I haven’t been able to rest
my mind for weeks,
said the man
I keep thinking
about a problem
Thoughts occupy my brain constantly
They’re torturing me
I’m trapped
in the habit
of thinking about the problem,
lost in memories
of the past
and fantasies
about how the problem might be resolved
in the future

There is a way
to regain control of your mind,
said his friend
Today is Thursday
Stop thinking about the problem
until next Thursday
And every time you realize
that you are thinking about this problem,
ask yourself what day it is,
and if it is not yet Thursday,
stop giving energy to those thoughts,
don’t entertain them
Then when it is Thursday again,
feel free to think about the problem

I’ll give it a try
Thank you

And so his friend left
and the man began to think
about the problem

♫ ♫ ♫

 I’m thinking about the problem,
the man realized,
and so quickly he stopped
giving it his attention

A minute or two passed
and then he began thinking
about the problem again

And so it continued
throughout the day
and into the night:
The man would think about the problem for a while,
eventually realize what he was doing
and then stop thinking
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

Friday came and went,
Saturday too,
and with each passing day
the number of thoughts
related to the problem
had become so few
and far between
that they commanded little attention

 Finally it was Thursday again
and the man was feeling well and rested
Wednesday had passed
with barely a thought
about the problem
passing through his mind

He considered giving some thought to it,
but then decided there was no need
and to wait
until the following Thursday
before thinking about it again

♫ ♫ ♫

night ride to hanoi

Night ride to Hanoi

 The sun was setting
and the dragonflies and bats
were out catching dinner
as the two friends approached the village 

It’s the blue house on the right 

They pulled up in front of the house,
got off their bikes
and greeted the beekeeper

They’re all back now,
he said
as he closed the door to the hive

 Thank you
We’ll take good care of them 

The men strapped the beehive
onto the back of one of the Minsks,
paid the beekeeper and said goodbye
and then began
the return journey to Hanoi 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

It began to rain
soon after the men left the village

They had already covered the hive
with a raincoat
before leaving the village,
so they stopped only for a moment
to put on their rain gear 

The moon had risen
and the stars were beginning
to show themselves
The men got back on their bikes
and continued on their way 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

The rain fell like a waterfall
and soon the road was flooded,
so the men kept to the center,
where it was not as deep 

The rain continued to fall,
and as they were passing through a small town
they came upon an especially long and deep channel
in the road

Think we can get through? 

It looks pretty deep 

Let’s try 

They put their bikes in gear
and began to cross,
revving the engines along the way
to keep the water out of the exhaust pipes 

The first bike made it across,
but the second one did not

 Drying the spark plug didn’t help,
and the local mechanics were unable
to get the bike going again
before they closed shop for the night 

We could have put your bike
on the roof of a bus,
but the last bus to Hanoi
has already left 

And without our passports
we won’t be able to check in
to a hotel 

Perhaps I could tow your bike
back to Hanoi 

And so Danny tied one end of a rope
to the back of his bike
and the other
to the handlebars of his friend’s 

Stay close
so that nobody tries to drive between us
They won’t be able to see the rope in the dark
And don’t allow too much slack
or your front wheel might get tangled up in it

 And then the two friends
and about ten thousand bees
resumed the trip back,
in the dark
and in the rain,
to Hanoi 

♫ ♫ ♫

ganesh and hanuman

Ganesh and Hanuman

 Morning, Ganesh

 Morning, Hanuman

 Nice lungi

 Kerala’s finest

Green with a purple stripe
A good combination

One of my favorites
Where did you get your kurta?

Women’s Cooperative

 Nice fabric
Nice buttons

Cotton and coconut

They go well together

Like chai and a chillum

Shall we have a chai?

An excellent idea

And a chillum?

Another excellent idea
Did you bring your Italian chillum?

Of course

And so Hanuman went to prepare some chai
while Ganesh prepared a chillum

♫ ♫ ♫

That was a good chillum

And this masala chai is just right
Cardamon, ginger, jaggery and cloves
and something else


Yes, of course
That’s the difference
between a good chai
and a great one

And then
with big smiles on their faces
and a twinkle in their eyes,
Ganesh and Hanuman
continued to enjoy their chai
in silence

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Hanuman took out his drum
and began to play,
and soon Ganesh joined him
on his trumpet

And after a while the neighbors
and other people in the streets
began to dance

♫ ♫ ♫

Where do you usually spend the winter?

They built me a temple for me near Hampi
on top of a cliff
just across the river
I have a great view of the ruins
and some of the locals make music for me
It gets pretty hot in the early summer,
so I often come up here for a few months

I winter in Kerala
I’ve got a small temple in the jungle
You should come visit

I will

And invite Parvati and Gayatri to come with you
if you meet them along the way


And then the two friends
parted ways
as Ganesh got on his Enfield
and rode away

♫ ♫ ♫

the cousin

The cousin

I’ve got a big problem
My cousin just called
and he’s in Manali with his family
I’m going down to see them now,
and I’ll have to invite them here
to see our café
Hopefully they won’t come
I’m going to tell them that I’d love
for them to come,
but I would hate for them to get stuck
in a traffic jam for two hours
If, however, they decide to come,
I’ll call and let you know
that it’s time to stop smoking
anything other than tobacco
And don’t talk to me about charas and chillums
while they’re here

Dude, when your family comes
I’ll ask you if I can borrow your chillum again

Nooo, Dude
They’ll kill me
I’m not the first sikh in the family
to cut my hair and stop wearing a turban,
but nobody knows that I smoke chillum

Hey, Mandeep
I’ll go home and get my t-shirt with the hemp leaf

And what if Kailash comes back
to pick up his weed?

And what about Sheena?
She might come and sit on your lap
and ask you to smoke a chillum with her

Dude, this is not a joke
Rohit, you’re banned from the café
while my family is here
Guys, make sure you tie him up
or handcuff him somewhere
And someone will need to stand guard
at the bottom of the stairs
to prevent Sheena from coming up
Do whatever is necessary
Take her out for ice cream or something
If she insists on trying to get past you,
tell her you’ve got a tola of Manala,
first rub
and that you’d like to give her half
Take her to your place
and find a way to keep her occupied

Okay, Mandeep
Just give us a call as soon as you know,
or send a text

Mandeep left
and Rohit said,
Let’s smoke a chillum

Are you going to go get that t-shirt?

