Monkey’s Tale For the Divine Person by Frank Marrero


A Monkey’s Tale On the Divine Person by Frank Marrero , For Beloved



Chapter 4:

Welcome to the Gom-Boo I was later told that Master Da said when He was on that great rock He looked at me and thought, “Look at what this devotee has done, this ladder to this great place… he loves Me. A few beers are in order.” That afternoon Denise and I got an evening invitation to come to Master Da’s house, Free Standing Man. Soon everyone who worked on the ladder received an invitation, and then later all the support staff as well—about two dozen people all together.

We crammed into a breakfast room off the kitchen with the Living God in Person, and His Embrace of us became the theater for a Divine Play, or Leela, that would go on for months, change everyone, and recapitulate the Divine Teaching of all fully awakened beings.

That first evening, we entered the side door coming through the kitchen. The old-timers were excited for us, being initiated to the personal company of a God-Man. I couldn’t imagine what was in store for me; indeed, I will never plumb its depth. As I looked into the breakfast room from the kitchen, I could see the Master seated on a pillow on the floor with fifteen of His closest devotees surrounding him, and as I came into the room, the Beloved of my heart bolted to His feet, glared directly at me and bellowed loudly in the manner of a Katsu shout, “Hanuman-ji!” and then stormed out of the gathering to the bathroom!

Hanuman was the monkey-god and I felt the tangible blessing of Master Da in calling me that. The monkey part was right anyway. Da-ji Bodha asked if I knew who Hanuman was, which I partially did. Bodha pointed out that I had just been given a spiritual name and the great sound initiation. It was true: beyond the social appearances and my thoughts, my whole body was vibrating to the sound of His voice, resonant with the transcendental current of life. My innermost vision was lost in a swoon, although I tried to remain as normal looking as possible. I was to be known from that moment forward as Hanuman-ji. I was very proud.

As the God-Possessed One returned, we bowed until He took His seat. To be in love with Him and bow near His body is a nectar beyond description; literally, nectars ripple through the body … although at that moment I was too nervous to notice anything or anyone else. The Person of Love leaned forward and graciously engaged me, “Oh, I hear you have a photographic memory.”

Now my memory is quite good and I can recite long passages of His scripture, poems, lyrics, etc. The Master was helping me out of my social nervousness, or so it seemed. However, there was something else in his voice, a playfulness, a sweet and dangerous playfulness. The subtle way He said it signaled to me, deep in my self-possession, that the question was a set up.

I tried to both deny my ability while accepting as much glory as possible. “Oh no, I don’t have a photographic memory, I have a good memory,” I said, emphasizing “good” as much as I thought I could get away with.

My Loving Master persisted. He feigned surprise. “My, I’ve heard so much about you, how you recite the Teaching instead of reading it at gatherings, how you know the Teaching well and can recite it verbatim.”

Which was true, but again the tone in His voice belied another implication: my egoity at being able to recite in front of everybody. I could see it was a trap, but it didn’t matter; to be trapped so graciously was His great service. So I reluctantly gestured that it was true.

He pretended to help me clarify my thoughts. “Well, how do you do it? Do you ever see the words mentally on the page?” He asked so sincerely. Somewhere it was obvious that this trickster was like Krishna, the All-Pervading One in Person, delighted to play the human game with divine wisdom, but now I was simply captured by His performance.

Most of the time my memory is not visual but rhythmic patterns, so I thought of the times that I did deeply remember something by reading it off a mental page. I answered in the affirmative. “That’s photographic,” He emphasized, as if the proof was in and clarified. “Well Hanuman-ji, I was looking over some poems I wrote a while ago and decided to release them just since we’ve been here, and I thought you could show us some of your stuff.”

The Lord of the Sacrifice picked up some manuscript papers and prepared to read. I went into right brain mode where I do not remember words but patterns of meaning, rhythms and spatiality, and I then use the left brain to gather a very few discrete words as signposts for the change of direction. This was my moment to perform, my favorite occupation. I listened with intent to catch the prize as He read me His poem.

I’ve often thought of buying a cane. After all, my left side is weak but I never bought one at all and thus I seem to walk, inclined to my weakness and my weaker side sometimes I limp Perhaps I should take an injury and indulge myself in an ebony walking stick with an ivory or amber handle or else a white or silver one with a carving in the end to rest my hand I don’t know how or if I’ll manage it but all the while and by these means I’ll keep a mind for my weaker side and limped or stood upon a cane I’ll keep you mindful of it too.

