"I scooted as quickly as I could across what was left of the ashram grounds between me and the gate and out onto the street, melding into the small milieu of what counted as crowds in those days, disappearing.
"Years passed and one day a friend of mine helping me go through a few things ran across my rather loose knit so-called collection of decoders that were sort of doing not much more than just floating around in an unconnected fashion in a drawer."
The opening sentence above about me scooting as quickly as I could across what was left of the ashram grounds and out onto the street, only to disappear into the crowds, has to do with my final departure from the Ramana ashram. I had hurriedly left that morning because after exchanging photos with the young anglo boy I met that day in the ashram he returned with, not leading, but instead being towed, yanked, dragged or pulled by one arm and his wrist across the ashram grounds, twisting on his knees while dragging the tops of his feet and toes trailing behind him in the dirt, done by a nearly wild-eyed white woman who was basically running in my direction pointing a bony-like finger toward me while holding the decoder in that same hand and turning back to look at a white man some distance behind hurriedly trying to catch up --- two individuals I was sure I didn't want to meet or talk to at the time. Acting all the same as though I hadn't seen them, and even though I had already made up my mind I was going to leave the ashram anyway, I darted out as quickly and nonchalantly as I could.
The two sentences are found in the closing paragraphs of the main text of The Code Maker, The Zen Maker. Although the physical-visual measurable distance that separates the two quoted sentences, one from the other is small, maybe a quarter to a half of an inch as they visually appear on the screen or printed on paper, the jump or gap between the two as related to the passage of time, that is, the amount of time that elapsed between being at the ashram and having returned back home in the U.S. as found within the context of the sentences is huge.
One moment, when all the trials and tribulations that have been laid out from childhood through to the Army, the monastery, and the Himalayas, et al have ended, I walk away from the ashram, suddenly jumping to many years later as I have written it, apparently comfortably safe back at home in the United States as though nothing ever happened --- simply hanging with a friend sorting through a bunch of decades-old Captain Midnight Decoders.
Most people who have read through all that I have presented, with the thousands of interlinking footnotes and all, have had enough. However, every once in awhile there are those who come forward interested in the jump between the two paragraph quote at the top of the page and how it was closed. That is to say, how did I, as an adult at the Ramana ashram return to the monastery. We know I ended up at the Ramana ashram in Tiruvannamalai in some fashion with the help of the woman on the farm, yet no where does it show up how it was I ended up back at the monastery. It is clear that I did because in Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery I write that I was abducted by military irregulars outside the walls one morning and taken back to civilization.
"The thing is, not known to most, high in the mountains and plateaus bordering up and behind that swath, in an almost impenetrable area, there exists many ancient and unknown to the outside world and all its turmoil, basically unhindered and unmolested, a smattering of monasteries not only operating almost independent of time but a select few actually operating independent of time."
Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery
Let me just say, in more ways than one, that my return to the monastery involved monasteries operating independent of time in areas infused by a spiritual timelessness, war torn Burma, the Japanese invasion of India, the crash of a C-47 high in the rarefied air in the Tibetan area of the Himalayas after being lost on a flight from Calcutta, and a U.S. Army captain who flew over the "hump" from China only to end up visiting the Ramana ashram at the same time I was there. That same captain, who had been called back into the Army to serve in the Korean War, during the throes of battlefield decimation going on all around him, as written in his tome A Soldier's Story, experienced a deep Spiritual Awakening not unlike those afforded the ancient classical masters. To wit:
In the early stages of World War II U.S. Army General Joseph Stilwell and his British/India command counterparts, fearing an onslaught of a potentially major Japanese ground offensive into India, began to gather up as much viable military countermeasures as they possibly scrape together. One was the XXXIII Indian Corps, formed in Bangalore south India on August 15, 1942, originally assembled and trained to stop Japanese amphibious operations along the Indian coastline. Suddenly they had to shift gears from water tactics to jungle tactics.
During that same period, an otherwise forgotten U.S. Army officer by the name of William Samuel, operating basically on his own with a small cadre of Chinese troops, was so deeply imbedded in the far-afield boots-on-the-ground Chinese wartime infrastructure that, by unknowingly long-distance default, fell under the command of Stilwell and the CBI theater. In that Samuel had all kinds of actual hands on experience fighting along side the Chinese against the Japanese in virtually the same kind of environment the XXXIII Corps would encounter once deployed, in an almost miracle-like happenstance of being at the right place at the right time, powers that be, after being brought to their attention, dispatched Samuel to provide Corp command with all the relevant information he could muster in the short time he had available.
Interestingly enough, the XXXIII Corps headquarters in Bangalore, south India, was barely if even a 100 miles northwest of Tiruvannamalai and the ashram of the venerated Indian holy man, the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. When Samuel, who had been slogging through China for upwards of three years was in Bangalore, he took some much needed R & R and for reasons still not known, went to Tiruvannamalai, visiting the Ramana ashram.
No sooner had Samuel gone on R & R, and apparently unknown to him initially, on April 5, 1944, a full scale Japanese Invasion of India was launched. Imperial Japanese troops, under the command of Major-General Shigesaburo, with a low-profile assist by the Indian National Army, using the far western edges of Japanese controlled Burma as their primary staging area, put into place a multi-pronged attack against India. At the very same time as that invasion was being put into place, I too, like Samuel, was in India. Looking back, if the fortunes of war had fallen differently for the two of us, both Samuel and I, although most likely separately, could easily have been caught within striking distance by the then nearly invincible Japanese war machine.
WILLIAM SAMUEL IN FULL MILITARY UNIFORM (HOLDING THE POINTER)
AS DEPICTED WITH ON THE LEFT, HIS INTERPRETER, THE TAOIST MONK
MR SHIEH TRAINING CHINESE TROOPS IN PART FOR THE DIXIE MISSION
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It has been said, especially so by those who by their very nature carry a certain amount of credibility and admiration ahead of themselves such as Adam Osborne, who lived at the ashram from a toddler to age 12, easily overlapping the same period of time that Samuel was there, that Samuel, while at the ashram, participated in a once a month ashram ritual that fell on the night of the full moon called Giri Valam, the circumambulation of the holy hill Arunachala. Samuel did so during the time he was there on the night of the full moon in April 1944. It is quite clear by Osborne's own recollections that the young boy with the code-o--graph was there at that same time as well because Osborne has related that the two of them, along with Samuel, participated in Giri Valam. The following quote regarding Osborne is found at the source so cited:
"Osborne's father had died in 1970 and Osborne told me that sometime prior to his father's death a man by the name of William Samuel had contacted him in the U.S. and expressed an interest in meeting his father. In their conversation Samuel told him that he and Osborne (the younger) had met at Ramana's ashram in India in 1944 and that during his stay, on the full moon of which he thought was April of that year, he, Osborne and another young boy and a few other people including his mother, circumabulated Arunachala. Osborne emphasized the younger boy aspect with me specifically because Samuel thought, Osborne guessed, that the other boy was his brother --- a twin brother --- because of our age, size, body build and look-alike curly haired mop tops."
ADAM OSBORNE: PERSONAL REMEMBRANCES
SAMUEL THOUGHT ADAM, ABOVE LEFT, AND THE OTHER
BOY MUST HAVE BEEN TWINS BECAUSE OF THE SIMILAR
SIZE, BODY-BUILD, ACTIONS, LOOKS, AND MOP TOP HAIR
Considering the time frame reference for Samuel's circumambulation, April of 1944, the two of us would have to had been at the ashram at or near the exact same time. How it would have been possible for Samuel and I to have missed each other under such circumstances that existed at the ashram at the time is something I am just unable to answer. Because the full moon date fell within three days of the Japanese invasion, Samuel may have become aware of the invasion and left immediately following his circumambulation, with me arriving sometime afterwards. While I was at the ashram it was brought to my attention that a genuine U.S. Army military officer was or had been at the ashram, albeit in civilian clothes, and that he had arrived there from a British military base in Bangalore after coming over the "hump" from China. Although I saw no sign of him myself, after what I had been told I made my decision to leave the ashram and head to Bangalore to find him. As I had it figured, if I didn't get back over the "hump" into the Himalayas and the monastery I wasn't sure what the ramifications might be.
If Samuel was in Bangalore he wasn't there for any length of time because somewhere along the way I learned he had gone to the U.S. Consulate in Madras. Figuring he must be trying to get back to his unit somehow and possibly knew somebody there, and thinking it might work for me as well, I too headed toward Madras. After arriving at the consulate I introduced myself as an American citizen and a member of the U.S. Army, which I was, showing them my dog tags and G.I. boots as my only means of identification. In that my tags were pre 1964 and just the same as World War II tags with a "tooth notch" in them, with a quick glance, it was, along with my story good enough. Winging it using my knowledge of history, I told them I was versed in Morse code on my way to a special communication unit outside of Kunming. I told them I came to the consulate because of what happened after getting off a ship in Bombay and boarding a train to Calcutta with a ton of other G.I.s, none who I really knew except for a few I met on the ship. Conjuring up what was no less than a total fabrication basically on the spot, I told the consulate people that in the middle of the night a bunch of drunken soldiers got in a huge fight over a poker game and, although I was neither a participant nor an instigator, I got caught up in it. In the process I was shoved through a window or thrown off the train while it was still moving. In either case I didn't come to until the next day and by then the train was long gone as well as all my identification and duffel bag.
When I was attending the U.S. Army Southeast Signal Corps School in Fort Gordon, Georgia, working on, refining, and increasing my Morse code technique and ability, we were continually told stories that no matter how sophisticated and advanced any radio communication equipment might be, when conditions for transmission get bad to worse, only Morse code gets through. A story one of my instructors continued to emphasize had to do with the clandestine communications networks set up by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in China during World War II, completely bypassing or duplicating established Army, Navy or commercial facilities. A U.S. military mission called the Dixie Mission went into Yenan north central China in July 1944 with the OSS in charge of communications. They immediately established radio communication with Chungking, a thousand miles to the south --- initially being able to do so only in Morse code. It was only later they received sophisticated, lightweight, radio transmitter-receivers developed by OSS that utilized voice.
Drawing from that information I learned from the Signal Corps School, I told the military attache' that I was a member of a new OSS communications base being established at Chihkiang between Kunming and Chungking, all hush-hush. I was turned over to more covert types within the consulate and they contacted OSS somewhere in the hinterlands of China. After running me through the ringer with a series of tests to see if I could send and receive Morse code as well and as good as I said I could, per their request, OSS, apparently buying my being thrown from the train story, then asked me to send and receive code to and from the consulate to their facility in China going up against their best operator. Easily surpassing the tricks and abilities of their best, and with all the information I seem to have, agreed I must be one of theirs. They told the consulate to send me on through, only provide me with a cover, which they did. It took awhile, but a few weeks later, using a pseudonym or an actual person's name of somebody else, I was a civilian aircraft mechanic under the broader umbrella of the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) on my way to Calcutta to catch a C-47 to Dinjan.
Not quite the Himalayas, but closer than I was.
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I had no real plans after reaching Dinjan, but I knew it was the lift off point for flights over the hump, and once there I would figure out some kind of a solution, like swipe or commander a plane and/or find someone willing to do it with or for me. It was sort of a bailout one way trip kind of a thing. Not much in it for anybody else to speak of.
It was moving toward late May, meaning summer weather patterns would soon be reaching the Himalayas, with, for the Himalayas slightly less harsh conditions. I wasn't sure what the environment was in and around Dinjan nor what the populace was comprised of considering all the military presence. Usually those types of places turned into wide open towns, at least on the periphery, in turn making available almost anything you want. The problem for me was that Dinjan was at the minimum 700 to 800 miles south over the Himalayas from where I needed to be and with me having absolutely no money, then bearers or guides would be hard to come by.(see)
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While in Calcutta I was given an opportunity to take a much earlier flight to Dinjan by a C-47 pilot that was going to continue on to Kunming. Thinking I could convince the pilot to deliver me closer to where I was going, I was just about to board his plane when I was stopped by a heavyset Charles Laughton looking man in a deeply rumpled onetime used-to-be white civilian suit who told me that the OSS had put a lot of time and effort in me, and even though nobody knew for sure what was going on relative to me, they felt everything was on the up-and-up. The OSS side was fully aware there was a gag order on what they did, so I wasn't really at liberty to go around discussing what I was doing with just anybody. The thing is, what wasn't known by anybody other than me was that I was drawing from history that hadn't even happened yet. The OSS and their cohorts were in the process of putting into place what would happen that would eventually lead to that history, so they thought, knowing what they did from there own time, there was no way I could know what I knew if I wasn't one of them. The rumpled white-suit Charles Laughton type guy introduced me to a man named Sharp he said was the flight operations manager. The flight operations manager told me not to worry, my departure had been arranged and would be leaving at a currently undisclosed time.
