Real de
Catorce, to begin the silent pilgrimage to the Cerro Quemado. At
sunset, the people expressed their commitment to ahimsa in a special
moment dedicated to Gandhiji. A text of the Mexican writer Carlos
Montemayor was read to stress the importance of the values transmitted
by the Mahatma. The night was accompanied by sacred chants performed
by an elder Huichol shaman in dialogue with his Gods. At sunrise, the
petals of the colorful lotus created by the Indian children were
offered to the Elders to preserve the purity of a real hope for Peace.
Then the master collected soils of the Quemado that will be later
offered to the "Archive of the Earth" at the Sabarmati Ashram.
Finally, we installed the Eye of Truth: a collective work of art
jointly created by the participants with bamboo and colorful threads
in the shape of Tsikuli, a sacred instrument used by the Huicholes.
This sacred eye faced east and west toward the Sabarmati Ashram
symbolically seeing the principles of Truth circumambulating the

Reconciliation through the opposites

India and Mexico are located on opposite sides of the globe. On
October 2, Indians commemorate the birth date of Mahatma Gandhi
(1869), father of non-violence and the nation. On the same date, in
Mexico, it is the anniversary of the violent tragedy of Tlatelolco
(1968). On the 2nd October 2006 the fifth action took place expressing
our intention to reconcile the minds and hearts of the participants,
resonating ahimsa within each person, their families, their societies,
and with our Planet as a whole.

Sabarmati Ashram (India):
October 2, 2006, 18.30P.M – Union of the soils from India and Mexico.
The Wirrarika Marakames from Mexico united the soils taken from the
Cerro Quemado in Mexico with the soils offered by the eight religious
communities in Ahmedabad on April 23, 2005. This alliance of the
ancient knowledge of the two countries seals the opening of the
Archive of the Earth. Now the Archive is open to receive soils from
different sites of the world offered by people who share the vision of
a peaceful planet, and are willing to explore their own evolution, and
those of their associated institutions, in fulfillment of that vision.

Mahatma Gandhi Monument, Bosque de Chapultepec (Mexico):
October 2, 2006, 8A.M – Offering your soil for the Planet. Individuals
and groups with different missions offered a handful of soil, in
silence, in a collective Mandala in front of the monument. As October
2, 2006 fell on a Monday, the day of the week that found Gandhi in
silence, we used silence as an instrument to increase the resonance of
our actions, creating a path from violence to Non-violence. A text was
written and read by Rahul Alvarez Garin, representative of the Comite
'68, to stress the importance of Ahimsa today in Mexico and in the
World. The soils which formed the Mandala, will be offered next to the
"Archive of the Earth" in Sabarmati Ashram.

The five actions have been realized and fully documented through the
cooperation, the economic participation and the voluntary work of all
the participants, namely eleven religious communities, forty schools,
colleges, various artistic, social and educational institutions, NGOs,
women organizations, representatives of tribal and native peoples,
artists coming from different horizons and nationalities, individuals
and scientists.


An Invitation to Cerro Quemado:

Dear Friends of OraWorldMandala,

On October 2nd of 2006, in the Sabarmati Ashram, Mahatma Gandhi's center of operations for many years, we opened the Archive of the Earth: the union of earth from India and Mexico symbolically marking the cultural alliance between two ancient civilizations on opposite sides of the globe, which have united in the common cause of Ahimsa, non-violence, and respect for all life.
(see http://www.oraworldmandala.org)

The Archive of the Earth is a large earthen vessel, traditionally used in India to store grains or water. Now this Archive is open to receive earth from all over the world, offered by people and institutions who share a vision of a peaceful planet and are ready to explore their own evolution as a means of achieving this larger Peace.

On the other side of the world from India's Sabarmati Ashram, we find the Cerro Quemado in Real de Catorce, the sacred mountain of the native Wisharrika, better known as the Huicholes,. Ont eh 10th and 11th of June, 2006, we performed a ceremony to collect and to offer earth to the Archive, sealing the alliance between India and Mexico.
(see the fourth action, http://www.oraworldmandala.org).

