One fine fall day I was driving on the gravel road that leads north from Pyramid Lake into the Smoke Creek Desert of northwestern Nevada. After many miles with no sign of habitation, I came upon an old homestead in considerable disrepair with doors missing or ajar on rusty hinges.
The only cars around were l950s models…The only cars around were 1950s models with various essential parts missing. There was a good spring of water. It apparently flooded during wet spells, causing the weathered clapboard bunkhouse to sink a few feet into the soil. Its ceiling was neatly covered with rectangles of heavy paper. These were the blank backs of World-War-II-era posters warning of the establishment of an aerial bombing range nearby. On a narrow ledge above a window frame was an inexpensive nib pen still patiently awaiting the reach of the hand which laid it there half a century or more ago.
Closer to the road was the family home and that tiny house was a tidy wonder. It was all “make do,” with kitchen cabinets made of salvaged lumber and wooden sewing thread spools for door pulls. It definitely had a woman’s touch but also the touch of a man who lent his hand to hers to build together something good and right, no matter how humble. In the little bedroom still stood the white-painted iron bedstead, and outside all around the foundation were planters for flowers.
These and many other things I saw there – evidence of something ordinary yet extraordinary. I remembered perhaps hundreds of similar rambles in other lonely borderlands between humanity and nature, where the sage and the soil swelled with a story and the wind whispered wisps of wisdom. If I could only understand them! In places like this, my soul seems to sense freedom and leaps in the ego’s womb – it’s scary in a wondrous way. But this time I asked Divine Mother, “What’s going on? What is this haunting feeling?”
At this, my robust and sturdy mind confidently elbowed its way to the fore: “Okay, so a cowboy and his wife pulled themselves up by their bootstraps here, dating say from before 1920. I’d guess their kids finally came and took the old folks away sometime in the late ’70s by the look of things. And now, the relatives occasionally use the boxy little hunting cabin that’s recently been set down in the driveway. So what’s here to get sentimental and nostalgic about?”
“Hmm,” said I.
“Hmmmmm,” sang the wind.
I thought I felt Divine Mother smiling.
Then rising to the question, came Mr. Intuitional Understanding. He is not just what I’ve learned by studying and being blessed by Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda’s teachings but also by applying them, and by offering up the experiences into God’s light as best I can. He said:
OK, first of all, what these people did isn’t “past.” It exists right now, in the eternal present. Their story is vibrantly real here and now, and can be tuned into – that is, if you want to. Much of it is quite ordinary, just as you say.
Also, people rarely come to places like this. We’re in a vast empty valley between two uninhabited mountain ranges. Perhaps two or three vehicles a day pass by on the road and far fewer ever stop here. The land is washed by winds wending their way through wild and wondrous worlds! Places like this are relatively free of the crosscurrents of people’s vibrations caused by minds’ inexorable activities in the moment and worried plans for the future. Thus it’s easier here to connect with the timeless present.It’s easier here to connect with the timeless present…
Furthermore, these people are not as separate from you as you may think. In a way they are your closest and most precious friends – nay, they are you in your highest expression. Their triumphs and joys uplift you and yours uplift them. In your soul and in theirs, you are one in God. And to the degree that you share with them a similar understanding of the world, your communication is that much easier and more enjoyable. Thus it’s only natural that you should know their story and benefit from it.
Nature’s spirits have largely retired from areas where the masses of people are unreceptive to them; they are alive and well here. You could say they are a bit lonely though. The Paiute and Washoe peoples, who were here for thousands of years until just a few generations ago, lived in conscious partnership with them. Probably our cowboy couple ignored the nature spirits, except perhaps for a few rare haunting experiences which they only shared with each other, if at all. But the living peace of the desert will help you, as it tried to help them, to tune in to the numerous spirits of the place and to receive their enthusiastic assistance if you will open yourself to them.
Places and things tend to soak up consciousness. Things that have been made, modified or used by hand, loved, or concentrated upon, take on a story of that use or attention. Isn’t this to be expected of Nature? Since people are Her most excellent creation – the acme of her handiwork – wouldn’t She want everything they touch to bear witness of their activities?