For the record, the C-47 pilot who offered to take me to Dinjan early was Col. Robert L. Scott. It is primarily because of our meeting and his offer that I make such a big deal out of him in some of my works. I know in the end he made a much larger and lingering footprint than most others did passing through my life at the time. Scott, who would eventually fly for the American Volunteer Group, or as they were better known, the A.V.G. or the Flying Tigers, was ferrying men and equipment over the hump into Kunming, often returning with plane loads of refugees, refugees that needed to be spread around, hence being in Calcutta and how it was I came across him. Actually, later in life, Scott's Ghost P-40 story came back to haunt me, pun intended.
Finally it became my turn. It seemed odd to climb into a practically pristine C-47 with all kinds of new fittings and rigging. Where I came from, or when as the case may be, most DC-3s come C-47s, although the workhorse that they were, with a lot of them still in use, just as many, if they weren't in a bone yard yet they were headed that way --- or, like a woman with dirty feet putting on nylons, sitting in some museum all spruced up with flat tires.
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It was around dusk of the last Friday in May, 1944. The CNAC C-47 slowly moved across the tarmac eventually lifting up out of Calcutta bound for Dinjan. Within a few minutes the C-47 was quickly and efficiently in the air. However, once airborne and headed toward Dinjan the weather increasingly began to deteriorate almost just as quickly, if not more so, eventually reaching a point it didn't allow anybody to see much of anything, probably including even the pilot. Kicking back as best I could I gazed eastward in the semi-whiteout out over where the Himalayas should be and beyond. Daydreaming mostly to deflect and knowing where I had to go and how much distance I had to travel, it reminded me of the day, albeit a clear storm-free summer day, when, as an 11 or 12 year old, I stared out across the Great Basin after having climbed Mount Whitney in the High Sierras with my Uncle. Mount Whitney was the highest mountain in the 48 States, topping out at 14,505 feet. Whitney's slope fell away down toward the east and Death Valley with Whitney's base forming the western edge of the Great Basin, stretching hundreds and hundreds of miles eastward before the landscape started crawling up the eastern slope of the Rockies to eventually reach it's highest peak, Mount Elbert, at 14,440 feet. In between was miles and miles of rugged land, filtered here and there with vast expanses of salt flats, the drying remains of inland seas, and sand dunes.(see)
With the extremely bad weather and strong tailwind we encountered almost immediately, as well as being double hammered by static so bad the pilot couldn't get a fix on any radio station, the plane passed well east of Dinjan, the C-47 and all on board never making it beyond an unnamed 22,000-foot high Tibetan mountain in an area called the Graveyard of the Himalayas, otherwise known as the Aluminum Trail.
CHINA NATIONAL AIR CORPORATION (CNAC) DOUGLAS C-47 SKYTRAIN CIRCA 1944
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Some time later found me all alone and face down in strong blizzard-like conditions partly covered by ever accumulating snow. Wincing my eyes through frost covered eyebrows the best I could in the blowing snow I was barely able to make out what looked like the darkened remains of a fuselage. Inching my way across the drifts, the wind blowing so strong at times I couldn't remain upright. Facing white-out conditions as well, causing a complete loss of sense of direction, I finally reached the wreckage, using for all intent what was left of the interior of the fuselage as a wind break and shelter. Once inside I slowly began to regain my thoughts and clarity of mind. On my way to the wreckage I saw no signs of anybody else, nor inside the nearly intact portion I was in either. I scraped around and found a thermos full of, at least relative to me, lukewarm coffee and settled back trying to figure out just how long it would be before I froze to death.
Although it was true the portion of the plane I was in was basically nothing but wreckage, and I saw a few other pieces of varying sizes scattered around, the part I was in, besides being the closest, was large enough and intact enough to provide a fair amount of protection from the elements as long as the wind didn't change it's direction too much. The thing is, sitting there I had the strangest feeling come over me that the interior of the fuselage portion I was in wasn't the same interior I remembered, as though I was somehow in the fuselage of a completely different plane.
Earlier, when I offered to help the pilot get a radio fix, I had adjusted the radio equipment in a certain fashion to ensure a maximum outgoing and incoming CW signal including cutting a right frequency antenna. Plus, even though I found a Morse code hand key later, initially at the time, I was unable to locate one, so I jury-rigged an operational key. Although the communication equipment was basically intact and any changes I had done were minor, there was no sign of any of my efforts left on any of the dials or in my wiring.
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As perplexing as my feeling about the plane and fuselage was, and I continue to believe the feeling was accurate to this day, I went ahead moving forward for my survival by piling as much snow as I could in an attempt to close off the largest fuselage opening. With at last some protection I sat back trying to figure my next move. Soon I began to get more and more drowsy, slipping toward a deep warm sleep, the same type of deep warm sleep they say you fall into just before you freeze to death. Unable to fight it, with waning strength and weakening will, I just let it happen. The next thing I knew I could hear voices of people outside and around the wreckage --- with sunshine filtering through the windows and cracks and no sound of blowing or howling wind. Not long after that someone was pounding on the fuselage. I yelled out the best I could and in seconds I was surrounded by several men that for all practical purposes I would describe as sherpa-like.
None of them spoke English. In a rudimentary sign language it seemed as though they were trying to find out where the others were. I showed them both my hands with all ten fingers pointing up, touching the top of each finger one at a time by switching hands trying to imply there were at least ten of us, then shrugging my shoulders and sweeping the palm of my hands apart indicating I didn't know where they were, they were just gone. They went through the plane taking everything that wasn't tied down then motioning to me to follow them we left.
We crossed over a ridge-like snow covered summit quite a distance above the remains of the plane, then started downward in a much less intense weather. Soon we had for the most part, dropped down into an area below the completely covered with snow landscape, eventually coming across a group of several, maybe five or six huts. What few people were there and came out seemed to know the men I was with, gathering around them like long lost friends. Shortly I was shown into a hut where an old man was sitting cross legged. He offered me some warm broth that I, holding back my gag reflex, thought was surely yak piss, but it was hot and he was drinking some of the same. The next thing I knew he was speaking a semi-version of English, enough that I could understand him. I told him that the plane I was on crashed and I didn't know where any of the other passengers or crew were. Then I showed him my necklace. He scooted back almost in shock, his eyes wide open and glazed over. Then slid forward and looked at it very closely in the dim light of the hut, albeit unwilling to touch it. He asked if I was from the monastery. I told him I was and trying to get back. He called in several men, including some who found me. They all looked at the small gold medallion, then talked among themselves keeping me at a distance as though I had typhoid or something. When they left the old man who could speak some English told me the monastery was very, very far away to the north, indicating that it was, at least as how I deciphered it, several days away and hundreds of miles. He told me he would dispatch a runner to the next village and then the next, etc., etc., to try and inform the monastery of my presence because not to do so would bring undue tribulations to his people. There and back would however, take many days.
Much to my surprise, early in the morning not even a full week later, I was awakened from my sleep in the hut I shared with several others by a huge hub-bub going on outside. Exiting the hut several members of the community were gathered around two starkly different looking men, both in full Buddhist monk regalia, shaved heads and all. Their clothes were bright and colorful compared to the drab hut people and myself and very light weight in comparison as well, although neither seem to be affected by the cold or chill of the air. They just stood there holding wooden staffs taller than they were looking all the same as Praetorian Guards than Buddhist monks. Without a word one of the monks motioned me to come closer, looked at my necklace, and shook his head in a slight yes manner. The man who could speak English told me they wanted me to go with them, and with that the two monks turned and started down the trail. I ran back inside the hut, grabbed my shoulder bag and tried to lace up my boots as best I could, but every second I took the monks were farther and farther down the trail. Even though it was downhill, it was steep and rocky, so catching them was difficult because they didn't seem to care about the terrain, almost gliding down it. Not me, I was falling, tripping, stumbling and anything else that could happen. Although I had no real reason to think so, I still felt the monks took a certain delight in it.
After traveling quite some distance from the little hut village we eventually reached a very flat small meadow, almost putting green like clearing. There they stopped and I was finally able to catch up and rest. We sat there for awhile, the monks munched on some kind of cracker thing handing me one. Then one of the monks emptied a cloth bag I hadn't noticed either carrying that either appeared out of nowhere or had been left on the putting green earlier. Falling to the ground were several leather-like strap items, three of which were some sort of harness things and the others looking all the same as western style boot stirrups, but with loops in the back rather than metal spinners. The monks quickly strapped the harness-like things to themselves and motioned me to to the same. We did the same with the stirrups.
Then they laid facing down in a prone position with a slight distance between them motioning me to do the same in the open space. One of the monks slipped a staff through loops across the back of our legs being held in place just above our heels by loops on the stirrups then his. He laid down and pushed the other staff along under his chest, mine, and the other monk about even with our shoulders through leather loops on the harness. Then with me between them holding the staff with both hands across my chest at my shoulders the same as the two of them the next thing I knew we were in the air with me positioned between them suspended by the two staffs front to back moving forward at a quick pace. The mountains fell away under us, the wind was blowing hard enough to force tears from my eyes, and the ground, that had dropped well below us, was passing beneath us at a fairly high rate of speed.
I don't know how high we were at the maximum nor long we were in the air, but considering the physical distance we covered it had to be quite a while, maybe a couple of hours, possibly more. I know I was cold, nearly freezing actually, tired and fatigued, and found it difficult to breath and even harder to hold my body length between the two staffs. Every once in awhile I would glance over at one or the other monk and if they weren't in a deep meditative state they were just plain asleep.
After awhile we began slowly lowering our altitude and in the distance, thank heavens, I was just able to make out the crumbling walls of the monastery. The monks left me outside the ruins standing there the same way as the day I arrived the first time. When I turned to thank them they were nowhere to be seen. Like my first visit I waited, and waited, and waited. Night came then the next day. Still I waited. That coming night I fixed up a nice little place to curl up and keep warm not knowing how long I would be outside the monastery. The next morning a couple of monks, who I knew, or at least recognized, were kicking me awake, laughing and pointing at me bullshitting away in their language. I got up shared hugs all around. While making a little fire, all perplexed, they each tried on the harness, brewed some tea and we sat there laughing and grunting back and forth like we all knew what we were saying, with each pondering my hand gestures to flying and them not getting it. Soon a few other monks came up the trail below us. The three of us got up, put out the fire, and joined them, passing through the twice my height set of double rough hewn wooden doors, which hadn't been there previously. As they closed behind me, after what seemed to me as being many months gone, I suddenly found myself once again inside a fully functional Zen monastery, as though I had never left.
AND NOW THIS
"Anyone who finds themselves pursuing a casual to serious interest in Buddhism and Zen, especially so those seeking insights into spiritual Enlightenment a la Buddha and any relationship that exists thereof, it isn't long before they come face-to-face with some of the more esoteric aspects found in both religions, such as, for example, the super-normal perceptual states known as Siddhis or the mysterious hermitage said to exist somewhere beyond time in a remote area of the Himalayas known under a variety of names such as Gyanganj, Shambhala or Shangri-la.
"Even though Buddhism and Zen are found to be deeply seeped in both concepts, i.e., the mysterious hermitage beyond time and Siddhis, most people along the path, especially those with a strong western background, who encounter one or the other or both, although they may like the idea, are usually uncomfortable with a formal acceptance of any possibility of reality for either, and quickly relegate or disregard such ideas into areas of forced silence."
THE CODE MAKER, THE ZEN MAKER
No sooner had the two Praetorian Guards type monks returned me to the outside grounds surrounding the monastery and the door portal made available by the other monks, than I entered the main monastery proper. Once inside I was immediately ushered before the presence of the master. Where before he had been harsh and aloof he seemed to be more accepting, a feeling I related in later years as similar to the difference of being an undergraduate student and a graduate student in the hierarchy of a university. Following the master's lead I walked with him along the inside darkened edge of the monastery wall that paralleled the meditation hall, stopping when we reached a certain point. Remaining in the shadows he pointed toward a monk walking among the meditators carrying a shiang ban. After seeing the master point the monk stopped momentarily behind one of the meditating monks. Watching the master's nod, of which I thought was a sign to use the shiang ban, he moved on instead. Then I realized why the master had that specific monk singled out. The meditating monk was me. I had returned back to the monastery before I left. Going back to the master's quarters I could see he was in a quandary. Perhaps we both were.
