I was invited to Dr. Arora and Manju’s for dinner together with my friend Michal. I usually spend quite a lot of time visiting with Manju while I am in Rishikesh. Daytime visits where we just chat and I watch her in the kitchen-best cooking lessons available-and these visits were missing during this short stay. But at least I would get to spend the evening with her, and I was excited about going.
We wound up spending the evening in prayers, chanting and singing with all the female members of the communal family dwelling (5 sisters-in-law, a couple of THEIR daughters-in-law, a visiting sister of Dr. Arora from Delhi, and even one baby granddaughter). I couldn’t have found a more suitable, uplifting and beautiful way to spend my last evening in Rishikesh, or better company. I have no photos, as it seemed neither appropriate nor necessary at the time, but the wonderful pictures will remain in my mind for a very long time.
It seems over 30 years ago, Dr. Arora’s father decided that every Tuesday there should be an evening of Kirtan (sacred chanting) in the family temple situated in the center of the family dwelling, and the women at the time decided they would be the ones to do it. And to this day, this is precisely what happens every Tuesday evening.
There is nothing that compares with the power, and empowering energies of the prayers of women. The chanting was done joyfully, sometimes playfully, sometimes with deep serious mindfulness and devotion, but always directed directly towards the deities. I felt it on a deep soul level and felt myself being swept away with the power of the connection to God felt in the small room. Since the chanting is repetitive, and the women took turns leading it, I was very often able to join in. And from my years in India, several of the chants I realized I actually knew the words to myself! This surprised me and of course brought great joy and approving pleasure to the faces of the women. And of course, clapping along with everyone else was a no brainer, even for me!! 🙂
The visit afterwards with Manju and the Doctor was thoroughly enjoyable as always, with good conversation, seeing the beautiful wedding album from their eldest son’s wedding last year (the daughter in law of course now living there with them) and of course a superb light dinner. With soup, idlis, subji, shahi paneer (Manju makes the best in India for sure and she always remembers how much I like it and makes it for me when I come), chutney and of course chapattis with ghee . Dr Arora drove us home, quite late…tired but with full stomachs and happy hearts.
Now having my last breakfast here at the Pundir Restaurant after being treated to a wonderful whole wheat chapatti and homemade ghee when I stopped by Seema’s house earlier.
The sky is cloudy today for the first time in 6 weeks. I feel “cloudy” myself. Must be raining somewhere up in the mountains to bring the clouds and colder weather today.
And somewhere deep inside of me there is a “rainy” feeling as well.
The day continued quietly, with goodbyes to everyone, always difficult, but even more so after such a short stay, and of course packing up my stuff for storage as well as for taking home. The sky was beautiful to watch during the day and evening,
and before heading off to Delhi by taxi, I had my last supper of schnitzel and chips!! 🙂
The ride on the new highway took less than 5 hours….
Sachin provided me with a pillow so I could sleep in the car on the way. I dozed on and off…and to my great surprise was in delhi in less than 5 hours!! New road is good for sure.
Found a nice bench in the departure lounge to lay down on for another hour until they opened the RJ check in counter. They really hassled me about my carry on- it didn’t fit into the “rack” which measures them. Finally they called the supervisor, and she allowed me to take it. What a pain in the ass. The whole thing took over an hour but luckily I was first on line and when I got to the gate, there was even a free bed to lie down on which I did of course.
the flight was fine but it seems the AC as not working….it was really hot on the plane.
Good flight to amman but it is over 7 hours going back. The plane was not full so there was no one next to me which made it easier to sleep a little with my legs over the handle of the next seat.
1/2 hour delay in Amman but that meant yosi actually got the airport in time to pick me up. It was nice.
We went and had a nice breakfast in Yehud and then headed home and got stuck in a HAIL STORM!! Thought the car windows would crack the pieces were so big!
And then later on in the evening, my house was struck directly by lightning and my phone went dead while talking to yosi. and my cellphone needed to be charged but I had no electricity, so we couldn’t talk. It was easier talking to him from India!
And now I am home, a week later, writing this last post!! I will be posting several more photo posts, and then saying goodbye until next year! Look forward to seeing you all once again then!
Namaste from Herzlia, Israel
Things are starting to shift. This always happens when I am in India. The shift is more on an energy level, in perceptions of time, space and self.