No, man
We’ve got be cool for Mandeep’s family
Can’t get him in trouble

Does anyone have Sheena’s number?
Maybe one of us could invite her
to go eat ice cream or something

 I don’t have it

 Me either

One of us’ll have to guard the entrance then

I’ll do it

And I’ll take Rohit home
and tie him up

Let’s smoke that chillum

And so Anji and the guys smoked
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

He sent a text
They’re on their way

Put out the joints
Empty and clean the ashtrays
No more talk about drugs
until after the family leaves
Rohit, go home
Sai, make sure he gets there
and tie him up,
then get back here as soon as you can
Domanique, you stand guard at the bottom of the stairs
If Kailash comes,
tell him not to talk about his weed,
and if Sheena comes,
take her somewhere else,
offer her an Italian clay chillum
I’ll pay you back

Okay, Joy

Let’s go, Rohit

And so Rohit and Sai took off
and Domanique went down the stairs
to stand guard
Shantanu cleaned the ashtrays
and the others put away their chillums
Krishna went to get
some flowers for the tables,
and Anji began to prepare
some Punjabi dishes

♫ ♫ ♫

A chillum baba arrived
and tried to go up the stairs

I’m sorry, Baba
said Dominique
as he blocked the way
Mandeep cannot smoke with you today,
but he invites you to come back tomorrow
to smoke his Italian chillum

May I speak with him?

he’s not here at the moment

I’ll just have a chai
and then come back tomorrow

the café has just closed for the day
We’re not serving chai right now

A glass of water would be fine

The pump is off because the power went out

I’ll drink back at the temple

And then the chillum baba moved on

♫ ♫ ♫

They’re coming,
whispered Dominique
from his post at the bottom of the stairs

The others tried not to laugh
and took their places
at the tables

Guys, this is my cousin
and his family

Introductions were made
and the family was seated,
and soon delicious Punjabi food
covered the table
and conversation flowed

The weather is great this time of year

Yeah, it’s a good time to be here

Except for all the family tourists
that come and cause traffic jams

And defile the temple

Sorry, Mandeep

Maybe they didn’t hear you,
whispered Sai

And everybody acted
as if nothing had been heard,
except for Jerome,
who couldn’t stop giggling

♫ ♫ ♫

Jerome went into the bathroom
and tried to stop giggling,
and then a shout was heard from below,
Plan B!

Sheena had pushed her way past Dominique
and was running up the stairs
with Dominique close behind her

Mandeep quickly went up the passage to the roof,
just as Sheena got to the top of stairs
Sai tried to intercept her
but Sheena ducked and went under his arm and shouted,
Hey, Mandeep,
can I borrow your chill . . .

Jerome acted quickly
and began to play Shanti Song,
and before Sheena could finish her sentence,
She had turned into Shanti
and tuned in to the local vibe

♫ ♫ ♫

Good thinking, Jerome
said Sai after the family had left
and Rohit had returned

Yeah, man,
you saved me
Let’s smoke a chillum

And so Mandeep prepared
his finest chillum
and offered it to Jerome to boom

And then the friends smoked
in peace and silence

shanti space

Shanti Space

Good morning, Krishna

Good morning, Shantanu

What kind of soup are you making today?

Tomato carrot pumpkin,
onion, garlic, potato,
mint, cilantro, basil,
jaggery, salt, pepper, ginger
and love

My favorite

Is Manav here?

He’s up on the roof
mountain watching

Nice music

Debashis Bhattacharya
Hindustani Slide

Master of the Indian slide guitar

The right music
for the moment

I’ll be on the roof

And then Shantanu walked up the stairs,
sat down at a small table,
took out his sketchbook
and continued a drawing
he had begun the day before

♫ ♫ ♫

Shantanu liked to draw
the people he encountered at Shanti Space
and everywhere else he went

Mountain watching
is something I never tire of

It can be habit forming

A good habit

A healthy habit

Have you finished your drawing?

I have

Let’s have a chai

And so Shantanu and Manav
went downstairs
and asked for some chai

How much milk would you like?

Just a little

I’d like about half a glass

Ginger and cardamon?

Yes, please


A little

And then Krishna went to the kitchen
to prepare the chai

♫ ♫ ♫

Krishna served the chai
and a minute later came back and asked,
How’s the chai?

Just right

Right on the edge

Just enough sugar to offer a subtle presence

But not so much as to mask the other flavors

And the milk?

Just as I like it

Me too

Is there any soup left?

Enough for two

I’ll have a bowl

Me too

And so Krishna went back to the kitchen
to heat up the soup
while Shantanu showed Manav
some of his drawings

♫ ♫ ♫

They’re not all complete
Sometimes people leave
before I finish
and I’m left with a partial impression
of how they were

Which allows us to imagine

The soup arrived,
and the men began to eat

Salt and pepper?

I’d like a little pepper

I like mine just as it is

So Krishna brought out the pepper,
and then the men continued to eat
in silence

♫ ♫ ♫

There’s that flute again

I wonder where it’s coming from

Yesterday I heard it when I was on the roof
I looked around
but did not see anyone

A hidden musician

A hidden master

Someone who does not want to become famous

That soup was good

Sure was

Almost as good as yesterday’s

Or perhaps it was a bit better


Could I have a lemon tea?

I’d like one too

With sugar
or without?

Save me the trouble
and put in a bit of sugar for me

Just a little?

Just enough to be noticed

A mint leaf?

A mint leaf would be nice

And so Krishna went to prepare the tea,
and there was a subtle shift in the vibe
at Shanti Space
as the flute continued
and the men fell silent

♫ ♫ ♫

Manav, chillum?
offered Mandeep

A chillum would be great

And so Manav
went into the Chillum Room,
joined chillum circle
and sat down

Rohit prepared the chillum
and Mandeep boomed it

With flowers
in the center of the circle
and soft cushions on the floor,
the men smoked in comfort
and beauty

♫ ♫ ♫

After the chillum,
Manav returned to the terrace
to drink his lemon tea

How’s the tea?
asked Krishna

A very little bit of sugar
could be added

I agree
about 18 granules

And so Krishna added a bit of sugar
to each of their cups
and to his own,
and then the men continued to drink
their tea

♫ ♫ ♫

That extra bit of sugar
was just what the tea needed

And that mint leaf was a nice touch

Really nice
Next time I’d like try two leaves

Me too

Manav, chillum?
offered Mandeep again

An excellent idea

And so Manav returned
to the chillum circle
and smoked
his second chillum of the day,
and Shantanu began to draw

♫ ♫ ♫

Do you mind
if I bring a bit of my own food
to supplement
what you offer here?
asked Shekel

No problem

And may I keep some things in the fridge?


And so Shekel prepared his breakfast,
put his cheese in the fridge
and ordered a chai

A lot of milk,
no sugar,
a bit of cardamon
and some ginger, right?

That’s how I like it

And so Krishna prepared
a chai for Shekel

♫ ♫ ♫

May I have a chai, please?
asked Dominique

How would you like it?

Let’s prepare it together
And let’s add the ginger only at the very end


And so Krishna and Dominique
prepared a chai together
just the way Dominique likes it

 ♫ ♫ ♫

putting in the ginger
at the very end
was an excellent idea,
said Krishna

It’s the way it should be done

May I have black tea, please?
asked Abhi

Would you like a bit of lemon in it?

That would be nice


Just a little

A mint leaf?


And so Krishna went
to prepare another tea

♫ ♫ ♫

Krishna, chillum?
offered Mandeep

And so Krishna went into the Chillum Room
for the third chillum of the day

As Sai prepared the chillum
Shantanu came in and requested a chai

How would you like it?

However it comes,
but after the chillum
There’s no hurry

Manav then boomed then chillum,
and around it went
to the right

♫ ♫ ♫

That was a good chillum

The best so far today

And so it continued
throughout the day,
chai and chillums,
conversation and silence,
music and more

♫ ♫ ♫

May I have one more chai?
asked Shantanu


I see that you are tired
Shall I prepare it myself?

