(wide open arms and smile)
This. BIG Shiva.”
(slaps chest, shaking dreadlocks)
This. little Shiva,
Jungli Gee is named after the Indian bush,
Lives under a rock that he worships as mother,
And well he might,
From under her wide , flat form, a spring rises to nourish the dry, thorny, waste to green,
She is all that shelters him from ‘cheetah’ and darkness.
This mother, his mother (mata),
with granite expression,
watches over the plains below, with ages monument,
through phenomenal layers,
Just such a mother,
bore such a son.
A one legged refugee.
A tearaway, castless outcast.
Friends, only, with the ones, who came,
in their hundreds,
from all over the world,
To smoke chillum.
With the welcoming, wild, one-legged, son of a rock.
“Eat with me (bring food for my fire), drink from my spring (please show me the respect of washing up your cup) Celebrate my very wonderful existence by watching me, expertly, make us all chapattis (with your flour), I share my beautiful home willingly! Smoke with me (bring smoke for me) and sing, Khush Rajho! (Be Happy!).”
An accidental teacher.
He’d reach out and say,
“Bob Marley IS your guru,
Listen, baito (sit), Listen,
‘One Love, don’t worry about a ting,
’cause every little ting is goin’ to be alright.’
Bob playing out on his old, battered, stereo echoing out from under Mata.
He stood in this world,
with only an Indian rock,
Jungli Gee’s real name is Baba Ram Neila,
The baby god of truth.
Jungli? A child, gone wild.
As a young man he lost his left leg, under a train.
Life was never the same again.
He had to find new ways to be,
so hit the road,
often mistaken for one,
he found it easy,
to assist the early hippies in finding their charasi.
There was no deception, as he was never pretending!
The assumptions of others brought gifts never ending!
He changed nothing,
but it was they
who saw the way
he was living and praying,
as ‘holy’ and ‘enlightened’,
What could he say?!
In fact when he said, they simply kept saying what they could see…
‘They are making a guru out of me!’,
so simply, in laughter, continued on
while everywhere, locally, labelled as ‘wrong’.
He searched and searched, his belov’d Himalaya,
for a place to make his own,
A place he could stay.
Turned away over and over,
until he befriended, a Sanskrit teacher,
who, after some village debate, pointed him, out of the village, in the direction
of the jungle.
“If you can find somewhere there….well o.k…”.
They did not think that he would hang around.
He was frightened, back then, of the wildness alone,
But he had nothing left to lose.
So, after a short hop and stumble, struggling with the steep terrain,
he stumbled upon her.
He found his new mother.
Waiting just for him where he had been led to go.
All he had dreamed of.
In a fork between two mighty rivers.
And so he began to learn these mountains,
hopping like a scrawny goat along the winding tracks and vertical river beds.
Foraging and learning each and every plant and its properties…
He grew stronger and stronger.
More and more able.
Nurtured by the nature around.
Cleansing his body in the rushing waters.
Daily thanking the gods for the food on his table,
his rock ‘mata’, the sun, the shade,
For years he studied,
Living only by the dawn and dusk,
Involved in the yoga of living.
Smiling at all the village gossip and often giving better than he got, when he visited the village, daily, for breakfast.
A dog found him, Jungli called him Raja, King,
The dog made Jungli’s home his lair.
Then, in the 60s, the hippies found him there.
Every kind of ‘other’ began passing through his hospitality.
Paying for his fire, and company, in food and charas.
People came and went and painted his mata’s underbelly.
Hindu celebrations of colour, making his home a temple,
only wall art
and his visitors book.
Jungli learned many words of so many languages, with no books or schooling,
learnt much of the West and its political geography,
through his guests flowing nationalities and behaviours,
observed our foolish questing,
first hand, through his delight in simply entertaining.
Then from his humble fire…
with one thin electric wire…
(And they called him a liar!)
Lit one light bulb and on an ancient cassette player,
Played Bob Marley and bhajans and called people in to sit with him a while.
Creating a venue for incredible exchanges of understandings.
Which he observed and encouraged.
Every day a new day and always open to happy experience.
This is how we met.
Jungli Gee and me.
Back then, it seemed how it might always be….
Until, one day, Jungli found a young Punjabi boy,
who’d become life threateningly lost in his ‘garden’,
took him in and brought him back to his family.
The grateful, Sihk, family heard how ‘the one leg’ lived,
under a rock that he calls his mother,
with his dog and his doonie and aesthetic connections…
They found out his real name
And they now write new bhajans
to the great blue baba, up there on the mountain,
who watches over them all,
In the name of Guru Nanak!
Well he does now include them all in his prayers,
He told me, laughing aloud, at the absurdity of it all.
Last I heard,
Others were coming, wanting to build ashrams around him….
Tempting him with riches unimaginable,
Last I knew,
He was not convinced.
Always a friend to me.
My guru of never wanting,
safe in Mata Gee’s sancutary,
for all of eternity,
in my memory.
“Life is as easy as