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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ocean in a Teacup ch 4 pp 411-416

Ocean in a Teacup --- Ray Houserman
Chapter 44 pp 411-416

Inevitably each returnee from Satsang, Deoghar to Satsang, New york had a new story of Bapun. The ambivalent feeling toward him were apparent from the comments; … he’s beautiful and intelligent, but when he’s quarrelling with his sister it’s hard to imagine him being Thakur….” Or “…. I was feeling very lonely and depressed one day and stopped in Rangan Villa. Bapun ran over and grabs my hand as if he understood, and somehow when I picked him up, I didn’t feel alone any more …”

In July, 1976, through the influence of Dr. Richard Green, it was arranged at Long Island Jewish Hospital for the Patent Ductus Arterious operation. Bapun, Kazal, Chotto Ma along with Kapur and myself arrived in New York in mid-July. His stay in the Satsang House before and after the operation was a confusing adventure.

He arrived during the viewing of the Olympics on TV. He had a persistent interest in turning off the TV while 15 or 20 people were viewing.

“Bapun!” I tried to be loving but firm, “don’t touch the TV.” He glanced at me and then slid closer to it. “Click”. The set went dark as our potential divinity’s image began to tarnish. He had reached out and flicked it off before anyone could move.

‘Bauuun!’ The threat and tension in my voice were obvious. The group stirred restlessly. He was losin status rapidly. “Leave it alone!” I spat out the words as I returned to my seat rather surprised how quickly one’s faith could collapse.

“Click.” It was dark again. “Dammit , Baput!” I found myself yelling as I jumped up. “Why the hell don’t you listen! Now, DON’T turn it off!”

“Why?” The question was out before I reached my seat.

“Because it’ll break, that’s why!”

“So what?”

“Because we’re poor and can’t afford a new one!” … a touch of the martyrs entered my voice and I pointed to Thakur’s picture: “That’s why we love Thakur! He had compassion for ordinary people … helped them; sympathized … just look at him. I he happy?”

“He’s sad.” Bapun commented matter-of-factly. …”Do you you know why he’s sad?” I queried.

“Because Bapun’s a naughty boy.” Came his answer.

“Right!” I sat back satisfied. I’d worn the battle between discipline and divinity.

“How to make him happy?” The boy wasn’t finished. But I wasn’t to be out-flanked. “By making everybody here happy and then not disturbing them while they watch the Olympics.”

He immediately got up, climbed in the lap of each person in turn, put his arms around their neck, hugged some and kissed others. One by one each face lit up with a smile. He came and sat down beside me and appeared to be intently watching the finals of the 200 meter freestyle. I felt him put his arm on my leg. “Offering friendship.” I thought comfortably and glanced down at him. His huge dark eyes looked up at me with a twinkle … or was it teasing? Was this boy only toying with me?

When Dr. Green, who was our guardian angel through the whole experience, invited Bapun to his home in Sands Point after his discharge, he asked Bapun if he could swim. To Dick’s amazement the boy immediately gave an exuberant and remarkably accurate demonstration of the free-style he’s witnessed on TV ten days earlier. “His brain is like a dry sponge.” Don Booth, the American Satsang president, observed, “He imitates anything he sees from Superman to Ernie, the marionette with incredible accuracy.

At one moment he’d tickle the fith of the believer with an uncanny perception or extraordinary demonstration of love. At the next moment, he’d trample on that faith by teasing the seeing eye dog of Marsha Stark or tipping over the cradle with Erin Gordon asleep in it. Contradictory and controversial, considerate and thoughtless, Bapun was a growing and intriguing enigma.

There were few dry eyes in the large group from American Satsang that came to Kennedy Airport to bid farewell to him, his father and his grandmother. The question remained; “Was he or wasn’t he?” Christine Jacobsen, a kindergarten teacher had her own solution; “Who cares whether he’s Thakur or not? He’s the most affectionate, intelligent and enjoyable boy, I’ve ever seen and I love him! That’s enough for me!”

