What A Course It Was!

Sannyasi Arundhati, Australia, BYB Certificate Course 1997–98

T'was to the Ganga Darshan that I had come to stay
And spend nigh over four long months without a hint of pay.
They showed me to my room where I sat upon the bed
The mattress it was kapok or maybe it was lead.

I went to have a shower, was I in for a surprise!
The water it was icy cold, I bellowed to the skies.
Well, that's the quickest wash I've had in many a year
I won't be wastin' water, from that they'll have no fear.

And then there came the tucker, I jumped up to my feet
But all I saw were vegies, they forgot to add the meat!
At night we had a sing-song but I couldn't get the gist
Of the language they were talkin', must be something that I missed.

And then we toddled off to bed, I was ready for a chat
But now I find it's Mouna, I could eat my bloomin' hat!!
It seemed that I was just asleep and suddenly it was four
I stubbed my toe (no power you see) as I stumbled to the door.

I faced those icy droplets, they said it's good for me
But what I'm really used to is a nice hot cup of tea...
Then up I went to the second floor with all my mates en force
To show the swamis how it's done, we of the Certificate Course.

The way we all just dropped like flies, they said that it was normal
Not to panic – we'd adjust, it's just something that is formal.
So on we plugged, day in and out, in the last few weeks of autumn,
Doing our stretches all in time the way the swamis taught 'em.

Swami Gyanbhikshu with Ashram Life and 'Hari Om Tat Sat',
We especially loved his cheeky grin and his Father Xmas hat.
Another teacher that we had was Swami Satyadharma.
We tried her patience, stretched her nerves, nothing would alarm her.
Body, blood and gooey bits were taught by Swami Nirmalananda,
We fired her questions from the hip but never did she blunder.
Mangalteertham taught us diet and stress, things to make us quiet
Then told us of his cheese-cake fad – that nearly caused a riot!

And Swami Yogakanti taught the higher yoga science
Of how we could re-train our minds (mine showed a strong defiance).
'Just look behind your closed eyelids' was all we had to do
'And watch your breath, keep nice and still, all will come to you.'

The Vrittis and the Kleshas and all that heavy stuff
We learnt from Yogasindhu, you'd have thought we'd had enough.
Swami Vigyanchaitanya too, he taught that noble theory
Of how our knowledge lies within, yet mine seems rather bleary.

And every afternoon at two we'd all lie down to sleep
Although we're not supposed to, it'd make Maitreyi weep.
But her voice it was like molten gold that oozed through every pore
It was dreadful hard to stay awake, tried hard, though, not to snore!

For relaxation, we had our chores cleaning toilets, sinks and mopping
'Do it with love, the Karma way' would have us all a-hopping!
Some of us had kitchen jobs to chop and peel and grind
Sometimes a piece of finger would often stay behind.

And gee it's hard to get it right to make chappatis round
We made an awful mess of those, the cook an awful sound!
But dear sweet Chandramauli like that moon he symbolized
He just kept on beaming with a twinkle in his eyes.
He's seen them come, he's seen them go in and out his kitchen
No point in getting cranky, no point of useless twitching.

Then we each were all allotted our little patch of earth
To make the place look nice (they said), the results gave rise to mirth.
And every afternoon you'll see Swami Gyanprakash
Take Shiva and Shakti for a walk, into my garden they'd rush.
Across the beds of quavering parsley in search of intrepid foe –
To find the cat that chased the rat and round and round they'd go.
And every afternoon you'll see me replanting many a bed
Learning about detachment whilst muttering in my head!

Some of us we are quite rough, we hope we've not offended
We had an awful lot to learn and our journey here is ended.
So, to all the swamis, bless their souls, and all the rest as well
To you we give our heartfelt thanks, you've all been really swell.

But the shepherd of this motley flock is the one to be applauded
He silently guided us on our way, his doors were never boarded.
He led us to pastures of clover green and there he set us down
'It's up to you, you're on your own, whether you laugh or frown.'

The clover is the herb of truth, the shepherd is our guide
And if we follow his advice then never need we hide.
For to light the way is the greatest gift that anyone can give
God bless you Swami Niranjanji!
You taught us how to Live!