I barely know what day it is….Jupiters day, Thursday. We have progressed from Chennai to Pondicherry to Kumbakoram- Kumba means “pot” in sanskrit and is the term for the 11th sign of the zodiac, what we know as Aquarius. The people here beleive this is a place where a piece of the pot that held “amrita” the nectar of immortality fell and hit the earth. It is considered one of the 4th holiest places in India and is surrounded by 1000’s of temples.
Our hotel is called “The Paradise Resort” and is paradise. I am sitting outside, behind the front desk, which is outside, typing on the hotel computer. There are two reliefs behind me on the wall depicting Saraswati the goddess of music, art, literature, arts and an equal image of lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Money “rupees” are considered the physical manifestation of Lakshmi and thus handled with reference. Ganesh is back here too. Ganesh is everywhere and then there he is again!
Many of us are a bit ill at this point, not so much with the food or stomach stuff but the air, the pollution, perhaps the incense and puja fires. The air is so nice now, I am sure my own congestion is almost over and I will be officially acclimated.
How many temples so far????Shiva in Chennai, Ganesha in Pndicherry, several rounds of Ganesha there as our leader Komilla seems to have a total soft spot for him so she had special events done for herself and family 4 times, and each time we got to be there and participate. The last one culminated in a live elephant named “lakshmi” being included in the puja (fire) ceremony. Then we went to a famous Shiva temple near Ramana Maharshi’s ashram, in the city with Ramanas’s beloved mountain, Arannachula. This was an ancient Shiva temple, huge, and as we progressed to the center for our puja, is was hotter and hotter, like being in the bowels of the earth. That expereince is still resonating within me, I can’t articulate it now.
I won’t try to write more now as it is late and the front desk man probably wants to get on himself. Tomorrow is my roomates 50th birthday- she is wonderful and we feel very lucky and blessed to be in this altered state- no pun intended- with each other. She is an ER nurse, energy worker, and vedic astrology person- many have borrowed her drugs so far and I have benefited immensely from her body work. We go to Tanjavor tomorrow if you want to track us. South India, Tamil Nadu state, is its own world with its own language, nothing like Hindi, it feels like you could indeed spend your life right here and be forever trying to understand what is going on.
Goodnight for now, Namaste or as they say around here “ta ta”.
Natasha Korshak is a long-time teacher and trainer of yoga, meditation, mindfulness and MBSR, and has been working in the field of integrative health and wellness her entire professional career. She is a graduate of the Interfaith Theological Seminary and an ordained Interfaith Minister specializing in contemplative practice, grief processing, and spiritual direction. Her study and training of mind/body/spirit methods is extensive and she has learned from many of the pioneers in their discipline. As the founder and director of the Sol Center she is well regarded for her depth, warmth, authenticity, and the smile in her voice.