These shifts usually take over a month, sometimes longer, before they occur. But time has a way of utilizing itself to best advantage. The more time we have, the more time we waste. Time being short this trip, the shift has taken only 3 weeks.
Many things are very subtle. Pretty much unnoticed from the outside at first, but powerfully felt within. Almost like a volcanic eruption… sudden, surprising and overwhelming.
One of the physical ways it manifests with me, is that I “find my voice”.
I don’t sing in public out of respect for the sensitivity of others. 🙂 (well, I DO sing but only when lots of others are singing as well as during a “sing-a-long” or group chanting – and I sing softly so no one can actually hear me – except the unlucky person who happens to be sitting next to me)
And very often when I hum along with music in my own house-not even realizing I am doing it, if someone happens to hear me, they always ask me to stop. I even hum off key!!!
[I always have music playing, in one form or another – depending on my mood and my needs- I must have music in my life- to calm, to excite, to invigorate, to inspire, for romance, for fun, for dancing or just for its beauty.]
So, while here in India, at some point, I “find my voice’, and begin to sing outloud, to chant outloud. It is a release of secreted inner joy which doesn’t usually express itself, and it is awesome to feel when it occurs… and a huge and welcome shift for me.
Finding my “aloneness” again is also a great shift. Always being surrounded by others-not always physically but mentally and emotionally – can be exhausting and draining , even when they are dear loved ones – of which I am blessed with many- 6 children, their spouses and my 14 grandchildren. And then of course my dear loving partner and my friends.
The “space” to be completely alone with ME is a rare occurrence – times are few and far between- I make a great effort to at least begin my day with just ME – but very often even this sacred time is snatched from me for various reasons.
This space for me is a luxurious blessing, and I am at a place where I am now withdrawing from others around me here as well. Going within, alone, as much as possible.
I have slowed down my mornings, leaving later for my treatments, taking this special sacred time to do those things which are most important to my balance and well being – prayer, meditation, yoga, Reiki, sitting in the blessed warmth of the sun, watching the mountain change colors as the morning moves along, sitting quietly along the Ganga eating my breakfast…contemplating or doing nothing…this is a precious time for me. I always try to bring this home with me, but it is not something which I am able to always do. And I miss it dearly.
Morning time is sacred space just for me, and I have not been honouring that space. I tried adapting to the comfort zone of my friend-leaving earlier in the morning for treatments, walking faster than I like to, etc. And this is another part of the shift. I will now make my morning fully and solely devoted to my own needs.
My first resolution therefore, has been to at least do what I can from MY end to insure this sacred space. And that is NOT to touch the computer for any reason, before lunch time-and later if possible. This began yesterday, here in Rishikesh, and I will do my best to implement it once I get home as well. It will not be easy, but it is an essential part of keeping the morning space just for ME without the intrusion of others – even others who I invite in via the computer.
My friend also has a certain animosity towards the Ganga – the son of a friend drowned while swimming in the Ganga and she cannot forgive the river for taking him….but this has effected my joy in being near Ma Ganga when we are together. So I now breakfast alone (she has found a restaurant which DOESN’T have a view of the Ganga, not easy to do here in Rishikesh – and I am happy for her), and the sacred energies once again come through to me as I sit here.
I will now do my Ganga strolls alone as well to completely absorb the healing energies this Holy river so lovingly gives me.
And will enjoy my slower pace of living as well.
Namaste from Rishikesh
Following the reblog Gayatri Mantral with translation and explanation of this wonderful mantra, I have found this video so that you can also hear it and perhaps connect with it as I did so many years ago.
I first heard this mantra while walking the streets of Rishikesh years ago, and from the first moment, it resonated within me on a deep soul level, without ever knowing what the words actually meant. My soul knew. I have been chanting it joyfully ever since .
This post will contain different faces of prayer, sacred ceremonies, piety and prayer in Indian life. Everything, every event, every action is considered sacred and Divine by Indians. Even a businessman, after receiving payment, will say a quick prayer of thanks over the bills he has been handed before placing them reverently and gratefully in the cash register. Here are just several examples of small personal prayers or huge daily public pujas, but all reflecting the sanctity and joy felt by people for all the blessings so lovingly given to them each and every day by God. I will post several photos full size here, but after the slideshow you will be able to view many more via the gallery. Just click on a photo to enlarge it.