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Posts Tagged “Baba Ram Das”

Flowers on Peace Hill

Peace Hill Sunset March 6, 2013

We took the short hike up to Peace Hill yesterday afternoon and were treated to the cool flower arrangement inside a coconut shell that some previous visitor left there for others to enjoy. It made me nostalgic, remembering the days when the Christ of the Caribbean graced the center of the old sugar works horsemill and brought back memories Baba Ran Das’s sunset talk before Hurricane Marilyn brought down the iconic statue.

Christ of Caribbean

Christ of the Caribbean – Photo by Dean Hulse

In the 1950s the Wadsworth family donated a seven-acre tract of land to the Virgin Islands National Park including the area known as Peace Hill, where the old windmill still stands.

The deed of gift to the park asserts:
The grantors have for some years maintained Wadsworth’s Peace Hill as a place where the public is invited to enjoy great beauty and quiet. It is their wish that Wadsworth’ Peace Hill be perpetually dedicated as a place where people might meditate and find inner peace, in the hope that in some way this might contribute to world peace.

In 1953, Col. Wadsworth commissioned St. Johnians Terrence Powell and Thomas Thomas to construct the Christ of the Caribbean statue on the summit of Peace Hill, which for some time was a St. John landmark marveled at by the passengers and crews of vessels passing through the Durloe Channel.

In 1995 Hurricane Marilyn destroyed the Christ of the Caribbean, which was, by this time, showing signs of decay.

The Virgin Islands National Park Service decided not to rebuild the statue.

St. John Weather

Mostly cloudy with rain showers in the morning, then clear with rain showers
High of 81 degrees F
Winds from the SSE at 5 to 15 mph
Chance of rain 20%
Water temperature (Charlotte Amalie Harbor): 84 degrees F
Sunset: 6:26 PM AST

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About fifteen years ago Baba Ram Das, who I remembered as Richard Alpert from the Timothy Leary, LSD and psychedelic mushroom days, gave a free talk at Peace Hill just before sunset. It was a clear blue-sky afternoon a light breeze out of the east, the sun low in the sky in the west

I would say about a hundred people were gathered on the hilltop, old hippies, young hippies, ex hippies, wannabe hippies, new agers of all stripes and colors, crunchy granolas, Woodies people and Peter Bay people. We were there to hear Baba Ram Das, the contemporary spiritual teacher, the guru, the icon of the sixties philosophy.

About fifteen or twenty minutes past his scheduled arrival time, he appeared, having walked up the trail to the scenic hilltop. He was accompanied by his entourage, ladies in white flowing robes, which to me looked like they may have been bed sheets in some previous incarnation. He made his way to a prepared platform bedecked with flowers as the flowing gown ladies tossed flowers onto his path. Baba Ram Das was ready to speak.

The crowd became silent. Ram Das looked up, his gaze surveying the scene. He took in that big breath, suggesting that he was about to speak, something important, something meaningful. But no words come out. He exhales. Seems he’s thinking about something else. Some moments pass. Ram Das raises his head again, gazes from one side to the other, takes in that breath again … but no words come out. He exhales.

“What’s going on,” I think.

Maybe others are starting to wonder also.

Ram Das picks up his head a third time looks from side to side, the big inhale again, no words, He exhales, looks out at the sea, turns again, inhales deeply once more, and then he blurts out something that obviously had nothing to do with his prepared or semi prepared talk.

And with a warm smile and a real sincerity in his voice he says:

Wow! It’s really beautiful here!”

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Brought to you by Gerald Singer, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)