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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 3, September 2015

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Kala Ramesh
Pune, Maharashtra, India


The Pathless Path

strands of jasmine
cover the bride's face
I see her eyes
kohl-lined and frightened
between wilting flowers

I could have been her. I wasn't. I thank my lucky stars for I don’t believe in God.

Camera cut. Fast forward:
I get married and find myself in Pune, a small town famous for forts built by the famous Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. But Shivaji is long dead and the city is now struggling in the grip of the infamous Bhagwan, as he calls himself. Bhagwan means God in all of our twenty two Indian languages.

Camera cut. Fast forward:
"Have you heard of free love?" a middle-aged woman whispers into my ear.

Until then, I hadn't. The year is 1980.

Camera cut. Fast forward:
I go to their Commune to see how it's doing with the gradual acceptance of the locals, and the people who run the ashram now . . . nearly two decades after the death of Bhagwan, the man is revered as a god.

Camera cut. Fast Forward:
We are debarred from entering. The man at the entrance says we need to have an AIDS-free certificate to enter and must pay to view the ashram, and later pay again to attend their meditation hour.

a guru waiting
at every juncture
in my life
I find myself
on the pathless path


Author's Note: "strands of jasmine" was first published in Simply Haiku V5 N4 (Winter 2007)

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