Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Immerse Yourself In India

Namaste, friends:

My eBook, available for download to your FREE Kindle reading app, is getting rave reviews on Amazon - check 'em out! If you're a traveler, a yoga buff, a lover of adventure, or Indophile, you'll love Bindi Girl: Diving Deep Into the Heart of India.

Hari Om Tat Sat


p.s. Click here to add your own review to Amazon!

ॐ ॐ The funniest travel guide to Ma India
5.0 out of 5 stars
May 7, 2011
M. Saga (San Francisco, CA USA)If you want to see, hear, touch and taste Ma India in her *rawest* disguise from the view point of an unpretentious, independent and objective adventurer, if you've been thinking about a backpack long-haul trip in mystical India to fulfill your dream that you've never manifested yet or if you are looking for a complete escape with guaranteed belly-laugh moments from your mundane routine, this book is a must read. Erin will take you around the sharp bends and deeper rabbit holes through the subcontinent like no other story tellers can - with a great humor that can make your bladder go wild and very tangible and practical trip info that is necessary for any novice or experienced backpackers to India and beyond. It's a well written and an easy-read book packed with real-life Cosmic Joke stories from the beginning to the end, non-stop. Enjoy your trip!

ॐ ॐ essential India backpacker material
5.0 out of 5 stars
April 21, 2011
D. Melnick (Los Angeles, CA) -This book is amazing. I could never travel India third class like Ms. Reese, but if you are planning a backpack trip or budget travel in India, you must read this.

5.0 out of 5 stars
April 8, 2011

Daughter Of Mars - Absolutely LOVE this book. Chock full of valuable information, and presented in an easy to read way. Bindi Girl is incredibly talented and presents a much needed service to world travelers!!

ॐ ॐ The Adventure Continues
5.0 out of 5 stars
March 29, 2011
John Mckinnon (Pescadero California) -I have been reading Erin Reese for many years and have so looked forward to this book. Erin writes as a real person seeking the new and different. She is brave in that she follows her heart (so needed in this day and age) and trusts that she will be guided. Unlike travel writers that have everything go perfectly, for Erin everything does not go perfectly and she deals with it. Her travels, the people she meets, the places she visits are treated as sacred and respected as such. Wise beyond her young years, an old soul seeking her peers. Thank you for writing this down. As all great teachers, Erin teaches by example. Regarding the Kindle download, I was pleasantly surprised at how fast it arrived on my iphone. This makes it available to me anywhere I go and have a free minute or ten to read. It also saves paper, shipping, handling and the complex, frustrating transfer of money. May this world continue to become more conscious and effective in communication especially the communication of the heart.

ॐ ॐ an awesome journey
5.0 out of 5 stars
March 26, 2011

Deva Caprice - Wow Erin Reese...woman of courage and conviction who paints a vivid portrait of her profoundly experienced expansive and loving vision quest. I'm glad she blazed the trail that I may never have the courage to, and her artful portrayal of her travels and her visceral description of these experiences make me feel as though I am as close as I may ever need to be. Thank you Thank you Thank you! I read it mostly in one sitting as I couldn't wait to see where she would take me next...Happy Trails Goddess!

ॐ ॐ Full Immersion
5.0 out of 5 stars
March 25, 2011

Wendie - Bindi Girl is quite a trip for the senses, and what fun it is to tag along with Erin Reese as she explores the Subcontinent with little more than a backpack and a flare for adventure. Friendships are forged and romances realized on this journey of self-discovery. We learn what it takes to stay perfectly still for hours at a time, motivate those who won't be moved, survive sand fleas and tummy troubles, find joy in the faces of children and peace in the middle of a traffic jam. All the while, with Erin as guide, India reveals its many facets, twists and turns. To have kept her sense of humor and sanity through all the ups and downs is a miracle in itself, but Erin doesn't just maintain her equilibrium throughout the story, she pushes the boundaries, making us believe that her quest to discover her own spirituality is one we all should experience for ourselves. Bravo, Erin!

