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Background and afterthoughts on "Journey to Earth's Dawning"

Background and afterthoughts of events described in "Journey to Earth's Dawning" a book by Philip Simpendorfer. The book is about Bhagawaan Gopinath Ji of Kashmir and the Renewal of the Dreaming in Australia

A transcript extracted from the taped discussion between Philip Simpendorfer and Steven Guth in Canberra on the 24th and 25th of April 2002.

Below is the first section of three parts. All three sections come from Philip's and Steven's taped discussions which centred around Philip's book. All three sections are interconnected and are best read together. Philip's book, "Journey to Earth's Dawning" is a good read, easy to follow and more fun than this rather dense interview transcript. It is available as an e-book on this site.

The three sections are -

Background and afterthoughts on the events that are described in Philip Simpendorfer's book, "Journey to Earth's Dawning". (this page)

"The Renewal of the Dreaming" in Australia.

About Bhagawan Gopinath Ji, Islamic Terrorism and Australia.

Also relevent to all this material and included in this site are -

A letter by Mr S. N. Fotedar to Philip about Islamic psychic intrusion into Kashmir.

Robyn Adam's article "Kashmir Journey 1988". It tells of how Robyn traveled from Kashmir to central Australia with an aspect the goddess energy in her body.

external link  Biography of Bhagawan Gopinath Ji by S. N. Fotedar.

Background and afterthoughts on the events that are described in Philip Simpendorfer's book, "The Journey to Earth's Dawning".

I wrote the 'The Journey' in 1982 and 83. It is about an extraordinary period in my life.

I was moving from a conditioned suburban life into the vast unknown, an unknown open to eternity... to meeting the forces that create and form the earth.

I was in my 40's working as a deputy Principal a large Government school near the National Park that marks Sydney's western boundary. I have always felt strongly about the welfare of children in the educative process and made a reasonable Deputy. But I was so obsessed by the energies that were developing in me that I was only acting out my work. My real life was focused on things relating to nature and to my inner world.

In my teacher role I sought, as best I could, to bring children in touch with nature. I liked to take children on camps in the National Park, bringing them into connection with 'the place' and letting them explore. At that time my views were radical. You see, I'd come to the conviction that nature was a living, conscious entity and could MEET people... so I would always take a gift from the school to the place where we were camping. That was considered really eccentric at the time.

Why did you go to Kashmir?
Of all the places in the world, why was the Dawn in Kashmir?

It came about after visiting Bali, staying in a village where there weren't any Westerners, and watching the beautiful interactions between people and nature's energies... which had formed themselves into "Spirits of Place". I watched this and began to explore what was behind it - was there something I could learn from this as a Westerner?

Balinese life centers around the "Spirits of Place". I was staying with the village's "Prince" the person responsible for an area. I followed him, learnt and got curious. I describe some of the things that happened in "The Journey".

I decided that there was one energy behind it all and this is what is known as 'Cewa' in Bali and 'Shiva' in India.

Because of Cewa's relationship to the God that is functioning in Nature (not to the transcendent God) Cewa's action is sometimes seen as a marriage with the earth.

Then I heard that in Kashmir, in the Himalayas, was a cave where He was said to have been married. Combined with my interest in "Spirits of Place" you can understand my fascination to go to the cave - the Amarnath cave in Kashmir. That journey is what I describe in my book.

How did you learn about Amarnath cave?

I heard about the cave in three different ways while I was in Bali. I was told about it by a traveler; I read about it in a book about Rama Krishna and I read about it in a travel book.

How many visits did you take to Kashmir before you wrote the book?

I traveled twice - before I wrote the book - to Amarnath Cave. I traveled with Jann and Red Mitchell. Looking back there seems to have been a logic in the number and the people I traveled with.

Red Mitchell was a man with deep mystical strength. He was a professional forester; he had been a forester in China before the Communists took over. Then he helped the South Korean Government to work out a plan to regenerate their hills after the war. With a team of five Koreans he made up the plan - it was used to revegetate a third of Korea's hills and allowed clear water to run off the tops of hills. Red had a great gift for meditation. If he was with a group it would always be harmonious - it was a great gift - he emanated an energy that created harmony.