That would be great
Thank you

And so Shantanu went into the kitchen
and prepared his chai

♫ ♫ ♫

May I pay in tolas?

We accept Manala Cream and Lapas Jungla
What did you have?

A milk chai,
a black tea with lemon
and a soup

That’ll be ninety rupees

And yesterday I had
two bowls of soup,
a lemon nana
and a milk coffee

So ninety and one seventy
is two sixty,
or about a gram of charas
Only half a gram if it’s first rub

First rub it is,
my sister made this last year

And so Manav paid his tab,
Shantanu continued to draw
and Dominique returned
to the chillum circle

 ♫ ♫ ♫

the chillum museum

The Chillum Museum

Good morning, Sai

Hi, Mandeep

There’s a new exhibit
at the Chillum Museum
Dominique is in town for a month
and he brought his collection with him

Let’s go have a look

Let’s smoke a chillum first

Good idea

And so they prepared and smoked
their first chillum of the day

♫ ♫ ♫

How much does it cost to get in?

Half a tola for both of you
and anyone else you feel like inviting
to join you

Do you accept ganja?

No, sir
Here at the Chillum Museum we only smoke charas


Mandeep took out his charas pouch
and gave the curator half a tola

Thank you, sir
Enjoy your time
at the Chillum Museum

Mandeep and Sai went in
and began to walk around

♫ ♫ ♫

look at this one!

Italian clay

And check this one out
It’s got a carving of Shiva

What a beauty

This one over here
was made by Marco

And this one used to belong to
Maharaj Mahinder of Kulu


Here is a three-flower chillum!

And over here is five-flower one!

Which chillum shall we choose?

How about the one that Marco made?

That’s a really nice one

They’re all really nice

They sure are
Okay, let’s use the one Marco made

And so Mandeep and Sai
made their way
to the Chill Out Room

♫ ♫ ♫

We only use Malana Cream
with this chillum,
said the curator

That’s fine with us

The curator then prepared
their second chillum of the day

♫ ♫ ♫

Sai, please boom the chillum

Sai took the chillum,
said Boom Shiva
and then smoked
with Mandeep
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

That was a good chillum

An excellent chillum

I love interactive museums

they’re great,
especially this one

Let’s smoke another chillum

Good idea

And so the curator prepared
another chillum

 Would you like to join us?
asked Mandeep

I’d love to

Please boom the chillum

And so the curator boomed the chillum
and then smoked
with Sai and Mandeep
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

element of chance

Element of Chance

shall we have a game?
asked Joy

if we can add
an element of chance,
a few additional pieces and rules

Tell me more

Before taking a turn,
a player must roll a six-sided die
that has two green, two blue and two purple sides


The player then chooses a wooden tile from a cloth bag
On each tile is written the name
of one of the sixty-four squares on the chess board,
for example B5
On the chosen square the player then places
either the green, the blue or the purple triangle,
depending on the roll of the die
If the square is already occupied,
the triangle is placed under the chess piece

What can these triangles do?
asked Joy

They have special powers

Shantanu then took out the bag of tiles,
the die
and three wooden triangles

The green triangle allows
the piece under which it is located
to move twice,
but the player is not required
to move that piece
nor is the player required
to move it twice
If the player wishes
to move the piece twice
and moves it to the square with the blue triangle
on the way to its final destination,
then either the second move option is forfeited
or the blue triangle will not effect the piece
I think both options are nice,
and the players can choose which rule applies
before the game begins


The blue triangle prevents the piece it is under
from moving at all

Like a magnet

The purple triangle requires the piece it is under to be moved
If that piece cannot be moved,
then the nearest piece must be moved
If two or more pieces are equally distant
from the piece under which the triangle is located,
then the player may choose
which one to move

I really like the purple triangle

Each triangle stays where it is
and remains in effect on that square
until its color is again chosen by the roll of the die
and it is moved to another square

Those are some pretty cool rules, bro

When two triangles occupy the same square,
the one that most recently arrived
is placed on top of the other and goes into effect
The one on the bottom remains inactive
until either it
or the triangle on top
is moved


If a player has a green triangle under one of his pieces
and a purple one under another,
he must move the piece that is on the purple one

Right on
Let’s play

And so the men set up the chessboard,
and then they played
Element of Chance

♫ ♫ ♫

These additional rules
are destroying my strategy

 They level the field

Joy looked at the board
and realized that for the first time in ages
he would have to lay his king down

♫ ♫ ♫

the wedding dinner

The wedding dinner

The wedding band began to play
their horns and drums
and to walk from the temple square to the bride’s home
with half the village trailing behind,
singing and dancing

♫ ♫ ♫

I’m a bit hungry,
and I don’t feel like cooking

Shall we eat at the wedding again tonight?

We should definitely do that
The food last night was great
Even if I were not hungry,
I’d go back there to eat

Seven courses of pure delight

That first dish was delicious

the sweet dish is always great

The third curry was great too,
the light yellow one

that one was my favorite

Mine too
And the last one was pretty good too
What a surprise

horseradish curry done just right,
not too strong,
not too subtle

It was perfect,
and it was the last thing I expected
I didn’t even know horseradish curry existed

Me either

That’s the nice things about these weddings:
You never know what you’re going to be served
Each course that arrives
is a complete surprise


And so the Jerome and Kailash
made their way
over to the bride’s home

♫ ♫ ♫

We’re just in time for the last seating

Look at those brass cauldrons!
They’re enormous

Biggest I’ve ever seen

The boys took a seat on the ground
among the rest of the villagers
who had come to eat
and waited
for the feast to begin

And it wasn’t long
before the first course arrived

Sweet rice
It doesn’t get better than this

And then the next

This coconut curry is fantastic

And so it continued
until the seventh course had been served

What a meal

it was really good

We should come back tomorrow

I think today was the last day of the wedding
I saw the groom carrying the bride away
on his back this afternoon,
to his village
and to another party there

Oh, well
I guess we can cook for ourselves for a few days

Until the next wedding


I hear the baker’s daughter is getting married next week

I remember when his first daughter got married
Those sweet pastries they served were divine

they were pretty good

Look, everybody’s getting up
It’s time to go

What do you feel like doing?

Let’s go to The Chillum Den

Good idea

And so off they went,
Jerome and Kailash,
to The Chillum Den
to make music
and listen beautifully

♫ ♫ ♫

shanti temple

Shanti Temple 

At Shanti Temple
the Temple Music Ensemble
has been playing non-stop
since the moment the temple was completed
three thousand years ago 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Twenty-one musicians play,
at least three at any given time,
and at least once a day
all twenty-one
play together 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Shanti music,
a shanti vibe,
a place to simply be
and to listen beautifully 

♫ ♫ ♫

shanti song

Shanti Song 

Jerome began to play
the introduction to Shanti Song,
and soon after Sheena realized
that she had not been Shanti
for a while 

She sat down,
stopped talking
and observed
while Jerome sang:

Shanti, Shanti
have you gone? 