"On a couple of occasions I had gone into the village some distance down and below the monastery with several of the monks. On one of those occasions a man in the village who had a rudimentary use of English had tried to tell me something I wasn't getting the full grasp of. He signed me to wait while he went to get something, returning with a well worn magazine, possibly German or Dutch, and pointed to pictures of the women in the advertisements. What he was trying to say, showing his hands with his fingers up and counting, that 10 to 15 --- what I determined to be months before --- a western woman had come to the village. When I asked what happened to her he pointed toward the mountains."
HOPE SAVAGE: The Beat Generation's Missing Woman
It wasn't long after seeing myself sitting in the meditation hall than the man from the village that had a rudimentary use of English was brought into the monastery. It was easy to see he was scared shitless, walking slow and hunched over as though he was a prisoner being brought in in chains. Seeing a familiar face, me, I think he was relieved. The master asked him a few questions to ask me. Not only was the man's English rudimentary at best, his ability to grasp the situation surrounding the questions made his task even more difficult. The master had missed his mark. What he hoped to clarify was it correctable or was what was done stuck that way for eternity? Should he send the me me that I was now to the lady on the farm instead of the me in the meditation hall that he sent originally or send nobody at all? I told him not to change anything, stick to the schedule and send the meditation hall me --- which he must have or I would have remembered it. I asked him when he sent me to see the lady at the farm in the first place, had he at that time not been confronted with the exact same dilemma? Quickly diverting his eyes downward, he smiled and turned away.
About my return. What some people are not always fully able to grasp is why the two monks dispatched to retrieve me were relegated to using borderline quondam-like esoteric ways. With the distances involved, possibly as many as 800 physical miles between Dinjan and the rough location of the monastery, why not, for example, simply invoke the supernormal perceptiual states of Siddhis, opening the door to translocation a la Sri Ramana and others and its much quicker and more instant aspects than flying. I had no such abilities. At the time all of what was going on was going on, the only thing in my repertoire that set me apart in any fashion from anybody else was the necklace I had in my possession and wore. That necklace had been given to me, or at least passed on to me, under some highly unusual circumstances by my Merchant Marine Friend and receiving thus then, the so-called enumerated powers said to be so vested in it and through it as clarified in the quote below from the source so cited:
"Khun Sa motioned me closer, almost immediately dropping his eye contact from my eyes to that of the the small gold Chinese character dangling around my neck. Reaching forward he softly took the tiny medallion between his thumb and index finger, looking at it very carefully and rubbing it for what seemed the longest time. The background noise and the overall din of the soldiers in the camp became quiet and the air stilled. As a man who could have and take anything he wanted I thought he was going to yank the chain from my neck. Instead he allowed it to gently fall against my skin and stepped back and the sound returned to normal. Basically a tribal person seeped in superstition, Khun Sa, and no doubt along with a good part of his camp as well, knew that for the necklace to have the intended power vested in it, it had to either be given freely and without malice or found after having genuinely been lost. Otherwise, if taken or stolen, its intent would be reversed and what would befall the person so involved would be quite the opposite of the protection it provided."
UNDER THE PROTECTION OF
THE LORD BUDDHA
Even so, given the above observations, for a number of those who read my works it just doesn't seem to be enough. Although I am able to understand it within limits, they don't. So said, there continues to be a never ending stream, OK, a tiny brooklet or maybe even a dry wadi with a little blowing dust if you must, of comments regarding my return to the monastery and how it was done, i.e., via the two monks and their method of implementation for that return. Not all like it. Some think it is a cop out, others just say fuck you. For those I typically direct them to the following:
"Many who come across my meager Zen droppings scattered here and there throughout the internet find a good part of what is presented somewhat useful and filled with wisdom. Others who come across the exact same material react vehemently to what is offered, scooping up what I refer to as meager Zen droppings into heaps and refering to it at best as dung and at worse by other assorted euphemisms."
ZEN AND THE ART OF DEFECATED NITROGENOUS WASTE DEPOSITS
For those who desire or seek a more indepth response to the specific issue at hand, the following is offered:
In the realm of supernormal perceptual states, the execution and results thereof are not always so simple nor cut and dry. I have my personal suspicions as to why it was done the way it was, but no specific answers why in my particular case the method they used was used instead of maybe a more esoteric or seemingly spiritually refined technique. For all I know, except for having the harness in my possession after my arrival at the monastery, how I describe my return may not have happened that way at all. After all, the monks gave me some kind of cracker thing and not long after that we were in the air. Now true, it wasn't a warm tea-like broth in a small bowl-shaped cup without handles as given me by the Obeah high in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica nor was it a sip from a bota bag as given me by the woman at the farm house, but it is not always easy to ascertain the full use of Aushadhi like things under such circumstances --- if they were used at all.
It is my belief the method in the way it was done, as I have described it as having been done, was the way it was done. Now, while it is true the internet is crawling with people who know more about it than I do, from my own humble experience there is what I would call nothing less than a sort of spiritual conservation of energy in such things. Re the following, attributed to Gautama Buddha himself and found in the book "BUDDHISM: It's Essence and Development" by Edward Conze as well as my page on Siddhis:
"One day the Buddha met an ascetic who sat by the bank of a river. This ascetic had practised austerities for 25 years. The Buddha asked him what he had received for all his labor. The ascetic proudly replied that now at last, he could cross the river by walking on the water. The Buddha pointed out that this gain was insignificant for all the years of labor, since he could cross the river using a ferry for one penny!"
In the novel "The Razor's Edge" by William Somerset Maugham, Maugham has the main character Larry Darrell tell a similar story involving a ferryboat and a penny, only instead of the Buddha and an ascetic being the main focus, Larry's version zeros in on a Hindu yogi in India.
A spiritual conservation of energy notwithstanding, any use thereof rises to the occasion, saving a life or lives for example. In the book Life of Swami Ramalingam by T.V.G. Chetty, there is an event recorded involving the venerated Indian holy man and saint, Swami Ramalinga Swamigal ( 1828-1874), popularly known as Vallalar, and some of his devotees that goes like:
One day, while in Madras, the Swami along with several devotees and disciples, were walking to Tiruvottiyur inorder to worship at the Ishwara temple. During the journey he and his party got caught in an exceptionally heavy downpour, all in the group suffering much difficulty because of the sudden flooding and rushing water. The Swami showed them a shortcut and in an instant they reached Tiruvottiyur. Chetty describes the incident as follows:
"They had reached half the way to Tiruvottiyur. There was heavy rain. His followers began to run mell. But the Swami 'rallied them all together and darted through some mysterious bylane' and got the entire body in front of the temple in a second of time."
Chetty goes on to write that the incident seems to be a case of collective dematerialisation and materialisation, that is to say the Swami took them within his subtle physical body or possibly enveloped them in his environmental body which is its extension and reached the destination instantly and projected them out again. His devotees should have felt the whole process as going through a mysterious way and reaching the temple in an instant.
There was no such priority in my case. Nor, it is my belief, that any abilities so executable by the two monks so dispatched to retrieve me, approached anywhere near the level of someone such as Swami Ramalinga Swamigal. Even if such a person were available it isn't likely they would go beyond the walls of the portal.
The other question, at least by some, is how is it that the woman on the farm was able to put into place and implement the outcome she did unhindered and seemingly without assist? Unlike what the monks that returned me confronted, I attribute it to her location within the confines of an area already infused by a spiritual timelessness. No such widespread geophysical phenomenon existed where I was found. Without me rising to the level of Siddhis I was more of a burden. So too, in a similar vein albeit on a lower level perhaps, what the monks who returned me didn't know, or didn't realize or care about, when I left the monastery under the auspices of the woman at the farm, to my knowledge there was no passage through any portal or doors, nor too though, was I seemingly blanketed by any aspect thereof being in place time-wise at the ashram. Hence, when I returned to the ruins no door to the inside was available to me.
In the overall scheme of things all things return to a balance. If a person is such that they can act upon in some manner creating movements or disturbances in the normal flow of events at a level surpassing or beyond the edges of the day-to-day conventional plane, somehow somewhere and sometime there must be a return to the equilibrium. Simply put, if a person inherent in manifesting such movements acts as a medium or go-between in behest of another for the other's own behalf, the person requesting the behest is responsible for the consequences. If, on the other hand, you are the perpetrator of the behest for your own reasons on your own behalf, then YOU must accept and bear any downstream consequences. Nothing is free, there is always a payoff somewhere. It is worth considering when you start interfering with the normal flow of events. Spoken from experience.
My merchant marine friend, who I mentioned some paragraphs back regarding the necklace and all, was actually a major celebrity or sorts, at least in the loose knit west coast merchant marine community where he lived, carrying a huge high level of notoriety and prestige ahead of himself. That notoriety and prestige, as focused as it was, stemmed from the mysterious events surrounding his survival, including the necklace, after being lost at sea and found alive out in the middle of the ocean months, and months later strapped to a piece of debris, hundreds and hundreds of miles away from the spot his ship was torpedoed. Merchant marines from all over used to come by to pay him homage. In that paying of homage he met all kinds of people of which one was a man named Bob Kaufman. Kaufman, after leaving the merchant marines would become very big in the Beat movement. Like Kaufman, most of the bigtime Beat poets, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Carl Solomon, Gary Snyder, and Herbert Huncke served in the merchant marines at one time or the other. Actually, because of Kaufman, in a roundabout way Ginsberg got caught up in all the necklace stuff as well. For more on the specifics of the necklace and my merchant marine friend, where the necklace came from and what happened to it, please go to Footnote .
DOING HARD TIME IN A ZEN MONASTERY
HUNTERS OF THE WHITE MONK
THE CODE MAKER, THE ZEN MAKER
SHANGRI-LA, SHAMBHALA, GYANGANJ, BUDDHISM AND ZEN
THE MOBIUS STRIP
ON THE RAZOR'S
SO, DID THE WANDERLING FLY?
AN ANALYSIS OF THE CONCEPT OF TIME OF ST. AUGUSTINE
As to the subject of donations, for those who may be so interested as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
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THE DIXIE MISSION
For just about anything and everything anybody would ever want to know or learn regarding the "Dixie Mission" please see the chapter titled MISSION TO YENAN: The OSS and the Dixie Mission by Carolle J. Carter, page 302, as found in:
THE SECRET WAR: The Office of Strategic Services in World War II. Edited by George C. Chalou. National Archives and Records Administration. Washington DC (1994).(see)
The above "see" link takes you to a complete PDF version of the whole book. For the specific chapter only, titled MISSION TO YENAN: The OSS and the Dixie Mission, click HERE.
Below is a photograph depicting William Samuel in full military uniform (holding the pointer) accompanied just to his left by his interpreter, the Taoist monk Mr. Shieh, training Chinese troops. The photo is an integral part and prominently displayed in the CMH Publication 72-38 titled China Defensive. The Center Of Military History (CMH), responsible for the production of the publication as well as the inclusion of the photograph, reports directly to the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army --- a U.S. Government agency --- any contents of publications by CMH therein fall into the public domain. The following photograph, so alluded to, is located on page 11 of the CMH publication China Defensive, as found in the link below:
(SEE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
There is a photo found through Getty Images that reeks all the same as being nothing else but the exact same photo --- of which they claim they have the publishing rights to although the one I'm using above is actually in the public domain as so shown in the Wikimedia Commons link so cited. The photo is important because of how it relates to William Samuel --- especially so as it relates to him being along the India-Burma border at a time that would be convenient for him to visit the Ramana ashram, circa April 8, 1944 as I have claimed. William Samuel's birth name was William Samuel Levey, or as it could be written William S. Levey. The photo on the Getty page, which is similar to the ones, if not exactly like the one I have presented above, offers with it a caption not found at any of the other sources on the net, the caption reads:
"Chinese troops are trained in modern warfare by the Y-Force Operations Staff of the American military mission to China (Dixie Mission), 1944. Here, Lieutenant William S. Levey and interpreter Captain Shien Pai explain a tactical situation using a large-scale model of the Great Wall of China."(source)
NOTE: By clicking the above China Defensive link it will take you to a complete free unabridged online PDF version of the booklet. On page 11 inside, although the booklet does not specifically cite Samuel being one of the soldiers depicted, providing only the more general caption underneath that reads "American trainer explains a tactical situation to Chinese soldiers. (U.S. Army Military History Institute)," it is known that in the photograph both William Samuel and his interpreter have been clearly identified.
