By the river in India
I LOVE - THEREFORE I AM
(adaptation of the French philosopher Descartes' maxim - 'I think, therefore I am')
Shobha Cameron likes to think of herself as a dancing, singing, free spirit, wannabe angel and mystic in the making.
Before the age of nineteen, when she went to university, Shobha was actively involved in Christianity and with her guitar, sang the protest songs and spirituals of the sixties,
in churches and concerts around the city in her folk duo 'The Greenwoods'.
Having discarded a career
as a medical and psychiatric social worker, she returned to her true academic love - anthropology - the appreciation of culture in societies in their own context, without reference to any rules, rituals or values from any other tradition.
A relationship of four years plus a short marriage of two years with a man who was not spiritually inclined, ended when Shobha
gave up her social work career and involvement in political activism. Following a year of meditation and writing poetry, she received a spiritual 'vision'.
This led her to embark upon a journey which embraced Theosophy, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, the Christian mystics, paranormal phenomena, spiritualism and all forms of new age experimentation in communal
living and meditative practices and therapies.
As part of her doctoral research in anthropology into the influence
of eastern mysticism in western countries, especially Zen Buddhism, Shobha participated in the activities of many new age groups with an eastern orientation (in Australia) and discovered Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (now known as Osho) - a professor of Philosophy,
a mystic and enlightened master.
His ashram in Pune, India
was, in the seventies, attracting those from western countries who were engaged in their personal search for 'enlightenment'.
Within a few days of reading Bhagwan's book The Way of the White Clouds in 1976, Shobha sold her possessions and left for India. Her psychological travels of the heart and mind are documented in Journey of a Sannyasin.
Briefly returning to Australia, she assisted in the founding of a spiritual community, later known as the
'orange' people, because they wore orange robes, and lived in the 'bush' alone - in the early months of its existence.
Shobha returned to India in 1977 and remained for five years in the Rajneesh ashram. It was like 'coming home' in the spiritual sense, and she was no longer searching for 'answers'. The nature of the evolving relationship between a 'master'
and a disciple, is charted in Journey of a Sannyasin.
As her father was dying, Shobha returned to Australia in 1982 to become part of the blossoming sannyasin community in Western Australia - though in a peripheral role. She moved and worked primarily in university circles - at times as
the only Rajneesh sannyasin in a population of six thousand staff and students.
Catalyst and provocateur
It has been her lot since that time, to operate primarily amongst those who have not yet become interested in spirituality or who
adhere loosely to the religion of their birth.
She often enters people's lives when they are at a 'turning
point', and departs when they have found a new direction. This is what she sees as her 'angelic' function.
essence, her role is that of a provocateur: to encourage those with whom she interacts to question, doubt, discuss and perhaps embrace a path which is founded upon uncertainty, inconsistency, paradox and celebration of the unknown - the path of the mystic.
Mystics understand that we operate in parallel universes - the material and the spiritual, and that
we are not entirely whole until we embrace the spiritual dimension. For each one of us, this is a journey which can only be undertaken alone - though perhaps now and then in the company of like-minded souls, who are on a similar quest.
The conclusion of the mystic is that god or the cosmic energy or whatever you choose to call 'it' - is love.
The acceptance of our own divinity or 'remembrance' of our loving nature, is a common theme in Shobha's writings,
which emphasise that this understanding can only occur through 'experience' not the acquisition of knowledge. By discarding all that we know (unlearning),
we become receptive to the phenomenon of 'love' - which is beyond words or expression.
Born to sing
Shobha now sings in the duo 'Angelicus' (messengers of god) and their repertoire is punctuated by many spiritual songs as well as folk, opera,
musicals, hymns and popular music. 'Born to sing' is the bumper sticker on Shobha's car (which is also called 'Angelicus') and she often bursts into song at the ocean where she begins each day at 5.30 am - come rain or shine.