I did not understand the poem at all—thus there was no foundation for memory—and it twisted and turned so many times I didn’t catch much of it at all. I was stunned silent. The stick of the master had just whacked me.

The Divine Trickster pretended to look confused, “I’ve heard so many stories about you, about your great memory and all, where does all of it come from?” Whack.

His Glance and real question pointed to my own self-involved activity of seeking attention to try and heal an unseen pain, which I intuited by His guidance, but could not really feel thoroughly. He was right there, acting as normal as possible. “Here let Me read it again, maybe that will help.” As He read, my attention was not on the poem, however but the pain of my egoity and the reflective, subtle and compensatory choices of my social personality. Only part of me was listening. He came to the end of the poem and waited for my recital. Suddenly, the social necessity of the moment was pressing and I wasn’t even in the ballpark.

A flash amidst my desperation struck me. “Oh, photographic memory means that I have to see the words.” I actually thought that I would be able to memorize it with no problem if I could see it, but more importantly I thought I had dodged the bullet. Fool.

“But of course, monkey-man,” the Master said appreciatively, as He handed me the page. “Read it over for a few minutes and then show us your stuff.”

I looked the poem over, setting it up for my attack. The poem was complicated, and it was going to be hard. And worse, I still hadn’t the slightest idea what the poem was about! (The stick of the master for starters.) But my deeper attention was still in the subtle communication from Master Da about my negative egoity and the unconscious pain I was compensating for by my famous exhibitions. Just as I realized that I would never memorize the poem, the Master implored me, “Well, let’s hear it.” I was on the spot again.

I remembered back in junior high when the coach asked me to perform a skit with the varsity cheerleaders which involved me dribbling and shooting a basketball. My older sister advised me to either be sure I could make the shot or else just throw it humorously and wildly away. I thought I could make it and so went for it. I missed; I wished I had lost face voluntarily instead of the laughter I endured.

“I don’t think I can do the first line,” I said, this time heeding the wisdom of my sister.

Master Da feigned surprise and astonishment. “Where do these stories come from?” He pleaded with His Eyes; I told Him with my eyes that I could start to feel where they came from, from the ‘please love me’ hidden deeply in childhood pain. Master Da turned to the Da-ji Bodha with feigned incredulity, “How do these stories get around?”

Bodha, sitting on the other side of the Master, defended my reputation with great assurance. “I’ve heard him, Lord, he can recite the Teaching for hours.”

Master Da whirled back around to me, glaring. Behind him, Bodha was waving his hands, ‘Come on, come on’. So after my trial by fire, my moment did arrive, I had better not blow it. I chose one of my favorites from The Paradox of Instruction. I tried to speak with as much feeling and authority as I could.

The conditions of experience are summarized in the Teaching. The conditions of experience is a summary or circle of pairs, of opposites. When the whole affair of arising is clearly seen it is felt to be an irreducible dilemma. Experience, in itself, is futile, unrelieved, contradicted. Therefore, we are moved to the principle of Freedom.

The experience of the devotee duplicates the field of contradictions, even in the case of realization of Truth. Except that the devotee has realized the paradoxical nature of all pairs. When contradiction becomes Paradox, the strife of time and space becomes overwhelmingly beautiful, and the devotee begins to contemplate in the humor of our God.

The “Groucho Marx of Avatars” puffed out His chest, rubbed His hands up and down His hairy, bare torso in glory. “Did I write that?” He asked me.

A primary lesson for Hanuman-ji was hilariously under way. Master Da was brilliantly parodying me, and the way I read His Teaching, performing as if I had written the words. Beloved Da continued to inquire in disbelief, turning to Bodha, “Did I write that?” Upon Bodha’s assurance that indeed, He was THE author of the recitation, the Lord of Humor proudly proclaimed, again rubbing His hands upon His chest in a perfect parody of me, “God, I write good shit.”

Beloved Da went on and on like this for about a minute, as we all laughed at His exquisite caricature. The Enlightened One’s spoof was genius, mocking me with all the nuances of my unseen character in exaggeration; His becoming-devotees-theater clearly revealed to me my subtle communications. He humorously and lovingly shoved them in my face. The Man of Understanding gives magnificent service to His devotees.

There are those special times when somebody makes such gracious fun of you that even you can join in the laughter at yourself; this was one of them. It was a wonderful embrace, graciously giving me the burning seed of self-understanding.

Bodha prompted me once more and again I recited the Teaching, this time for several minutes, stringing together several related selections from several sources. I would always get a glance or raised eyebrow from Him when I ran pieces together.

