Saturday, March 23, 2013

A journey to India with Sharonji part 2

We flew out of JFK and there was a pigeon in the airport and of course we spent the first 10 minutes feeding the birds. Sharonji always has her seeds with her.


I always try to do at least a small practice when I fly. I was doing a headstand in the back of the plane and the flight attendant asked if he could take a picture of me and I said only if he would take one with my phone as well...



We arrived to Delhi on the 23rd of January. It was the first time either of us had been this airport in 17 years  and for me it was my first time back. 

Sharonji was taken aback by the modernity of it. Of course her remembrance of it was different than what she was now seeing.She was very into the huge mudras on the wall above the imiigration counters.


We took a car to Braj. It took 4 hours and on the way we got a flat tire. Our driver changed the tire by himself pretty quickly but did not even pull off the road.

Braj is an area in Uttar Predesh that is the home of many of the Krishna Lilas and it was home to Shyamdasji for over 40 years. We did not make it to India in time to be there for the cremation and that may have been a blessing. I was not excited to see the trauma from the accident and preferred to remember the Shyamdas that was in my mind. We did make it in time for the first of many ceremonies that took place at different locations in Braj. The first was a fire ceremony by the side of Surabhi Kund. It is famous in the lore of Krishna as the place where Indra asked for forgiveness from Krishna via Surabhi. (An interesting story if you care to look it up). Shyamdasji's son David, Vallabhdas, Adam, Govind and myself shaved our heads and bathed before the ceremony. Below is Govind getting his head shaved and the beginning of the fire ceremony.

The lady in the black hat on the right is Shyamdasji's mother Gloria Schaffer who was once the Secretary of State for Connecticut. In the picture below Sharonji and Radhanath Swami offering prayers during the ceremony. And below that is a larger picture of the Kund (lake) but I could not get a shot of the whole thing, but you can see the ceremony happening in the background.
The 2nd day took place at another Kund called Soron Har Ganga. It is honored and respected as the Ganga although there did not seem to be any inflow from the actual river. It was a 2 hour drive from where were staying. On the way we stopped for tea and I made some friends. After that I looked around a bit and was saddened by what I saw. Much of the country side including where we were staying had been very polluted by plastic and in some cases raw sewage. 





The ceremony took place on the steps and this is where some of the ashes from Shyamdasji's cremation were placed.

Each person touched another by the shoulder or arm so that each of us was in contact with those who leading the ceremony and with each other. It was very powerful.





The last image is a verse from the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 13. 

Just as in the physical body of the embodied being is the process of childhood, youth, old age; similarly in the transmigration from one body to another the wise are never deluded.

Yogis strive to see the process for what it is...a process and that the essence of a being is beyond that.

Chapter 2 Verse 17

But know that by whom the entire physical body is pervaded is indestructible. No one is able to cause the destruction of the imperishable soul.

This was a powerful day and afterwards we went to Vrindavan and ate at the ISKON temple there. 

Day 3 needs its own blog.... 
  





2 comments:

Li Ouyang said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Now I understand why you were so sad one day, after class. Looking forward to reading part 3.

Adontai Mason said...

This is a very cool and interesting account of your trip to India. I also read part 1 and it's interesting because I had a romantic view of the motherland of Yoga.