Red grew up as a Quaker - he was always a Quaker. He got into Transcendental Meditation. He was also interested in Buddhism in his early days.

My other traveling companion was Jann. She was also interested in exploring the spiritual energetic side of things. She was a primary school teacher. She didn't have the same sort of spiritual basis as Red. Jann was very intelligent and in mixing with people she could see things, real earthly things with a great clarity of thought.

What brought the three of you together to make the journey?

That's a mystery. But I guess we were able to blend into a unified consciousness. Jann with her clarity of perception, Red with his deeper meditative aspects and myself the writer, the journalist who was fascinated by what was happening.

The Theosophical literature talks of seven rays with three primary rays - Power, Love and Action. Did you consider yourselves as aspects, as channels, for those three rays?

I don't think it was as simple as that; there was a blending of the activities.

What lead to the decision to go to Amarnath Cave?

I went with Jann the first time. The second time Red came with us. The first journey took place in 1976. The second in 1978.

The first journey actually started from Bali. Jann and I had been in Bali for some months and in the pursuit of Shiva we went straight from there to Kashmir. We hired porters and went to Amarnath Cave.

For the second journey I'd already made contact with people from the Gopinath Ji Ashram. So when Jann, Red and I went we had Kashmiri people with us. It's all described in "The Journey".

How did you make contact with the Gopinath Ji Ashram?

That was because on the first journey a voice spoke to me - it seemed to come from outside of myself. It lead me to become fascinated about the spirituality, the essence, of Kashmir. I couldn't find any books on traditional spirituality, all I could find was a book about Bhagawan Gopinath Ji. I wrote to the publisher's address asking for material on Kashmir Shaivism. That was before I was aware of the translations by Baba Muktananda. Now a days there is more material available.

The Ashram people helped me with material. Then the voice (I describe it in the book) suggested I write them and propose a visit.

At first, when I was sitting with them doing their services, I would go into a sort of trance state, it was overwhelming. Their music had the deeper sounds that resonated with the lower charkas. Voices that resonated with the throat and heart areas and little cymbals and bells that resonated with the third eye area. So by entering into the music I could develop an inward balance between these three areas. I didn't know the songs so I could only enter into the energy that was being produced. Perhaps also the presence of Gopinath Ji was a factor.

When I read "The Journey" I wondered how much inspiration Gopinath Ji gave you when you were writing?

That's always the question. In the same way when the three of us, Jann, Red and I traveled you could say we three became one. In writing it was the same. What was Gopinath Ji saying - what was I saying?

Then I had the fascination of speaking to people who knew Gopinath Ji in physical form... the writing down, recording on tape and so on. But when it all came together I did have a sense of that Gopinath Ji was working into the material.

In "The Journey" you mention Gopinath Ji's "agony" - a period of seven years where he entered into deep physical, mental and emotional discomfort. What was happening, why was it necessary?

Mr. Fotedar talking about it said that was the period when Gopinath Ji transferred from basically a good person to a person who become the voice of Shiva - the voice of the transcended consciousness. So that, from that time on, he didn't exist just as Gopinath Ji but existed as a Bhagawan (the word means Glorious Lord). He didn't take the term himself, it was just that people reacted to him as if he was a "Lord of Creation".

The term Bhagawan means a Divine Being. In "The Journey" I make the point that Gopinath Ji was a person, a human being who BECAME a God.

In the Indian context you have Avatars - these are people of whom it is said they are people in whom God comes into human form. However that claim was never made for Gopinath Ji. He was seen as having been born as a human being and then become a manifestation of Paramashiva (the absolute).

The Kashmiri people are more cynical than Indians and don't make extravagant claims and they needed good evidence to call a person a Bhagawan.

Because Gopinath Ji became a Bhagawan there was never any stories about the Astrological signs he was born under. There is the story that his mother was a manifestation of the Devi - a feminine Goddess aspect - of the Khir Bhawani spring. The story was widely held. I mention all this in my book.

The enigma about Gopinath Ji was about his role in the overall plan.