The beauty
of your silent presence
has been missing
for too long 

Let us feel the power
of your peaceful vibe

Take off your make-up
and let your true beauty shine 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Thank you, Jerome,
for reminding me again
to be Shanti 

Welcome back, Shanti
It’s good to see you again
In honor of your return,
please boom the chillum 

So Shanti took the offered chillum,
smoked with her friends
and remained Shanti
for a while 

♫ ♫ ♫

traveling with a piano

Traveling with a piano

Pierre traveled
with his grand piano
everywhere he went

One morning he felt
it was time for a change of scene,
so he loaded his piano
onto its trailer,
hitched the trailer to his Enfield
and rode off

♫ ♫ ♫

I hear Kodai is nice
this time of year,
a friend had said the day before

Pierre had been wanting to spend
some time there for a while,
so when he got to the first junction,
he took the turn to the left
and headed towards the land of chocolate
and mushrooms

♫ ♫ ♫

Pink and yellow lantana
and morning glory
lined the way
up to Kodaikanal

The Enfield performed well,
and by late afternoon Pierre and his piano
had arrived

He made his way down
to Shanti Farm,
greeted his old friend,
unloaded his piano
and had a bath in a stream

♫ ♫ ♫

It’s beautiful here, Neville

And you came at just the right time
Mushrooms are growing

Fresh is best

Shall we smoke a chillum?

I’d love to

And so Neville prepared a chillum,
and then they smoked
in silence
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

Some music would be nice

I’ll tune my piano

And so Pierre tuned the piano,
and then he began to play
Lullaby for Neville

♫ ♫ ♫

Neville had fallen asleep
by the time Pierre stopped playing

Pierre lay a blanket
on top of his friend
and then went to his room
and sat quietly
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

By five o’clock the men had risen,
and soon they were on their way
to one of Neville’s
favorite fields

It’s not far
and the walk is nice
If you see a bison,
remain calm,
look it in the eye
and let peace flow
from your heart

♫ ♫ ♫

Here we are
And here are some of our little friends

They’re beautiful

And strong

And then the two friends began
to pick mushrooms
for their trip

♫ ♫ ♫

I’ve got about two-hundred,
said Neville

And I’ve got about a hundred

150 mushrooms
is the perfect dosage

More than that
and we might not remember everything

And taking less would be a waste of mushrooms

Let’s head back to the farm

And so they walked
back to the farm

♫ ♫ ♫

Neville and Pierre
admired the harvest,
divided it into two bowls
and then sat in silence for a while

And then they began to eat

♫ ♫ ♫

After a few hours Pierre got up,
went over to the piano,
and composed a song

♫ ♫ ♫

That was beautiful, Pierre
Thank you

Thank you, Neville,
for listening so beautifully

Let’s have some tea

Yes, let’s have some tea

And so Neville prepared
a pot of tea
as the night slowly turned to day,
and then the friends drank
in peace

♫ ♫ ♫

shanti girl

Shanti Girl

Shanti Girl got up one morning,
meditated for a bit
and then decided to walk into town

Softly she stepped,
as quietly as a Japanese girl,
and mindfully she spoke
with the folk she encountered
along the way

♫ ♫ ♫

Off in the distance
Shanti Girl heard a quarrel,
so she slowly made her way
in that direction

♫ ♫ ♫

Her silent presence
among the quarrelers
had a calming effect on them,
and soon they began to speak
in a gentle tone

And when the conflict
had been resolved,
Shanti Girl continued on her way

♫ ♫ ♫

At a sidewalk tea stall
Shanti Girl noticed
a woman sitting forlornly

Across from the woman she sat down
on a little wooden chair,
took the woman’s hand
and held it
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

Are you Shanti Girl?

but I prefer to be called Shanti

Thank you, Shanti
I’m Anusha
And I’m fine now
Thank you

And so Shanti leaned over
and whispered into the woman’s ear,
May today be the best day of your life
Then she rose
and wandered on down the lane

♫ ♫ ♫

let’s be shanti for a moment,
said Shanti calmly to a man
who was complaining about some drama in his life
There is another way
of looking at things
Let’s remain silent,
close our eyes
and carefully observe
for a little while


And so Shanti and the man
sat quietly,
closed their eyes
and observed
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

You must be Super Shanti

Please, call me Shanti

Thank you, Shanti
I see things more clearly now

Shanti gave the man a hug
and then meandered on down the road

♫ ♫ ♫

An old woman sat crying on a curb,
so Shanti sat down next to her
and held her hand,
and then she began to sing
an evening raga

The old woman stopped crying,
and soon she too
began to sing the evening raga

Everyone nearby
stopped what they were doing
and listened
to the most divine music
they had ever heard before

♫ ♫ ♫

And soon a group of musicians came along
with a sitar, tanpura, tabla
and a slide guitar
They joined Shanti and the old woman,
and played
for a little while

♫ ♫ ♫

The musicians brought
the raga to an end,
and then they continued
on their way

And when they were again alone,
the old woman said,
Thank you, Shanti
The last time I sang,
I was a little girl

You sing well, friend
and beautifully
May you sing every day

And then Shanti ,
humming softly,
flowed on down the road

♫ ♫ ♫

Why worry about so many things?
said Shanti to a man she had found
sitting on a park bench
I haven’t had an emergency
in over twenty years,
and drama has disappeared from my life
Do less,
be mindful
and be compassionate
Your life will take care of itself

Perhaps you’re right, he said
Maybe I could relax a bit more
Thank you, Shanti

You’re welcome
And may tonight be the best night of your life

And yours

And then Shanti got up
and walked on down the path

♫ ♫ ♫

An angry young man
stood outside The Shanti Club

They kicked me out,
he complained

Cool down
Cool the story down,
Shanti replied
See yourself in the show
Detach yourself from your role,
take a step back,
be quiet
and observe what’s going on
inside and out

The young man sat down
and closed his eyes
Shanti placed her hand on his shoulder
and Anger returned
to the form of a seed,
to see if the young man would water it again

♫ ♫ ♫

Shall we go in?
I’m not sure they’ll let me

They will
You’re shanti now


And so into The Shanti Club they went,
and then they danced,
flowing gently with the vibe,
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫



Mikko got up early
because the road ahead was long
and he hoped to arrive
at his friend’s home
before nightfall

He carefully wrapped
a couple bottles of vodka
in his sweater
and placed them in his rucksack,
in case of an emergency,
and then he made his way
to the road

♫ ♫ ♫

Mikko found a nice stone to sit on,
and whenever a car happened along,
he rose
and stuck out his thumb

♫ ♫ ♫

Where are you headed?
asked the driver


Get in

And so Mikko got in
the dark green Wiima

Nice car
I don’t see many of these around anymore
Is it a ’57 or a ’58?


Have you been waiting long?

Ninety-three cars and trucks
passed by
before you stopped

Hitchhiking is hard in Finland

Almost impossible

I’m Vannte


Nice to meet you
Shall we enjoy a bit of silence?

Silence is precious

And so in silence they continued
on down the road

♫ ♫ ♫

Thank you, Vannte
for the ride

Thank you, Mikko,
for your gentle presence

Please enjoy
this incense from India

Goloka Nag Champa
My favorite
Thank you

And then they shook hands
and Mikko got out

Vannte drove off to the left
and Mikko sat down to wait
for his next ride

♫ ♫ ♫

Two-hundred and thirty-three cars passed by,
and then an old Finlandia,
painted the colors of a rainbow,
came to a halt

Hop in

Thanks, guys
Nice ride

That she is
Where’re you heading?


