Friday, June 15, 2007

From Gangadhar/Mark Gerhard

I met Annapurna in India in 1972. My college friend Nicholas Magriel had a house in Assapour, a few miles from Sarnath where the Buddha gave his Deer Park discourse.

The house was an adobe set between fields of eggplants and mustard. We had just come from spending time with Maharaji (Neem/Neeb Karoli/Karore Baba) in Vrindaban and had only been in India one month. Nick was a crazed sarangi player with a demonic passion for musical intoxication. I was with my family of close musical friends -Jai/Govind/Janaki/Ganga.

Nick took us to visit Dhammadipo and Annapurna who lived a mile or two away. We walked through the mustard fields and rice paddies to their house. Dressed in lungis and kurtas and chappals, we strode into the sunset feeling rural India's magic charm. We arrived at a Raj era colonial mansion, two stories with colanades and balconies, behind a massive wall. Let in by a chokidhar through a metal door, I sensed we were leaving the realm of reality and maybe going back through time, or into another dimension. Climbing up to the second story we visited with Annapurna and Dhammadipo in their chambers. We sat on ropebeds and ate peanuts. The cracking of the peanut shells became the music we made, a kirtan all of its own.Annapurna didn't wear a sari, she was dressed in Nepalese fashion and she floated through the night like some kind of character straight off a thangka. With a cheshire cat smile, she beamed and radiated something, though the room was dim and barely lit. I don't remember much else but the beauty of the moonlight on the way back home echoed something distant and ancient.

Gangadhar/Mark Gerhard

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