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  • Writer's pictureRon Brent

17. A Strange Gathering

People have come from all over Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula to see Ram Dass and Baba. The cabin is packed. Those who can’t fit in the room, are crowded around the doors and windows. Everyone outside the room is straining to catch a glimpse of Ram Dass or Baba.

The program is very casual - Big Sur style! It begins with Ram Dass telling everyone what to expect once Baba comes out to speak. At the end of the introduction Baba enters the room and sits on his seat. Baba’s seat consists of two eight-inch thick foam cushions placed on the floor - one to sit on and the other as a back rest. They’re both covered in orange silk, with two orange silk-covered bolsters on either side for Baba to lean on. Flowers have been scattered on the floor in front of his seat. As the crowd leans in to hear what Baba has to say, they’re met with silence. He just sits there.

Baba seems to be oblivious of anyone else being in the room. He now begins to play with some of the flowers - picking off petals and letting them drop in his lap or onto his seat. You can feel the intensity mount, as everyone waits in anticipation of Baba speaking. But Baba continues to just sit there picking at flower petals. Occasionally he looks around, his eyes shielded by his dark glasses.

It’s just a wild guess, but I imagine most of the local folks that came this evening are under the influence of some sort of plant medicine.

The intensity in the room continues to mount as Baba methodically picks up one flower after another. He still hasn’t uttered a word. The energy in and around the cabin is so thick, it’s hard to keep my eyes open. After about twenty minutes Baba gets up off his seat and leaves without word being spoken. Everybody appears to be either stunned or in deep meditation.

After Baba leaves, Ram Dass awkwardly tries to explain what just went down. I think this is the only time I ever witnessed him at a loss for words. I cringed listening to his explanation.

The locals might not have gotten a lecture from Baba, but they sure must have had some interesting meditation experiences.

After the program, we all go down to sit in Esalen’s hot sulfur baths, high atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with the Full Moon and stars lighting up the California coastline.

The following morning, Baba is driven to the Monterey Airport where he flies to Oakland in Bob Raymer’s private plane.

Ram Dass has arranged for Baba and staff to stay in a magnificent oriental mansion in Piedmont, located in the hills above Oakland. Piedmont is a short distance across the bay from San Francisco. This will be our home while Baba visits the Bay Area.

Once Baba’s plane takes off, the staff embark on the three-hour drive up north, toward Piedmont. Instead of joining them, I stay in Carmel overnight so I can teach my yoga class the following day at Monterey Peninsula College.

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