For the remainder of my journey, I stayed at Ramana Ashram, hiking up the mountain, hanging with the monkeys
meditating and counting my good fortune for being here. Arunachala, the entire mountain is a powerful presence that destroys
discursive thought and is a profound place for meditation. I hope everyone someday can experience the blessing that this
mountain constantly gives. Ramana called Arunachala an emanation of Lord Shiva, and I can't help but agree.
Packing up, I left Ramana Ashram, taxied back to Madras (an experience in itself), and spent the longest day of my life on not one
but two consecutive 12 hours plane flights to the other side of the world, back to the loving arms of my wife Annie here in Marin
Behind Annie are the cliffs of the Point Reyes National seashore, at McClure's beach, a wonderful and isolated place.
So dear friends, that is a pictoral journey of my trip to India, a two month adventure that I will never forget. As many people
say, you end up both loving and hating India, as it is such a land of contrasts. It was an intense trip for me - when I got back
I realized my nerves were shot from the noise, intensity, bad food and over stimulation. The west seemed like a land of ghosts,
so different, so devoid of some kind of magic endemic to the Indian subontinent. I had turned native by the time I had returned
home (Annie said I looked brown, like an Indian, when I got back - after several weeks, the 'heat and dust' was released from
my pores). It took a good 6 months to 'recover', if that's the right word.
India is as about as different as you can get in the human
realm from the west, and as overwhelming, frustrating and intense as it can be sometimes, like many travellers, I'd go back there in a second.