When I had concluded my performance, the Eternal One likened me to the bards and singing poets of ancient Greece that roamed the land making a living by recitation. Then He added, “And like them, you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.”

Bodha handed me a beer and cigarette, in celebratory fashion. The idealist in me was offended by these poisons. It seemed so weird: poisons and spirituality? Most of the time we spent in purifying observances, a very strict life; normally we observed the admonition to “never give the body-mind an even break.” So to purposely toxify the body seemed wrong. I quickly came to learn how these intoxicants were very helpful to beginners in tolerating the stress of His divine fire. I don’t like alcohol in general and beer in particular, and I detested tobacco, but I trusted Him. And I wasn’t about to refuse to raise a glass in celebration with the Spiritual Master.

I whispered to Bodha, “This is my first beer,” to which he casually replied, “Yeah, this is only my second.” I reiterated with emphasis, “No, this is my very first beer.”

Da-ji Bodha shouted to the Master that I was a new drinker.

Soon the Enlightened One was grilling me again. I tried to explain that I just don’t particularly like alcohol, when the Master interrupted me, “Hold it, you are not the goodie type, what’s your poison?” I proudly told Him of my past use of pot and LSD.

“Oh, a purist!” He exclaimed as He once more became me exactly — except He did a better job of me than I do. His caricatures of devotees and common presumptions were stunning in their brilliance, a perfect theater, with all one’s unconscious style exaggerated and all the implications enlarged. Extremely humorous and gracious, He cuts like a warrior to the heart of the matter.

Chameleon-like, He curled His lip into a snarl and theatrically barked at my idealism: “Sorry, we don’t have any heroin! We try to stay within the limits of the law!” Everyone broke into loving laughter as all appreciated His genius parody.

Master Da did not merely speak, He infused his words with passion; He pleaded, He confessed; He cut, He ran through; He mused and gestured with perfect Presence; He enlightened His listeners, He embraced, He spoke as a man possessed. Indeed.

I heard later that Master Da said that on this first evening, He looked out across the new devotees that were with Him, and He saw a single voice rising from each head or written across each forehead, “Take us through it. Show us the whole thing. Give us the great revelation.”

He launched into the famous talk, “Have you all heard about the Dreaded Gom-Boo? Or the impossible Three-Day Thumb-and-Finger Problem? Ah ha! You see? Nobody tells you about these things except me.

“A myth has been circulating for many centuries now that mankind is diseased, that all beings are suffering from what I call the Dreaded Gom-Boo, also called sin, maya, ego, suffering, separated individuality, illusions, delusion, confusion, and indifference. We are all supposed to accept this diagnosis, realize how diseased we are, and submit ourselves to the local religious hospital, where a father or mother doctor will confirm our disease and require us to submit for the rest of our lives to various regimes for our own healing and ultimate cure. This is the basic proposition of traditional religion, and it begins with the diagnosis of the dreaded disease.

“Tradition has it that we are all, by birth, by virtue of our very existence, even now diseased, sinful, separated from the Great One. What a horror! Yes! What an obscenity has been laid upon us through the traditions of society, which, merely because of the impulse to survive as the body-mind, have for centuries required human beings to invest themselves with the belief in this disease and to suppress their own life-motion, which comes only from the Great-One, in order to fulfill the presumed needs of our chaotic society.

“I come to tell you, as I stand in the midst of the priests of this horror, that not even one of you is suffering from this disease. It is an imaginary disease, a terrible disease, but altogether imaginary. No one has ever actually had this disease. No one single being has ever had the Dreaded Gom-Boo, or the impossible thumb-and-finger problem. It has never happened! It does not exist!

“What is the Truth? We are Happy. We live in God. The Great One is our very Being. We inhere in the Blissful, Forceful Being of the Starry God, the Wonder, the Mystery, the Person of Love. This is our Situation and our Destiny. I am only one among many voices, but this is my Message to you: There is no disease. There is nothing to cure. We are not patients and we are not parented. We are not children. There is no dreadful destiny.

“How do you contract this imaginary disease and become involved in seeking its imaginary cure? I call you to observe yourself, and you will see, you’re grabbing your ass! You are pinching your belly, you’re causing yourself great pain because of your motive to be independent.

