Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Vibhuti

Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

One reason for this blog is to share what I have come to understand about meditation and consciousness.

HA! Well, anyway.
That’s the hoop I’m shooting at.

What I’m about to post I cannot explain at all.
Not scientifically.
But, sanely putting it out there may be useful
simply because science cannot explain this.
What a huge and wonderful lesson that is for many of us.

So, as Mom and I planned a very quiet, just the two of us Thanksgiving,
I resolved to take my camera along and take a picture,
finally, (after what, five plus years?)
of the “miracle” she keeps in her kitchen.

Mom is a devotee of the Indian avatar, Sathya Sai Baba.
When younger (in her 60's and 70’s), she kept an apartment in his ashram
and would spend the happiest month of her year there.

Too frail to make that trip anymore, Mom still keeps busy locally with the Sai devotees. It was to one of their local celebrations that Mom took three picture of Baba
to set upon the large altar they were creating.
Afterwards, Mom took the pictures home,
only to discover the next day that vibhuti,
a gray sacred ash
that Baba manifests was materializing on the photos.

Well, Mom’s non-English speaking cleaning crew a couple days later, dusted off two of the “dirty” things.
After that, they no longer produced any ash.
But, Mom, now forewarned, sequestered the third and final photo.

It was several months after that,
after hearing Mom’s stories about the vibhuti
and dismissing them with a, “Yeah. Yeah,”
that I finally laid eyes on the picture.

I was blown away.
“She’s not making this up! The picture has vibhuti coming out of it,”
I started telling other family members.
They had to go see this!
What a miracle – if you want to define "miracle" as an event for which science has no explanation …

(this seems a rather inadequate definition,
“but anyway” could be the theme here).

I bought Mom a display case
and hung the photo in it for protection.
Didn’t miracles deserve better than how the Bralley’s had been treating this one?
But anyway…

as you can see from the post here, I didn’t do such an elegant job. I couldn't get it to hang any way but scewed.
But at least the cleaning crew leaves it alone.
No dust from the kitchen gets to it,
and Mom can harvest excess vibhuti from the bottom of the case.

So, this thing, this miracle, has sat
year after year,
in Mom’s kitchen between the stove and refrigerator.
We cleaned away vitamin bottles and clutter so I could snap some pictures.

And I am a bit amazed that in all these years,
I have felt no urge to analyze the vibhuti more scientifically.
It seems almost to have quietly silenced my natural impulses,
that cynical intellect that would dissect to better understand and really "prove" it.

And, I’ve asked my brother, Andy, if he’s not interested in seeing what it’s made of.
He owns the largest array of mass spectrometers in the U.S. and thus probably the world – who better to analyze elements and content?
But, he too seems afflicted with the same complacency
that has descended upon me.
And I have to wonder if this is not part of the miracle.
Something says – go with your eyes – let that suffice – let your mind stop struggling.

I may not have the ambition to streak this ash out across a petri plate,
I can at least take a picture.

So, here it is.
And I will make these observations:

Something about consciousness, either Baba’s or Mom’s, Avatar’s or devotee’s,
causes ash to materialize
and be deposited upon the glass covering the picture.

This looks to me to be a “point event,"
the ash growing up like a bacterial colony
from one single solitary cell.

But, I do not think that this stuff is alive – it’s ash.
It seems dry and inanimate.
Not at all like the spores formed by the bacteria I work with.

To me, it seems as if the ash materializes out of “Nothingness” at one point, and from there it grows, not unlike a volcano spewing out its lava.
In this case, the depths of the earth are the depths of Consciousness,

And, since the picture is hung, approximately perpendicular,
the ash will fall down.
If you look closely at the photo, it appears that some ash when it falls
sticks to a lower part of the glass
and starts yet another “colony.”

Does this mean that the power to materialize more ash resides within the ash itself
rather than at some specific spot on the glass?
That would be like saying
a piece of lava removed from the volcano’s flow
has the ability to create another lava flow, or a second volcano cone.
That’s not how volcano’s work.
But, is that what’s going on here? I don't know.

And that is all I have to offer.

Except to say, that when I Googled for a vibhuti link,
I found pictures of the exact same phenomenon
posted from Chile and Bali

That impressed me.

The scientist in me loves replication,
the experiment repeated.
That’s how we know what’s real.


Beth said...

Pat, I came out of curiosity because I saw you had linked to a post of mine. But then I read this post and was amazed, but not at all unbelieving. I am so glad there are a few things in life that we cannot explain, and probably never will.

Cherish that mother of yours!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I can attempt to give an explanation. Mercuric chloride when added to aluminum produces a grey residue which keeps forming depending on the amount of mercuric chloride added. It could be that this was applied on the back of the glass in front of the photo or even added to the ink used to print the photo. I am not suggesting anything ,am just giving my opinion. Hope this helps.

Pat Bralley said...

Noting all the possible variables is worthwhile.
Thank you!