Swami and I had as last dinner in Europe last night, so walked the cobblestone passages (too narrow to call them roads), continuing to be amazed (and exhausted) by the street energy of Paris, like the most intense human gathering you have ever been in, except it does not end either with trying to walk through it (it goes for miles in every direction) or with time (it's the same at midnight as at 4pm).
We saw this one small restaurant that seemed so typical and kind of clean and French, but walked past looking for something maybe larger, which we did not find. So back we went to La Escrin, a bistro that reeked of France.
Service: exquisite. Food, inexpensive and yet elegant. So authentic, we agree. Only the French can cook like this. Ah, France, we thought. How great to say good-bye to you in this traditionally gastronomic way.
But then we noted the staff were not all French. There was an Indian woman serving tables (her 3-year-old daughter tugging at her skirt) and what seemed like her husband at the counter. Hmmm!
He asked across the room where his saffron-clad customers were from and soon we discovered he is the owner. Been in Paris for 26 years. His right foot is disabled, but he he bright and curious.
Do you know Mauritius? I asked. No, but I do know Sri Lanka. Really? we resounded, which part? Jaffna, near Alaveddy. Soon we are talking about Nallur Temple, Erlalai Aadheenam, Mavidapuram, Columbuthurai, Keeramalai and more. He grew up a block from Kumbalavalai Ganesha Temple, near the ashram. He would go there every day as a boy. He shows us a Ganesha on a shelf above him. He is amazed, but no more than we.
His chef peeks out from the kitchen, "I'm from Manaitivu," all smiles to hear us rattle off a few of the villages in the North and a bit about Yogaswami. We finish and the owner, Mutthukumar, covers our check and wishes us Bon Voyage.
What a clear final message from Europe that we have done our work, perhaps well, and can fly home to Kauai soon.
Bodhinatha's Latest Upadeshas: "The Difference in Practice of Theism and Monism" (September 3, 2014)
During a puja we're in Theism, to receive the blessings of the Deity. After a puja we can go within our self in meditation, giving up the idea of an external Deity, Monism. Monistic Theism: Advaita Ishvaravada. Advaita means the Monism; Ishvara means the Theism.
In Shum we use two words that relate to that: shumif and dimfi. First, perfect your Theism. Then become a monist. That's called Saiva Siddhanta; one leads to the other.