Earlier this week at the Ashram, we got to enjoy dessert before lunch! Vidyadevi and I had just settled in our seats in the meditation hall to join Swamiji for japa when Swamiji walked in carrying a large box filled with…bubble wrap? “We’re going to be unwrapping sacred objects today!” she explained. She had received the cardboard rectangle in the mail from India, removed the outer wrapping (cloth, not paper) and wanted to share the first glimpses of the treasures with us.
We sat at Swamiji’s feet and each tenderly picked up a tightly-wrapped parcel and she began to repeat our beloved mantra, guided us to repeat it silently as we proceeded. Gingerly, we removed the bubble wrap, and Swamiji indicated that the newspaper and bubble wrap were new innovations. She has used this particular shop for quite some time, and they used to pack all of the items in fabric (this explains the cloth outerwrap!).
After peeling away the plastic layers, Vidyadevi and I each revealed a sacred object: a brass bowl and ornate copper spoon. “These are for dipping out the Ganga water to share!” Swamiji said with delight of the sacred source she brought back with her from India. In demonstration and perhaps anticipation, Vidyadevi cupped her hands, brought them to her mouth and passed them over her head, moving through how she would receive the Ganga, enjoying it in space. “I’ve already purified the water in the sun,” Swamiji added.
We continued with the objects and revealed two copper trays, one small, one large. The large one had pressed in relief in its center an OM with Devanagari (written Sanskrit) circling it. I asked Swamiji what it said. She lifted it and began to read: Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ… tát savitúr váreṇyaṃ… bhárgo devásya dhīmahi…Moving through each word, she revealed the Gayatri mantra, a portion of which is expressed in our Ganesha mantras. “This,” Swamiji grinned, “is going in the Amaya® shop!” (psst—that means for you!). She placed the small copper tray beneath the bronze Ganga bowl and set the spoon upon it, beheld it, then gently placed it upon her side puja in front of Nityananda to begin collecting shakti (psst—this is also for you. Enjoy it when you receive the Ganga!).
Finally, Vidyadevi removed from the last package a leaf-shaped soap stone incense burner with Ganesha upon it. “Touch it,” Vidyadevi encouraged. I reached out—so soft, and the Ganesha so sweet! “This is going in the Amaya® shop, too,” Swamiji said. (More for you! The next time you are in the Amaya® shop at Kashi, touch it—I know you will love it. And look for both on the online Amaya® shop).
By the time we moved out of the meditation hall for lunch, as you may already guessed (and have experienced many times yourself), I noticed I was already full! Such a sweet, delectable sacred feast!