You know that God loves every red corpuscle that flows in our blood — every other cell too. He loves each of us at every instant of our existence. He assigns galleries of angel specialists to each individual. Through them He is constantly attentive to our thoughts, our feelings, our karmic patterns, and the actions we take. Sometimes we hear Him cheering us on, especially when we try hard to listen. He works constant miracles around us, saving us from countless calamities large and small and nudging us toward special discoveries when we’re receptive.
Let’s keep this in mind and, for the sake of argument, suppose that the average person would not really appreciate the rancher couple. Let’s say the average viewer would consider them to be just poor folks who wasted what potential they had in a lonely desert and had little to show for it in the end. Perhaps they were uneducated, opinionated, and inarticulate. Suppose, for argument’s sake, that even they themselves weren’t particularly conscious of the beauty in their lives. All this doesn’t really matter that much. There is much more going on here than that.
The inventive initiative expressed in their home is beautiful. You may wonder — did they love each other? One would have to say yes. The old couple’s creative love was a triumph in God’s eyes! In this and perhaps some other ways they did well, whether appreciated by other humans or not, but God appreciated it infinitely. Thunderously! You can imagine the Smoke Creek Desert ringing like a bell when they kissed! The good they did and the consciousness they developed in doing it uplifted and transformed their lives and brought them closer to God. That’s what’s really important.
When a receptive observer comes along, Nature is thrilled to celebrate the story which She has kept hidden in her bosom. (There are very few truly receptive observers around anywhere, what to speak of, in this rare and lonely place.) She’ll guide that observer, perhaps through what he thinks is his own whims, to discover piece after piece of the story. He might hear the desert ring and wonder why! An unusual bird song might lure him around a corner at just the right time to discover in the glancing sunlight the faint outlines of an inscription covered by plaster on a wall. He’ll find, partly hidden by the sand, some relic whose meaning and vibration are perfect to complete the understanding he was wondering about at the very moment he ambled by.
His process is more than a Sherlock Holmesian deduction. The relics are not so much clues as they are windows through which to look into a broader reality. These objects with their stories, together with attunement to the timeless present, and the grace of God’s love for the old pioneers and for us (which we will glimpse if we strive to hold great love in our hearts), along with Nature’s assistance, all combine to paint a picture for those who have eyes to see.
Does this help explain your haunting feeling that something special is going on here?
I stood before the house, bathed by the benevolent breeze, breathing the breath of ages (which is also the single inspiration of now). I was awed and grateful to see what a rich and instructive world was present at this simple rest stop on a single afternoon of vacation in the desert. Isn’t it true that this magical realm is always close by whenever we look with clarity, courage, and love?
Beautiful, Sudarshan! Thanks for sharing such delight! 👍😊
What a touching and inspiring sharing, Sudarshan. Magnificent.
May we all stay open to those “whispered wisps of wisdom,” wherever we find ourselves. For, as you point out, Divine Mother is thrilled to share Her stories with us deep within our own selves, if she only finds us receptive.
Seems that you inherited a flair for writing and storytelling….maybe from your writer, Mother. Loved the weaving of nature, the human story and the subtle links between the two.
Mom was always after me to , “Write, write, write…!” She’ll be 99 in May, and will likely repeat this advice in an email coming soon. I’m getting more stories on the written page now. Like all good things, it takes concentration and attention.
“Like all good things, it takes concentration and attention.” Yes. I found out after self-publishing my book in 2013 that for me it was 2% inspiration/intuition and 98% and perspiration/perseverance. I find this ratio to be the same when writing my blogs. It also took determination because my mom would always tell me “the making of many books there is no end.” She never had a chance to read my book or my blogs. If you have the time, I would love to send you a copy. Ralph
Very beautiful imagery as well as gorgeous photographs. Your interweaving of down-home pioneer realism and spiritual transcendentalism is masterful. Makes me want to visit that old homestead! You are still a great storyteller.
Sudarshan I am present to the memory of how you helped our Living Discipleship group last autumn connect with the spirits of the land and Divine Mothers presence in nature… we sat here n there with you in the grass and in the trees , growing still and savoring.
Thank you for your words and loving of life.
An absolute joy to read, what a gifted writer you are! Please continue to write and share these amazing pearls of awareness!
Dear Sudarshan, loved the note of the connection with divine mother and her creations.
I felt I was standing with u there.
Would love to meet u someday.
I stay in mumbai.