Bindi Girl
Diving Deep Into the Heart of India

a spiritual travel adventure

by Erin Reese


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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yoga Bhoomika

yoga-bhoomika ~ when both subject and object are absent.

Selections from Jnaneshwar’s Amritanubhava as presented in Experience of Immortality, Ramesh Balsekar



Our true nature shines when volition disappears

185. In the negation of the duality of subject and object, the state that arises is experienced as the noumenal aspect known as Yoga-bhoomika (the yogic state).

186. It is like that state of water when the waves (that have arisen) settle down and the next series of waves has not yet started;

187. Or the state that exists when deep sleep has ended and the waking state has not yet taken over;

188. Or the state of the sky when the sun has set and the darkness has not set in;

189. Or the state of mind when one thought has passed and the next thought has not yet arisen;

190. Or the state of breathing when one breath has ended and the next one has not yet begun;

191. Or the state of satiation when all the senses are satisfied in the same instant.

192. It is this kind of state that is the yoga-bhoomika, when both subject and object are absent. “Who” will then experience “what” in such a state?

p. 220

Difference is Itself a Concept

All there is is the noumenal functioning – the “I-functioning” – in the whole-mind without duality. Such functioning – such seeing – is whole, holy, without duality.”


The transformation requires no doing or not doing

3. My Guru has so transformed me into this state in which I now find myself that it is difficult to say whether I have been contained in this state or whether this state has been contained in me.

4. Indeed, it is difficult to see any change in my condition because that would at once cause a distinction between the two states. (My original state has never undergone any change.)

The Jiva (individual) joins with Shiva (the noumenal absolute), YET…

The concept of an autonomous individual is something that has inadvertently come about, and it is really a question not of joining the individual with the noumenon [Source] (since they are not really separate at all) but of abandoning something inessential and superficial. As Nisargadatta Maharaj explained, it is really a matter of negation – abandoning something rather than doing something positive – where bondage and freedom are concerned, because even these are themselves concepts intimately involved with the illusion of the individual. Or more accurately, it is neither a matter of doing something nor of not doing something but of merely SEEING things as they are, BEING what we are, LIVING as we are. In such SEEING-BEING-LIVING, there is really no ‘who’ at all, only the functioning aspect of the objectivization of the phenomenon, a sort of noumenal living – free, unconditioned, and impersonal.”

The Hindu view of the individual merging with Shiva implies an essential IT duality, between that-which-we-THINK-we-are and THAT-which-we-ARE, whereas this duality is actually purely conceptual like that of the wave and the water. The wave and the water do not need to be joined; the wave merely subsides into water…


Ramesh Balsekar
May 25, 1917 - September 27, 2009

Friday, May 27, 2011

Being, Living, Existing

A Soul Seems To Be

A Soul seems to be (because it can never be defined)

A collection of shared experiences.

A Soul is the wave.

Totality is the ocean.

The ocean is everything and does not know the absence of anything.

The Ego is a fused drop of identified consciousness..

A drop of a Soul at a moment in time and space

It confuses itself to be the Doer, the Ocean.

At best it realizes it is a part of (yet separate from) a Soul, a wave of the Ocean.

Sometimes, it happens that the Ego drops entirely into the Soul.
This can be considered a form of Realization.
This is Soul-centered Being, Living, Existing.

hari om tat sat

Dear friends and clients: I am going on silent retreat from June 1 - 12, so if you are in need of a reading, please email me over the next two days. I will offer readings by donation until May 31st.
Tarot and Monthly Check-up Astrology readings - pay what you can.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Experience of Immortality

The last time I saw my guru, Ramesh Balsekar, in person was August 2009. Right after I visited him in the hospital (see post "Got Stars In His Eyes"), I intuitively downloaded a message about a book that would help deepen my understanding. The book is called Experience of Immortality, containing Ramesh's reflections on the sage Jnaneshwar's Amritanubhava.