OraWorldMandala has committed to return to the Huicholes for five years -- each year finds us with the Huicholes' elder shamans, collecting the earth of the Cerro Quemado for the Archive, to make together the road to Ahimsa.
Continuing with this commitment, the 2nd offering of earth will take place under the full moon on the 31st of May, 2007. Once again, we will walk in silent pilgrimage from Real de Catorce to the sacred Cerro Quemado, guided by the Huicholes. The installation of the Eye of Truth, a work of art created with colorful threads and bamboo by he participants in the form of a Tsikuli (a sacred tool of the Huicholes) will close the ceremony.

The intention of this second offering of the earth is to promote Ahimsa as the point of convergence among different belief systems, and to benefit the well being of all.

OraWorldMandala invites you, once again to join this action and offering on the 31st of May and 1st of June, 2007, Cerro Quemado (Real del Catorce).

05 April 2007

the freedom she seeks

The freedom I seek
is in my hips,
the bones of my feet,
the expanse of my ribs
answering the rhythm
like the gliding tide.
Drawn in, out, in, out,
swooning helplessly with devotion
to the silver, swollen moon
gravity herself
(who, in turn, cannot resist
describing an endless
sacred circle
around her own true love,

The freedom I seek
is in my hands,
that do not flinch or clench or
raise themselves to shield my eyes
from the fire of my desire
but become the tools of its realization
in their motion,
their song,
their strength
to hold and soothe and raise
to dig and to plant
to write and to shape
to lift a butterfly from the dusty earth of a cacophonous cactus marketplace
and laugh as she flies away.

The freedom I seek
is in my sex,
full, laughing, sweaty
without shame or anticipatory collapse
I move in the knowing
I embody the name that was whispered to me
in the moonlit forest sky sanctuary
the spreading salve
tonic for the dark, smoldering places
merciful death transmuting into 
I am she
glowing, real, open.

The freedom I seek
is in my mind,
alive with possibility
as empty as the desert sky
where I take the one seat,
mistress of my destiny,
I guide my way
from choice.

The freedom I seek
is in my heart
beating universal rhythms
lush green pounding emergence, mama Africa
the rumbling silence of the buffalo
(gone from here, taken from this place)
the salmon, guided home through ineffable vastness
and you, my beloved,
the answer to one wondrous question
that time has taught me to ask
you call this dance
you enrapture this drumbeat
ba-BUM ba-BUM ba-BUM
whhhhhssshhhhhh (…starlight's song)
become the one prayer
that was whispered to us when we were born
and that rang out always
across our slumbering journeys.

The freedom I seek
is in me.
I am here;
I am already free.

   - caitlin cislin

copper canyon


03 April 2007

a poem that will soon be some play

The Invitation

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

[ oriah mountain dreamer ]

Concert Review: Notes from the Monsoon Hotel

On Thursday March 29th, Matt Coffman performed courageous acts of peacemaking as he sat in front of microphones and an audience to sing truth and beauty out into the world. His singing was accompanied by the careful work of his hands, tenderly pressing on one end of the strings and vibrating them on the other. The wooden cavity of his guitar resonated pure bliss as melody and harmony melted into liquid sound. Matt's songs spoke of comfort and restoration, longing and prosperity, hope and desire. The effect of his spirit's outpouring was felt not only by those in attendance that evening, but in the souls of beings around the globe. Matt has the ability to open hearts in a way that is unprecedented. The healing embrace of his music allows for utter and unreserved love to evolve and flourish.

