Kumari Ellis

Kumari is a Mullumbimby based author. Her novel about her mystical experiences in India is an absorbing and enlightening tale. Join her on a great adventure into one of the world’s most exotic and intricate spiritual cultures.

“I have always loved to write and it was six years ago that I first sat down to write this story of my time in India. Initially I had two days every week when I was released for a few hours of mothering duty, and in that time I would brew chai, and sit down to write. It was surprisingly easy for me to slip back to the days of India and I found great solace in doing so. It has been a lengthy process and I believe with this first manuscript I have learnt so much about the writing process. Indeed about myself as it took me beyond the edge of comfort at times with revealing more about myself than I ever set out to share. It is a story that wants to be shared and I found that the more I could get out of my own way and simply be present, to show up to the empty page, the more it revealed.”

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Kumari Ellis
January 17 at 10:24 PM ·
I have just returned from a truly amazing few weeks in Tiru, a pilgrimage with my children, who had not been to India for some years. Tiruvannamalai is home to Ramana Ashraam, an oasis of silence amidst the bustle and commotion of India. And watching over it all is the auspicious mountain Arunachala, an embodiment of Shiva, the supreme being. "Arunachala is truly the holy place. Of all holy places it is the most sacred! Know that it is the heart of the world. It is truly Siva himself! It is his heart-abode, a secret kshetra. In that place the Lord ever abides the hill of light named Arunachala."[7]
It has been an epic time and not without its challenges. I feel so blessed to have had this time with my kids in such sacred surrounds. We had many adventures and experiences and I am in awe of them both. The mountain exudes a presence and silence that really has to be experienced and amplifies all aspects of one self. It has been deeply profound. We are home again now and adjusting to the more ordered and empty surrounds. High summer here takes us to the river to swim and delight in the cold turquoise waters, settle back to our home and the absence of sounds leaves a poignant silence and a visceral absence. Early morning call to prayer, soft and subtle there in Tiru as a nearby mosque sings prayers to the dawn. The women in the compound sweeping, cooking, beginning their day before dawn even broke. Some early mornings the raucous and startlingly loud music, a mix of Bollywood pop and bhajan is the wake up. And all under the splendid gaze of Arunachala. Often the mountain shrouded in mists until long after the sun rose, a perfect orange ball as the squirrels played in the palm tree and the birds gave their own calls. The mountain slowly revealed as the form became more definite. Sadhus sit, walk, ride bikes, drink chai, lie on the pavement asleep, play games with stones in groups, or are lost deep in meditation. Orange cloth a vivid reflection of the sun. Others attend the temples and we made ourselves easily at home. Driving altogether on the scooter, singing Arunachala Shiva as we go, visiting a Kali temple where the pujari feeds the langur monkeys every afternoon. Just before sunset they arrive, their antics endlessly entertaining. Sitting in the cave where Ramana spent many years, assailed by a silence so exquisite. And the main temple in town, one of the largest temples in south India. At the shakti shrine a puja is going on, all the commotion and wonder to worship the goddess. I am thrilled. Deeply so. A reverberating hum throughout my body to walk amidst this ancient granite building, the fervour of it all, the eagerness to receive the offerings and reluctance to leave. this ancient building that sings with presence and shakti. All the bustle and commotion of India. The endless colours and contrasts and mass of people. Meeting dear friends and reconnecting with others who I have known for almost half my life. A deep immersion into the heart of all that is sacred within magical mystical India. Out hoe town feels so deserted, empty, and yet a relief too to be back home, the ease of being here, our loving community. Late afternoon I took a slow walk along the shore line as waves rush and churn and the sand soft enough to yield and leave an imprint where my feet have trod. And the long light of summer evenings, spilling gold and glorious all around. Today I returned to work. to be in the vulnerable naked presence of the very elderly is deeply touching. another reminder of the looming end whenever that might be. And who can know when that might be. life is so deeply precious. Deep gratitude for it all. For it all. Hari Om Tat Sat.
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2 days ago

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Thank you for sharing.

