I think the key to blogging in this country at least, India, is to do it fast as the lines seem to stop working. I have written 2 times now, at length posts, and lost them as I tried to post….so will try to be short and sweet.
My “Ancient Oracle” odyssey ended in Mahaballipurum a few days ago. Ancient Oracle is the name of the tour company my friend Dayananda co-created to describe the way the essence of their tours.
Mahaballipurum is a beach town. We have been 2 times at the beach before this, the East coast points to the “Bay of Bengal” of course. First beach in Pondicherry- no cool breeze. Hot and humid…..Next beach was Tranquibar, where we had lunch at a beautiful, small “Heritage Hotel”. Beautiful ocean, but again, no coolness, no relief. Have I mentioned it is hot? With humidity too, something I am not used to. At Mahaballipurum, finally some cool breezes. And lots of people selling marijuana, hashish, on the beach. And lots of slick cool Kashmiri shop-keepers beckoning you into their fabric and jewelry shops, and lots of Tamil stone workers sitting and carving….
Here (in this town that has other spellings and pronunciations if you try to find it on the map, typical India) we had mostly rest from temples which people were very happy with. A few of us had a bit of temple withdrawal. In fact, after about 15 or 20 temple visits (or more perhaps, who is counting, some annoyed spouse on the trip no doubt), we finally have it down. Small bills for the pujas and darshans (viewing of the dieties, a story in itself), larger sums for the office where we can feed to poor or ask for special pujas to help propiate or strengthen various planets. We are here as astrologers of course, that is the point to propitiate the planets by being there, “seeing” some of the ancient places and forms that acknowledge them and attend to them in unique ways.
Anyway, no pujas in this last town, we rest and shop. The town is famous for hand carved stone statues. They have all sizes from miniature to giant size, they make all the Hindu statues for use in temples or simply decorations, through out India and the world. I realize a candle holder Rajeesh and Nabin gave to Peter and I one year came from this place and it gives me an interesting sense of the past, present, and future coming together for a moment. We meet an amazing young carver; Murugan is his name, which means Mars. He is truly an embodiment of Mars- brimming with energy, vitality, enthusiasm, and optimism. A third generation carver, the patriarch of his family at the young age of 27 or so. I buy 2 statues from him, mainly because of his energy in them.
Ok, I am not being brief….I am in Varanasi now, another story. Perhaps tomorrow I will be clearer to write, excellent Internet service next store to my luxurious hotel. I considered staying in a back packer’s hotel in the heart of the old city, but realized I don’t have it in me. The city is dirty and crazy and I need a place to relax into at the end of the day. I am never tired here though, I feel like I meditate through the nights, just floating until the next day comes and some new and fantastic mundane event will occur.
Thinking about Thanksgiving this week. Eating dinner tonight the Sitar, tabla, a violin player perform ragas and then slip in “jingle bells”. I am the only one to notice in the group of tourists eating, the tabla palyer nods and smiles and I am suddenly home-sick.
Happy Thanksgiving week, I will try and post again when I have a clearer head.
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.