- s. basset

[n.b.: mateo's new CD, "live july at the monsoon hotel" will be released shortly, a joint production of somethingconstructive.net, comfort alley recording studios, and the art of kevin panozzo]
because elephants are vegetarian.

sculpture by valeria del ferrocarril


15 March 2007

Notes from the Monsoon Hotel

Last July in a small village in Kerala, Amerikan-born guitarist Mateo
Coffman sported the occasional moustache and (traditional) mini-skirt,
"meditated his ass off", and played a series of candle-lit one-hour
concerts to the supporting symphony of monsoonal insect life.

I have those on digital media and as soon as I'm not tone-deaf, I'm
going to publish them. But 2012 might be a longer way off than the
collective consciousness imagines, so in honor of a successful return
from colombia (existence is success, we hope), we're throwing a
concert for Mateo.

Notes from the Monsoon Hotel
voice and acoustic guitar of mateo coffman

March 29th, 2007
Grand Space Community Center
778 Bergen St, Brooklyn.

donations (to various parties) will be accepted

He's often a shy and frustrating young man and this is his first
public North American appearance in what is clearly his appointed
career. So come.

I'm also in town for just a couple of days (the on to Sequim, WA) and
thought this would be a good opportunity to hang out with people I
might not ordinarily see. Come early and stay late and we can set up
together, chill, dance, etc.

Please contact the Grand Space concert director, Jamie Murphy, with
any questions; jamie.murphey@gmail.com

Tell All Yer Friends.

one love,

because elephants are vegetarian.

because elephants are vegetarian.

10 March 2007

lessons from air kuwait

dear passenger,
dont listen to al gore or any of that fearmongering. most of the world
is covered with mountains, snow, and general airs of inhospitality
(rather like our staff). its not getting warmer anytime soon.
especially in iraq, turkey, and canada.

dear passenger,
there are many many people living in queens. many.

dear passenger,
in america they don't do the "namaste" so much. be prepared.

dear passenger,
no amount of shitty airplane chocolate bars equals yoga.

The Management

02 March 2007

another blow against ego in india

the computer here, at the house of jayeshbhai and anarben patel, runs the type macrosoft xp operating system. it's only use profile is called "rajvi ma'am", named by sansu (the daughter of the household) after her favorite teacher. thus, "rajvi ma'am's documents" and so on.

i've been wanting to mention concept for a while -- there seems to be little notion of personal identity here. its all bleeding kheer with the divine. this becomes especially evident with computers, whose software is designed for western people to create their personal alterego on the internet.

so last summer when i set up email for chandrabose (my flute guru), i was this close (two fingers!) to getting him to have bosemash@gmail.com  but at the last minute he changed it to mdcponnuti. ponnuti being a strange diminutive form of his daughter's name (shruti, normally called chickoo).

or  when i set up some internet chat program for my aunt and she had to pick a picture for profile that  shows up while she's chatting, she  only wanted to use a picture of her son.

or, deeply now, the fact that everyone here uses the first person plural ("we") when talking about what i would consider their personal life. as in, "we woke up at 6 oclock". "we haven't had dinner". "we need to go to the bathroom".

all of which makes my mom telling me  "we dont want to take these liberal arts classes" back in college a lot more intelligible...

happy holi,

because elephants are vegetarian.

01 March 2007

Grandmother Report #1

It's 7h30 in the morning time and an hour past that magic orange moment when Ahmedabad is a hazy saffron offering to its own destiny. I love it here and of course it's my last day. My last day with Jayesh and Anar, my last day working at the Tekra, crossing that dark river of effluence that bounds the sanctity of the Gandhi Ashram from the profanity of the modern world.

For that's what it is, exactly, as I see it. These women with whom we work, the thousands of ragpickers who sort through the detritus of other people's lives, are the result of thousands of years of civilization, East and West. The caste system and the consumer waste system. They are, no less than the pyramid in the Louvre and the Museums of Modern Art, the height of modern cultural production. And they are our friends, teachers, and grandmothers.

