Not the Typical Indian Guru
I never had a guru or spiritual leader or specific teacher whose message I follow. Instead, many different humans have played that temporary role for me for brief periods of time. This is the story of one of those people… and one of those brief periods of time.
I met Sunny at an outdoor café in Pushkar, India sometime around the turn of the century. He was, perhaps, the wisest man I ever met. I’m not sure if holy is the right word but he had that way about him… a sacred sort of presence. I only knew him for about five days and I only talked with him at the café. But we had several lengthy conversations over tchai and bhang lassis as we watched the crazy corner street traffic from our outdoor tables. Truthfully, at the time, I didn’t put much importance on the conversations because I was distracted by a delightful little romance with a pretty young German woman. But now, 15 years later, I’ve mostly forgotten the romance but I still think frequently about those conversations with Sunny. I wonder why that is?
When I first saw him, it was kind of a mind twister. I’d been traveling for several months around India but had only just arrived in Pushkar in the early morning. As per my usual routine, I dropped my backpack in a cheap room and went looking for a centrally located café. I found one on the corner of the main square and took a seat at an outdoor table. That’s when I noticed two blonde haired backpacker guys sitting at the table across the aisle from me. They were having a very animated discussion with an older local man. The older man had long greasy grey hair, dark skin and shabby Indian clothes; he looked like he belonged in Pushkar. He might even be a Sadhu except a real Sadhu would not be sitting in a café. The strange thing was that the older guy answered the young guys back in their European language (Swedish, Dutch, or German?). Not just a word or two, but full, complete and apparently complex sentences. I remember even now how my brain was slightly confused by the situation because the language coming forth did not match the character speaking.
Later in the afternoon, on that same first day in Pushkar, I return to the centrally located café. The house is packed this time and the server points me to the one empty seat. I’ll be sharing a table with the strange older guy I saw in the morning. He speaks to me in English. It is one of the six languages he speaks. He says his name is Sunny.