COL. ROBERT L. SCOTT, JR.
"Scott, who would eventually fly for the American Volunteer Group, or as they were better known, the Flying Tigers, was ferrying men and equipment over the hump into Kunming, often returning with plane loads of refugees, refugees that needed to be spread around, hence being in Calcutta."
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Robert Scott's story is one of the classic tales of World War II. He had always wanted to be a fighter pilot, but when war came along he was told he was too old. He was training other pilots when he heard that some B-17 Flying Fortresses were being sent on a secret mission to the Far East. Scott volunteered, though he had never flown a B-17. He was sure the Fortresses would take him close to Claire L. Chennault, head of the Flying Tigers.
Originally the Fortresses were to bomb Japan from China, and then fly on to the Philippines. But the Philippines fell and the B-17s had no place to land, so the mission was canceled at the last minute. Instead, Scott found himself flying supplies to Chennault from India, over the high and dangerous Himalaya Mountains. In no time Bob Scott talked Chennault into letting him fly a P-40 to help protect the transport planes flying over "The Hump."
When he wasn't escorting the transports, the P-40 was his to do with as he pleased. On his own, Scott began a one-man war against the Japanese on the Burma Road. He even had the propeller spinner on his Tomahawk, which he named "Old Exterminator," painted a different color each day so the Japanese would think that a whole squadron of planes was strafing them. On some days he flew as many as five missions. When he could, Bob Scott also flew combat missions as a wingman with the Flying Tigers.
COL. ROBERT L. SCOTT, JR.
THE PEARL HARBOR P-40 GHOST SHIP
GHOST P-40: LORE, LEGENDS AND HER WHEREABOUTS
THE JAGANNATH TEMPLE IN PURI, THE MOST MYSTERIOUS TEMPLE IN ALL OF INDIA
"They told the consulate to send me on through, only provide me with a cover, which they did. It took awhile, but a few weeks later, using a pseudonym or an actual person's name of somebody else, I was a civilian aircraft mechanic under the broader umbrella of the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) on my way to Calcutta to catch a C-47 to Dinjan."
After arrival the OSS kept me incognito for the most part, distancing me from anybody that might matter, ensuring I didn't get trapped into some conversation that might expose a lack of specific aircraft mechanical knowledge, otherwise I was pretty much free to do whatever I wanted. Wandering around Calcutta was like being in some huge Bazaar, with all or if not more of the implied underpinnings and intrigues found in the movie Casablanca. Most people don't think of the Indian people in such a fashion, but along the gutters of the streets and back alleys there wasn't anything you couldn't find, buy, or have done to, by or from somebody if you had the money. There were so many providers, purveyors, and entrepreneur there was even space to haggle prices between whatever you wanted or wanted done. I even discovered there were a number of German military in the crowds that I would bump into on a occasion, some saying they were POW's, others deserters, almost all from submarines with a few from merchant raiders, just counting down the days for the war to end. Not sure how much of it our side, British, Indians, or even the Germans knew about it --- or if they did, even gave a shit or somehow used it to their advantage, but it wasn't a secret to me in my wanderings. I think most of them that came across me thought I was in the same boat so even though there was an on the surface "enemies" thing, there was a below the surface camaraderie thing. Crossing paths for the first time from a distance or otherwise, under the circumstances that existed it wasn't always easy to tell if one was an a American or German, but being white, almost anywhere you went not British/ American military or an English lawn party or polo match type thing, you definitely stood out.
Generally thinking Calcutta is seldom thought of as being anything like that during World War II, if they think about it at all. As far as the war was concerned Calcutta was just a forgotten backwash. Matter of fact, most of the whole China-Burma-India theater was thought of as being not much more than as bothersome thorn in the foot. Just like I write leaving the fabulously beautiful actress Phyllis Davis meditating on her own in Thailand to ensure her overall well being while I crossed over into Burma on my way to the wide open China-Burma border city of Mong La, I called up a famous Star Wars analogy:
"Obi-Wan Kenobi warned Luke Skywalker that he'd never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy in the whole galaxy than Mos Eisley spaceport."
"I guess neither Obi-Wan or Luke ever heard of Mong La."(see)
Guess they never heard of Calcutta during World War II either.(see)
One of the people I crossed paths with while I was in Calcutta, as can be found a little later down the page in Footnote  below, was an American I "knew" named Bob Kaufman.
When I first met Kaufman it was at my merchant marine friend's home in Redondo Beach while I was in high school and Kaufman had only just left the merchant marines some time before. In Calcutta I was in the military and a ten year older G.I. while Kaufman was a ten years younger merchant sailor. I remember well the day he was at the merchant marine's house. I had only just started high school by a few months and working for the merchant marine when Kaufman showed up for maybe the second time and truly took notice of the the necklace my friend always wore. Kaufman went over it the same way he went over it the day I was wearing it in Calcutta. It was easy to see as carefully as he marveled at the necklace in the second case that from both cases he determined it to be the same necklace, although from his perspective it couldn't possibly be.
I also had coffee or drinks with a few of the Germans a number of times in various dives and locations in and around Calcutta and during one of the times I showed a couple of them the Kriegsmarine 2d Flotilla hat pin I had. Both were super surprised and wanted, or should I say demanded to know what I was doing with it, where I got it, and how I got it. Although I left out a ton of details I did tell them the truth. Before the Army I was camping out in the New Mexico desert when on one of the nights three freezing, starving to death escaped German POW's stumbled into camp. We gave them food, hot coffee, and the warmth of the fire. When they left one of the POW's gave me the pin. Two hours later all three had been captured with one of the captured wounded and the third shot to death when they were caught trying to hotwire a truck in some farmer's barn. The prisoner that was shot dead was the same man that had given me the pin, probably the only thing of any value he had. His name was Walter Jager, 20 years old.(see) The Germans I did talk with about the pin were typically deeply touched, some even to the point of having tears in their eyes, the rough and tumble war fighters they were, deserters or not.
It was during those Calcutta wanderings I decided to go to the city of Puri, south along the coast about 250 miles away. Why Puri? Because of something I heard from my mentor a year or so before I was drafted.
Somewhere in my writings I state it is my belief that the person I call my Mentor, after meeting a Benedictine monk named Father Ensheim during his travels in Europe after WWI, taking the monk's advice, went to India-Tibet in search of the Hemis Manuscripts, said to be a set of scrolls or books stating Jesus of Nazareth visited India during his so-called "missing years" in the bible.
If my mentor ever saw the manuscripts or if the manuscripts even or ever existed is not known. However, it seems to me, if you track the various aspects of my mentor's background, he had a massive change regarding his approach to things spiritual and religious after going to Hemis, especially so how he viewed things in a western sense. Between the time he got off the boat in Bombay and the time he arrived at the temple in Madura some two to three years later --- enough of a change occurred that when he went to study under the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, he was Awakened to the Absolute --- that is Enlightened in the same manner as the ancient classical masters.
In the period, during or after 1959, but before I was drafted a couple of years later, my mentor met with friend of his by the name of Sri Daya Mata, the president of Paramahansa Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship. In 1959 she had gone to India to meet and talk with people of note related to the Fellowship as well as visit some of the hallowed and sacred places from which the Fellowship sprang. During her travels she stopped to see Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha (1884-1960), the Shankaracharya of Puri, who had visited the Self-Realization Center in California the year before.
While visiting him she discussed Jesus being in India during his so-called "missing years." She told Sri Bharati that Paramahansa Yogananda had often told her that Christ spent some of his life in India, in association with some of India's most illumined sages. His Holiness replied:
"That is true. I have studied ancient records in the Puri Jagannath Temple archives confirming these facts. He was known as 'Isha,' and during part of his time in India he stayed in the Jagannath Temple. When he returned to his part of the world, he expounded the teachings that are known today as Christianity."
One day in conversation, after his meeting with Sri Daya Mata, my mentor told me Sri Daya had shared information with him regarding the Jagannath Temple in Puri and the ancient records that Sri Bharati had studied regarding Jesus being in India. My mentor told me had he known that beforehand, he may have never gone to the Hemis monastery but gone to Puri instead. Besides he said, the Jagannath Temple is said to have secreted away in one or all of the four idols within the temple what is known as Brahma Padartha, life substance or life material, the substance or material in this case being a so called "tooth relic" of the Buddha. Re the following from the source so cited:
"Brahma Padarthas are core materials in the four wooden deities of Sri Jagannath temple. These core materials are transferred from the old idols to the new in a metaphor of immortality of soul and its reincarnations.
"The four 'badagrahis' entitled to perform the transfer of Brahma Padartha get the chance to see and touch these secret core material kept within the four idols. Bound by a vow, they never disclose the identity of Brahma Padartha to anyone. Till date, generations of these daitapati servitors have steadfastly kept the identity of Brahma Padartha a closely guarded secret."
Knowing such things through my mentor as well as being self learned stemming from a curiosity-based need to know about such things, since I was within quasi-striking distance to Puri from Calcutta and with not much to do except hang out and play cards with a bunch of doofuses, I decided to visit the Jagannath Temple, and if I could, learn for myself, answers to some of the mysteries I had heard so much about.
The Jagannath Temple lets Hindus and Buddhist into the interior grounds and temple, but not Christians and Muslims. Falling into a "you look more like Christian camp" I was immediately questioned and held in abeyance. It was only after I was able to forge past lower level guardians that things changed. The treatment afforded me upon seeing my necklace as discussed in Footnote  and elsewhere completely negated any questioning, actually escalating me into a more deeply accepted realm. However, like the generations of daitapati servitors have steadfastly kept the identity of Brahma Padartha a closely guarded secret I too am relegated to such status, thus no more can be said.
EVOLUTION OF THE JAGANNATH CULT
THE WORSHIP OF JAGANNATH
The translation of the Sanskrit Sarira literally means 'body', BUT in Buddhist usage most often refers to the sacred relics found in the cremated remains of the Buddha or of a Buddhist monk. If we are indeed "star stuff" even before death we are cremated, that is, composed of the remains of cremated stars.
After the death of Prince Siddhartha Gautama aka The Buddha, Shakyamuni Gotama 2,600 years ago, following tradition, he was cremated. Followers searched through his ashes and found four teeth and some finger bones. His relics were distributed and later redistributed by Emperor Asoka, who built special stupas (Chinese: "pagoda") to house them for worship. Of the finger bones, only one, shown in the graphic above, is known to be in existence today.
It should be noted that in the quote above by Bharati Krishna Tirtha (i.e., "His Holiness replied") wherein he states that when Jesus was in India he spent part of his time in the Jagannath Temple, would have to refer to a predecessor structure to the Juggernaut Temple, probably a Buddhist stupa at the site, because the Hindu based Juggernaut Temple in the present location didn't exist during the time of Jesus. The links above help to clarify the distinction. As well, the following is by Dr. Janmejay Choudhury in his Sri Jagannath Temple : The Nerve Centre of Orissan Culture and is representitive of historians that support the view of a previous Buddhist presence at the Jagannath site:
"Some Scholars trace a Buddhist origin of the trinity of the Jagannath temple. It is said that the tooth relic of Lord Buddha is preserved in the image of Jagannath, that the three deities- Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra represent Buddha, Dharma and Sangha respectively, that all Snana Yatra and Ratha Yatra of the Sri Jagannath temple are of Buddhist origin and that the sharing of Kaivalya on equal footing by all castes is due to the Buddhist impact. There are some literary evidences of co-relation between Lord Jagannath and Buddhism. According to some scholars, Jagannath is a common epithet of Buddha. In Tibet, one of the names of Buddha is Jagannath. Jayadeva, the twelvth century Vaishnava poet who according to some scholars, identified Jagannath with Krushna or Vishnu also accepted Buddha as the ninth incarnation of Krushna or Vishnu. Sarala Das, the fifteenth century poet, in his Mahabharat, regarded Jagannath as an embodiment of Buddha. He wrote, 'To deliver mankind, Jagannath has manifested himself in the form to Buddha', Daru Brahma Gita of Jagannath Deva says, 'to assume the form of Buddha, the lord gave up his hands and legs.'"