A truly wonderful adventure 🤩

Sounds, amazing Cate,


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a lovely way to take a break in the day, sit quiet and enjoy."You disregard: it doesn't happen. Every thought, every emotion is a tourist. Ignore! This is the great Mastery of the Sages." www.mooji.org "Winding ... ... See MoreSee Less

3 months ago

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an invitation to pause for some moments and listen to satsang" You are sleepwalking in your own Self, sleepwalking in your own story... Grace has called you home." (Mooji) www.mooji.org ... See MoreSee Less

3 months ago

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Love Mooji.

I have accepted the invitation lately of deeper listening - the invitation to slow down, and pay more attention. Whether it is making a decision and clarity is obscured, or in the moments when a sudden rush of anxiety sweeps its way in, slowing down provides the platform to catch the breath, settle into the warm arms of myself to listen to what my body wants to say. And the learning is endless, perhaps a lifetime of learning. For all the times that I am not able to pause, to begin the inquiry, then the consequences make themselves known. The borrowed tent for an outback school camp becomes broken in the wild winds of desert landscapes. Dinner with friends stretches the already reluctant energy and the sense of it all unravelling spills into the full pool of an overwhelmed nervous system. Deeper listening requires a cultivated space for intuition to find her voice, a dedicated practise of shifting the attention from the outer to the inner, from the chaos to calm.
There are many privileges in working with the very old. Most of my clients have already celebrated their 90th birthday. I have offered them a deeper listening lately too. Gerry lives alone and always has a bright smile. He grows bonsai trees and ferns. He is profoundly deaf and walks slowly with a stick. He has told me before of snippets of his life, but the other day, after I had attended his wound from a recent fall, I remained listening. He told me of moving at 12 years of age, from deep in the bush with his family to Sydney, and how his mother then died 2 weeks later. His father and brothers returned to the bush but Gerry remained in Sydney living under a bridge in Newtown. He ate one meat pie every evening and sold newspapers to get by. He left school at 13 to work in a factory making carriages for cars. When war broke out he lied about his age and joined the army. He left Sydney on the 10th of October at 10am, setting sail on route for the Middle East. A sapper in the army he lost his hearing in North Africa when a mine blew up close by. I was lucky, he tells me, many mates were blown to pieces. After the war he was introduced to a Miss Hayes from a higher social class than himself. Undeterred he bought her a 5pence box of chocolates and the best seats at the movies. They were happily married for 63 years.
Brenda is 98. Still drives and refuses most help. It’s the depression, she tells me, that’s the worst. I have no one to talk to. Her daughter turned against her and has no contact. That hurts, that one does. What did I do to deserve that? I cannot answer of course but I can listen. And during our conversation her neighbour appears, small and stooped, walking with a frame, slowly, one step at a time, into the living room. She leans on her walking frame close to Brenda and in an almost whisper says ‘I needed to tell you’ then stops. She repeats this several times as the elderly tend to do if their minds are not functioning so well anymore. ‘I need to tell you that a bird is nesting in my plant pot.’ Then she turns and slowly walks back. ‘I’ll come see when this nurse has gone’ Brenda shouts after her. She’s deaf too apparently.
I hear stories of hardship, stories of love, and of husbands long dead, the horrors of war, of husbands who returned when most others perished in the brutal Japanese prison camps. He never talked about it again, I’m often told.
Of childhoods where the stepfather ‘was not a nice man. Had to lock myself in my bedroom as soon as I knew I could. And when I was a mother myself I told him I would kill him if he ever touched my daughter’.
Deeper listening as winter gave way to spring. Subtle transition here in this semi tropical climate. The red cedar tree in the back yard fills its naked braches with buds and before I know it they unfurl to a full display. The air heady with jasmine until the rains come and the westerly blows relentless flurries tugging and pulling and whipping up the vata energy even more. I retreat and stay home at any given opportunity.
In my own journey the more I listen and slow down the more I see how nothing in the outer world will give me peace. Of course there are many moments of peace. Delight. Joy. Wonder. Walking on the beach under skies moody with silver greys, and swathes of light fell in the distance illuminating the crest of a wave or patch of golden sand as if messages from the gods themselves. Whales arced and curved behind the wave break, pods slowly returning south. I walked level with a group for some way as they threaded themselves effortlessly through the water and dolphins leapt right on cue from the waves. The beach empty the further I walked. An eagle flew low beside me, and a rider sets his horse to a gallop along the shore.
Yesterday the sun pierced and alarmed. The long hot summer lurks in spring’s shadow and I could feel the hot breath of dread. But the skies darkened and a storm gathered itself from the south approaching with fuss and frenzy. Lightening stabbed the skies and thunder rumbled. The low bass note thunder that sends a tremor through the earth. As the storm broke the sky split in two and hail stones rained down covering the earth with white. Kids shriek in delight, dancing in the wild craziness of it all.
Life is constantly asking me to step beyond my personal frontier. As the poet David Whyte says: we are called to a deeper context, deeper understanding of ourselves and required to meet life as we find it. As real human beings we always have to deepen and always have to be present to our world at the same time. There is no choice. We already know we have to give every last thing away.
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4 months ago

