Taking Sri Aurobindo’s Life Divine to Dinner at Cracker Barrel

Study consciousness
Eventually you’ll encounter Life Divine
Not nirvana itself, but
Sri Aurobindo’s 2,000-page opus
on consciousness and the cosmos

Not light reading any time
Especially not over dinner
at an exit ramp Cracker Barrel
35 miles southwest of Rolla, Missouri
But with a paper on Life Divine due Saturday
The tome was my travel companion

Everything was fine
until an older couple sat down next to me
They size me up, I size them up
They smile, I smile
The woman speaks first
“That there’s some big book”
I reply: “Yes, m’am, it sure is”
We continued studying each other
I hoped she would probe no further

She fires a follow-up question
“What’s it all about?”
I breathe deeply, finally a few words come out
“Well, it’s a religious book”
At this point, her husband jumps in
“Is that right. Too big for the Bible!”
My stomach knots
I’m a gonner if I tell them about Life Divine
I fudge: “It’s a companion text to the Bible”
Their eyes cross at this point

The woman is at me again: “You a religious man?”
What could I say?
“Why yes m’am, I am”
She hisses, showing her missing front tooth
“I just knowed it!”
“Can’t you tell Herb, just lookin’ at him?”
Ole Herb smiles
I count three teeth missing in his mouth
“Yep, I agree Thelma, you kin just tell”
I’m thinking…oh shit, now I’ve really had it

I try to change the subject
“Food’s great here. I had the chicken and dumplings”
“Sure is. Herb and me eats here every Tuesday”
She’s a bulldog, refusing
to let go of the meat of our conversation
“What church you go to?”
Shit, I’m really dead now
Can’t tell them I’m a cross between
a Tibetan Buddhist and a Unitarian
I lie: “Nazarene”

Herb and Thelma look at each other, and
in unison say: “You here for that Nazarene revival?”
“I’m afraid not, just here on business”
Thelma’s back at it
“You always been a Nazarene?”
I fire back: “Sure have. My whole life”
“We’re Pentacostal
Lord’s blessed us with some fine preachers
Hey, you look like an evangelist to me”
This has gone too far
I feel beads of sweat on my forehead

Suddenly my waiter shows up
I think; there really is a God
“Anything else for you sir?”
“No, just my bill, thank you”
The young man hands me my check
I push a twenty his way
telling him to keep the change

Hurriedly I say goodbye to ole Herb and Thelma
They look confused
I feel for them, but
no amount of words
will heal their confusion
We exchange goodbyes
and I’m gone

I get to my car
Oh shit, I left Life Divine
sitting on the table
I rush back into the restaurant
Heading for the table
I see Herb walking my way
waving and screaming
“Hey, you forgot that big religious book on the table”
I thank Herb, praying
he did not open the book
and see the long-haired bearded Sri in his ashram
Herb looks in tact
I’m relieved

Driving back to the motel
the Sri and I resolve ourselves to room service
for the rest of the trip

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This entry was posted in Free Verse Poetry, Humorous Poems, Sri Aurobindo Poem by Don Iannone. Bookmark the permalink.

About Don Iannone

Don Iannone is a poet, writer, teacher and photographer who lives in the Greater Cleveland area. He has worked in the economic development field for over 35 years. Don is the author of three poetry books and five photography books. He is working on a short book of photographs and poems about human trafficking. This work was exhibited at six venues in Ohio. Don holds an M.A. degree in Art and Consciousness Studies from the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles, where he teaches writing. His educational background also includes studies in Anthropology, Photography, Organizational Behavior, and Economic Development. Don’s website: http://www.donaldiannone.com Wisdom Work Press: https://wisdomworkpress.wordpress.com

9 thoughts on “Taking Sri Aurobindo’s Life Divine to Dinner at Cracker Barrel

  1. Floots: Thanks. It was a VERY funny situation. Is is very rural here in Missouri and folks don’t take to “devil-worshipping.” LOL.

  2. Gautami: And what did you think? I have a course now on the stages of spiritual growth, and Sri Aurobindo’s Life Divine is one of the texts. Fortunately, we are not expected to read the entire book.

  3. What do you mean “Fortunately, we are not expected to read the entire book”? You’re really missing something if you skip even a page. Just take your own sweet time and read a little now, a little later on. Then after a few years or so, see what it has done for you.

  4. Martha: Thanks for stopping by. I had two courses on the Aurobindo philosophy and I learned a lot. I am the better for them. I have but one influence and that is the tiny bit of the life divine that lives inside me. Teachers come and go, as they should, but truth lives on inside us once we shake hands with it.

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