I spend the afternoon walking with Yaso in Newlands Forest.  Newlands Forest covers Devil’s Peak up to the contour path; and  Devil’s Peak flanks Table Mountain.

We walk in a bee-line, past the car park, to the worn footpath at the edge of the picnic area.  We are alone.  We follow the footpath to a stream; and follow the stream to another path.  This path ends at a forestry turnstile.  Yaso has thick wooden beads around his neck and arms.  He is wearing a thick cotton lungi and a yellow-brown turban.

Yaso and I pass through the turnstile.  The slope levels at the gravel road.  The blueness of the sky and tallness of the trees lends to a sense of space and freedom.  Yaso says, ‘You can feel the prana here’.   To our left, over the fynbos, we can see the leafy green suburbs below.  If you gaze further you can see the houses of the Cape Flats, glinting like pieces of glass and shell on a beach. Stretch farther, and you can see the mountains and sky.  To our right are pines and eucalyptus, interspersed with indigenous silver trees.  Devil’s Peak towers to the far right.

We talk about all sorts of things: telepathy, Alexander the Great’s meeting with Diogenes, chanting and mystic experience.  There is no pretense.  We are kindred spirits.  I can hear the river further down the road.  We eventually reach the part of the road where the road becomes a bridge over the mountain stream.  We follow the bank of the river until we reach a large pool.  Yaso carefully submerges himself.  Is he smiling?  Is he grimacing?   I am not sure.  I pull off my tee-shirt and jump in.  It is cold and refreshing.

I think of the German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.  His intelligent mind had such a fine grasp of logic and reason, yet his final conclusion is summed up in one word: uncertainty.  The Vedas, on the other hand – summarized by Krishna’s words in the Bhagavad-gita – give the reader a sense of purpose and certainty.   We dry ourselves on the warm rocks and begin our walk past the faded picnic space, back to the Temple.

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