Lappland is cool

Yeah, Lappland is super cool

I’m going to visit a friend
for a few weeks
and to watch the aurora borealis flow


Yeah, man,
the aurora borealis is cool

The driver then lit a joint,
all the guys smoked,
and then they enjoyed the scenery,
and the comfort and beauty of the Finlandia
in silence
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

This is as far as we go
You’re welcome to stay at our place
for as long as you like

Thanks, guys
Perhaps on my way back
I’ll drop by for a visit

Cool, man
May your cookie jar never be empty

May today be the best day of your life

Mikko got out of the car,
gave his new friends a few sticks of incense,
found a nice place to sit
and waited
for a new friend to arrive

♫ ♫ ♫

And it wasn’t long
before a black Korvensuu
drew up next to him

Where are you going?


Get in

You speak Finnish well

I’ve been here a while

And you speak slowly
like we do

Slow is good

Slow is great

I like to drive
at fifty-three
kilometers per hour

Fifty-three is fine
Gives one a chance
to see
and to enjoy
what’s going on nearby


And a 1913 Korvensuu
is an excellent choice
for a slow trip

And so they headed north

♫ ♫ ♫

Thank you very much
for the ride

Thank you
for playing such lovely music
along the way

This my favorite incense from India

Thank you, Mikko

And then,
as the car disappeared,
Mikko found another stone to sit on
while the moon began to rise

♫ ♫ ♫

It doesn’t look
like anyone is going take me
the rest of the way
thought Mikko,
and then he remembered the vodka
that he had packed for emergencies
He took a bottle out
and stuck out his thumb,
and the first vehicle to come along
came to a stop

Nice bike

’43 Ural
Where would you like to go?

To Lappland

Where in Lappland would you like to go?

Mikko gave the man his friend’s address

Get in

Mikko climbed into the sidecar
and off they roared
on the beautiful midnight blue Ural

♫ ♫ ♫

Thank you, brother,
for the ride

Thank you, brother,
for the bottle
and for the incense

Mikko then introduced
his new friend to his old one,
who said,
Would you like to come and watch
the aurora borealis flow
with us?

I’d love to

Let’s have a sauna first

Good idea

And so Mikko and his friends
took a bath in the sauna
and then sat down to drink,
and to watch reindeer roam
and the sky flow

♫ ♫ ♫

the silence between phrases

The silence between phrases

It was getting a bit noisy,
so Jerome took out his guitar
and began to quietly play

♫ ♫ ♫

One by one
the talkers realized
that something else was going on,
and they began to listen

♫ ♫ ♫

A few less waves of sound,
a few less voices striving
to be heard,
and once again
it was possible
to enjoy the space
between words
and the silence between phrases

♫ ♫ ♫

shanti time

Shanti time

Sheena awoke
and decided it was time
for a change

She went down to the Chillum Den
and into the Quiet Sitting Room
and sat
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

The songs of birds
came through the open windows,
and Sheena listened
until she felt she knew each one

And then she got up
and went for a walk

♫ ♫ ♫

The scent of a wild rose
drifted across Sheena’s path,
and so she stopped
and smelled some flowers
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

A trail of ants
winding up and down
the trunk of a Plumeria tree
caught Sheena’s attention,
and so nearby she sat down
and observed
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

would you like to buy some cherries?
asked a cherry walli

They look delicious

Try one

they are delicious!
I’d like half a kilo, please

So the old woman
wrapped some cherries
in a large green leaf

What do I owe you?

Today they’re free
on the condition
that you eat them mindfully

Sheena agreed,
thanked the woman
and continued on her way
down the path
and into a forest

♫ ♫ ♫

Sheena sat down
on a large flat stone
and began to eat the cherries

♫ ♫ ♫

Remembering the film
Rivers and Tides,
Sheena began to gather
twigs, feathers, seeds and stones,
and then she created
an ephemeral work of art

♫ ♫ ♫

A dog appeared
and lay down next to Sheena,
and she then pet him gently
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

The dog got up
and waited
for Sheena to do the same
Then together they walked
back towards the town

♫ ♫ ♫

The dog stopped
in front of a semi-wild home
and lay down in the tall grass
among some wildflowers

Sheena knocked gently
on a small blue door
and it slid out of sight
She walked into the house
and over to a circle
of flickering candles

Would you like to draw?


And so Sheena stepped into the circle
chose some pencils
and began to draw

♫ ♫ ♫

It’s beautiful

Thank you

I’m going to the Chillum Den soon
to make music with some friends
Would you like to come?


And so Sheena
and her friend
walked over to
the Chillum Den

♫ ♫ ♫

Hi, Sheena

Hi, guys

Want to play with us tonight?

I don’t play anything

Would you like to


take the maracas
and shake them gently
like this

Sheena’s friend shook
the maracas
for a few moments,
and then he gave them to her
and she shook them
while her friends played,
and they all made music
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

we have never before experienced you
in such a shanti mood
for such a long time
You have been a pleasure
to be around,
so tonight you are the guest of honor
Please boom the chillum

Sheena took the offered chillum,
said, Boom Shiva, silently
and then boomed the chillum
and smoked
with her friends

♫ ♫ ♫

This is a really nice chillum

Italian clay
I only bring it out
on special occasions

It’s beautiful

And it’s yours

I can’t accept
such a generous gift

We insist
Welcome to the Shanti Club

And then Sheena
and her friends
enjoyed a gentle and quiet night

♫ ♫ ♫

in the shade of shiva

In the shade of Shiva

An argument began
and then anger and sharp words flowed

♫ ♫ ♫

And then one of the men fell silent,
sat down
and turned his head to the right

The other then remembered
that he too had a way
to connect with his true nature

They sat in silence
for a while,
and cooled down
in the shade of Shiva

♫ ♫ ♫

Calmly and respectfully,
the conversation continued

how shall we resolve
the problem?

Perhaps it’s not really such a big problem

Maybe not

I can do this

And I can do that

Problem solved

Shall we have some tea?

An excellent idea

And so the men stepped into
a small tea house
and became friends

♫ ♫ ♫

the gentle tribe

The Gentle Tribe 

Jerome sang
as he wandered around the town,
and after a while he came upon
a Buddha field 

He fell silent,
sat down,
closed his eyes,
turned his head to the right
and reconnected
with his true nature 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

The Buddha got up and left
and then Jerome got up as well
and continued on his way
to The Chillum Den 

Om shanti 

Om shanti 

May your cookie jar never be empty 

May your cookie jar never be empty 

May today be the best day of your life 

May today be the best day of your life 

And so in kind Jerome replied
to all the strangers
who greeted him along the way 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Bon jour, Jerome 

Bon jour 

Have you had your shanti time yet today? 

I sat for about half an hour
a little while ago
The urge to meditate
is impossible to resist
in a Buddha field

Tell me about it
I was late for work the other day
because I came upon one
Got any plans for tonight? 

