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October 3rd 2008
Published: October 3rd 2008
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Rishikesh…the Mother Ganges and Sivananda Kutir,


Om Namah Sivaya, Hari Om, Ram, Ram Jai Ram, Namaste,

Where do I begin…this eclectic, high, yet calm energy paradise is a must see and experience pilgrimage. To the ignorant and uninformed this place is a “freak” show of wanderers and aimlessly lost souls, to those who have an interest in Hinduism or Eastern philosophy and know the sacredness of this place, it is holy. Everything that happens along the banks of the great Ganga has a purposeful intention behind it. The intention of a worshipper might vary, but in the end seekers and pilgrims congregate here to heal any separation from the divine. There is a seriousness about devotion here I have not ever seen. I have found myself in a very devotional state here. I bow my head in namaskar (prayer hands) for every Sannyasin or Sadhu I pass by as well as for every temple I pass by. I am attending as many devotional practices I can manage here…from morning puja to satsang or darshan in the evening. I wish I knew all the bhajans and chants and I will make it a goal to know many. I am so impressed by DurgaDas’ devotion and beautiful chanting…that seems to come so easy to him. I hope one day I can sing bhajans so effortlessly. I have one perfected, the most revered one...the Gayatri Mantra ( I learned before I left) and am working on a few others.

My favourite time of day is when I take my towel and head across the street from the guesthouse, Akash Ganga Yatri Niwas, to the white sand banks of the Ganges where I spend time in meditation. I am finding some time restrictions due to practical aspects of getting ready for my stay in the ashram up north to organizing my trip when my mom comes, so my meditations are fewer and shorter than I want. I will veer off my usual description and just describe in a list the scene here as it is too overwhelming and I will not be able to express fully the profundity of Rishikesh. Plus I am wanting to reserve my energy for other activities not of the mind and writing is pulling me back to a realm I wish to minimize at this time. I think photos say it all and I am finding I want time off from photo taking too. I just want to be and feel.

Orange, orange, yellow, yellow, white, white
Beards, barefeet, bhajans
Cows, monkeys, dogs
Sarees, rainbow of colours,
Chanting Ram, Ram, Ram
Hari Om, Hari Om, Hari Om
Namaste, Namaste, Namaste
Bathing brown, thin bodies
Worship, prayer, hot sun
Sivananda, Om Namah Sivaya
Swarg Ashram, ashrams, ashrams
Yoga, yoga, meditation, healing
Palmistry, courses, Sanskrit, lungies, dhotis, shawls
Benches, ghats, steps, sand
Fast water, turbans, poor
Disabled, missing limbs, blind, walking sticks, alms
Leather skin, pilgrims, temples
Gods and goddesses-Durga, Ganesha, Krishna, Radha,
Lakshmi, Saraswati, Shiva, Parvati, Rama, Sita, Vishnu
Drums, conch shell blowing, percussion
Rhythmic trance
Smiles, devotion, joyful, sad
Om, om, om, om, om
Lahkshman Julah, Ram Julah
Steel bridges, motor cycles, scooters, jeeps
Classes, courses, promises,
Traditional Indian classical music
Vedanta...philosophy, books, CD’s
Shops, Dhabas, strictly vegetarian city
Thalis, chai, bells, amputations, blind
Illness, joy, clapping, fire, marigolds,
Offerings, elderly, new borns
Mother Ganga, refreshing, swimming
Cleansing, love, tourists, souvenirs
Jewelry, malas, rudrakshas
Papadams, street vendors,
Auyerveda, lush green tropical foliage
Humidity, humility
Survival, wisdom, guru, swami, devotee
Reverence, respect, honour, seriousness
Traditional, sacredness, in the moment
Dirt, disease, homeopathy, cleansing
Merchants, desperation, bettle juice
Papadam, tikka masala
Questions, answers, heart, compassion
Malas, malas, malas
Old, new, horns, speakers blaring chants
Families, pilgrims, seekers, Hindi
Etc…ect…ect

Om Shanti Jai!

Leila










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