OUR INTRODUCTION- WAS DONE THRU A CHARLES
LAUGHTON TYPE IN A RUMPLED ONCE WHITE SUIT.
So how is it I can I be so certain as to what the operations manager's name was after so many years passage since the Charles Laughton type introduced me to him, especially so in that the meeting was most likely done in haste and probably lasted no more than a few seconds? To tell the truth, I can't. Although not a surefire lock on the events, there was however, in an incredible Lana Lang moment, two very strong distinct situations in the forefront of my early childhood that made his name, at the time, more-or-less unforgettable, and remaining as I see it, memorable even up to this day.
The first memorable event had to do with a rifle called a Sharp, similar to the one pictured above. My stepmother owned a very valuable antique pistol that a man who owned a Sharp wanted to trade for. The pistol she owned and he wanted was called a Colt Walker. The 1847 .44-caliber Colt Walker was the largest, heaviest black-powder revolver Colt ever produced, known for their firepower and shooting distance. Adding to their rarity and value was the fact that they had been manufactured in a limited quantity with each one carrying their own individual unique number tied to the person the gun went to. The collector, after learning my stepmother had a Colt-Walker in her possession tried to barter a trade with her, his Sharp for the Colt. The collector said the Sharp could hit targets at a 1000 yards, and even demonstrated successfully that it could. I was there for the demonstration and I was deeply impressed, the targets being so far a way I could barely see them. My stepmother had no clue as to the actual worth of the Colt because it was given to her to help satisfy a debt some falling on hard times now indigent fellow owed her. The nice person my stepmother was, she just took the fellow's word on how much the Colt was worth and let it go at that.
After the collector told my stepmother how much the Sharp was worth and was willing to trade straight across she felt she might possibly be getting the short end of the deal and opted out. Many years later I ended up being a negotiating third-party middleman between her and the author Louis L'Amour, who had written over 100 cowboy and western themed books. He had learned through my uncle, who L'Amour knew, that my stepmother owned a Colt Walker, and because Colt Walkers often figured prominently in his books, L'Amour expressed an interest in purchasing it, a purchase that still for reasons unknown to me was never finalized. Where the Colt is now or who owns it I have no clue.
CLINT EASTWOOD AS 'OUTLAW JOSEY WALES,' SHOWN IN ACTION WIELDING TWO COLT WALKERS
The second occasion that "Sharp" came up involved my same aforementioned Uncle. Immediately after my uncle graduated from high school he began studying art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and the Art Student's League in New York City. In the process of those studies he met and began studying under an artist by the name of John Sloan, re the following:
"A year or two before the start of the Great Depression and barely into his 20s he decided to follow an important and well established artist he met and studied under named John Sloan to New Mexico. Sloan traveled to New Mexico each year for a few months to paint and relax. On their second or third trip, when Sloan returned to New York, my uncle stayed, having fallen in love with Santa Fe, the culture and the desert southwest."
WPA: Works Project Admistration
Sloan introduced my uncle to one of the major artists in the desert southwest, Joseph Henry Sharp, living in Taos, New Mexico at the time. Many years later, when I had fallen under the auspices of my uncle, he having become my guardian of sorts, Sharp, who was reaching toward the age of 90 by then, had a major exhibition of his works at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The exhibition was set to start at the end of September 1949, and run through December. My uncle, thinking it would probably be Sharp's last, wanted to be at the opening and have me along. I had already missed a bunch of school earlier in the year because of a snow storm while I was traveling with my uncle to see the Kensignton Stone a heavy rock slab inscribed with ancient letter like symbols called runes that when translated state that Norsemen were in the Americas as early as 1362 AD and as far inland as Minnesota where the rock slab was found buried under tree roots. My stepmother said old rocks were bad enough but she wasn't about to have me miss any more school, famous artist or not. Since the opening fell on a Sunday she arranged for my uncle and me to fly to Tulsa and fly back right afterwards, that way I would miss only a couple days of school at the most. It may not sound like much now, but flying around the country in 1949 was a big deal, at least it was for me, the kid that I was. Needless to say, Joseph Henry Sharp was a guy I never forgot.
THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE
LIFE IN THE AIR, DEATH IN THE SKY
THE ALUMINUM TRAIL CIRCA 1940'S:
In the illustrated graphic below several Japanese fighters are shown sweeping in for the kill on an unarmed CNAC C-47 transport, taking her out over the Himalayas, laying the groundwork or adding to it if it hadn't already long before started, the legend of the Aluminum Trail.
For the record, transports over the hump, attacked or otherwise, were not exclusively CNAC. Although many of them were, the majority of the fatalities and wreckage were American. Hundreds and hundreds of USAAF aircraft were taken out or lost in the skies over the "hump" by enemy action and weather, each individual downed plane manned by multiple crew members, with most of those crew members American. Of those who went down some made it, but in simple sheer numbers most didn't. Hundreds remain lost and unaccounted for. As usual, American soldiers in in a foreign land fighting for their freedom and when done, if still alive, go home, no occupation or suppression. Generations later the peoples of those countries hate us but all want to live in America while Americans in our own country find reasons to hate us for doing what we did. Those poor dead fuckers and their rotting bones spread out all along the Aluminum Trail, never able to hold their own babies. People they died for and their offspring still do.
Notice one of the engines of the C-47 is out, with the crew still at the controls.
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FOUR HUMP AIRMEN RETURNING FROM A WALKOUT
Official records of Search and Rescue were closed at the end of 1945. Their final records showed 509 crashed aircraft records "closed", and 81 lost aircraft still classified as "open." Three hundred twenty-eight (328) of the lost aircraft were Air Transport Command (ATC). Thirteen hundred fourteen (1,314) crew members were known dead, 1,171 walked out to safety, and 345 were declared still missing.
Operations ended on November 15, 1945, when the Hump was officially closed down. The last full month of war-time operations was July, 1945. Military supply operations were discontinued in August, 1945. The final months of operations provided for the closing of China Hump bases and the moving of support personnel from China to India for transportation home.
The above two paragraphs are from A Fact Sheet For The Hump Operation During World War II.(see)
The Aluminum Trail, published in 1989 by Chick Marrs Quinn, linked above, lists over 700 US aircraft lost in the CBI theater. The personnel losses were far in excess of this number, as most aircraft had multiple crew members and some aircraft were also transporting passengers. The US Dept. of Defense stated in 2004 that more than 500 US aircraft and 1,200 personnel remain missing in the CBI theater, with an estimated 416 Americans still missing in India alone. The losses were the highest on the Hump route between airbases in northeastern India and airbases in southwestern China because that involved flying over high mountain ranges where fierce winds and extreme icing conditions were often encountered. Most of these aircraft have never been found and their aircrews and passengers have long since been listed as MIA. Early accident reports often declared the missing personnel as “unrecoverable”.
C-47 AVIATION ARTWORK BY
In the above I write that we were being hammered by static so bad the pilot couldn't get a fix on any radio station. Previously in the above I had written that no matter how sophisticated and advanced any radio communication equipment might be, when conditions for transmission get bad to worse, only Morse code gets through. Our C-47 flight only had two crew members, the pilot and co-pilot. No radio operator or navigator. Not knowing one thing specifically about the radio equipment on board a World War II C-47, but taking into consideration that the radio communication stations the pilot was searching for were sophisticated enough to have beat frequency oscillators I told him I might be able to mess with the plane's radio transmitter enough to send continuous wave Morse code through --- and if a receiving station returned commo back to us in Morse code or jacked up the strength of their transmitter short term we might be able to get a fix on their location.
The pilot didn't seemed too jazzed about the idea, holding back any actual response, especially so in that he didn't know me or any expertise I may have had or didn't have relative to messing with his radio in the middle of a blizzard and a static storm. His Chinese co-pilot seemed a little more enthusiastic about the idea, but was clearly not going to override any decision made by the pilot.
The passengers thought a little different. Right away one of the CNAC mechanics, thinking I might need some tools to hook up a hand key if I found it or to jury-rig or make one if I had to, dug out a small OD canvas bag from a much larger bag, showing me a variety of tools he thought might be of some use: a slot and philips screwdriver, some side cutters, a pair of needle-nose pliers. At the same time I was being shown all of his thought-to-be useful-tools the mechanic, still thinking he was being helpful, also removed a small metal can that had an in-the-center screw top lid and unscrewed the lid to see if the contents, of which he said was electrically conductive glue, was still usable in the cold temperature --- only to have the can accidentally knocked from his hand because of the turbulence.
The can hit the floor and the contents, apparently still fluid enough, ran out as the can rolled around on the deck. Since I was standing and he was strapped down I reached for the can with one hand while at the same time reaching for the lid with my other hand, thinking I could reseal it before any more liquid ran out. Before I was able to grab the can, because of the increasing turbulence I had to first brace myself up using both arms, then strap myself in instead. In doing so I stepped in the liquid and made a couple of boot tracks on the floor without ever having a chance to reach and reseal the can. However, as it was, in the micro-second I stalled to try to retrieve the can fate or karma or nothing at all interceded and I never made it to the safety harnesses.
With no sense of what happened, and in what seemed no more than an instant in the passage of time, I found myself face down outside in a snow drift and bilzzard nowhere near a plane, being covered more and more by blowing snow.
I write that from the snow drift, seeking shelter from the blizzard-force wind and snow, I made my way to the only large intact portion of the wreckage I was able to see. Then I write after sheltering myself inside from the wind for a short time I had the strangest feeling come over me that the interior portion of the fuselage I was in wasn't the same interior I remembered, as though I was somehow in the fuselage of a whole different plane. I remember well when I first boarded the C-47 in Calcutta it was nearly new both inside and out, with all kinds of new fittings and rigging. The fuselage I was in, which I was sure was or had been a C-47, was nothing like that, as though it was ancient or had been wrecked and been laying in the snow pack for years. Interestingly enough as well, after clearing back the snow on the floor where the spilled electrically conductive glue should have been, and in the grooves of the sole of my boot, there was no sign or trace of the glue that I stepped in earlier and had clearly made foot tracks from. The thing is, not only did I have my shoulder bag over my shoulder, which I may have had anyway but don't remember doing, I also had the screw top lid to the glue can the mechanic handed me still tightly gripped in the palm of my hand when I first started crawling out of the snow bank. Then of course, there was the thermos of hot coffee.
As for the C-47 radio transmitting in continuous wave for Morse code see page 81 in the handbook linked below. The BC-348 radio receiver and the BC-375 radio transmitter are the main pieces of radio communication equipment most commonly associated with CW and Morse code. For a picture of the C-47 CW Morse code hand key as well as some of the other transmitting equipment please click the second link. Take note that the electronic communication equipment shown below, as found in the C-47 radio operator's compartment, could possibly take on a slight air of complexity for a person unfamiliar with its operation. For access to online PDF versions of the BC-348 radio receiver and the BC-375 radio transmitter please click the image.
C-47 RADIO EQUIPMENT HANDBOOK (1943)
C-47 RADIO OPERATOR'S COMPARTMENT
(please click image)
THE SIGNAL CORPS IN THE CBI THEATER DURING WW II
THE SHOULDER BAG
In the above I write, "The thing is, not only did I have my shoulder bag over my shoulder, which I may have had anyway but don't remember doing...."
While that same "above" is all about me being high in the rarefied air and mountains of the Himalayas, the quote below where I peripherally make reference to my shoulder bag, talks about the world-away sub-tropical Caribbean island of Jamaica. The point being made in the quote and the point I'm trying to get across here is no matter what, when you travel you are only who your paperwork says you are. No paperwork, i.e, passport, etc., then suddenly you become persona non grata. If the authorities confiscate your papers then you no longer are. Besides my shoulder bag being like Batman's utility belt to me, what little identification I had besides, I had in my shoulder bag, so if I wasn't concerned with or aware of much of anything, my shoulder bag was always of a continuing prime importance. Re the following:
One of the things I learned in thePeace Corps and the Military is that just about everything in the tropics disintegrates rather quickly if left unattended, especially paper. Even though the reasons for my being in Jamaica were considered to be highly humanitarian in nature, humanitarian or not, when you travel, you are still only who your paperwork says you are. Because I was planning on living in Jamaica a couple of years some people concerned with my overall well being insisted I take my old military dog tags with me. That way, since I always seem to find myself in places I shouldn't be, if I ended up rotting away someplace, so their theory went, at least my metal dog tags might survive long enough to identify me.