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Thank you ! I love your story ! 🙏💖

Your words found responses in my heart Thank you

Beautiful text.Although I learned English as a foreign language,I can notice you could be a good writer in this language.Also,since you're a good listener too,you could be a great psychologist!

Beautiful sir

Beautiful Kumari. You really have a gift with words. I can see an inspiring book of stories of elders... keep listening and noting down. ❤🕉🌻


o bahinji! you touch my heart....

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a beautiful video of Papaji......This video compilation put together for Gurupurnima 2018 includes the following interactions: Devotee: Feeling half cooked and leaving soon. Papaji: Cut the ... ... See MoreSee Less

6 months ago

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A gift from a true seeker
ByJohn Wade on February 13, 2018
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful ride I was taken on by this book. Kumari's descriptions of places across India are so accurate and highly emotive. Having visited India numerous times I had to resist cancelling everything and immediately buying a plane ticket to experience India flowing around me and through me once again. The book is gifted to us by a dedicated seeker of Truth. Tracing the Moon is an important affirmation for many "on the path". It affirms we are not the only one having the experience of doubts and the sometimes bumpy auto rickshaw ride from one moment of clear ecstasy to being swamped by our worldly uncontrolled mind in the next moment. Thank you Prem Kumari.
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11 months ago

Maha Shivaratri - The Great Night of Lord Shiva

Shiva is the ultimate power, the Adiyogi. He is where we come from and in him, we will return. Also known as auspicious, propitious, gracious, benign, kind, benevolent, friendly, in whom all things lie, all pervading, embodiment of grace, Lord of the dance, the sacred void which is endless, pure energy.

During Maha Shivaratri, devotees stay awake all night chanting the name of Lord Shiva. This year it will be celebrated in South India on the night of the 13th of February while in North India on the night of the 14th of February.

There are a number of popular legends related to Maha Shivaratri.

It is believed that on this day, Lord Shiva married Parvati.
It is also believed that on this night, Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Dance (cosmic cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution).

Maha Shivaratri is celebrated as the day Lord Shiva saved the universe, when during the churning of the ocean He drunk the poison and held it in his throat becoming known as Neelkanth.

Another legend associated to Mahashivaratri is the Shiva Linga (also known as Lingodbhavamurthy). According to the story, Brahma and Vishnu searched hard to discover the Aadi (beginning) and the Antha (end) of Lord Shiva. On this auspicious night, Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of linga to reveal that there is no beginning or end to His Being. This story is associated with the formation of the holy hill Arunachala.

Another legend related to Mahashivaratri is the descent of Holy River Ganga from the heavens, when Lord Shiva held out his thick matted hair and softened Ganga's journey to earth.

Another famous story is one of a hunter who unknowingly dropped bael leaves on a Shivalinga and attained Moksha. While hunting in the forest, Suswara the hunter shot a deer but could not return home as night fell on the forest. To spend the night, he climbed a bael tree. He kept awake the whole night because of hunger and thirst. He shed tears thinking about his wife and children who would starve without food. To divert his mind, he engaged himself in plucking bael leaves and dropping them. This happened on Maha Shivaratri. There was a Shiva Lingam under the tree and unknowingly, the hunter worshipped Lord Shiva throughout the night. Moreover, he had fasted all day and night. Thus he received salvation. This fable was narrated by, Bhishma, discoursing on Dharma whilst resting on the bed of arrows during the Kurukshetra war (Mahabharata).

