Once my children moved out of my house, I decided to take a little holiday to India. This blessed event took place from November 2010 through February 2011, combining my two-and-half-month holiday with Swamiji’s trip to India in November/December 2010. I left about two weeks before the first retreat and after a couple of days in Mumbai, I went to Varanasi for 8 days. I am not going to go into Varanasi right now, as it would take several chapters in itself.. But I will say: don’t miss it. After leaving Varanasi, I joined the first retreat in Kerala. It was 10 days of yoga, starting with a morning class including chanting meditation, then onto the local Kali temple morning ceremonies. Next came breakfast and Ayurvedic treatments, or time to explore and relax at Beach and Lake Resort. Then, after lunch, we had a half hour lecture from the Ayurvedic doctor on Ayurvedic medicine, then we enjoyed more spare time or a treatment. Dinner and yoga rounded out the evening. Our days were relaxed and filled with lots of extras, such as elephant rides, puja, astrology readings, boat rides, time to shop or go for excursions, and more. This got us limbered up, relaxed, and just generally feeling happy, companionable, and loving. It was also a great intro to India for those who have not been before.
We were a group of 26 and most of us continued onto Ganeshpuri for the 5 day retreat. Describing Ganeshpuri to someone who has never been is like describing the realities of becoming a parent to an expectant parent. Words cannot really describe it – you really need to experience it. The Shakti permeates the whole environment not only in the temples and places of worship but in the ground, plants, air, water, and the people. The shakti started to work on me as soon as my foot hit the ground. At first it was like, Okay, I am home and this feels so right. My Kundalini moved in a way that I had never experienced, nor could I have ever imagined the force of this awakening.
We arrived in the early evening on a Thursday – Guru Day, which is a very special day. Our intro to Ganeshpuri was the evening arati to a huge murti of Nityananda at the main temple in the town. As soon as the Brahmin priest began chanting, I slumped forward into a deep state and only came out when someone from our group shook me when it came time to receive prasad and then return back to our guesthouse.
The word “plan” has a whole different meaning in India, so our planned events changed hourly during our retreat. Our first day began at 3:30 am in the main temple with the bathing of the murti of Nityananda and his dressing, then we moved from that temple to the Shiva temple right next door for a very beautiful arati to the Shiva Lingam. We then had time to buy some flowers or a garland for Nityananda for the morning arati back at the main temple. After this, we went back to our guest house for breakfast, then walked over to the puja house owned by the main Brahmin priest for our program. This is where the plan varied depending on who happened to pop their head in to visit. But once again the chants, talks, and meditations just dropped me into a deep state. My Kundalini just kept getting stronger and less impeded by my mind, which seemed to be in a blissful stupor.
The week we arrived in Ganeshpuri another Guru, who has a large disciple following, had set up in the town square and over a loud speaker was chanting the Bhagavad Gita from early morning to the late evening, just to add a little more shakti to the place. We had the great blessing to have darshan with this Guru at a certain time. We arrived at his ashram in our finest India outfits, sat down, and waited for his arrival. He was not on time, so we chanted for about one hour. Swamiji says, if given a chance, sit with an enlightened being, so I decided to situate myself at Swamiji’s feet and she gave my back a very healthy pat. That was just like getting a jolt of electricity pulsed through me. Once the Guru finally arrived I felt as if the air, the building, everything was buzzing with scintillating light and energy. We all received darshan and then headed back to our respective guest houses for lunch.
After lunch we had more of the program at the puja house. At some point I became very hot in my body and my sacrum started to ache, and this ache just got worse. By the time we were to go for dinner, I was in so much pain I thought I would do a few poses to relieve this pain. When I got to my room I thought I would just lie down for a few minutes then get up. I hit the bed and was not conscious for another four hours. My roommates tried to wake me, even jiggled my foot, but I was gone. When I finally woke up it was obvious that I had experienced a very high temperature as I was dehydrated and sweaty. However, I felt good in that way you do after being very sick . My body temperature was still high but my sacrum felt great. I wandered up to see if I could find some water, and spoke to Swamiji about what I was experiencing and she told me I had shakti fever. The heat didn’t subside for a few more days and returned often during my Ganeshpuri stay.
I certainly burned through some stuff that day. This and the concentration of shakti led me to a 5 week stay in Ganeshpuri continuing my sadhana. I tell people I travelled to the most populated country in the world with the noisiest religion there is to find peace, calm, and surrender to the Truth. I have not lost this surrender to the Divine and I continue to be amazed by what it is I continue to experience. Ganeshpuri is a concentration of Consciousness, like the sesame seed size of concentration that resides in my heart.