THE ZEN MAN FLIES
Continuing in the same vein, as found in the Signal Corps In The CBI link above, a signalman stationed in that same theater had the following to say:
"You have to revise your thinking about signal supplies when you are fighting in a part of the world where everything that doesn't rust quickly will corrode or rot away even faster, where batteries have less than half the normal expectancy, and insects do everything but march away with (everything you own) bodily."
As the man who had a rudimentary use of English was being walked out and away from the monastery proper I was able to stop him. I asked if he remembered the time I was in the village and he handed me a magazine, pointing out photos of western women. After a few back and forths he nodded yes. I then asked him if, since that time until now, had he seen or come in contact with that same or any western woman.
He said the woman had come into the town from the mountains heading away from the monastery and the village in the direction of the escarpment. She had left something with a villager she said was for the white monk and that the "something" ended up in his hands and, although he didn't have it with him, he still had it. Then he said a few days later she was back in the village although this time going the other way toward the direction of the monastery or back into the mountains. After that he never saw her again.
When I finally had a chance to make it to the village and get my hands on what the western woman left for the white monk, it turned out to be nothing more than a folded over in fours piece of paper with a mid-size for the page fairly neat but unclear as to what it was drawing in the center. No words, no signature, no date, no initials. Unless the drawing was supposed to be a double entendre of some kind it didn't make much sense no matter which way I turned it and looked at it. The closest the drawing resembled anything to me in a Rorschach Test sort of way was a woman's vagina. If it had been drawn by Hope and intended for me, and that was what it was, then it might have some sense to it if it was related back to the few days we were in the mountains. If that was what it was, but referred somehow to some potential future event, then for sure I didn't get it.
Anybody who is familiar with or has read any amount of my online works knows that as a young boy I was big on box top and the like offers such as Ovaltine's Captain Midnight's Radio Premiums, especially Captain Midnight's Code-O-Graphs, and more specifically so the 1942-1945 Photo-Matic version that figured so prominently throughout my childhood into adulthood. As I viewed it, comic book ads were a quick jump from sending in for a box top offer, falling into a similar or like category. Matter of fact the first comic book ad I ever answered was for me to become a Junior Air Raid Warden. I don't think I was even in kindergarten when I sent for the Air Raid Warden kit. The below ad hawking a Venus fly trap used to show up around in comic books. Now, I don't remember that ad specifically nor do I remember ever responding to it, but I do remember Venus fly traps as a young boy and how intrigued I was by them. I was always sending for them, buying them, trading for them and trying to grow them.
As it turned out the drawing was not of a woman's vagina, but a Venus fly trap. And it was a double entendre, sort of, all of which I figured out with the help of my uncle sitting next to him while he was on his death bed.
It seems like my Uncle had always been around. However, that wasn't really always the case. While it is true he was more-or-less a steady full time guardian for me during my early formative years, say just before I was eight years old until shortly after I turned twelve, basically overlapping and during the same period of time my father and Stepmother were married, he was more than just simply being around or a babysitter. Besides being a fairly well established artist in the desert southwest with strong ties to the indigenous populations that inhabited the area, he was as well what I call a biosearcher, even to the point of having several plant species named after him.
During those formative years of my life, albeit always under the ever watchful eye of my stepmother and her then never ending supply of money, she spared little or no expense to see to it we got whatever we wanted, as long as it was within reason and made sense. What was unusual about all of that was sometimes what my stepmother viewed as being within reason and making sense was sometimes more wayout than what my uncle and I thought would be. So said, he was given complete authority to oversee me as he so chose, as long as I received extensive education in the sciences, hard academics, philosophy, and the arts and as well as he saw it, travel. In the end it was my stepmother who picked up the tab on all of our expenses and adventures. It was she who gave the final yes or no to any wild scheme my uncle or I cooked up. And it was she who had the power and ability to pull the strings to get us out of anything of an undue nature we may have accidentally got caught up in.
A few years before my uncle died he embarked on a personal expedition to explore the Vortexes said to be associated with Machu Picchu high in the Andes of South America. Afterwards he traveled over to the Brazilian side to bio-search the vine banisteriopsis caapi, associated with the Ayahuasca, the Sorcerer's Brew, along the upper reaches of the Amazon when he broke his leg. Returning to the States, weak from the complications of that break, with dementia sneaking in and his body defenses down, cancer took over and he died a couple of years later at age eighty-six. In a large part it was because of his intimate knowledge of southwest indigenous plants that I, starting as not much more than a mere ten-year old boy, but mostly less, ended up exploring a good part of the desert with him.
Among other things for example, because of that same intimate knowledge, the famed astronomer, meteorite hunter and mathematician Dr. Linclon La Paz sought him out for assistance. La Paz's idea, as explored more thoroughly in the article on Frank Edwards, was, because of the controversy that continued to escalate in the minds of a few surrounding the so-called Roswell Incident was to have my uncle help find out if and where any of the plant growth on the suspected debris field related to the incident may have been moved, removed, replanted, tampered with or altered in some fashion and if possible determine the flight trajectory of the suspected airborne object, all of which was done by the way
Secondly, in another example, and a major one at that, found at the source so cited, as in the above, relates to my uncle and thus then back to me --- the biosearcher he was and the ward of his I was, having been pinpointed as the mysterious informant mentioned so prominently by Carlos Castaneda in his series of Don Juan books:
"Deep in the desert southwest, before Carlos Castaneda met the Shaman-sorcerer that became famous in his series of Don Juan books, Castaneda had a chance encounter with a somewhat mysterious hallucinogenic bio-searcher and mushroom hunter from the Taos, Santa Fe, New Mexico area. It has been chronicled that the bio-searcher, known only as the informant in various Castaneda writings, some written by Castaneda himself, some by others, and some even written by those not always sympathetic toward Castaneda, agree for the most part --- unsympathetic or not --- that the informant was the actual person that FIRST introduced Castaneda to the rituals and use of medicinal plants."(source)
As found in The Roswell Ray Gun, without telling anybody, my uncle had returned from his trip to South America early because of having not only broken his leg, but, if not just flat-out fatigued, he was weak and ill as well from some undiagnosable jungle rot. The instant I was informed of his situation by his long time doctor I left for my uncle's home in Santa Fe to see him. It was only then I discovered he was actually on a serious downhill trajectory. I knew a huge fund of otherwise unknown or purposely withheld information would no longer be able to tapped when his mind disappeared and he was gone. He always seemed so together and wise, but in those last few years I could see him slipping and I knew there were many, many things that would go unanswered when the time came.
As I was sitting next to my pretty much bed ridden uncle as he was inching towards the end of his days we continually jumped back and forth between conversational subjects. In that my uncle knew Allen Ginsberg, I had brought up Hope Savage, a close friend of Ginsberg that I knew and had met in connection with me being in the Himalayas as mentioned previously in the main text above, when all of a sudden, after a brief mention of the Meteor Crater for one reason or the other, he asked me to retrieve several books from his jumble of shelved, piled, and scattered around stacked books on what was called the Carolina Bays.
The Carolina Bays are an inline series of closely associated rather large seemingly non-natural geophysical landforms with no known, or at the very least, controversial, origin. Although there are supposedly thousands of them of varying sizes strewn all along the Atlantic coastline and inland a bit from as far north as New Jersey to Florida in the south, a great proportion of them are so large, especially in the Carolinas, that until they were seen from the air for the first time no one had put them together as possibly having come from or formed by the same phenomenon. Some people think they are impact craters from a comet or meteor.
"On that apocalyptic day a large meteor streaked across the northern polar regions. It skimmed low across Quebec, before ploughing into the Laurentide ice sheet that covered the Great Lakes region, creating an enormous elliptical crater in the ice. The displaced ice from this hyper-velocity impact was fractured and crushed into a fine paste, and blobs of this icy material were ejected at ultra-velocity up though the atmosphere and into a ballistic arc down towards their target regions. Millions of these slushballs of uniform teardrop shape, but widely varying sizes, splattered in two giant wings across central and eastern North America, forming clusters of identical elliptical impact depressions orientated towards the Great Lakes area. Thus only 12,900 years ago, the entire eastern half of North America was completely obliterated, and the world was plunged into a little Ice Age."(source)
Others vehemently discount the possibility. My uncle and I have always subscribed to the impact side of things, that's why when Meteor Crater came up so close in conversation with the mention of Hope Savage it rang a bell for my uncle, the biosearcher that he was, particularly when he related it to the drawing Hope gave me. The drawing was not of a woman's vagina per se', but a Venus fly trap, albeit a double entendre --- sort of --- all of which I was eventually able to figure out thanks to my uncle sitting next to him while he was on his death bed.
Notice in the four graphics just below that the top left one describes the natural habitat area for the Venus flytrap, that is, the states of North and South Carolina. On that same graphic the location of the city of Columbus in South Carolina is clearly marked. If you recall, Hope Savage was from Camden, not far from Columbus, Columbus being were she first showed up relative to her history. Notice too, in the graphic next to it, top right, it shows where the debris from the impact fell, if not creating the Carolina Bays, at least falling in the exact same area where they are --- and is well, the exact same area that is the natural habitat for the Venus flytrap.
So, what's the point? One of the books my uncle had me bring him related to the Carolina Bays was titled "The Mysterious Carolina Bays" written by none other than Hope Savage's father Henry Savage. The Venus flytrap in Hope's drawing that I mistakenly took as a drawing of a vagina, which I'm sure was done so by her on purpose, hence the double entendre aspect of it all, was some kind of a huge cryptic message, a huge cryptic message that was either never followed through on by Hope or I didn't get, or both.
"It was not just the beauty of her face that transfixed him. Her skin was the purest, palest and almost unearthly whiteness. At the time most girls kept their hair closely styled. Yet hers was so long and so lovely, it reminded him of the print he'd seen once of Botticelli's naked Venus emerging from a clam."
THE BLUE HAND: The Beats In India (2008)
One day during my stay at the monastery, well before I went to Tiruvannamalai and the ashram of Sri Ramana or in need of a way back, a very old and ancient man came down from the mountains and asked to see the white monk who was said to be under the protection of the Lord Buddha. I was quickly brought before his presence. Because of respect paid him by all, plus the serenity he seemed to abide in, it was clear the man was Enlightened.
There was something about the old man that would not just let go and it continued to nag at me for the longest time. Months went by. Finally, when the weather turned such that I could, I sought the old man out, visiting him at what was not much more than a stone-pile hut along the edge of a stream. This time when I came before his presence there were no swinging staffs, only a sweeping open-palm hand offering me to join him for tea. Several days went by and during that time not one word passed between us.
The day before I was to leave we spent a good part of the daylight hours scrounging around for burnable material. To me the amount we gathered seemed much more than would otherwise be necessary, but what I found even more odd was that we left nearly half or more of what we collected neatly stacked at the long abandoned stone hut he had shown me a few days before.
After returning to his hut and leaving the rest of the material we gathered, we put a little food, a few utensils and tea in a shoulder bag then went back to the abandoned hut before sundown for reasons to me unclear. After arrival we ate, then in the declining if not all but gone sunlight he searched around and found what at one time appeared to have been a fire pit. Following his lead the two of us built a fairly good sized, considering what his fires were usually like, an almost pyre-like pile of combustibles. With the sunlight gone and total darkness having fully encroached on us by the time we finished the Zen-man lit the fire.
We sat in meditation facing each other across the fire on an east-west axis with me facing east toward what would eventually be the location of the rising sun. At some point into our meditation, and non-Siddhi related, there was somehow a coalescing of our mind processes forming a single mental entity where we both able to understand each other's thoughts.
In the thoughts he was willing to share he revealed he had spent many, many years as a young man on the other side of time in Gyanganj, but one day he passed through the monastery portals to the outside world and when he did, he became an old man.