The Amritanubhava is POWERFUL. Jnaneshwar is a poet saint from the Indian state of Maharashtra. He became a fully realized being as a teenager through the grace of his own guru, who happened to be his very own brother Nivritti. The brother instructed Jnaneshwar to write his own reflections on the Bhagavad Gita. When he completed that work (known as Jnaneshwari), the brother-guru instructed Jnaneshwar to compose his own gita (song) from his own unique direct understanding.

The result is the Amritanubhava, and Ramesh's Experience of Immortality dissects the text and explains the non-dual understanding therein. Themes include:

  • The riddle of oneness in a world of duality
  • The nature of the Guru
  • The usefulness and limitations of the word in conveying Truth
  • The existence of knowledge and ignorance
  • The meaning of the Self-realized state
  • The concept of bondage and its source
  • The two aspects of ego
The intuited message I received that August afternoon was about the final dropping of ego-identification. Ramesh was speaking to me as someone who had been experiencing the flip-flop between total non-involvement (no one there), and occasional involvement with the ego identification:

It’s basically about time-passing… total realization is inevitable if there is full intellectual understanding, so keep working on intellectual understanding in the meantime. Read Jnaneshwar’s Experience of Immortality. You might enjoy Jnaneshwar because he is also a bhakta-jnani like you.

I picked up the book at my favorite Indian philosophy-spirituality bookstore in Mumbai, Chetana and, knowing that there was nothing I could do in Mumbai except wait for Ramesh to either come back to health or leave the body, I took the train back to my village in the south Indian state of Karnataka.

Reading the book over the next month, the great sage Jnaneshwar completely blew my mind - or what was left of it. Every day was like an orgasmic explosion of understanding and realization. And it's not an easy read! It's been described as Ramesh's most challenging yet most rewarding work.

On September 27, 2009, I was reading the final chapter of the book during my usual morning reading, reflecting, and note-taking time. I 'got it' upside down and every way. That very morning, I finished the book with tremendous gratitude thumping through my being.

After my morning yoga asana practice, I sat in meditation for a long time - longer than usual. Upon opening my eyes, I saw a radiant, white sparkly halo emanating from my body and all around – God was in the house. I was brought to tears as I felt Ramesh’s presence, and the power of truth and love, so deeply.

At lunchtime, I was sitting in my favorite locale enjoying a thali of rice and dal, basking in the glory of simple Existence.
Just then, I received a text message from a fellow student of Ramesh's who was up in Mumbai:

“Erin, how are you? Do you know?”

I almost dropped the phone. That was the moment of the deafening roar of silence. I didn’t even need to call my friend. I knew: Ramesh was gone. He had taken Mahasamadhi at 9:00 a.m., exactly as I was practicing yoga on the deck, basking in the white light of pure Love - the very morning I finished the treatise, The Experience of Immortality.

Needless to say, that book will be precious to me forever. I had to sell my copy to lighten my load when I left south India (talk about non-attachment). Someone out there is reading this powerful gem, with all my notes and tears and highlights and revelatory markings! But I have a couple riveting passages saved here, which I now share with you in the following post, Yoga Bhoomika.

This is pretty intense reading. On the other hand, it's totally simple. Like the Tao, it's paradoxical and cannot be grasped with the linear mind. Read it with diffuse awareness when you are in the right frame of mind. For me, extremely early in the morning (between the hours of 3:30 a.m. and sunrise) is best for absorbing sacred texts!




Ramesh Balsekar
May 25, 1917 - September 27, 2009

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Got Stars In His Eyes

India, August 2009

Written about a month before my guru's mahasamadhi...

My beloved Guruji is in the hospital ICU, preparing for hip surgery. I visited him today and he looked so beautiful, lying there peacefully resting. His color was good – browner and healthy – and he was sleeping peacefully.

