Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rishikesh

The land of the Rishis, the great "seers" or sages of India, who for thousands of years have left this world behind for the infamous caves of the Himalayas. While the West has made great progress technologically and scientifically through an admirable pursuit and exploration of the material and external reality, the rishis have, since antiquity, been involved in a pursuit of the "inner" science - the exploration of spirit and human consciousness. They have discovered other ways of knowing and receiving knowledge than purely through the means of the intellect. The divine wisdom of the sages has been carried down from the mountains and penetrated the heart of Indian civilization; inspiring such disciplines as Yoga, Ayurveda, Astronomy, even Math and the Sciences.

As I bathe in the cool running waters of the Ganges, at the foothills of these great mountains, I stand at the precipice of these ancient wisdom traditions. Countless spiritual seekers have flocked from all over India - from all over the world - to this very point on the earth, in search of answers to life's deepest questions. I sit on the quiet sandy beach and take it all in stillness. Infinite hours of meditations have take place amongst these stones. What stories do they tell? The ever-flowing Ganges carries my prayers. I close my eyes and feel my breath. It's the same breath I breathe in California - only Rishikesh air. A calm peace washes over me, hushing my thoughts. A rare moment's escape from the noise and chaos on the streets behind me. I open my eyes to a group of Indians in orange life vests, splashing and screaming, river-rafting down stream. Constantly reminded of this dance between ancient and new, East and West - we meet here in this moment, always.


I found a temple right off the main bazaar where babas chant Hare Krishna 24 hours a day - you can hear em' from the streets. Been chanting with them daily. One on the harmonium, double-sided drum, and lots of Indian tambourines. All day they sing with full heart, different melodies of Sri Chaitanya's maha mantra:

Hare Rama Hare Rama,
Rama Rama Hare Hare

Hare Krisna Hare Krisna,
Krisna Krisna Hare Hare!


Felt so good to finally chant kirtan in India. Closed my eyes and was immediately brought back to Arcata, sitting around chanting with Daruka and friends. Hare Om.
As the music would linger, I'd look over at the orange powder-faced, dread-locked sadhu leading on harmonium, and a huge mirrored smile would erupt on both sides. We'd lift our arms and sing "Hare Rama!" and the drum would pick back up, sending spirits soaring.





2 comments:

Matt said...

Wonderful post my friend! Real. Are those bee hives in the picture with the monkeys? I hope to learn more about bee keeping in India as these traditions seem to change dramatically between each time, place and culture!

Namaste

Dot Zall said...

Blessings and safe travels Seth :)
Vaya con Dios,
Charlynn