For the record, in an other example of a similar or like-type thought exchange, Ram Dass, in an article in Yoga Journal, November 1976 (pp 6-11), related that once he found himself in a very close similar situation between himself and his spiritual mentor, the venerated Indian holy man Neem Karoli Baba:
"He laughed and spoke to me. It's interesting --- he had always spoke to me in Hindi, and my Hindi was very bad. In India there was always somebody translating. But on these other levels the transmission is in thought form, and then it comes out in whatever language you think in"
AS FOUND IN HOPE SAVAGE: The Beat Generation's Missing Woman
--------------DOING HARD TIME IN A ZEN MONASTERY
The following is a conversation between Carlos Castaneda and his friend Bill as found in Castaneda's third book:
"For instance, there are Cloud Shamans who turn into clouds, into mist. I have never seen this happen, but I knew a Cloud Shaman. I never saw him disappearing or turning into mist in front of my eyes, but I chased him once, and he simply vanished in an area where there was no place for him to hide. Although I didn't see him turning into a cloud, he disappeared. I couldn't explain where he went. There were no rocks or vegetation around the place where he ended up. I was there half a minute after he was, but the Shaman was gone."
CARLOS CASTANEDA'S FRIEND BILL TO CASTANEDA in An Active Side of Infinity (1998), Chapter 2
There is in the lore among some members of the indigenous populations of the desert southwest a tradition that speaks of a person or persons, because of certain abilities, that have been given title to or known as "cloud shamans."
When I was a young boy around ten years old traveling with my Uncle in the desert southwest I encountered the unfolding of such a lore. My uncle and I were confronted by some rather adverse circumstances perpetrated through the actions of others, reaching such a point that we were, beyond our will, forcibly incarcerated. Feeling those perpetrating the actions were way out of line, my uncle, using cloud shaman techniques long garnered over the years, and without me being fully cognizant of the fact, we simply disappeared.
Now, how could I, the Wanderling, as a young boy, just disappear with my uncle and not know it. That is where a great deal about Shamanism is missed by the non-Shaman. To the OUTSIDE OBSERVER both seemed to have just vanished, however to ourselves everything was normal. Walking with my uncle I wasn't aware of any difference. My uncle may have been fully aware of the situation, but for me, not versed in such things, I just went along enveloped by the circumstances.
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AMERICAN STEAM TANKER S.S. HALSEY. TORPEDOED OFF FLORIDA
MAY 6, 1942 BY GERMAN SUB. MY FRIEND WAS ONBOARD WHEN HIT.
Photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News VA
One day my merchant marine friend told me the story about being found floating in the middle of the ocean on a piece of debris not only months after the ship he was on was torpedoed, but half an ocean away from the location where his ship was hit.
That same day he showed me a delicate gold necklace that had what looked like a small Chinese character dangling from it. He said one day in the hospital after being found in the open ocean, while being given a sponge bath, he was looking in a hand mirror at his burn marks when he noticed he had the necklace around his neck. He never had a gold necklace in his life. When he asked the nurse where it came from she said as far as she knew he came in with it as it was found among the few personal effects he had with him. She said typically they would not put any jewelry on a patient but some of the staff thought that since he was so scarred by the burns that he might like a little beauty in his life so someone put it around his neck. He told me he had no clue where it came from or how it came into his possession, but for sure he didn't have it on before he was torpedoed. He said everybody always admired it and it appeared to be very ancient.
My merchant marine friend was sort of a prototype mentor to me during my first two years of high school. In that he had suffered such severe injuries from the torpedo attack and basically unable to move or get around people from all over would come to see him, most related in some fashion to the merchant marines. Those early high school years were for me just a few years into the 1950's. Around that same time, unknown to me and most of my peers, at least in the beginning, a semi-bohemian literary movement was just on the cusp of being sprung on the society at large. Interestingly enough, even after the movement did rise into the public's consciousness, and still to this day, most people don't realize that a substantial number of the major Beat poets such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Carl Solomon, Gary Snyder, Herbert Huncke, and Bob Kaufman had all served in the merchant marines at one time or the other. Of those six, my merchant marine friend had met two of to be eventual Beats. One he had known for some time, the other just in passing. The one he knew was Bob Kaufman. Jack Kerouac he met through Kaufman, and only so briefly. l met Kaufman one day when he visited my friend.
Not long after Kaufman showed up in the general Los Angeles area than he began visiting my merchant marine friend. On one of the days Kaufman was visiting he noticed the necklace around the neck of the merchant marine. After asking him about it, then asking if it was OK to look at it, my friend, in that his hands were not nimble enough, had him remove it. Kaufman examined every minute detail. When he was done he handed the necklace back and told the merchant marine he was sure he had seen the exact same necklace once before. The merchant marine, so stunned it took what little air he had anyway away, gasping while searching for more air to respond, told Kaufman that was impossible because as far as he knew it was one of a kind, there was no other like it on our side of time. Kaufman told him some ten years before, during the early part of 1944, with the war still raging, he had sailed out of Philadelphia on board a Liberty ship headed toward India, ending up in Calcutta. He was stuck in Calcutta for about a month before being shipped out, sometime he thought, around the middle of May, 1944, albeit on a completely different ship than he came in on, called the S.S. Harold L. Winslow.
Kaufman said he had arrived in Calcutta on the S.S. James E. Eads, but missed shipping out because of a toothache. However, even before the toothache and the Eads leaving he said a man around 25 years old claiming he was an American soldier, although dressed in civilian clothes, came to the ship looking for him. The man that claimed to be a soldier told him he knew that he, Kaufman, would be arriving in Calcutta onboard the Ead. Kaufman also said the soldier told him that the two of them had a mutual friend, another merchant marine, which just happened to be the same merchant marine he was visiting. Since Kaufman missed his ship and was stuck in Calcutta for who knew how long, he and the soldier, who he said, was waiting for a CNAC flight out over the "hump" to China, got together several times. It was during one of those times Kaufman first noticed the necklace and during one of those times he asked to see it, examining it very closely. He said, even though many years has passed since he had been in Calcutta and seen the necklace, it was so unique that there was no doubt that the one he saw that the soldier had and the one that he, the merchant marine was wearing, were exactly the same.
If you recall from Footnote  after arrival the OSS kept me incognito for the most part, distancing me from anybody that might matter, ensuring I didn't get trapped into some conversation that might expose a lack of specific aircraft mechanical knowledge, otherwise I was pretty much free to do whatever I wanted. I knew a friend of my merchant marine friend by the name of Bob Kaufman was due to arrive in Calcutta on a Liberty ship on May 13, 1944. Since I had met him as well I decided to go down to the docks or wherever, locate his ship, and look him up. Which I did.
When I met Kaufman in Calcutta, since it was ten years earlier, he was ten years younger than he was when I met him at my merchant marine friend's home in Redondo Beach. I remember well the day he was at the merchant marine's when I was in high school and Kaufman truly took notice of the the necklace for the very first time. Although in Calcutta his interest was driven by not much more that a general curiosity, he went over the necklace at the merchant marine's with much more intensity. It was easy to see as carefully as he looked at the necklace in both cases that in the second case he determined it to be the same necklace, although from his perspective he couldn't see how that could possibly be. Examining the necklace at the merchant marine's and not realizing the context of the "real" flow of events as to how they unfolded, he was totally befuddled how the necklace could have ended up around the neck of my merchant marine friend from some G.I. in Calcutta, when in fact and in "real life," unknown to Kaufman, the actual events were vice versa. See:
Several years after I saw the necklace for the very first time found me in the Cholon district of Saigon gulping down a large amount of a seemingly never ending supply of of alcoholic beverages. From out of the smoky milieu of mostly horny and inebriated GIs, unsolicited, what was affectionately tagged in those days as a Saigon Tea Girl, attempted to sit on my lap and tried to put something around my neck. Pushing back I could see she held what appeared to be a gold necklace stretched between her hands. Hanging midway along the necklace was a small Chinese character. Basically grabbing the necklace from her hands I asked where it came from and how she got it. She turned facing a general group of barely discernible figures sitting and drinking toward the back of the barroom in the shadows along the darkened wall, telling me that one of the men, a burnt man, had paid her to put it on me. When I asked what she meant by a burnt man, using her hands in a swirling motion in front of her face combined with a sneering facial expression to indicate scars while gasping for air as if the man had a tough time breathing, said in broken English, "burnt man, burnt man." In just the few seconds it took me to work my way through the crowd to the back wall pulling the tea girl with me the burnt man, if there ever was a burnt man, was gone. Nor could anybody at any of the tables remember seeing or talking to a heavily scarred man, burnt or otherwise, sitting at any of the tables --- although some of the GIs were fully able to recall the girl.
The necklace, which I still have and continue to wear to this day, from what I could remember, looked exactly like the one my merchant marine friend showed me and said to be mysteriously wearing out of nowhere the day he was found floating in the sea after his ship was torpedoed. The only problem is, by the time the incident in the Saigon bar occurred my friend had already been dead some ten years, having passed away during the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school. At his memorial service I was told by family members, following a death bed request on his part, that in an effort to rejoin his fellow seamen he wanted to be cremated and his ashes tossed at sea near where his ship was torpedoed and, along with the ashes, the necklace returned to the sea as well. As far as I know those wishes had been complied with.
The necklace, which seems to manifest an almost mystical aura about it, saved my life more than once, most notably as found in the following at the source so cited:
"Within the members of the relatively small search team, Chinese all, was a Buddhist or Zen Buddhist. When they came across me, not knowing if I was the one they were searching for or not, the Buddhist amongst them noticed the small Chinese symbol hanging around my neck. The team was just going to abandon me, but the Buddhist, after seeing what I had around my neck told them I was under protection of the Lord Buddha and to leave me in such a state and in such surroundings would be bad Karma --- that nothing but bad fortune and and bad luck would follow them if they did not take me with them." (source)
During roughly that same period of time throughout the same region I ran into like and similar attitudes as the above up and down the scale. Although you wouldn't know it from what has been put forth on them, three of the highest profile believers were in leadership positions over hundreds, possibly thousands in their roles of being warlords. The following is the take from the former Vietnamese Air Vice Marshall Nguyen Cao Ky:
"Many times death has taken those closest to me, but I was spared. No matter how great the peril I have encountered , I have emerged without harm. I am Buddha's child, and until my purpose in this life is fulfilled, Buddha will protect me."
His counterpart in Laos, the warlord Vang Pao is on record regarding the following:
"Their conversation turned to Buddha amulets of the kind Thong had worn. Joining in, Vang Pao explained that one kind of Buddha amulet protects from all bullets, and another attracts all bullets but causes them to ricochet."
Both of the above quotes and their sources as well as the view of the third of the three warlords, the Shan state drug warlord Khun Sa can be found by going to the following link:
MEETING WARLORDS, ET AL
As to the necklace itself and where it came from, the merchant marine told me when he was around my age he had become driven, actually obsessed with the lost continents of Atlantis and Mu. He began traveling the world to find or substantiate both places. But, the more and more ancient places he visited and more and more educated he became the more and more he became convinced neither place ever existed. In his quest, both pro and con, besides all the Atlantis and Mu books in his library, he had collected reams and reams of books, material, research and explanations that debunked nearly every single aspect of either continent or their civilizations that anybody could ever pose. Even though he said he had long since lost faith in the existence of either of the lost continents, through inference he often related the origin of the necklace back to one or the other or both.
However, the grounding source for the origin of the necklace usually falls back to Gyanganj, AKA Shambhala or Shangri-La. How the necklace eventually fell into his hands is still not known to this day. Although there are those who seemed to think he got it after being picked up by a U-boat, he attributes it more to what is found in the story High Barbaree and the Shipwrecked Sailor. If you haven't done so yet, please go to:
THE SHIPWRECKED SAILOR
AS FOUND IN THE RAZOR'S EDGE:
At a gathering in Chicago at a home of friends Maugham asks Larry:
"Is it true that the Yogis acquire powers that would seem to us supernatural?"
Followed then by Larry's response:
"I wouldn't know. All I can tell you is that it's commonly believed in India. But the wisest don't attach any importance to powers of that sort; they think they're apt to hinder spiritual progress. I remember one of them telling me of a Yogi who came to the bank of a river; he hadn't the money to pay the ferryman to take him across and the ferryman refused to take him for nothing, so he stepped on the water and walked upon its surface to the other side. The Yogi who told me shrugged his shoulders rather scornfully. 'A miracle like that,' he said 'is worth no more than the penny it would have cost to go on the ferryboat.'"