I’m playing at The Chillum Den later on 

How many songs do you have in your quiver? 

Seven complete ones 


And then the two friends sat down
on a nearby bench
and remained silent
for a while 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Hi, Jerome 

Hey, Samir 

Going to The Chillum Den? 

Want to come sing with us?


And so,
from different places around town,
Jerome and some of his friends,
members of The Gentle Tribe,
made their way,
alone and in pairs,
to the Chillum Den 

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Jerome and his band
tuned their instruments
and soon they were ready to play 

Charsis and ganjaredis,
it is with great pleasure
that I introduce to you tonight
The Gentle Tribe
Enjoy the music,
and may tonight be the best night of your life

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Some of the charsis and ganjaredis sat
while others stood
and a few lay down
The rest of them danced slowly
to the never-ending,
ever-changing rhythm
of The Gentle Tribe 

♫ ♫ ♫

the chillum den

The Chillum Den

On the edge of Charsi Cliff
above the Beas River
sat The Chillum Den

Through a long passageway
carved through the rock
at the top of Charsi Cliff,
Rohit walked

♫ ♫ ♫

Welcome, sir
Good to see you again

 And you, m’lady

 And who are you now, sir?

 I am

And where are you?

Here and now

Welcome back
to The Chillum Den, sir

Thank you, Anji

Please leave all your electronic devices here

Yes, ma’am

Rohit placed his phone and his iPod
in a soundproof drawer
and then made his way through
a short tunnel on the left
to the Tea Room

♫ ♫ ♫

Good evening, sir
Nice to see you again, sir

Good evening, Joy
It’s good to be back

Rohit then walked over
to window overlooking the river below
and sat down

♫ ♫ ♫

What will you have to drink, sir?

A pot of lemon, honey and charas tea
would be most welcome

Yes, sir
An excellent choice, sir

I see you have brought your own chillum today, sir
A beauty she is, sir

Been in the family for three generations
One of the first ones Marco made

The Bently of chillums
And she’s in perfect condtion

A clean chillum is a peace chillum

Respect the chillum

And as the maître d’ walked away,
Rohit continued
to sync with the vibe

♫ ♫ ♫

The tea arrived
and Rohit drank
until the moment came
to choose a room

There is an ensemble from Japan
playing in the Quiet Music Room tonight,
the Room For Laying Down is full at the moment,
the Ganjaredi Room is nearly empty
and the Silent Sitting Room is about half full
with chillum babas

I would like to smoke
in the Silent Sitting Room tonight

A fine choice, sir
The cushions have just been refilled and recovered
with Himachal hemp
laced with the finest of Nepalese embroidery
May this day be the best day of your life, sir

May this day be the best day of your life as well, Joy

Rohit then made his way down
a stone stairway
to the Silent Sitting Room

♫ ♫ ♫

Good evening, bowed the chillum master
maintaining the sacred silence

Good evening, bowed Rohit

He handed his chillum
to the chillum master
and then took a seat in a corner
of the purple, elegant and soft
Silent Sitting Room

And then the chillum ceremony began:
The crusher and the filler
prepared his chillum
with Manala Cream,
first rub,
the best in the Parvati Valley

Rohit said, Boom Shiva,
the chillum master lit a match,
Rohit boomed his chillum
and then he smoked
for a little while

♫ ♫ ♫

The chillum master took away the chillum
and brought it back clean

Rohit closed his eyes,
turned his head to the right
and melded with Shiva
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

The chillum babas sat in a circle
as straight as could be
and fully focused
as they passed their chillum around
with their right hands
to the right

♫ ♫ ♫

Ten rupee Varanasi
or Italian clay,
nothing else is worth a try,
said Mandeep
over in the Ganjaredi Room

Except for homemade by my grandfather

Your grandfather does make a nice chillum, Sai

And Manala Cream
is the charas of choice

Lapas Jungla is not bad

And this Idiki Gold we’re smoking
is pretty good

Kerela’s finest

The chill out dance
is going to begin soon

Let’s smoke one more chillum

Good idea

They signaled to the chillum master,
and his boys came over
to crush and fill

♫ ♫ ♫

A door in the floor
of each of the rooms
opened at nine o’clock
And those who so desired
made their way down
to the Dance Den,
lured by the rhythms
of Indian classical music

♫ ♫ ♫

Hi, Rohit

Hi, guys

Rainbow Turban is DJing tonight


Let’s dance

And so the charsis and ganjaredis danced
the chill out dance
as the rhythms changed
and flowed

♫ ♫ ♫

may today be the best day of your life

May today be the best day of your life

One morning Mandeep got up early
and went on a short walk
through the village

May today be the best day of your life,
said a passing stranger

May today be the best day of your life,
replied Mandeep

What a nice way of greeting they have here,
thought Mandeep to himself
as he continued on his way

♫ ♫ ♫

Hey, Mandeep

Hey, guys

Want to meet Shiva?


Come with us

And so Mandeep and his friends
took a short walk
into in a nearby forest

♫ ♫ ♫

This looks like a nice place
to sit for a while

It’s a great place

Is this where we’re going to meet Shiva?

Shiva is already here

I don’t see him

You will

And then his friend
took a few things out of his bag
and prepared a pipe
with Yopo

♫ ♫ ♫

Mandeep took his medicine,
sat down and closed his eyes
and was immediately transported
to the space of Shiva conciousness

Hello, Mandeep

Hello, Shiva

You are pitch black
and have no face

This cloak lends me the illusion of form
but I wear no mask
I simply am
pure flowing darkness

Yes, I have been here before,
thought Mandeep
I’d like to be able to access
this space
at will

To his left the sun shone brightly,
a world of love and light,
form and sound,
and to the right lay shade,
dark, calm and quiet
Mandeep turned his head to the right

♫ ♫ ♫

This space is always here,
Just sit down, be quiet, close your eyes
and turn to the right

Mandeep tried
going back and forth
a few times,
turning his head to the left
and then back to the right,
and discovered that he could face straight ahead
and maintain his balance
on the edge
of light and darkness

♫ ♫ ♫

Mandeep opened his mouth,
breathed in deeply
and soon he was filled
with invisible prasad

To the left or the right,
it doesn’t really matter
It depends on where the sun lies
Stay centered
on the moment
Be aware
Flow with the Gentle Tribe

♫ ♫ ♫

The gentle and enchanting notes
of a Sansula kalimba
drifted into his realm of perception

Mandeep opened his eyes
and entered the flow of light,
never again to forget
the way home

♫ ♫ ♫

rainbow turban

Rainbow turban

Singh combed his hair well
with the help of his mother,
he folded his new turban,
and then he tied it carefully
so that the seven colors,
violet, indigo, blue,
green, yellow, orange and red
formed a rainbow

And then he went out for a walk

♫ ♫ ♫

Hey, Singh
Cool turban

My grandmother made it
Seven meters of pure hemp


Are you going
to the Rainbow Gathering next week?

I am

See you there
May your cookie jar never be empty

May your cookie jar never be empty

And then,
shining brightly,
Singh continued on his walk

♫ ♫ ♫

Hey, Singh
Nice turban

Yours is pretty cool too
Did you tie-dye it yourself?

