By 6am we had meditated, packed and were ready to leave for Takoradi. Travelling by mini-van, the journey took us south of Kumasi and onto the southern coast of Ghana and far west of Accra. The previous day Patryk, Otis, Michael and Aaron had gone on ahead in the taxi to sort out accommodation and to start putting up posters.
The route took us through jungles and open plains filled with lush vegetation, as if from a scene from paradise. As we passed through Cape Coast, we followed the coast road and had a long wonderful view of the Atlantic Ocean and its golden palm-fringed beaches.
When we arrived at the Ghanaian National Association of Teachers’ hall and accommodation, we were a little surprised how far away it as from the centre of Takoradi. Miles away. Our thoughts turned again unfavourably to Alex the dogdy booking agent. Luckily we were reliably told that everybody knew about the hall and that people regularly came to programmes throughout the week. I must say that surveying the quiet rurality of the place I had my doubts!
One great advantage of this place was the large bedrooms and in particular the huge men’s dorm. At last all the men were all able to fit into one room and feel the collective cool under one rotating ceiling fan! Luckily, nobody snored. Either that or we were too exhausted to notice.
Once we’d settled ourselves in, we jumped into a couple of local minibus taxis and headed off into town. After a little light leafleting and street realisation, we trundled off to a nearby restaurant for Fufu and Red-red! Afterwards was our first and only chance for a dip in the Atlantic Ocean. Before coming to Ghana I had envisaged numerous meditation sessions on the beach. The reality was that we simply never had the time. Now we made the time! The waves were strong and there was also a bit of an under current, so staying at waist depth was imperative, but still there is nothing quite like surrendering to the power of water after the heat of the day! Afterwards we felt refreshed and raring to go. Just as well, as the programme ahead was challenging to say the least.
Public programme in Takoradi
Back at the Teacher’s Hall, we prepared for the 5pm programme and after an hour or so of music about 40 people had gathered eager to get their realisation. So far so good. The hall was about as echoey as a cross between St. Paul’s cathedral and a vast subterranean cavern, so Shri Mataji’s talk was difficult to hear regardless of what volume you set it at. Then as we took the new people through the realisation exercise, an almighty din came echoing from the room below. Sounding like an invading army of elephants and musically-challenged caretakers, chairs were sent crashing and scraping as their human abusers called out some mangled excerpts from gospel songs at the tops of their rasping voices. Coming as it was during the quiet meditative part of our programme, in the name of sanity and diplomacy, clearly something had to be done.
Leaping downwards into the clang and bang of nether hell, I was astonished to find only three people, clumsily putting out chairs for their Christian gospel meeting with all the grace and skill of a lobotomised troll. Try as I might to be polite and reasonable, clearly a ‘win-win’ mutually beneficial negotiation was not part of their evening agenda. I was even more astonished by their blatant arrogance, aggression, ready supply of irrelevant bible quotations and shocking ability to send pangs of fire through my subtle system. At first I couldn’t quite understand why they were behaving so badly and unreasonably, when it dawned on me that they were doing it on purpose. They had arrived over an hour early for their Christian bhoot-fest meeting with the express intention of doing the ‘Lord’s work’ and sabotaging our peaceful meditation. Ah, okay, understood. With which I made a clear statement of our position and left.
Emerging back on True God’s earth, I took a moment to remove hell’s fumes from my chakras and a few of us gave a swift bhandhan. As the harpies below were set to continue with their din, we decided to do a musical meditation, singing en masse the bija mantras and succeeded in blotting them out. Actually the vibrations grew extremely strong as the battle of the musics continued. As more of the Christians arrived in strength, Anand and myself on vocals and Koby and Abraham on the drums were obliged to bring out the big guns and sang the loudest possible songs in all of the Sahaja Yoga cannon: all the Noida songs such as ‘Jago Savera’ (which also had the added punch of all of Shri Matajis names) and qawwalis such as Ali Maula. Also we had the bigger of the two rooms and despite our far fewer numbers, succeeded in drowning them out altogether!!! By the time we sang the Maha Mantras towards the end, the Christians had temporarily run out of steam and given up. Finally, we could enjoy a few moments of unencumbered peace and vibrations. Not until we started to leave did they recommence in a more subdued and friendly key. Jai Shri Mataji!