Bahai beach

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bahai Beach 62

Bahai Beach 62

Cows eat books

May 17th

The ice chilly waters of Ma Ganga are still pristine at Rishikesh a vibrant village with a healthy quota of spiritual seekers from with in and outside India. I like the place because it is right mix of nice people, spirituality, yoga light, lost travelers, waterfalls and peaceful monkeys.

In the morning I take my dip in the river feeling my pulse drop to 30 beats a minute a tranquil awareness and yet much better than last time when I visited around January and the water was truly ice cold. While I was reading a book on tantrism a cow came up and started munching away at my book. Blessed the book I thought and I let the four legged bovine happily munch away. Monkeys also seemed to be after my books. Whispering ‘Ashis forget about knowledge from books find wisdom.’ Well the dear monkeys were happily awarded with a bag of bananas and naturally a book on the history of India.

Birds aplenty in the valley swooping over or casually hopping around looking for dazed spiritual seekers to feed them breadcrumbs, Everyday at sun down an aarti (fire sacrifice) is held for Shiva. About 100 saffron clad orphans with 3-5 musicians chanting Sanskrit hymns for Krishna, Vishnu and Shiva. A robbed long bearded priest leads the ceremony. Every time I go to Rishikesh this is where I find inner peace. Children chant their devotion to Universal love. Little basket filled with flowers, candles, and incense float away on the river and in the middle of the ceremony tens of fire holders passed around to cleanse the sins. The peacefulness of the ceremony is hard to describe and should be experienced by all.

In the village a man walks around dressed up as hanuman, the mythical monkey king and servant to Rama. The faithful ever reliable friend how plays a major role in India’s most known story the Ramayana. He grunts with such a mischievous glint in his eyes and poses beautifully with his attire and mace, rupees flock to his pockets easily.

Anywhere in India where there is a spiritual site beggars and handicapped people flock. Yet this is not the bustling and scamming of the big cities but a more serene facet of the religion. While on a pilgrimage people tend to be more generous. Also the spaced out new converts to yoga or the old school adepts from all over the world chip in. And there are the sadhu’s. This being where the Beatles came to meet Shri Maharishi for a long long time the Shaivite monks are found here. Some phony, many funny, some dealing bhang, some doing severe penance (think about holding your hand up in the air for 17 years, or standing on your head for 8 years. You can meet generation next young Indians coming to combine parasailing, hiking, a religious dip and grandmothers who have always wanted to visited this sacred place. Rishikesh lies smack in the beginning of Char Dam. The four springs of the most spiritual river in India. In fact a goddess called Ganga who was forced to leave her celestial Milky Way to make the parched earth fertile again. As she did not enjoy leaving her peaceful abode she crashed into the earth with such force that the entire planet was about to drown. It was then that Shiva; Lord of destruction was asked by all the Gods and humans in earth to save the planet. By using his Rastafarian dreadlocks he tamed the river. Ever since Shiva and Ma Ganga are in cosmic union.

I missed out on the visit of the sources as they are opened only late in April when I had moved on for Mumbai and Goa of which in a later Bahai Beach perhaps more.

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