Accents - By Brian Law

“I want to talk about ‘cows’,” the old man announced in his well-known accent. As he leaned into the microphone, his long flowing hair and beard framed his piercing eyes that now gazed out over the assembled throng of devoted followers. 

There was a palpable murmuring among the crowd. ‘Could they have heard correctly? ‘Cows’? Had their revered leader, their spiritual guide, come all the way from India to Cleveland to deliver a message about ‘cows’?’ They looked at each other and were collectively puzzled. 

‘Was this one of his famous cosmic practical jokes or were they about to hear something  profoundly insightful?’ As one, the group relaxed into their cushions and waited for the Master to continue. They were in his capable hands. 

“You in the West are culturally committed to the scientific process . . . rationality, if you will. And thus you face a dilemma as practitioners of meditation,” he began. As he stopped to take a sip of tea, the group nodded knowingly. 

“And that dilemma, stated simply, is how do you deal with your deepening insight into the validity and ethics of Karma when your Western rationality and science tells you that it is merely mysticism.” 

Again, the group nodded in unison, anxiously awaiting his next comments. 

“Ah, but is there really a dilemma, or is your belief in science merely shallow, blinding you to the fact  that Western scientific models have progressed in complexity and are now clearly merging with Eastern views?” he continued, his voice calm and clear, his accent clipped. 

“An example of this merging is the development of  the ‘Cows’ Theory in the West,” he proudly declared. 

‘There it was again’, the group thought to itself. ‘’Cows’ Theory? ‘They knew that cattle were sacred in India but were puzzled by how that concept might work into what their Master was saying. Nevertheless, most diligently wrote in their notebooks, “‘Cows’ Theory removes our dilemma! And frees us to move towards greater insight!” 

His gentle, fatherly voice continued carefully, explaining that the ancient concept of Karma, once seen by Westerners as a fanciful notion unrelated to reality, was now being reinterpreted by ‘Cows’ Theory. Underlying causality now was seen as operating in fundamental, logical ways that were coherently revealed in our world of phenomena, and most importantly, across the boundary of death. 

As he finished his lecture, the group sat silently, knowing that they were in the presence of a true spiritual guide who had revealed to them, probably for the first time ever, the underlying truth of existence. ‘Cows’ Theory! The sense of privilege they felt was overpowering. ‘We are here where it was first announced! ‘they thought. They were grinning and crying and overjoyed at their good fortune. They would never look at cows the same. 

Still standing at the podium, the Master was approached by a man who reverently leaned into him and whispered something in his ears. Nodding, the Master thanked the man and moved close to the microphone and tapped it for the group’s attention. ‘Was he going to add to their wisdom? they wondered. What could possibly add to their collective bliss?’ 

They waited breathlessly as he cleared his throat and merely said, “I understand it is pronounced ‘chaos’.” And with that, he left the stage and a stupefied audience. 


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