I did

Are you ready?

I am

Let’s go

And so Singh and Sai
caught a cab,
a beautiful black and yellow Ambassador
with a dark green strip,
and rode to a friend’s place
in style

♫ ♫ ♫

The taxi pulled up
in front of a large and beautiful home
and Singh and Sai got out

Hi, Singh

Hi, Rohit

Singh offered his hand to the gardener
and they shook hands

Good to see you again, brother
This is Sai



How have the Brahmans been treating you?

You know how it is
They’re on a bit of a power trip

Those Brahmans, man
Some of them really suck


the era of the Brahman mafia
is coming to an end

Yeah, their days are numbered
Hang in there, Rohit
We’re doing our best
to spread love and light

Thanks, guys
And then Singh and Sai
went inside

♫ ♫ ♫

Hey, Singh
Glad you made it

Hey, Bhaiji
Sai, this is Raj,
Raj, Sai

Welcome, Sai

Nice to meet you

I hear you’ve been Brahman bashing again

Not at all
We’re just promoting love and friendship
We’re all the same, man

Yeah, man
We’re all just a variety of manifestations
of the same energy

Man, you Sikhs are always fighting
for something
let’s go to the smoking room,
said Raj

And off they went
to have a smoke

♫ ♫ ♫

Raj prepared a chillum
with Manali Cream,
Singh plugged his iPod into the sound system
and soon they were smoking
and listening to Ras Michael sing
about peace and love

♫ ♫ ♫

would you like to eat
some mushrooms
with us?

Magic mushrooms?

Fresh from Kodai

I’ve never had mushrooms before

They’re just what you need


And so Singh took out
his mushroom pouch
and divided the mushrooms
into three small bowls
They each took their portion
and then sat in silence
and in the dark
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

They’re here

Or we’re there

We’re all here

Sai took out a kalimba
and began to play
a gentle song
while the others listened

♫ ♫ ♫

The evening became night,
spent mostly in silence,
with moments of music now and then
Insight and loved flowed,
and then the night became dawn

With a new understanding
of the way things are,
Raj took off his Brahman thread
and then burned it to ash

♫ ♫ ♫

Thank you, guys,
for introducing me
to this space

You’re very welcome, brother

Let’s invite Rohit to join us next time

An excellent idea

It’s a nice time of day for a ride

Take my Enfield

Thanks, man

And so Singh and Sai
retied their turbans,
got on Raj’s dark blue ’72 Bullet
and rode off into the early morning light

♫ ♫ ♫

they want cookies

They want cookies

It’s beautiful here

Those blue flowers are really pretty

I haven’t seen anyone,
not even a cow,
for over an hour

Me either
Just forest and meadows

Woof woof woof

Woof woof woof woof

Woof woof


They sound a bit aggressive

I’m not sure they’re going to let us pass

Woof woof woof

Woof woof woof woof

Woof woof

I think you’re right

They want cookies,
said a voice
from the other side of the trees

Do we have any cookies left?

A few

And so the wanderers took the cookies
out of their bag
and fed them to the dogs

♫ ♫ ♫

They’ve quietened down

I think they liked them

I liked them too

they were pretty good cookies

Let’s see what’s on the other side

And so the wanderers,
having made friends with the dogs,
continued on their way

♫ ♫ ♫

to Café Way,
said the owner

You have a lot of dogs

Sixteen at the moment

And they like to bark

They’re all barkaholics,
but that’s fine with me
This is a rather selective café
Not many people know about it,
even fewer find it,
and of those who do,
only some get past the dogs

Only if they happen to have cookies

That’s right
or something else
that the dogs sense is worthy of this space,
like a gentle nature
I leave it them to decide
who gets in
Have a seat

Seeing no tables or chairs,
the wanderers made themselves comfortable
on the lawn

♫ ♫ ♫

This a great place for a café

It’s gorgeous here

That guy has been gone for a while

Maybe he went to get a menu

♫ ♫ ♫

The owner returned,
sat down on the lawn,
and began to roll a joint

What kind of food do you serve here?


Do you have anything to drink?

There’s a spring over there by the apple tree

So the wanderers got up,
walked over to the spring
and had a drink

this water is good

It’s delicious

Well worth the walk up here

We should come here again

And bring some food with us

And cookies


They returned to their place on the lawn,
accepted an offered joint
and smoked in silence
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

The dogs began to bark,
heralding the arrival
of a chillum baba

Namaste, Babaji




The chillum baba took a place on the lawn
and began to prepare a chillum

Some cows are coming

They’ve come to mow the lawn

And so the chillum went around
while the cows
mowed the lawn

♫ ♫ ♫

One of the wanderers reached into his bag,
took out a mouth harp
and began to play

The other wanderer took a harmonica
out of his pocket
and joined the jam

The owner went and got his guitar,
the chillum baba began to sing
and soon they were all making music

♫ ♫ ♫

It’ll be dark in a while,
said the owner
You best get back to the village before the bears come out

Thank you
for the delicious water
and for creating this wonderful space

Thank you
for visiting
Come again

And then the wanderers began to walk
back to the village,
picking wild strawberries along the way,
and the chillum baba headed back
to his cave

♫ ♫ ♫



Morning, Indica

Morning, Sativa

Another beautiful day in Himachal

A wonderful place to be
a cannabis plant

Except for when those DEA people come
and try to kill us

I hate it when that happens

This our home, man

we’ve been here like since forever

We’re the real natives here

who do they think they are
coming here and uprooting us from our home

And killing us

They ought to be put on trial
for ganjacide

and discrimination too

At least we don’t live in a house

Or in Idaho

Yeah, man
Some of my relatives were killed there last month

I hear Hawaii is nice

Jamaica too

I’d love to go to Jamaica

Me too
We could grow all year

Back when I was a seed
one of my friends got stuck in a shoe
and traveled to Qatar,
but some cops at the airport found him
and killed him

That sucks


Do you ever see your parents?

My mom turned into a nice shirt

Mine too
I saw her last week

And my dad became a bag

My dad died when he was young


No, a cow got him

Cows can be dangerous

I almost got trampled on the other day

I have relatives in California
and they live on an organic farm

I have relatives in Uruguay
As long they don’t congregate
in groups larger than six
they are allowed to be

They can live there legally?



