Frank Marreo Leela, 1982
From Frank’s Book,
A few days after the arrival of the holy storm, I was walking the perimeter of the Sanctuary with Udi, aka Morton Whiteside, the renunciate who took care of Free Standing Man before. He mentioned that nearby was a secret 80′ waterfall deep in an impassible ravine, but no one had ever gone there because it was impossible.
I loved it. I told him of the place between the waterfalls and said it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen; I had even taken Denise there (failing to mention of course it was also the most harrowing experience of her life). She agreed it was indeed the most beautiful place she’d ever seen, and I announced that I wanted to take the Master there.
Introduction to the Book
Well, Udi told the Master that I wanted to take him to this dangerous place and the closest renunciates begged him not to go, telling Him of my reputation as being somewhat crazy. The Master told Udi to go with me and evaluate it himself.
Udi and I went off into the jungle as I hacked a path through the thickets with my machete. We came to a crest and descended 45’ down a very steep and muddy wet incline towards a 60′ precipice. The edge is impossible to approach except at one spot where vines and trees have grown up in a small crevice.
We approached the precipice and I took hold of a tree limb for our descent (please note the lack of ropes) when Udi slipped and went off the edge toward certain death. He grabbed a branch and saved himself. We got about a fourth of the way down this cliff, when Udi flipped out. “They are right. You are crazy! What in the world would ever make you think that I would let the Master come down this cliff? The only reason I’m continuing is that I might as well!”
After a swim in tropical splendor, we sat on the great rock. Udi sighed. “This is the most beautiful place I have ever been.” He paused and looked back up the treacherous route we had descended. “So just how were you going to get the Master down here?”
Of course, I hadn’t the slightest idea, but proceeded to bullshit. I indicated stairs, platforms, and ladders here and there, made it seem almost sensible. I must have made some sense, for I learned later that Morton Whiteside possesses excellent design capabilities.
“OK” he said in amazement at his own words, “I’m going to recommend it.”
It was the next day when Master Da wanted to know when His ladder was going to be ready. Soon three men were working on it full time. Designed by a real carpenter, Ron Mied, it looked like the Bridge over the river Kauai when we were done. Four flights of stairs were carved into the side of the canyon, forming a tunnel through the thick jungle to a 60’ drop. Railings out of native stock adorned and fortified the creation. Off the edge, a two story ladder down to a 16-inch gang plank, across six feet to the main ladder, another four-story descent to a small platform, anchored by a massive root of 120’ tree, then a final fifteen feet to top of climbable cliffs, near the top of an 80’ drop into a vast canyon.
The Master let it all sit for three days and then sent me word late-morning. He’s ready. I raced into the jungle, gathering flowers to line the path. I gathered a safety rope as I was told. I climbed down to the gangplank to assist the high crossing and when I looked up through the tunnel we had cut in the jungle, I saw Him coming. He was grinning from ear to ear. At the bottom of the steps cut into the hillside, Beloved Da looked off the edge, where I was waiting two stories down and still near the top. We see in each other’s eyes. He laughs, He loves it; it most definitely is crazy. His delight of that moment is also forever etched in my heart.
First, the two male renunciates, Bodha and Udi, descended. Da-ji Bodha, aka Peter Helicopter, aka William Tskanis, whispers that I should offer the safety rope to everybody. Soon, the Spiritual Master stepped onto the 16 inch plank with me fifty-five feet in the air. It was my first non-formal time with him, and I was nervous.
I stutter and mumble something about a safety rope. The Person of Love looked at me wide-eyed and smiled. He then puffed his chest out, stuck out His chin in a caricature of macho-ness and growled, “If those guys can do it, so can I!” then broke into a laugh that relieved me of my fear. He is always forever serving His devotees.
Once everyone was down the Master performed a ceremony there with rocks and leaves and water as everyone was still and felt the place and His service to it. Only then did they explore the falls and swim in the quarter-acre pool that was under the 32’ falls.
I was invited into the intimate company of the party and I told Beloved about stories I had heard about the place: how the 80’ falls underneath us was used as an initiation. Beloved looked right at me and suggested that perhaps He would be asking me to peform this. I had thought He might ask me to dive, and so I responded that I would rather just bow at His Feet. He accepted my counter offer. I pointed out that we could all sit on the big rock in front of us. Beloved Da instantly stood and commanded, “Show me.”
I jumped up onto the rock, scurried to the top, and turned around to extend my hand. It was a moment I had forever wished for, touching the God-Man flesh to flesh. I remember perfectly the sensation of His flesh against mine, the ordinariness of perfect consciousness.
I pulled Him up, then, one by one everyone else. I don’t remember much else after that cause the Divine Person took us into His Form. Huddled upon the great rock, we all just stared for a long time, mindlessly lost in untremored awareness and beauty.
Another swim was called for and we descended from the great rock. Going too fast, I fell on my butt as I slid off the rock, apropos since I was showing off. I quickly dove into the water because I wanted to show everyone something they might want to try.
In the backwash of the pool, I swam to the left side of the 32′ falls. There, the white-water hits the bottom of the cliff and sprays out across the catch-basin. Just under the battering falls, I had discovered a handhold that enabled me to climb up through the edge of the roaring falls, out of the pool and onto a 5” slot in the rock beside and slightly behind the waters. I stood there for a moment then leapt through the crashing waters into the pool and current below.
The tremendous turbulence of the falls pounds and churns one under for a frightening time, then suddenly spits you out. I swam back and climbed up again. Instantly, Master Da swam over to the edge of the falls and extended His hand. The ledge I was standing on was 18 inches above the pool and very narrow, and
‘just to make sure he was OK’, I threw my arms around Him when I pulled Him up onto the precarious ledge. Since the siddhi or divine force coming out of Him is intense across any distance, touching His body is sacred nectar. So when I hugged him ‘with a good excuse’, everyone laughed understandably. Later I was teased for this. But just there, with my arms around Him, was perfectly natural.
He screamed above the roar of the falls. “Is it safe?” I gestured that I couldn’t hear what He was saying, so loud were the waters. He screamed again and pointed, “Are there any rocks?” This time I understood and nodded, assuring Him that it was clear, and He turned and leapt into the crashing waters, His arms and legs flying, screaming “Whoopie!” at the top of His lungs. The morning sunlight was coming up the canyon and hitting the splashing vibrant white water. I will forever remember His bright star body jumping into white rushing wet sunlight screaming whoopie.
More from Frank