Father Bede – Simplicity

For years there is a poster above my bed from the Holy Cauvery River in India. In the corner at the bottom you will find the picture of Father Bede Griffiths. Sometimes I asked myself why I never felt the need to remove this poster and the picture. As well the place as this man seems to be very dear to me.

India my Motherland

Meanwhile it is some years ago that I went for the first time to, what I called my Motherland, India. Totally on my own, I was wandering for seven months with a pack bag through India and Nepal. That time I was full of an indescribable longing and still searching for something outside myself. Everybody had a Guru. I was longing to find mine. I began my quest in the ashram of Guramay in Ganeshpuri. Impressive for sure, but for me nothing more than that.

During my trip I met several masters, even Sai Baba. But there was not one place were I became so deeply touched as in the Shantivanan Ashram from Father Bede Griffiths, there on the holy Cauvery River. At this moment, when I look back, it was far more than that, it was the fulfilling of a deep longing: it was like coming home, coming home by myself.


Shantivanan was in all his aspects a place of simplicity, a place without finery on the outside. My accommodation was very basic: a simple clay hut that I shared with an Italian girl. Besides the beautiful small church, there was only one collective room for the whole group. We used it to share, to pray and to eat together the sober food. We were sitting on the hard clay floor. Our father Bede, more than eighty years, was sitting between us. Just like us, on the same solid floor, not on a special place at all. In that time there were not so many people around him. True grandeur is not visible on the outside, it is not easy to be recognized: you will never see it worshipped or glorified. He should never have allowed this. He radiated a salutary calmness: Simplicity without saying. Besides of that he was in all aspects awake and extremely present.

Father Bede

As an English Benedictine Monk he came on a special day in 1955 to that place. Definitely it was his duty to convert souls. With his sensibility he must have felt the power and the essence of Hinduism. He understood that all religions came of the same source. He mixed it all together, the religion and the people. He was in his pure simplicity a real instrument from the Divine and embraced everybody in his boundless Love. This was perceptible and visible in the ashram, in the simple church, in the people and along the Holy Cauvery River.

Although I intensively enjoyed the quietness, the mystery, the holiness, the sunrises and sunsets on the river, the meditative way we prepared all together the vegetables for the sober but healthy meals, the chatter with each other en with him, I realized only much later, when I was already back in the Netherlands, how important this place and this man had been for me. During a escort-meditation which me brought back to my first roots, I found myself immediately back under the trees on the Holy Cauvery River…

The answer

Some years later, on the 13th of May in 1993, during my time with Reiki and our collective wanderings over the globe, we entered again India, my Motherland. It was okay for me to take Giri to Sai Baba, but I could not find the courage to visit Father Bedes Place. I had the feeling that he was no longer in a physical body and I liked to preserve in my heart the cherishing of the intact remembrances from this Divine place.

At the end of this year, departing from Sydney I get an answer on my question. We had to wait a long time on the airport. We used this time to hang around in a bookstore. The first thing were I literally walked at was a video of Father Bede. This was the answer on the mystery: Father Bede had passed away. The video was made in 1993 – just before his dying.

After another period of wandering we found at the end a small rented house in Holland. The poster from the Cauvery River and the photo of Father Bede found a place above our bed. This is extraordinarily, in comparing the austerity in our small home and the absent from that kind of pictures.
There had come an abrupt end of our wanderings, an end on everything what was behind my back, on everything what I dare to be. My body told me that the time had come to repent, to go within.


Many years later, healthy and freed from many old belief systems, destiny put me on a new challenge. After initially resistance, I bowed my head and said ‘yes’ against the impulse to publish my own books. From that moment my agenda started to fill up and by now and than I withdraw myself in our small wooden ‘backhouse’. Also I did last Christmas. I took some books from the library and hided myself for a few weeks. Again I got confronted with Father Bede. How surprisingly! I started to read the book: ‘The direct Path’ of Andrew Harvey. Andrew is born in India and he met many great beings on his spiritual journey. Years later, surprisingly nearby his birthplace, he get in contact with Father Bede. Never before, Andrew writes in his book, he became so touched. Touched by the love radiated by this man. Andrew subscribes Father Bede as the person whom he spiritual loved the most, the man he admired the most from all. Andrew is also the one who made the video. Andrew is one of them who is present at the deathbed of Father Bede, holding the hands from the man who in all simplicity became the Love himself. ‘What can I do for you’ he asked. With eyes glancing like stars Father Bede answered: ‘Let us become even more Love…’


What a privilege to be at the deathbed of the man who represented in all aspects the purity from the Christ awareness. What a moving coincidence for me in that silenced Christmastime. Fortuity? No, fortuity does not exist. It is a hint; my heart was jumping and full of joy. The mystery was solved. The picture above my bed is encouraging me to walk my path firmly and in simplicity. I feel myself recognized and blessed by the man who in all aspects is a part of mySelf. Self-conceited and not be dependent on any outside doctrine I walk my inner path. It is a joy to have such a beautiful love symbol to point at. In all his simplicity is Father Bede for me an example I like to be: Love without any conditions, human under the humans, without any outside pretension.


Thank you dear Father Bede, for the seed you have sown in my heart. I shall give it water and lovingly care for it. I shall keep alive in myself the remembrance. The remembrance of the place that I like to call ‘home’, I who had never had any home port in my life. The remembrance of a man who I liked to call my father, I who loosed my father when I was a child. The remembrance of a spiritual friend, a teacher and a guru, whose example I like to follow, unconditional, without to be dependent in any aspect.

I have met many, many teachers on my path, there in that far away India. The longing of a Guru I let go behind. It was not the path I had to walk. At this moment it is no longer from any importance, I sincerity received in all aspects were I unaware was looking for: the path of simplicity, the ‘love-energy’ in her most purest form, the pearl under the pearls…

May his soul may rest in peace!

Schijndel, the 5th of February 2004
– Yasmin Verschure