Today I will go early, as I asked them to come early. We will meet at 10h00, sing together, and walk towards Manav Sadhana at 10h30. We will hold each other's hands as we walk down the hillside of trash, around the broken gutters, across the public defecation field, over the river of filth (nicknamed "The Nasty" by the children), and over to the Gandhi Ashram. Yesterday I saw a two-headed snake, one meter long and thicker than any bansuri I could ever play, make the same pilgrimage. Sickness and Death are in the air, as are all the Gods.

I worry now, as I worried the first day, that they will come late or not at all. I do not remember all their houses in the labyrinth of the Tekra, a slum which "houses" over 100,000 humans. I worry each day that one of my grandmothers will be sick, that one of my grandmothers has passed on.

A month ago, Anchal and I spent a few days interviewing different women for the project. We had a list of names -- women who had no people or objects or money to support themselves. We spent a few hours talking to a ba who could barely walk, full of joy and stories and devotion and song. She sang for us. We asked what her dreams were -- after a life of abuse too depressing to describe -- and she asked just to be able to worship God, and for a little peace before she died.

At the end of that week we had convinced six or seven women to come to the center, starting Monday, to come together for a cooking class. The women would be engaged with cleaning work, cooking for each other, and conversation. They could take the extra food home for dinner and eventually would be cooking for 50-100 people in the Tekra, charging a minimal fee to help families afford their daily vegetable curry. This is a huge initiative in an area where the majority of people are on 24-hour survival plans, buying overpriced basic commodities each evening for their family's dinner.

Most of the women in our project had no security for their meals, and often didn't eat. When they do eat, they choose what they can afford: a curry of water and potatoes (cheap), loaded with salt and chile powder (cheap) to keep the hunger at bay. This in a culture of exquisite food and intricate dietary rules, where every combination of food-as-medicine has been experimented and documented over the last 5,000 years.

Three weeks ago, we started cooking. I spent the morning with Jayeshbhai rounding up children from a different slum to the offices of Ishwarkaka's institute, and bathing them. We said high to the young lady with ten children, whose names the husband didn't seem to know, and admonished to get "the operation". She was afraid, she said. While we were loading kids into the car, a woman came to us weeping. Her husband had died the previous night. These were all families we had talked to a few days before. We went to see the both, knelt next to it, stared into his eyes. Jayeshbhai lit incense and we prayed together and sang a song, "Sita Ram". It is customary, after the cremation, for everyone involved to bathe, and to be served food by the grieving family. They had already bought a basket full of cigarettes to distribute. Jayeshbhai took the cigarettes and told them not to waste money: we will provide the food, you save your money. A woman, three children, no income, living on the side of the road. We walked down the slum to the funeral goodsman, conveniently in the middle of the row of houses. He threw everything into a cloth: the incense, ghee, colors, fabrics, hope, and reconciliation. He tied the bag to a bamboo stretcher (he makes them on the other side of the road) and we carried it back to the deceased. Jayeshbhai told me I should cook for the family. I agreed and before leaving asked his name: Sitaram.

So in some ways it was an auspicious beginning. There are these six beautiful young ladies, with skin dark and brown, cracking soles and bleeding tattoos, and our first assignment apart from loving each other is to cook in support of the grieving. It is a powerful service, they agreed, and took their task seriously. We made a curry of eggplant, peas, and cauliflower. I have all the recipes and can send them to you later.

We gathered at 11h00, introduced ourselves, and started our prayer at 11h30. Sarvodharma means "in respect of all religions". All of these women, so far, are Hindu of various flavors, but I generally give a little discourse or hint that all Gods are present and respected. They nod immediately in agreement. I think they are too old and wise to fight, to be coerced, to have much ego left to hold on to. I tell them my name and nothing else about myself. I am here to learn how to cook, and I believe God resides -- as Krishna told in the Gita -- in the heart of every person.

We sit in a circle and cut vegetables and sing songs. I play the flute. I think the flute has a special significance in India. It is the tool of Lord Krishna, the incarnation of God as Love. They tell me these things but I hadn't felt it until I played for my grandmothers. They are living testaments to devotion, to the implacable devotion of Indian culture and Indian women, of the strength of devotion in the face of a lifetime of terror and abuse. And they love the flute.

