After wondrous adventures in Jaipur from elephant riding to a fabulous feast in the palace/hotel (a la moghul) announced by the fanfare of trumpets, our group made its way back to Delhi for our final day together. It is extraordinary to experience how the culture and customs of the people change from one area to another.
The most powerful part of the Taj Majal experience is that you can actually FEEL love emanating from the building. It is not just a breathtakingly beautiful structure but the love that the king had for his queen became a part of the Taj Majal and when you are there that love becomes a part of you. It is no wonder that 30,000 people a day come to bask in its wonder.
Today is our final day in Rishikesh and the Ashram. The Sivaratri ceremonies last night went until 2 am. with a chorus of men rapidly repeating mantras from 5pm onward. Everyone moves into another state of consciousness as Swami Veda and other priests perform rituals that include us.
And now, our last day here, we are immersed in ancient inner practices that are led by Swami Veda. We have been progressively drawn inward during these nine days. Deepening our understanding of ourselves.
The title of the conference we are attending at the ashram is Yoga Nidra. "Nidra" in Sanscrit means "sleep".
Here the body is in a deep state of rest (deeper than than our ordinary sleep state) yet the mind is awake and we identify ourselves with pure consciousness separate from the mind and separate from the body.
Yesterday 8 yogis from our group went into silence. This ashram supports silence in a big way. In addition to one, three and ten days of silence, there are 40-day and 90-day programs as well. These programs offer preparation and guidance.
The desire to practice silence happens in a natural way. It springs from within and feels very natural--not forced.
Swami Veda has said, "a word spoken is power lost". The practitioner of silence is building precious energy instead of
sending it out.
Yesterday, after morning yoga, meditation, and a Yoga Nidra session, our group of yogis went into the foothills of the Himalayas
Swami Veda's ashram is on of those highly charged places where if you think of someone they appear just around the corner or if you need something it comes to you at the perfect time. One begins to realize that if you relax and trust everything is provided.
"Consider the lilies of the field..."
Now the trick is to carry that consciousness of abundance with us wherever we are in our lives. To remember to remember.
The holy city of Rishikesh (city of sages) is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas near the source of the river Ganges. It is the home of hundreds of ashrams or spiritual communities that have sprung up over the centuries dedicated to the service of humanity.
Swami Veda's ashram, where we will be for nine full days and nights, is outside of the city on eight acres of beautifully tended gardens framed in the distance by the towering Himalayas. The cottages are sweet and simple and the program is full.
Our group of fourteen dove into India immediately. It's hard not to because India has its own consciousness and pulls you in. After a day of sightseeing in modern Delhi we journey into ancient India.
Mehrad and I will be arriving in India on Friday, February 18. We will be regularly blogging and sharing our adventures. Please stay tuned.