Mujica is cool

The coolest president in the world

A model for others


We have thirty-six ayurvedic properties

We’re healers

And yet people treat us like Hitler treated the Jews

They spray poison on us

Or uproot us

They kick us out of our homes

And take away our land

They make us live in ghettos

Himachal is a pretty nice ghetto, dude

we’re pretty lucky

India is not so bad
The people here pretty much leave us alone

it’s mostly those annoying DEA agents
that try to harm us

Maybe we should move to Uruguay
We’d be safe there

I think they have a lot of cows there, dude

I’d rather be eaten by a cow
than uprooted by the DEA

It might be hard for us to move

Our children could go

If they get stuck in a shoe

A shoe that’s going to Uruguay


sermon on the couch

Sermon on the couch

Chai was served
and a Shiva beedi went round and round,
and then Ananda began to speak

There’s no need to go
from guru to guru,
just go inside

Don’t be spiritual,
be natural

Be quiet and observe

Be simple, humble, loving and joyful

Put yourself in the story,
play your role in the scene
Don’t try to get acknowledged
Don’t create false duality,
get out of the scene

Abdicate the mind,
go beyond the story

Don’t try to be somebody,
be nobody

No need to dress differently,
blend in

Skip the sadhu trip,
an ashram is only slightly better than a police station

Don’t run to catch a train

All is good

And these are just groups of words

You understand

♫ ♫ ♫

joshua tree

Joshua Tree

So Joshua Lee left Hanoi
and flew away
to Joshua Tree

♫ ♫ ♫

When the sun shines,
I am fine,
said Joshua Tree,
and the chill of the desert night
passes right through me

Be like me
Be a tree
Root yourself in the ground
and sway in the wind
Be a home for other beings

Thus spoke Joshua Tree
to Joshua Lee,
and he too
became Joshua Tree

And as a tree
he could simply be
between this thought and the next

may your cookie jar never be empty

May your cookie jar never be empty

What do you put in your cookies
that makes them so delicious? 

and just the right balance
of a few other ingredients 

Yes, ever since I began to eat
one of your cookies every day,
I have felt well balanced
and full of love

You feel that you are full of love
but in fact you are love
There is no difference
between you and a cookie
Both are just expressions of love 

Yes, sometimes that is how I feel,
but then the feeling goes away 

Don’t limit your idea
of what you are
to your body
Remember that you are love
and nothing more 

I’ll try 

No need to try
Just be
It is enough to realize
your true nature 

May I have a few more cookies?
I’d like to share them
with others 

I have an unlimited supply
of cookies
Take as many as you like
to share
with other aspects of yourself
You are love
All is love
Be love
And may your cookie jar never be empty

high in the himalayas

High in the Himalayas

The last of the herdboys had left
and the cows were on their own for the summer

What do you guys feel like doing today?

Let’s go check out that pasture up near the ridge
It looks lush and delicious


And so the cows took a walk up the hill
to graze among the apple trees
and the pears

♫ ♫ ♫

These purple flowers taste really good

So do these yellow ones

These white ones over here are pretty good too
and the grass is excellent

This weed over here is some of the best I’ve ever had

And so the cows spent the morning
eating grass,
watching butterflies
and leaping
high into the air

♫ ♫ ♫

I’m thirsty

Me too

Let’s drink some water

Good idea

And so the cows walked slowly,
taking their time,
in the direction of a nearby stream

♫ ♫ ♫

This water is really good
Much better than what they give us in town

Fresh is best

The higher the better

Man, this water is clean!

Look at the fish
They look like rainbows

Rainbows are cool

If we go over and stand behind that waterfall
we’ll be able to see a rainbow

Let’s go

And so the cows headed further up the mountain,
stopping here and there
to try the local delicacies

♫ ♫ ♫

Dude, try this grass over here
It’s amazing

Dude, this whole hillside is paradise
These little blue flowers are divine




And then the cows had a mooing session
and sang
until they felt like moving on

♫ ♫ ♫

That rainbow is pretty cool

It’s awesome

And this cave is nice and cool
Let’s have a rest

The other cows agreed
and so they all lay down
and took a nap

♫ ♫ ♫

I dreamed I was walking in a field of tall grass,
grass that came up to my shoulders,
and it was the most delicious grass I had ever tasted

I dreamed I spent the day in a cannabis field
eating my way to the center

I had a nightmare
I dreamed that the humans came back early
and forced us to return to the village

Let’s go take a bath
That pool of water down there looks pretty inviting

Yeah, man,
let’s go

And so down they went
to the bottom of the waterfall
and took a late afternoon dip
in the pool

♫ ♫ ♫

I’m a bit hungry

Me too

I could eat a whole meadow

Let’s head back to the pine forest
There’s some excellent tall grass between the trees
and those big boulders

Yeah, that grass is high end
Pure Himachal oat

Pure is nice
but I prefer a good blend
Oat and clover is my favorite

Oat and clover is pretty good

Barley and clover is pretty good too

barley and clover

Barley and oat is not bad
With a bit of clover

barley, oat and clover
What a treat

Let’s go

And off they went
to the tall grass
to have an early dinner

♫ ♫ ♫

What shall we have for dessert?

How about some ganja?
There’s a nice patch of it over by the cherry trees

Sounds good to me

Let’s go

And so the cows headed over
to the cherry orchard
to nibble on some weed

♫ ♫ ♫

Man, I’m full

Me too

Where shall we sleep tonight?

Somewhere safe from the bears would be good

Yeah, man
Those bears are dangerous

Bears, humans and flies,
the bain of our existence

I’m not sure we can do much about the flies,
but we might be able to defend ourselves against a bear
if we all get up and run towards it together
Let’s take turns standing guard

Good idea

I’ll take the first watch

I’ve got the second

Wake me when it’s my turn

Anyone know a good bedtime story?

My cousin crossed the big river last year
and never came back

Maybe he got eaten by a bear

Maybe he found a place without bears

Or humans

Or flies

Perhaps we should go there

It’s worth a try

let’s cross the big river tomorrow

Sounds good to me

Yeah, it looks pretty green over there

And maybe there won’t be any bears

Or humans

Or flies

We’ll find out tomorrow

I’m tired

Me too

Time for bed





And so the cows lay down
for the night
and began to dream

♫ ♫ ♫



Welcome, Friend
Would you like a cup of tea?

Thank you
Some tea would be most welcome

And so the host poured tea
for the visitor
and himself
And then they sat in silence
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

What brings you to my home, Friend?

The sound of tea

You could hear the tea from gate?

but I could hear the kettle sing
and I imagined that some tea might get brewed
I enjoy listening to tea
as it flows
from teapot to cup
and when it rests

I enjoy the taste of tea
as it passes over my tongue,
its fragrance,
its hues and texture
And now,
thanks to you,
I will enjoy the sound of tea
as it flows
and as it rests

The host poured more tea
into the cups

♫ ♫ ♫

Some friends are coming over soon
to make music
Do you play
an instrument?

but I listen beautifully

A dying art

I give my full attention
to the moment
in which I am

You are welcome to stay
and listen

The host poured more tea
into the cups
as the musicians began
to arrive

♫ ♫ ♫

Inspired by cookies and tea,
the musicians improvised
for about an hour,
sending out waves of sound,
playing softly and loudly,
quickly and slowly,
and the listener sat

♫ ♫ ♫

Thank you
for the music

Thank you, Friend,
for listening so well
Another cup of tea?

One for the road
would be much appreciated

And so the host poured more tea
and everyone listened
to the tea
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

serve the song

Serve the song

The song had already begun
when Elad arrived

He sat down,
ordered some tea
and listened
to the other musicians
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

And when he felt
how he could serve the song,
Elad took out his djembe
and began to play,
and softly,
adding subtle hints of flavor
to the song

♫ ♫ ♫

And when the time was right,
Elad played powerfully, deftly and beautifully
while supporting the others
as they played

♫ ♫ ♫

Thank you, Elad,
said the others
You served the song well

Elad smiled and finished his tea,
said goodnight to his friends
and continued on his way