Over the next two weeks, we grow to love each other. I call them my Gopis -- the milkmaids who played and flirted with Krishna -- and they respond by dancing. They have no shyness or shame and are always willing to sing and dance. Friends visit each day and are amazed by these women so beautiful, so old, and so different. They are like the seven dwarfs, somebody noticed -- scrubbing the kitchen walls all in a line, of different heights and temperaments. One ma cannot hear and never speaks, another will never stop complaining. Some work all the time and will never rest and others only come late and have no interest in working. I need them all.

One ma tells me one day that she has a son who is alive. He only comes when drunk, to ask her for money, to steal her vessels, and to beat her. She has given her whole life for him and now lives in fear of him. When I went to see her house she showed me two long and empty shelves where her steel pots and pans used to be. All stolen, melted into alcohol and drunk away...

Another ma shows me a cut on her leg, a deep and long scar above her ankle. One day when her son was fifteen he asked her for money. She said no. He said he would pay her back. She said no, she didn't have any money. He took a knife, slashed at her, and ran away. That evening she woke up to serve food to her husband, who came from work after dark. He noticed her limp and asked what happened. She said she fell. In the morning the neighbors sang while cleaning her porch, "Oh brother, look at your wife again, it is your son who has hurt her so...".

They had to explain the story to me: that she lied so her husband wouldn't beat her son. All those players are gone now, of course. And this grandmother, how is she? We asked yesterday and she paused before saying, "When Gandhiji was killed" (she mimes the gun), "I had this many" (all fingers) "and this many" (four fingers). Yes ma! Ten and four make fourteen! And Gandhiji was killed in 1946, or 1948, rather. And it's almost sixty years later. So you must have 73.

"What? 73? Only that? No! Did you forget to add in that first 14?"

It's like that everyday. So tender and fleeting and the moments fade and crispen when I try to recall them. It's the thinness of a live beauty that is quickly escaping. Like the air out of a balloon.

A week ago I told them I was leaving. They were angry and didn't believe me. "What! That's impossible. Would Krishna leave his Gopis? This isn't going to work at all!" But like everything new -- all the salads I make and they scoff at -- they come around very quickly. Even the toothless ones. They love each other. After lunch each day and before more cleaning of the community center, they lay around in groups of two and three, half in the sun and half in the shade. Lie in each other's laps and sing together or just sit.

The next phase is of course much grander. Now we cook for 10 women (three of whom can't make it to the center so the other women deliver lunch to their houses). Soon we're going to cook for 50 families in the Tekra, provide good nutrition and dark green leafy vegetables to poor families at a low coast. But at this point, they love each other. They've found each other. It's more important than the spinach or the rice or even the God-blessed ghee I brought them from Nadiad. More important than me or the music or whether or not there's kunku or incense to do the pooja properly. And the best part is that they know that, that's the prayer is not about the words and the cooking is not about the food. Yesterday one gopi asked me, "how will we pray when you go?". And I said, in my broken Gujarati, "Mother! You are the prayer. You the feeling the prayer. Hindi Gujarati English words not prayer YOU feeling prayer!"

We've created a culture thick with respect, with devotion. They treat me as a God, and give thanks for me every day. At first it disturbed me, and I now I understand that they led by example. So each day I recognize them as such. I am younger and stronger and can touch their feet before they can bend to reach mine. Now they accept me as their grandson and the talk of Bhagvaan has faded into the background, where it must always exist and belong. We love each other.

And then the oldest gopi with the whitest hair and biggest smile (no teeth, it's cheating) and loosest skin said to us yesterday -- "You know, I used to have a really hard time sleeping. Every night so tired but no sleep. And since coming here, it's all changed. I can go home and fall asleep immediately. And have beautiful dreams. And wake up happy and peaceful and come back again."