I felt so nervous entering his most personal of spaces – the Intensive Care Unit. The primary reason for my visit was to pay my last respects, express my love and gratitude, and if I were lucky – if it were my destiny – I’d have five minutes to sit in The Teacher’s presence and receive his DARSHAN.

His darshan was so strong.

The field emanated from his small, thin but strong, body lying on the elevated hospital bed.

I looked around. I was pleased and impressed with the cleanliness, tidiness and organization of the hospital. Then I settled in to be by his side.

Guruji awoke. “Hello there.” He looked over at me. I immediately rushed to his side and told him I had come up to Bombay from South India to tell him that I loved him and he looked beautiful. He said, “That wasn’t necessary.” His tousled white hair looked like a white duckling down. And then… he really opened his eyes and we looked at each other for several moments.


I could barely look into them. They were beautiful and fascinating – a gray-blue twinkling and sheer solar radiance emanating. They were two SUNS blazing.

I sat down when he closed his eyes again, but a force pulled me up out of my chair again to his bedside, “Guruji! You have stars in your eyes!!”

“What?” he asked, waking up all over again.

“Your eyes – they’re so bright, they’re like stars!”

“Thank you,” he replied, and gazed at me a bit longer. He blinked a few times while looking at me. Bling bling bling his eyes sparked in my direction.

Sitting back down to take it in, I immediately thought of a line:

“My guru’s eyes are the stars.”

Never knowing if it would be the last time, I kissed him on the cheek goodbye.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Presence_Satsang with Ramesh Balsekar

a creative use of mixed media:
an audio clip that has nothing to do with
the antique-looking video footage.
do we try to follow the pieces and put them together,
or can we enjoy both at the same time?

erin reese, march 2011

The Guru Question

If a guru is necessary, a guru will happen.

I don’t know if it’s necessary for you. I can say that for some people, it is necessary, because existence brings it about - it happens. Who are we to judge whether it’s some sort of ‘weakness’ or ‘projection’ (or the opposite - a requirement) to have a guru?

The appearance of a guru in human form may or may not happen in a spiritual seeker’s lifetime of experience.

I don’t know why it happened in my case - destiny, I suppose. I do know that one month before events conspired to bring me to Mumbai to meet my teacher, I had prayed fervently: "God, if there is a teacher out there for me, please, I pray with all my heart, let me meet him or her."

You see, I was done. D-O-N-E with the seeking. I was tired of chasing tails. And I had lost hope that there could be a teacher out there for me - a sage so perfectly transparent and trustworthy that I could surrender in my heart and mind. It is said that is what it often takes before a person is ready to surrender. I thought it could never happen for me. (Heck, there's even a chapter in my Bindi Girl book about my guru allergy!)

It was Thanksgiving Day when I first entered the home of Ramesh Balsekar (1917-2009). In the three years I spent with him, I found him flawless, perfect in his understanding of advaita vedanta, and he was a master teacher. I never heard him miss a beat.

They say when we meet our guru, it is perfection. That was my experience. My guru was perfect for me in every way. And therefore, it must also be perfect that Ramesh is no longer here in physical form, having left the body in September 2009. Though I miss him with all my heart, I trust that there are reasons as to why I only got to be with my teacher for a short period. Perhaps it's because I need to be back in the West, and not tied to India. Perhaps three years were all I needed to be at the guru's feet. Perhaps the transmission, and our time together, were simply complete.

In one of our final private discussions a few months before Ramesh left the body, he asked me if I'd written yet about the teaching, the "downloaded" understanding of advaita (non-duality). I said no, that it hadn't happened yet. Perhaps it is now arising... words to express the ineffable.

This is the first time in four years I haven't been able to be in Mumbai to celebrate the birthday (jayanti) of my beloved guru, born May 25, 1917. To express my infinite gratitude and celebration, I am posting a short series of unpublished writings about my connection to Ramesh.

Thank you Ramesh-Guruji!

And thank you to grand-guru, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

I'm so happy to be a part of this lineage.

With love,