The CID of the Heart


a glimpse of the lake in Nainital

If Maharajji taught me anything at all, it was that there’s no place to hide. Of course, it’s taking a lifetime to internalize that message. If he knew everything about me, which he made abundantly clear that he did, and yes, still loved me unconditionally, did I think that ended when he left his body? If I really knew that god, guru, and self are one, I wouldn’t ever try to cover myself with the chilly waters of that old river de-nial.

I remember back in the first week I was with him in India. It was so intense, so powerful, that I took a “vacation” from going to Kainchi one day. I washed my waist-length hair (a long procedure that took two buckets of hot water), smoked a chillum, bought a bag of my favorite Indian sweets, and went for a boat ride on the beautiful lake in Nainital.

The next day, when I arrived in Kainchi, Maharajji looked at me so sweetly. “You like the scenery in Nainital?” he asked. Although phrased as a question, it was in fact a statement.

Yes, Maharajji.

You like Indian sweets?

Yes, Maharajji.

Then he raised his hands and pretended to be smoking a chillum.

Ah yes, Maharajji. And I was taking a vacation from what?

I loved the way Maharajji let us know he knew. It was never cruel, never accusatory. He usually did it in a way that others around wouldn’t even know what was going on.

I was smoking a lot of beedies (those foul little Indian “cigarettes” made with a tiny bit of low-grade tobacco wrapped in a betal leaf) those days, mainly to hang out with the guy I was interested in. I really wanted to quit smoking, but didn’t want to lose the opportunity. One day, as I entered the ashram, Maharajji started up with me about smoking beedies. He said he caught me red-handed. He said he was the CID [the Indian CIA] of the heart. Stop! Then he called me over to sit in front of him and put his feet in my lap and held my hand. I gave away my pack of beedies. After lunch, Maharajji called me over to congratulate me on not smoking beedies anymore. Instant reinforcement! And then proceeded to marry me to the guy.

Yet, year after year, I find ways to hide. I’ve hidden from relationships under too many layers of fat. I’ve hidden from myself by getting wasted and watching TV instead of doing my creative work. I’ve hidden from my own needs by constantly caretaking others. Even knowing that the god/guru part of me knows my heart’s desires, I foolishly try to hide.

From what? Love?

It takes an immense amount of courage to live in love, in truth, in openness. Even though I asked Maharajji for a pure heart and mind and for faith, I guess I forgot to ask for courage. Back then, I didn’t know how much I would need it.

10 Responses to “The CID of the Heart”

  • Kim Clark Says:

    Ah, yes, wasted time. Why do I do it? Am I hiding? I like me and what I want/need to do and be (I think). Why is there ever a minute that I don’t do it? I think I’m afraid and don’t know what I’m afraid of. All the thoughts I’m not supposed to have. And guess what, if I just be me and serve my life/those around me with love those thoughts go away – until they come back.

  • Jonathan_Anderson Says:

    It sure does take courage to live in Love and to realize, for real realize, that you cannot hide from yourself–from God. I tell people all the time that, “you can only pull the wool over your own eyes for so long . . .”

    Funny how I still try to pull the wool over my own eyes. I feel very connected to your post for far to many reasons to list, but thank you for putting all of that into words.


  • Carin Channing Says:

    I love this post and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. A funny thing is happening. I’m at work and was on hold trying to connect with an insurance company on the phone. Typically I get right to the person I’m calling, but this time three different people – not the one I’m aiming for – have come to the phone and transferred me to the “wrong” place. All this has given me the opening to read your wonderful post and to comment.

    Like Jon said, above, I feel connected to many points here as well. I adore your straight-forward sharing. This has been one of the greatest gifts that this community (Ram Dass, this team, et al) has shared: the plain old juicy yummy chillum and biddie-smoking, tv-watching, fantasizing, stinky-thought-thinking, loving, loving, loving, giggling, soothing, caring, getting, winking of this whole ridiculous trip.

    My gratitude goes to Maharaji for his generosity in letting you know that he knew everything and for you and RD and the others for sharing those stories with us. The chicken always sees. It’s potent stuff.

    Thanks for being who you are.

  • Carin Channing Says:

    On another note, I started to look at my copy of Be Love Now that came in the mail yesterday. I had a great idea: what if we all keep blogging on that book too? :) :) :) Yeah, I’m attached. xoxo

  • Pedro Gonzales Says:

    Have always been moved (if not perhaps a little envious) on how Ram Das was affected so deeply by this mentor. The impact of the mentor on the mentoree inspires. Of course–I’ve always loved Ram Das’ raw honesty.

  • Julie Retersdorf Says:

    Courage, – It hurts to say, I didn’t know all I had to do is ask?

  • Maria CS Gabelberger Says:

    You are so courageous – writing for all of us, out in the open – facing the fame/shame dilemna, not hiding at all. Thank you for your Loving Vulnerable Strong Courage! Thank you thank you!

  • mmaddie Says:

    thank you Parvati, …. gosh… I have always believed that I am so great at hiding, what is it that I think I’m hiding so well, and what do I accomplish with this feat… loved reading your openness, loved your sharing of Maharaji’s gentleness. Much gentleness to you.

  • Melissa_Duncan Says:

    Parvati, I love your stories and pictures so much. This was a beautiful, honest, touching post. Thank you for this. It wrapped itself around my heart.

  • Radha Baum Says:

    Parvati, thank you, as your intimate writing brings back so many memories. One day i too tried to hide, overwhelmed, not wanting to see Maharajji (unimaginable now). Yet my decision not to go to Kenchi felt so uncomfortable. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, after all, isn’t this what I wanted and longed for, to be at the feet of my Guru?

    Krishna Das seemed to solve my dilemma by explaining, “It’s the Love. His Love is so great that sometimes it’s hard to bare.”

    I thought I wanted that Love every moment. However, I didn’t know such Love shines everywhere with no discrimination. It pierces deeply, exposing the fears, negativity, lack of self worth, and those dark places I didn’t want to look at. Maharajji didn’t care, He continued to giggle and Love abashedly! It takes courage to receive this kind of Love.

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