Newlands Forest, 1997

We reach the Temple.  Yaso says, ‘Haribol’, and goes to his room.  The devotees invite me to take prasadam with them.  Afterwards, Nicholas and I sit on the old cane furniture, as we usually do, in the foyer.  We philosophize – even argue – until  I look at my watch. It is 10pm.  I bid Nicholas goodbye and rush for the train – dashing out the door, sprinting across St. Andrews Road and bounding down the glaring white light of the subway.  Damn.  That was the last train.

The lights are out when I get back to the Temple.  Nicholas would be awake, but his room is on the far side of the asrama.  What am I to do?  Where am I going to sleep?  I can’t stay at the Temple.  I am not pure.  I am attached to my academic work.  Pride has crept in amongst these half-developed feelings of humility.  I am a yogi.  I am renounced.   I can sleep in the forest.  

The forest is dark.  I lie on a bed of pine needles near the gravel road where we walked this afternoon.  I am afraid, but I also know that if I depend on God everything will be okay.  What if snakes come out at night?  What if there’s a killer in the dark?  I have no blanket.  The combination of cold and a niggling sense of fear keeps me awake.  I go down to the river.  I lie on the same rock we dried ourselves on earlier.  It is warmer than the forest floor.  I sleep for two hours, but the morning sun forces my eyes open like coarse sandpaper.

I long for my bed.  I want to sleep.  I catch the train to Fishoek.  Some kind of yogi you are.  Yes, some kind of yogi.

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