We grew up with Religion being downplayed as a human foible. An addiction, that was to many a sign of weakness – whereas in other countries, not to go into names, Religion still held the higher ground. So, what is it that turns us into herd animals, chasing wildly around the park?
I was in Liverpool in the early seventies, a time when their footie team was creaming everyone in sight. It didn’t touch me then, and it certainly doesn’t do it now . . . but there are large sways of folk for whom the winter traipse to the terraces is the highlight of their week. And that is those that frothed themselves over the football; when I was younger there was the other element too: the guys who went for the booze and a chance to attack the other team’s supporters. Maybe not always physical, but the insults hurled, the excessive gesturing and the heady intoxication when their team scored or put their opposition to fright.
My story, my book, tells of an aspiration, the search for a condition that quickly had nothing in common with the intoxicated highs of my youth and surely a revulsion for this crowd madness. The original attraction to the ‘underground’ drug culture was diversion, a rebellious exploration of something different. And, after a few years of this and that, it became a distraction only. The spectator cults, the booze culture, craving an identity manoeuvres – I grew away from them and can now feel only estrangement from all this.
Sport, religion, sub-culture groupings, they all seem to be society’s way of undermining the individual’s ability to achieve that delightful state of inner unity, humility and personal joy. John Lennon’s song comes back to me –“ . . a working class hero is something to be . . “ and l can’t help feeling that he short changed himself a tad. Maybe he was winding down at the time.
Ok, enough chatter. When I met Sri Ram Chandra ji of Shahjahanpur, and felt his presence, his light and warmth, there was no going back. No synthetic stimulants, no hysterical groupism, no socialized contentment, no place to be except on the road towards a type of freedom that does seem to be a bit out of favour in this day and age. The predictable patterns, the stereotyped behaviours, repetition, repetition, repetition. If we don’t move forwards, we die. We blow ourselves up, or we destroy the planet, overpopulate and denude its resources. We have to as the colloquial saying goes: “we have to grow a pair” and step forwards towards the light.