“You will never be independent. There is not even a molecule of wood in this wall that is independent. Nothing and no one is independent. All of us inhere in the Great One, the Wonderful Lord, the Marvelous Starry Person, the Delight of Being. All of us live in That. That is our situation now. This moment is the moment of Happiness, as is every future moment, every moment after death, beyond this world and other worlds, higher worlds, after worlds, no worlds. It is all the moment of infinite Delight, unless we become self-conscious and withdraw from our relations and contract upon our Happiness and forget It.”

As Master Da went around the room, speaking with and instructing each devotee, I was awestruck at how humorous, accurate, and brilliant each engagement was. Every glance, nuanced gesture, comment, and conversation was penetrating to the very core, “bulls’-eyes” every time; breath-takingly brilliant and gracious. Except when He pointed His light-sword at me. Then what He said seemed only partially true, even a little too cutting. I immediately noticed these two points of view and had to admit that He probably didn’t decide to be mean only with me. His Love allowed the limitations of my point of view to be easily observed.

Pure Consciousness with a human voice embraced each and every devotee present, revealing each one to themselves in turn. And after this Sacrificial Fire had burned forth from every altar, after His revelation of devotees, He began to reveal Himself, drawing us to our Ground and Heart. His words were closer than closeness; they erupted in our core as He spoke them. Miraculously, He led us, He helped us, He infused us with Love, He became us in Love, and in such Divine Company and Divine Possession He took us to the realm Beyond: Perfect Peace, the Domain and Realm beyond death and identity, all Bright with Heart Light and Divine Love; and He held us there by the Power of His Passion. By the force of His baptism, we were floating in eternal Grace, in sublime divinity, and He spoke aloud of the passage beyond mortality.

“So now,” He trumpeted, “when you do come to die and let the body go, you can remember Me, remember this night, this eternal celebration, and hold on to My Big Toe and I will pull you Here again.”

He gestured upwards with His arms towards the light beyond mortality and exclaimed prophetically again and again, “Just hold on to My Big Toe!” He was the eternal flame, the tail of the divine horse, the blissful miraculousness communicated by the Company of the Divine Person.

Concluding the evening, Master Da again addressed me and my memory-show. “Oh, Hanuman-ji, I’ve got another poem for you, except this time I just want you to relax and receive it, OK?”

I agreed to the terms of the occasion, as everything fell silent. Master Da picked up His manuscript paper, read the first lines to himself, then looked directly at me and held my gaze. “Every body is an island for its one”

Eye to eye, He looked through me and let His words resonate deeply.

The “I”, adrift is space, is masted to the earth core.

After every line or two, The Living Buddha would pause, hold my eyes in His for emphasis, to enlarge my understanding.

“The body, bright, rising slightly from the currents of life-light.

“A single tree is rising there, antennae to the sky of mind.

“A plant of nerves, its root in sex and foliated brain”

He gazed past my face to the sexual root and foliated brain to where I understood His divine vision. Only then did Voice of the Supreme Self continue.

“That tree surveys the earth and sky, the mindful scene, the move of life, and would uncapture this attentive ‘I’.” Now when His eyes met mine, a deep conversation was already going on, and line by line, He led my soul into the embrace of transcendental consciousness. “How can this island fly or drown?

“To what space can space be gone?

“This isle will be forgotten when the source of “I” is found.”

Only blissful consciousness shone from my own eyes; He saw that His communication had been received; and we gazed into one another in open heartedness. In truth, we were not gazing into each other’s eyes, but celebrating the non-dual divinity Who lives every being and Who shines from every heart. Awareness seemed to vault to distant horizons of light.

Only His Eyes remained as all other visual phenomena soon dissolved in light. Just His face re-appeared, floating there, as He spoke softly, “Did you get it?”

The exquisiteness of the lighted-transcendental consciousness was unbroken, but I did not acknowledge the Gift or Him and naively nodded and whispered, “Yes, I got it.”

Suddenly Master Da looked away and announced, “Well, show it to us then. Recite the poem!” Recite the poem! Recite the poem!? I watched in shock and utter amazement as the transcendental state to which the Maha-Siddha had vaulted me collapsed as I contracted in a web of meanings and funneled toward identity with my self. In seconds, only a sliver of that pure and free awareness remained and it was ‘me’, sitting there, who hardly recalled a poem having been read. I was too befuddled at the states of consciousness Master Da had taken me through to think about any kind of social participation, but I seemed to remember Master Da teasing me about my great memory again. I had been floated beyond mortality, given a spiritual name and sound-initiation by the Avatar, burned in self-understanding, swooned into blisses and immortal domains, translated into Transcendental Consciousness, and given a front row seat as it went from God to me. That was the first evening.