The Sacrament of Knowledge
“Have you found out who you are?” he asked.
I told him that I knew who I was not. I was not yet a baba but I believed that he could make me one. Hari Puri laughed. “Are you really sure this is what you want? Careful!” he warned, and then laughed again. “When I make a baba, it’s hard to unmake.”
He told me that my initiation into the Great Renunciation, the Virja Havan, would take place on the dark moon, about two weeks later, in a grand mass ceremony. He instructed me that my time should be spent in preparation for receiving the Sacrament of Knowledge, the Vidya Sanskar and that I should know who I was by that time.
Okay, I thought: two weeks to enlightenment. I had heard Krishnamurti say that it takes less than a second, that time is not an element in realizing enlightenment. So two weeks should be plenty. Doesn’t it take a lifetime, I wondered. Advaita, Non-dualism, is a good crutch. Time is an illusion.
“And what is this initiation?” Hari Puri began, “It is an open door that invites you to enter into story.” I think he meant mythology. “Not make-believe, but story that lives the way mountains live, and the sky, the rivers, and the trees… Story that can’t be contained in a book or possessed by any one person.
“You know about the churning of the ocean that produced the amrit, the Nectar of Immortality, but here, also, there is churning.” Hari Puri said, pulling back his shoulders. “What is the akhara?” he asked. “It’s a churn, a machine that agitates the souls that make up the ocean of the Kumbh Mela into story! No? Is a kumbh not a pitcher that contains all the souls who are here? Is it not also the container of amrit? The souls who are churned here have already left the world of mortality.
“And if you enter that great hall, then you must finalize your affairs in this world, for in two weeks’ time, you will perform your own funeral rites.”