At the end of 1976, the long planned, oft-postponed trip to Inda so my my brother could visit Thakur finally took place. But, instead of Thakur, Bob visited Bor’da, Kazal, Asoke, Ajay, Kapur Sudhir and the Satsang community about which he had heard so much for so long. His visit was a short and he made side trips to Kashmir, Delhi and Agra. He had only complaint: Such a trip across cultures requires at least a month in order to meaningfully assimilate the experience.

Perhaps his most enjoyable period was the time spent with Asoke, matching wits, comparing problems and perceptions:

“Did you ever observe,” Bob commented one day in the course of their discussions, “that you have here some people who are arrogant, fanatic and isolated and others who are just the opposite?”

“Yes,” Asoke agreed, “and do you know why?”

Bob settled back in his chair near the Philanthropy Office, “Alright, you tell me.”

“Thakur emphasized nurture according to nature.When it is done, the person feels he or she is most important person in the world to the nurturer. Well, Thakur did this so perfectly, we all thought we actually were the most vital person in the world to him. When he left; we suddenly realized we had been basking in that felling and had neglected to make him the most important.

“Now, two types of reactions occurred: some started re-ordering their priorities to give him primacy, while others gegan re-arranging their won and others’ stories to try to keep themselves the most prominent. The first group developed humility, compassion, courage and generated the spirit of Thakur. The second group developed an arrogance, narrowness and their fanaticism spread a sect of Thakur ---“

“… I suppose you realize.” Bob interrupted, “that it’s the first group that creates everything.” Asoke nodded and they lapsed into silence for several moments. Finally, Bob said, “You should come to America : it might be as enjoyable for you as my coming to India has been for me …” he paused and there was a twinkle in his eye, “… and I suppose you know, we can use Thakurs’ spirit a lot more that we need another sect …” Bob got up to live. Asoke smiled and said “You must come back here again, too,” And with that delicate finesse that was so characteristic of this grand son of Thakur said, “We too can always use more of the spirit of Thakur …”

I saw Bob at Dum Dum Airport in Calcutta and returned to Deoghar. After competing the editing of this book, I stopped in to see bapun on my way to Calcutta. As I drank the tea his mother offered me, I told her about this book: that I was re-printing and bringing it up-to-date .. how it was divided into four parts : The Roots about Thakur’s childhood and the thrashings from his mother ; the Branches when he built up the Satsang movement, the Foliage that tells how Satsang spread …. Now a fourth poart call the Fruit was being added telling of Thakur’s departure, the roles of Bor’da, Kazal and Bapun.

“…please don’t say much about Bapun being Thakur,” she interrupted, “wait until he grows up and proves himself. Now, let him live his childhood normally.” There was the appeal of every Mother in her eyes.

“Do you think it is possible?” I asked. It didn’t seem the place for misleading sentiment. “Thakur started all this himself many years ago. If he hadn’t said it so often to so many, it might have been possible. But now .. I’m afraid the die is cast…”

I pointed out the window of Rangan Villa where an elderly disciple of Thakur was standing in the road barefooted with folded hands and bowed head. “Look, they even bow down from out there because they think he’s in here somewhere.”

I finished my tea and stood up. “I can understand how you feel, but it looks like the options are gone. There’s no going back. He either becomes Thakur or very much like him, or ends up with major psychological problems later …”

Bapun’s mother sighed. “Well, he’s certainly very naughty now a days, I have to spank him so often …” then polaintively she added, “… I just hope he studies …”

“I’m sure he will.” I said and turned to leave. As I walked out of the room, Bapun now six years old, growing rapidly with a healthy color since the operation, came running in he house. His pants and shirt were covered in mud.

“Uncle Haju,” he said to me as he ran into his mother, “come back soon…”

I walked out of the house and heard his mothers’ voice grow louder L: Bapun ! You’ve gotten all your clean clothes muddy again….”


Previous posts
Ocean in a Teacup – Ray Houserman IIIrd edition links

Chapters 1-35

Chapter 36 pp 348-360

Chapter 37

chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41 

Chapter 42 

Chapter 43

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