Our last days in Ganeshpuri became a whirlwind of shakti and events, and now we’ve been at the Kumbha Mela for three days! I have the pleasant duty to catch you up with reports from so many yogis, covering our Ganeshpuri dosa party (food), more about the yaj~na (fire ceremony) and our Music School Performance. Yet I will also tell you we’ve been to the precise point where the rivers meet and merge and are returning tomorrow, with many meditations, mantras, meals and long walks through the amazingly easy crowds. With love, Swamiji
NO PLACE LIKE HOME – by Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver
Do you really need to come half way around the world to come home? Apparently, some of us do! When I say home, I don’t mean the physical location where I live. I mean being at home with my Self, in my Self, as my Self.
In our Ganeshpuri satsang a few days ago, Swamiji talked to us about the searching – the yearning – we all have for something more. She told us about her love for God and the human need to worship and adore. But, she said, Yoga is not about worship, and it’s not about religion. Yoga, she said, is about the relationship with a living master. “Yoga is about having a role model.”
While I am thoroughly enjoying visiting the holy sites and participating in the traditional ceremonies in Ganeshpuri, this little village with so much concentrated spiritual energy, what I am enjoying the most is being with my Guru in the place where she spent time with her Guru. I told Swamiji that I felt a little like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. All she had to do was click her heels and say ‘there’s no place like home’ to find her way.
All I have to do is to look into my Guru’s eyes to realize that I have the same ability. I do not worship my Guru (well, I DO adore her!!). I find myself in her eyes and in her presence, and my search is over.
Michelle Gordon: Dosa is like being at the Copa!!! Colors, fast moving, lots of movement, famished yogis, and then: the chefs, delectable choices, magnificent presentation, professional, of course! Yes all this in Nimboli India. Come along, join our par-teeeeeeeeee!
Sheyna Purna Peace: A little bit of background. Today most of us were at the Nityananda Temple by 4:30 (that’s A.M.) where we sat while abhishek (ritual bath) was done on the beautiful Nityananda murti. A few of us then meditated in front of the bed where Nityananda slept. A gorgeous walk before sunrise back to Fire Mountain Ashram, breakfast and Guru Gita. Some of us have had personal pujas (ceremonies) with Prasad, the Brahman priest who, among other things, runs the Ganeshpuri Music School. I went to one for a friend and it was very powerful. After lunch we dressed in our finest and today, being the auspicious day of Ganesha’s birthday, we attended a Yaj~na (Sacred Fire ceremony). This was incredible and needs its own entire blog. We returned to the Ashram for satsang with Swamiji and then, and only then, DOSAS!
Priya Kenney: The Mumbai chefs who came to us with this feast are fluid form in motion. Dipping into the batter to plop a large dollop on the hot griddle, spreading it around in an expanding circle, creating a food painting by dipping into their palette of veggies from the local soils. Hands fly into silver bowls for a pinch of carrots, a handful of this and a sprinkle of that. Their easy movement is directed at filling our forms, but it reminds me of the priests at puja, fluidly pouring milk, honey and curd over Nityananda’s golden head, so that we may know our formlessness. These dosha artists and the priests moving effortlessly through the ceremonies each know the complexity of their rites. We are fed, and so full, inside and outside.
AFTER DOSAS — by Millie Chang
After the Dosa party last night where we were encouraged to “pig out” and despite my refusal of the ice cream treat offered, my digestive system was somewhat compromised. Waking a few hours prior to the 3:30 a.m. needed to get to Nityananda Temple for a very big day (lunar anniversary of Bhagawan’s Murti Installation), I found myself laying in bed, silently chanting Jai Jai Nityananda, occasionally rubbing my tummy, asking for Nityananda’s help to allow me to feel well enough to attend this morning’s abhishek. And soon enough, I was feeling better, ready to walk to the Temple along the mostly dark road, accompanied by my roommate and two of the house dogs who romped along the road ahead of us, greeting other dogs along the way.
The nearby temple where we’d attended the Opening Ceremony for the three-day Ganesha’s Birthday party celebration was brightly lit as though tempting us to return any time for Darshan with Ganeshaji on the stage covered in floral glory. At the large temple plaza, all the flower garland sellers were busy soliciting shoppers, and I went to pick out a lei made all of leaves and tender shoots.
Inside, the temple was filling up quickly, men on the left, women on the right, with a wide marble aisle in the middle with a direct view of the Golden Murti of Nityananda. Perhaps a dozen people were behind the railings, in order to participate in the actual bathing process. The chanting in process involved many voices, with special and specific chants for this day. Many of those gathered chanted along or responded to the Brahmins’ devotional recitations.
Fast forward a couple of hours, through the abhishek process, all the time chanting of many voices, I opened my eyes to see the Murti already dressed in his brocade cloth, embellished with many long strands of malas and one large leafy lei over his torso, and a small wristlet of flowers on his prominent left hand, accenting his long slender downward flowing fingers.
Next was a series of aaratis with several versions of flame holders, and everybody chanted Jai Jai Nityananda. Near where I was seated, several young children joined their mothers or came by themselves, as they have been doing each day. Then the entire audience rose up to form a line, gradually turning into a “single file” as one of the caretakers requested of the masses of people. The men were asked to wait along their wall, while women filed through to circumambulate the beautiful, pure Murti of Bhagawan Nityananda , today crowned with a bejeweled golden cap topped with a multi-headed cobra.
Having the opportunity to actually touch and see Bhagawan with our hands and hearts is truly the opportunity of a lifetime. On this Journey with Swamiji we have had such auspicious days to celebrate, first on Friday (solar anniversary of Bhagawan’s Murti Installation), then on Monday (MahaAbhishek with Swamiji), and again this morning. Amazing is too mild a word to describe the feelings that come up and settle into me each time we enter this purification process. It is quite difficult to identify whatever is so very subtly seeping into every cell of my body, but I am more than content to let things fall where they lay.
As Bindu, my teacher just asked me: How do we share or explain this with our friends and fellow Svaroopis back in Pennsylvania? They might just have to come for themselves.