THE BEST OF THE MAUGHAM BIOGRAPHIES:
SPIRITUAL GUIDES, GURUS, AND TEACHERS INFLUENTIAL IN THE RAZOR'S EDGE:
PLAYING GOD WITH TIME
"After leaving Chiang Mai the Buddhist monk left the main contingent taking me with him high into the mountains basically retracing the steps of the ancient Chamadao, the Tea Horse Road. Some days later we parted company after he left me outside of a somewhat ancient dilapidated monastery perched precariously high up on the side of some steep Chinese mountain situated somewhere along the southern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau."
DOING HARD TIME IN A ZEN MONASTERY
A few paragraphs back I wrote that how I had it figured, if I didn't get back over the "hump" into the Himalayas and the monastery, I wasn't sure what the ramifications might be. After having missed William Samuel in Bangalore, rather than go straight to the U.S. Consulate in Madras, I circled back around to the Ramana ashram in Tiruvannamalai hoping to catch up with the young boy. Considering any outcome from what I presently found myself in, with no clear way out, playing God with time, my intention, if I was able to avoid the couple and get to the boy long enough talk to him, was to explain, convince, or warn him, that under no circumstances. no matter what, when as an adult he found himself in Chiang Mai and confronted with the opportunity to go with the monk, he was NOT to do it.
When I arrived back at the ashram with all honorable intentions to carry through on my intent, the boy and the couple were gone.
THE PIKE, A MEDIUM, A DECODER, AND TIME:
MANY YEARS BEFORE:
While alone on the midway of the onetime oceanfront boardwalk amusement center called the Pike in Long Beach, California, a carny in well worn oversize brown suit with a vest and the jacket unbuttoned put his hand on my shoulder bending over to my height looking straight into my eyes. I tried to break loose from his grip but he just held tighter. "Like your fortune told, little boy," he asked, adding that it would cost twenty five cents. Just then my dad stepped up with a couple of his new found friends and the man let loose, backing away saying he was just trying to make a living.
"The medium placed the decoder in the palm of my hand and gently folded my fingers closed over the top. Then, using each of her hands and fingers from both, she formed little circles putting them to her face around her eyes creating finger goggles, mimicking all the same as those worn by Captain Midnight in photos that came with the badge. Bringing both hands down from her face she put one hand on mine still holding the decoder while using her other hand to place the hand of the man that assisted her on top of them all and, speaking to me, said, 'From man to boy to man, your future and past is already marked by what is held together here in our hands.'"
RESTITCHING THE HOLE IN THE FABRIC OF SPACE-TIME
CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT RADIO PREMIUMS 1938 - 1949
The above left photo shows the whole of the Chiang Mai Air Base/Airport complex. The group of buildings on the lower left is the Tango Squadron Air Museum at the Air Force Base, Wing 41, situated on the opposite side of the entrance to the Chiang Mai Airport. In the lower left hand corner of that photo, as part of the museum collection, you can just catch a glimpse of a C-47 parked by itself outside in front of the hangers along the tarmac. The photo on the right is a close-up of that same C-47 parked at the same location. The photos show up on my Tango Squadron Museum page so I am presenting it here only as an example of a C-47 being used as a museum piece.
THE TANGO SQUADRON AIR MUSEUM, CHIANG MAI
C-47 108840 (MSN 12248) HISTORY:
This particular C-47 went to the U.S. Army Air Force January 27, 1944. Transferred to the Royal Australia Air Force February 8, 1944 eventually ending up with the 33rd Squadron providing air transport to Australian forces involved in the New Guinea campaign. In September-October 1943, the squadron began taking delivery of Douglas C-47s operating exclusively with C-47s to the end of the war. Afterwards, in August 1945, the 33rd was tasked with repatriating service personnel and former prisoners of war and disbanded in May 13, 1946. The C-47 in question was then transferred to Qantas Empire Airways August 4, 1948 then to 61st Squadron of the Royal Thai Air Force March 15, 1953. In March 1961 she was turned over to the Thai Airways then back to Thai Air Force in November. As the photos show, she is currently on static display at ChIang Mai Air Base.
Below is an aerial shot of the Castle Air Museum located in the central valley of California adjacent to the former United States Air Force Strategic Air Command base in Atwater. About a third of the way over towards the left from the bottom right you can see an airplane with three white stripes on each wing. That specific plane is a C-47 #43-15977 given the name 7th Heaven, and like the C-47 at the Chiang Mai, is also on static display.
(for larger size click image)
(for plane history and additional photos please click image)
Castle Air Museum is also the home of the infamous haunted B-29. About a third of the way up from the bottom on the right side of the graphic can be seen a rather large delta wing plane. The nose of that delta wing plane points in a line of sight directly toward the length of the wing of a plane parked in front of it. If you follow in a line from the nose of that delta wing plane along the length of the wing in front of it, it points, after crossing a small road or path, directly to the B-29 Raz'n Hell.
THE GHOST AND THE HAUNTED B-29
BC-375 RADIO TRANSMITTER
BC-348 RADIO RECEIVER
(for larger image click then click again)
CHINA NATIONAL AIR CORPORATION CHINA 1933-1949
In the main text above I write that the OSS, apparently buying my story that during an altercation on the train somewhere between Bombay and Calcutta, I had been physically removed --- through a window while the train was still moving and done so by a bunch of rowdy G.I.s --- plus, like I cryptically claimed, all the relevant almost top secret information I seemed to have, with everything being hush hush and all, that I must be one of theirs. So said, they told the consulate to send me on through --- only with a cover.
For whatever reason, powers that be in their never failing wisdom felt the cover would be better in my case if I was a civilian, so I was assigned and given paperwork designating me as an aircraft mechanic rather than anything having to do with being in the military or radios, arriving thereafter in Calcutta as such. After arrival the OSS kept me incognito for the most part, distancing me from anybody that might matter, ensuring I didn't get trapped into some conversation that might expose a lack of specific aircraft mechanical knowledge. As it was I had enough of a covert background to deflect and redirect almost any conversations anyway.
Such a ruse was easy to pull off on all of our parts, me included, because everything was moving so quickly in the CBI theater, with everything in so much flux and turmoil generally, that nobody knew what was going on anyway. Paperwork and the like, if you didn't have your own with you, it lagged so far behind that catching up with any given individual would be a miracle. As an example, to show you how serious things were and why I was being expedited so smoothly with so little questioning, in "The Organizational Evolution of OSS Detachment 101 In Burma, 1942-1945," CHAPTER V, RETHINKING OPERATIONS: Communications and Coding making reference to the month of September 1943 the author writes:
At this time, the chief of the Communications Section estimated that he would need 145 personnel to handle anticipated post-monsoon operations. Yet, in September, only eighteen personnel --- military and civilian ---were available to cover the communications needs of Detachment 101 headquarters. All were working twelve to fifteen hours a day, seven days a week.
In January 1944, still crying the blues and highly accurately so, the Section reported that lack of personnel forced it to place half-trained indigenous operators on official circuits and let them finish their training—including in Morse code, "on the job." In mid-February they reported that the group had spent five and half hours trying to pass "a single piece of traffic" back to HQ. They were likely the victims of a student trainee on the other end. In exasperation, they asked for another radio operator, but were told, "there were none.”(source)
What blew my mind though, was the incredible coincidence in appearance between the CNAC mechanic's wings somebody wanted to give me and the specific Captain Midnight decoder, the Photo-Matic Code-O-Graph, that played such a significant role in my life, and that I even had with me. Both were of the same metal and color and both had look alike air-cooled aircraft radial engines as the main thrust of their design. It seemed as though my whole life from start to finish was wrapped around something that was no more in the history than a kid's toy, a free box-top radio premium offer.(see)
HISTORY OF CNAC:
In 1929, an airline was established in China by Curtiss-Wright under the leadership of Clement Keys called China Airways. In 1933, Keys sold the company to Pan American Airways. When the Japanese invaded China in 1937, China's Chinese Air Company merged with China Airways into the China National Aviation Company quickly becoming, albeit often disputed as to when, where, and how, the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC), with Pan Am owning 45% of the operation and the government the remaining 55%. During World War II, CNAC flew supplies from India, into southwestern China through the Hump Route from April 1942, until the end of the war. CNAC eventually operated routes within China and to San Francisco. The downfall of CNAC's operations came on November 9, 1949, when the managing director and general manager of CATC (Central Aviation Transport Corporation), declared their wish to be Communist. On that day, 12 aircraft from CNAC and CATC were flown, without acknowledgment, from Hong Kong to Communist controlled China. Remaining aircraft in Hong Kong had transferred to the Civil Air Transport Inc., in Taiwan. CNAC ceased operations in mainland China, following the Communist revolution of 1947, when the Civil Aviation Administration of China took over to become the sole airline of China. However, CNAC remains a subsidiary of CAAC and incorporated in Hong Kong.
THE CNAC AND CHENNAULT'S CIVIL AIR TRANSPORT
In the above history of CNAC it states thas on November 9, 1949, 12 aircraft from CNAC and CATC were flown, without acknowledgment, from Hong Kong to Communist controlled China with the remaining aircraft in Hong Kong already having been transferred to the Civil Air Transport in Taiwan. Civil Air Transport, more commonly known as CAT, was the civilian run transport airline started by the former Flying Tigers commander Claire Chennault shortly after the end of World War II.
In October 1949 when the Communists forced Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists to evacuate to Taiwan, Chennaut and CAT went with them, but not before he lost 73 of his aircraft to the Communists. A few months later, out of money and operating on a shoestring, when war broke out in Korea Chennault sold what was left of his Civil Air Transport to the CIA. After Korea the CIA used CAT to help the French at Dien Bien Phu then expanded into Vietnam, Laos and the rest of Southeast Asia as they saw fit. It is that onetime short three year ownership of CAT by Chennault fighting Communists in China before selling it in 1950 that keeps coming back to haunt him as being connected to the CIA. Chennault died July 27, 1958, eight years after he sold his airline and well before any major covert escalation of CAT into Southeast Asia. In order to obtain the initial loan to start the airline, and of which he agreed to, Chennault had to pay a 10% interest rate. He was basically forced to sell because In an attempt to put into place a second loan after he lost 73 of his aircraft to the Communists, the group of Chinese investors he approached demanded a 40 per cent ownership in the company. Hence CAT became a proprietary airline of the CIA.
CLAIRE CHENNAULT AND HIS FLYING TIGERS
PLEASE SEE FOLLOWING THREE CHENNAULT SITES AS WELL:
TERRY'S P-40 FIGHTS ZEROS ATTACKING CNAC C-47
(please click image)
CHENNAULT INFO PROVIDED THROUGH THE COURTESY OF:
DR. MARGARET CHUNG
FLYING TIGER RECRUITER, ADVOCATE, PHYSICIAN
HISTORY OF CNAC PROVIDED THROUGH THE COURTESY OF:
"In the book SHAMBHALA: Oasis of Light, by Andrew Tomas (Sphere Books Ltd; 1977) the author, who spent many years studying the myths and legends of the Far East, writes that the Kunlun Mountains of the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai Province holds a very important place in Chinese mythology. It is in the Kunlun range that the Immortals are believed to be, living in a mysterious hermitage said to exist somewhere beyond time in a remote area known under a variety of names such as Gyanganj, Shambhala or Shangri-La and, according to Tomas in his book, ruled by Hsi Wang Mu, the Queen Mother of the West. Hsi Wang Mu, is also known as Kuan Yin the goddess of mercy and compassion."
KUAN YIN: Compassionate Saviouress
LEGENDARY HOME OF THE IMMORTALS: KUNLUN MOUNTAINS, QINGHAI-TIBETAN PLATEAU
IN STAR WARS LUKE WAS WARNED THAT HE'D NEVER FIND A MORE WRETCHED HIVE OF SCUM AND
VILLAINY IN THE WHOLE GALAXY THAN MOS EISLEY. FOR A VIDEO OF MY TAKE ON IT CLICK IMAGE
"Wandering around Calcutta was like being in some huge Bazaar, with all or if not more of the implied underpinnings and intrigues found in the movie Casablanca. Most people don't think of the Indian people in such a fashion, but along the gutters of the streets and back alleys there wasn't anything you couldn't find, buy, or have done to, by or from somebody if you had the money."
(click image for complete movie)
CALCUTTA: CIRCA 1944