Gopinath Ji was a manifestation of the protector of Kashmir - in the same way as the Dalai Lama is supposed to be a protector of Tibet. This means that Gopinath Ji was a manifestation of the large Deva - the Folk Soul of the Nation - that hangs over Kashmir. Traditionally this idea is connected to the concept of King or Emperor. Which was why other saints called him "King of Kings". He embodied that flow, he was the protector of the Goddess energies of Kashmir. Kashmir is traditionally the land of the Goddess and his community were the keepers on the sacred places in Kashmir.

The Goddess energies are always related to a location, a place. Christians have the same belief system, consider "Our Lady of Lourdes" or "Mary of Fatima".

As far as the religions of Islam or Hinduism Gopinath Ji was not concerned one way or the other. Just as he was not interested in the Hindu religion as such. The Islam in Kashmir was very gentle; there were no riots or troubles in Kashmir between Hindus and Muslims until Partition in 1947.

The aggressive sort of Islam was not indigenous to Kashmir. It always came from elsewhere - usually from the West. Kashmiri Islam was influenced by the harmonious energies of the land.

Gopinath Ji indicated that true spirituality preceded all religions hence it did not matter that a person was a Muslim, Christian or anything else. His essence was connection with place. Gopinath Ji did not in a sense belong to any religion. People at the Ashram did not want me to become a Hindu. They wanted me to keep my tradition and let this be enhanced through the energy Gopinath Ji carried.

Who (or what) was Gopinath Ji? What was he a manifestation of?

The Indian tradition talks of the seven Saptarishi that created the current age - the age since the flood. Presumably Gopinath Ji was a manifestation of one of these and I think he was heralding a change in the consciousness structure of people.

Gopinath Ji was a devotee of the Universal Mother; hence it seems his mission - as a Kashmiri - was about that. The Universal Mother is so called because it is the energy that encompasses the Gods and Goddesses 'of place' on earth. Remembering that the earth is part of the Universe.

In Kashmiri Shaivism the male aspect is consciousness. The female is the active element - the element in which the material world - the world of nature - is contained. The male aspect is consciousness, or in simplified terms awareness. Consciousness is aware - but to come into manifestation that consciousness needs an active element. That active element is the Shakti, the feminine aspect.

So consciousness floats as 'God' (the supreme absolute) in the total cosmos and needs activity (on the planet earth) to create an embodied awareness ... the total planet with the human beings. The human being is said to be more conscious than the rocks... all have consciousness but human beings have more. In some ways it's a similar model to Taoism.

It seems that the spirits of place - the Devas - the awareness that exists in 'a place' need people (pilgrims) to carry information to other Devas, beings like themselves in other places. They seem to attach themselves to the subtle body of a human being and to move with them.

And so we have the story of Robyn Adams who moved the central universal mother energy in the folk soul of the Kashmiri nation to central Australia. I'll attach Robyn's story to this site, it's a reading "must".

Of course it's all a mystery. But it seems as if the mind of the energy knew where it wanted to go in Australia but the body of the energy could not transfer its consciousness to another place and had to be carried by a human being.... You see, the Goddess was able to give us a picture of the precise place she wanted to go and was also to give indications of time. So her 'mind' knew about the place in central Australia where she wanted to go but it seems that her 'physical presence' couldn't move without Robyn's assistance.

Robyn's and my journey took place well after the book was written. It was at the end of the 1980's. After that the Kashmiri Hindus were driven out of Kashmir by Moslem militants.

One wonders why the militants need to destroy Goddess energies. The question was explained by Salmon Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" - he is a Kashmiri Muslim by descent.

The larger question of why some people want to destroy the Goddess energies on the planet is perhaps the same question. Steven you explore it in your essay "Considering Islam". Perhaps as you suggest the militants, and others like them are "overshadowed" in their consciousness by the energy consciousness you call Big M... a new consciousness that is working to destroy the old energy manifestations - the 7 Rishis - that are the sustainers of the planet earth's current form.

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text content © Philip Simpendorfer and Steven Guth 2002
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page uploaded 29 May 2002, last revised 21 July