Where are u based?
Love and regards
This – being receptive to what we come across- is opening ourselves to the spirit.
I write poetry, and would love to share in this group but do not know how.
I will read this many times- its a companion piece of great insight to go back to many times.
Thank you so much. Indeed I felt awe.
Nayaswami Sudarshan – A fortunate intended moment for you of time and space, of remembrance and reflection. Beautiful! As in beauty being a perfect aspect of God. Namaste.
A wonderful description of a normal scene in an unusual place. Only Sudershan can sketch it so beautifully. You have a gift of writing through the inherited gene. Keep writing, otherwise you lose it. Talent has to be nourished and developed. I am waiting to read your next story.
Beautifully written , I’m reading parts of it again and again to absorb the meaning and the energy in your thoughts.
Your writing helped open more awarenesses and appreciation in me for the nature that
surrounds us. Also, for the possibilities of connections with a much greater sense who we are. It is beautiful, expansive, and delicate, and reflects the gifts your mother passed to you. I’m grateful for your sharing.
Behind all perceptions — there is one story. . . . we can hear its music . . . when we are silent enough to experience the oneness.
Blessed New Year to the 2 of you,
Your story felt like a comfortable old shoe that slipped right on. I was transported into that place and it’s energy.
I know that strange feeling of sensing the past stories of a place and feeling the echoes of the life forces who lived, laughed and cried there.
What is a word for this sensation? It deserves a name that captures the essence of this haunting yet sacred awareness we glimpse…
I loved reading this. It reminded me of the Laura Ingalls-Wilder story I watched last night. Very deep and inspiring!
Thank you for sharing this, Sudarshan. It’s beautiful and moving, reminding us of our connection with everyone and everything.
We’re grateful for your God-tuned spirit. In Master’s love, Anandi and Bharat
You shared your heart and perceptions within the visual imagery of your words. Your led us into the experience of touching the Divine through nature. Stories like this leave a pearl of transformation in us. I’m sure everyone of your readers has opened a little more to the wonders within the natural world where the vibration of the Creator can be felt.
Thank you Sudarshan for sharing this beautiful story with us. I felt like I was there.
My soul truly thrilled at reading these words at the junction of nature, Spirit, and time.
Lovely story. I live in a version of a place like this, an intersection of Native Americans & settlers, close to 100 yrs old, but continuously inhabited . My neighbors are living links to both Indian& white cultures. It’s on the Eel River, and as I walk, each & every day, I feel the spirits of women weaving baskets, picking acorns, fishing for salmon. My grandson’s mom is Wiyot/Hupa & they have family photographs of great Grama sitting on the river bar weaving her baskets, and more.
This living lineage is far from anything urban…not a traffic light for 50 miles, North or South. Yogananda gave a vision to us for a Yoga/Meditation cabin, and for the past 15 years, we have been blessed to live in the vibration that he bestowed on us. It’s about a 5 hour drive to Ananda, but my husband is in his 80s, and it’s Corona virus time, so we are sequestered in our ashram, living one day at a time, much like your couple from the desert. Firewood, gardening, picking local apples, pears, simple food preparation, animal tending, Yoga & Meditation, daily tasks…this takes us thru our days. To have been blessed & guided by our lineage for all these decades has truly saved us from “dire fears and collassal suffering.” And the joy has been ever-present, even through the hardest times. Everthing Yogananda promised has been true, and makes each day ever new . Happy New Year to you & Savitri!
Thank your for your beautiful and uplifting words which carried me to the location, and I could see you there.
Many blessings to you and Savitri in the New Year.
I know how deeply you tune into the essence of the energy in natural environments. This was a beautiful story that captured it so completely. I was there with you as I read it. My parents grew up on farms back east and ended up in Orange county, Fullerton. My father also worked for McDonald Douglas Aircraft. But he loved nature and we explore the deserts and canyons every year. He passed his reverence of God in Nature on to me. We are all so connected in so many ways. I agree the magical realm is always close by when we tune in. Bless you for sharing this
Sudarshan, Brilliant and poetic writing. You “cracked me open ” with the “Places and things tend to soak up consciousness” line. I started to think of consciousness in everything… and ours for the taking if we become receptive. Thank you and Savitri for being there. See you soon,,, Jeff Kundert