Happy and Blessed Mahashivaratri
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11 months ago

Here is a review Tracing the Moon recieved today...thank you Vivienne Pasters.... Beautiful, insightful and intimate

When I started reading Tracing the Moon I didn’t want to stop. As I found myself closer to the end, I didn’t want it to finish, for fear of the void it might leave inside me.

This is such an intimate sharing, with beautiful descriptive chapters and photos, how could I not find some of myself in the lines.

I feel this is a pointer on my own path and I know I will be able to recover the feelings and emotions I felt by simply looking at the book on my shelf.

Thank you Kumari for sharing. Namaste
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11 months ago

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Such a wonderful book. I too have read it twice and should be on everyones must read list. 🙏

In english only?


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From Lucknow we flew south to Chennai. A four hour drive delivers us to the holy mountain Arunachala, where Ramana Maharishi spent most of his life. After the brimming streets of Lucknow the south feels calm and more serene. Recent heavy rains leave everywhere green and vibrant. We stay in the ashram, an oasis of silence. Ramana’s presence lives on. Only five days but time looses its hold. A diving inwards, sitting long hours as pujas are performed, lingams are washed and scrubbed, offered holy water, milk, honey, flowers and sandalwood perfume. The care and attention, the dedication and focus, the beauty, the devotion is the rhythm of the days. To walk slowly around His Samadhi, his tomb where his body was embalmed, whilst men and women sing verses in praise of Arunachala: back and forth the play of masculine and feminine in harmony. Meditation is almost effortless as a tangible silence leaves a quiet and profound bliss. Meals are served in the dinging room to rows of devotees sitting on the floor with a banana leaf before us. Men in dhotis and the Brahmin thread strung across bare chests serve from buckets of rice, dhal, samba, vegetables cooked with curry leaves tamarind and coconut milk. Butter milk from the ashram cows. And above it all presides the holy hill. “All that is required to realize the Self is to be still. What can be easier than that?’ It was a truly blessed few days and time lost all meaning. On our last evening Soma took me to a Durga temple in town that I had never been to before. Standing before the image of Durga I find tears flowing down my face. Filled with her darshan I fall at her feet in gratitude. The temple is calm and peaceful with a large banyan tree covering a courtyard. The night sky dilute from the light of the city but stars visible all the same. A woman with a small babe offers worship at the deities. She places the baby on the ground to rub red vibhuti and yellow sandal paste on the forehead of Ganesh, at the feet of Durga, murmuring mantras, head bowed, before picking up the baby again, her gold and red sari flowing around her. This is the heart of India. The endless worship, the continuity of God, temples housing Durga, Shiva, Ganesh, and Hanuman. All the Gods are honoured and alive. Returning home to the fabled lands of the Byron Shire where beauty astounds and the air is clean and the waters crystal clear there is a profound absence. The chaos of India is regulated by the pulse of worship, the sweet symphony of the divine, as temple bells ring out in the cool dawn air, prayers are sung in angelic voices, and heads bowed before the greater presence. Suburban living, with the endless requirements that life demands, as if time can be snatched from my hands, working with those in their last years and the suffering so often present as life removes so much before they fade out like the stars at dawn. Personal stories gain too much importance, as the expanded awareness of sitting long hours, immersed in silence requires greater dedication, vigilance, commitment to a practise, and endless compassion for us all. I sit before my Agni hotra flame, a small flame of peace. Recite mantra, take a few moments to pause, remember and simply rest in the presence that indeed is available anywhere. Simply keep quiet. Nature is my goddess here, as the river runs turquoise and the ocean in the last hues of day throws a pastel pink and the water churns with opals. There is so much to be grateful for in this precious life. Ramana says: “The self is here and now, and alone. The one obstacle is the mind; it must be got over whether in the home or in the forest. Your efforts can be made even now, whatever be the environment.’ Hari Om Tat Sat. ... See MoreSee Less

1 years ago

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Loving the book. Beloved India. Always calling me home.

Beautiful words so rich with humility and gratitude 🙏

Luiz Ortiz

Beautiful description.this os so Índia. Such a blusa do watcb and be present um sol that! Ah this!!!! VERY moment!!!

Beautiful. Resonate with this. Beloved India. Arunachala Shiva. Ramana. Always in the Heart.



Thanks for sharing your auspicious experience. I am very happy for you. Please tell me more.

So beautifully expressed.

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