Resources of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition

The Mountain Cottage

It was fall in the Kathmandu mountain ashram of my master, Swami Rama. Swamiji had described to me the garden pattern he wanted in the compound and I was in the process of laying it out on paper and then to the ground. The compound overlooked the cliff he had constructed against the mountain to increase the level ground of the ashram by nearly a third. Like the bow of a gigantic ship, it jutted out over the steep Kathmandu valley hills leading to the majestic Himalayas. With string and stick in hand, my junior high school geometry was serving the master well. Partly through the work, Gurudeva walked past me, surveyed the work and muttered some appreciation under his breath. He stood on the port side of the compound and looked off into extended space. I joined him at his side quietly obeying being drawn into his physical presence. His look was far away flattened against a focus in open space.

He raised his right hand and pointed into the distance and said, "Achal, there is your cottage."

"Where Swamiji?" I asked

He replied, "There, on the side of the mountain."

Looking to see what could be on the hillside, I saw no cottage. Actually, no mountain either, the foggy gray afternoon. I turned to my master, remembering the first trip to India with him. We had this very same exchange on our way up to Masoori. I remembered the picture at home on my wall that was an exact replica of a decade earlier, only I was on his left. The picture then, like now, showed him pointing and me straining to see. It is only now I realize he is seeing something I have yet to see in our future.

We stood there in silence. He turned, looked at me and I saw him reorient his focus. With a mild shift of his head, the depth of his gaze changed and he said to himself, "I forget that he cannot see."

He said to me, not fully returned, "This cottage is yours. You will be there."

He turned and crossed the compound. I picked up stick and string and resumed drawing his garden in the dirt.