Mysore and Chamundi Hills
29 November 2016
Two days after the inauguration we left for Mysore at 4:30 AM caravan style 3 vehicles including Baba's to have breakfast at Baba's sisters. We arrived at 10 AM after one coffee / tea break.
We drove by the house Baba lived at from age 13-20 till he joined Swamiji. Across the street was a Hanuman temple, with a large RamaKrishna ashram two blocks away. Often visited by Baba in his teens.
Then we proceeded to two temples in Chamundi hills, also a frequently visited spot by Baba. We gathered up an 86 year old priest there (Anandaji) and headed to the drop off spot to visit a special cave there, well below the road. When 16 Baba's mother blessed Babaji with permission to go and pray at temples for 3 days under Ananadaji's watch full eye, Anandaji was 40 then. But young Baba proceeded to the cave for 3 days straight of Dhyana, with Anandaji checking in once a day with water and maybe a little food.
Baba hadn't been to the cave since 2005 and wanted to see if we could make it there. He did caution us it was a wild life preserve area and recently 10 leopards had been released into the wild.
We arrived at the spot to depart the road over a wall. And Anandaji and Sonny (one of Baba's boys) proceeded down the mountain to find the trail to the cave to see if it was passible.
Anandaji took off like a spry mountain goat at 86, not really waiting for Sonny, whose duty was to also stay in touch with Baba and others at roadside. Stuck with two duties going in opposite directions.
Finally, Sonny reappeared but with no Anandaji and no for sure path to cave identified.
Then Sonny, Kishore (also a boy!)** and Clifford headed back down with twofold purpose, find the cave and find Anandaji (but not the leopards) It was not easy going, rocky trails everywhere, full of very sharp thorn bushes. So between the 3 of us, 4 opinions which trail to take. (Ironically, the day before I had read in the newspaper, on average 35 Indians get eaten, mailed or killed by tigers annually, and 407 are killed or trampled by elephants. Ha, we didn't want to be newly reported leopard statistics!)
** (When we say "boy", it is not derogatory, it is in a uniquely Indian sense, very complimentary, meaning young men that have dedicated themselves to serving their guru, instead of taking a partner, also true for Baba's "girls"!)
We finally found the cave about 500 feet below, but no Anandaji, and it was getting to be dark (big cat time!) We snapped a couple quick photos and by some grace we found Anandaji mucking around in some thorn bushes and headed back up. Mission accomplished. Clifford's arms were a bloody mess (the only one in short sleeves) his comment "no problem, I always look like this after I prune my pyracantha bushes at home."
Now dark, Baba and two other devotees were patiently waiting, while the others had gone. Though we had been gone quite a while, Baba was pleased to see us, and of course, not a hint of a reprimand, just that kind glow we all know from Baba. Baba knew we couldn't come back up without Anandaji.
We got back down at 7 PM, Baba hadn't eaten since 10:30 in the morning, and no proper rest. We were glad to get back. Tired but safe.