I met a wild looking sadhu on the way up to Skand Ashram many moons ago, and noticed that he wore incredible jewelry, all in the shape of serpents, and fashioned of copper and gold.
He told me a jeweler in a town far away had made it for him. I asked if he could make me a ring, and he agreed. I gave him an advance and the ring came as promised—a golden serpent coiled like the kundalini with a small ruby for an eye.
I have grown to love this ring for it represents my passion for the serpent fire (Kundalini)—which is nothing less than the energy of primal mind that fuels the process of enlightenment. Nothing but this fiery energy can halt the power of my chaotic mind, and I use a kundalini practice as a base for Atma-Vichara, Self-Investigation or the Direct Path, as taught by Ramana Maharshi.
Anyway, my friend James recently visited Tiru and we made a date for lunch. Since he had to leave right after, he dropped me home and asked whether I could bring Kalidevi, my Himalayan Shepherd, to the gate so he could say hello. I brought Kali out to his car and they greeted each other lovingly—whereupon James took off and Kali and I went in for our afternoon nap.
That evening I realized my snake ring was not in her usual place. The serpent had vanished! I checked with the restaurant, but my ring was not there. So I called James and asked him to check the car—no luck there either. James said, remember you brought Kali out to see me? Perhaps you dropped the ring on the side of the road?
I thought, ha ha, even if had dropped it there, by this time it would been picked up by a lucky passerby. I made peace with my loss, which is part of my spiritual practice—to deeply accept whatever happens as for my higher good. Anyway, just for the heck of it, I did venture outside to have a look—and believe it or not, there was my golden serpent, lying in a patch of dusty grass by the side of a busy road, traversed not just by cars and buses and trucks, but also by many passersby!
This sort of thing has happened to me so many times before that I no longer have any doubts about the powerful effects of either prayer or karmic acceptance to transform a situation. I hark back to a guru telling me a long time ago in Manhattan that if I was ever in a thick soup, I should work on accepting the situation as if I had conjured it up myself—which is no less than the truth, since eastern philosophy tells us that karma creates even the most minute details of our relative reality.
The first time I really practiced acceptance was on a Manhattan work situation: a colleague was making my life miserable by dumping all her work on me. Since she worked for my boss’s boss, who allowed her to get away with murder, she had felt free to torture me for almost four years. HR refused to tackle her and there was nothing I could do about this sorry situation except quit. One evening I sat before my altar at home and took complete karmic responsibility for this woman’s negative presence in my life. Believe it or not, the very next morning, she came in to work, late as usual, and announced that her boyfriend had just purchased a B&B business in upstate New York and that she was quitting the firm to join him in running it! No kidding, this really happened.
So, if you find yourself in a situation you don’t think you can change, try the deep magic of acceptance. It works, whether in one way or another!
Greetings from Arunachala, the sacred mountain that gives us what we need, but not necessarily what we wish for, so that we can experience our immortal and blissful Self.