TURN OFF YOUR MIND: Meditation and a missed opportunity

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TURN OFF YOUR MIND: Meditation and a missed opportunity
In the late Seventies, when in my 20s and back at university as an adult student taking life and studies more seriously, I saw a notice offering free lessons in transcendental meditation.

I was curious.

I'd actually been interested enough to write to the Krishnas in London in early 71 at an address I had seen somewhere.

I didn’t hear back until the start of 72, a letter from Tustah Krishna Das in Bombay.

He offered prayers for my rapid spiritual advancement and said he, his wife Krishna Tulasi, and Purander Das would soon be coming to open a Krishna temple in New Zealand.

They would be leaving Bombay on January 20th and be arriving anywhere between two days and one month after, "depending on whether we come by air or by steamer”.

He said he was looking forward to me assisting them with immigration and establishing a temple.

I read this in horror, their arrival would be any day.

I couldn’t imagine my new wife and I -- or my parents, generous hosts that they were -- opening doors to some unknown Krishnas with nowhere to stay.

So I did all I could do in the circumstances.

I hid.

It was some years before I felt I could show my face at Krishna temples just in case someone felt the bad karma I exuded.

But having read so much of their beliefs over the years, and Hinduism in general, I got in to going along to the temple in Mt Eden and sometimes out to the farm in Huia. I was mostly interested in hearing their music, some of which I found ineffably beautiful.

I left them in the blink of an eye however.

One evening at the temple when everyone was dancing and chanting an ecstatic Krishna devotee stood on my son Julian’s foot.

Julian would have been no more than five.

I said to the dancing man, “be careful” but he danced on, oblivious to a child’s tears as he pursued his own higher state.

I never went back.

But I remained curious. And this offer on a university noticeboard emphasised a non-spiritual but practical kind of TM.

And so I found myself going to a dark, book-lined villa in Mt Eden for lessons with a remarkable man, Michel Tyne-Corbold who walked with a limp, had dark slicked-back hair tied in a tiny ponytail and always wore heavy three piece suits and a tie.

He seemed to come from another time but through him I not only learned TM but how to teach it.

As important to me however were the titles of the books on his shelves which I would memorise and seek out.

Soon enough my bookcase had works about or by Gurdjieff, J.G. Bennett, Madame Blavatsky, Aleister Crowley, Subud, Rosicrucians, the Kabbalah and P.D. Ouspensky (whose deja-vu novel The Strange Life of Ivan Osokin I re-read every couple of years).

I subsequently learned my TM teacher was also known as Michael Freedman, the leader of the esoteric Kabbalah-influenced Society of Guardians and his home was the “Sanctuary of the Holy Angels”, which seemed to be a confusing confluence of esoteric knowledge and practices.

Sometimes before or after a TM session I would ask him about some of the philosophies I had been reading and would emerge more informed but no wiser.

It was a brief but fascinating few months with him.

10_maxresdefaultOne day he mentioned he'd studied with the Maharishi Mahesh Yoga in Rishikesh when there was all that fuss and journalists.

His tone suggested this was all bothersome nonsense and he moved on to something about . . . . well, something obscure.

So I never got the chance to ask him about something much more interesting to me.


The Inner Light

These entries are of little consequence to anyone other than me Graham Reid, the author of this site, and maybe my family, researchers and those with too much time on their hands.

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Mike P - Aug 28, 2023

Great and funny story. I will always remember a Wrangler advertisement which showed a picture of some Krishna devotees in London and they are all wearing their golden Saris, Dhotis and Kurtas etc walking down a street banging their drums etc and one guy at the head of the group wearing a Wrangler denim shirt over his golden Dhoti and the words, " I am not going to join if I can't wear my Wrangler shirt. It was enough to put me off from joining as well. Great advert.

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