Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I was there to have my income tax return filled out. She was the accountant assigned to my file. She was a motherly looking woman in her late forties or the early fifties. She was rather short and plump, had a slightly dark complexion, and abundant jet black hair that hung down around her shoulders. I studied her face with interest, and noted the gold bangles on her wrist. She spoke English with ease, but she had an unmistakable accent that at first I could not place.
Then it came to me. She was not Hispanic, as I had first assumed--she was Indian (from India) and in fact carried a profile similar to those often depicted in early Indian art.
So I asked her what her nationality was, and she confessed that she was in fact from Bangalore, one of the technological centers of this rapidly developing country. She had been fascinated by numbers since she was quite young, and had majored in accounting, ultimately taking a master's degree in an American university. She was here because her husband, also Indian, had been transferred to this pleasant mountain town, which also was a high tech center in its own right.
As we talked, and as she continued with her tax preparation, I thought how ironic it was that she, who came from the land of the ancient rishis and yogic saints, the repository of almost magical ancient lore and practices, now epitomized the new age, where the young were now trained early in the intricacies of the "new mysticism," high tech with its own hierarchy of priests and gurus, its skilled practitioners and its no nonsense views which had no room for the ancient gods and their myths and rites. And I suspected that, for her, the old divinities and their ceremonies and legends, the sounds of the sacred language of Sanskrit spoken or chanted, the subtle movements of hand or body to raise and circulate the inner energies--these were now dead forms, long since emptied of meaning or usefulness, relics of an obsolete era.
And here I sat opposite her, one who had never even traveled to that wondrous far off land, but who had again and again felt the power of Shiva and his feminine form as Shakti, who knew through intuition and seeming remembrance, how to evoke the ancient forms, who had felt the wonder of the energy known as Kundalini in her own body many times over.
It seemed the supreme irony, as if ancient and contemporary were changing places, and the world of the old had become the face of the new, and vice versa.
When I left, I thanked her, and mentioned that I had a niece who lived in Dallas, where she had lived before coming here. She smiled and answered politely, "Everyone has relatives who live in Dallas."
(Image of Shiva from internet source)