Thursday, November 5, 2009

08 October - Lost in the Jungle

We all ate together after the satsang. We joined our hearts and hands in prayer, and sat on the floor to eat in the upper room of the ashram. We ate and drank from plates and cups made of leaves. These swami's were simple people yet most held doctorates and were extremely intellectual. After lunch that feeling of restlesness began to grow inside me again. That small voice telling me that i got what i came to this ashram for and that it was time to continue the journey. I bade the swami's farewell, said goodbye to my new friend and mentor Swami Tatwananda and made my way to the town. At the town i paid Rs30 for a shave, i bought a few bananas, some guavas and decided to visit the market. It was fun for a while watching the daily parade but the voice in me started to stir again and i felt a prompting to cross the river unto the other side.

I followed suit and after a long crossing on the Uttarkashi bridge and past the other town, I reached the Ganges again. I thought i would sleep by her shores again this night, this time in the more uninhabited part of Uttarkashi. While walking i saw a foot path, almost hidden, near one of the banks. It was leading up and beyond one of the mountains. I knew it was getting late and taking it would be a higher risk but i decided to follow my instincts in any way. After walking for some time, i got a little lost and was a bit worried about my disposition. An old village lady came walking past me. She turned and looked at me, at first with curiosity and asked "Kya jare he" (where are you going) I replied "Me Desh Deko, me hindi thoda jaante hun." (I am looking at the land, I understand a little hindi)

Her look turned to one of concern and she replied: "Challo." I knew that meant follow me, so i did and another adventure ensued. After walking for some time, we came to a home that rested just above the foot of a mountain. There was a river flowing down past it and it had rice paddies surrounding the encarpment. It was a marvellous site. We entered in through the gate of the homestead. There were 3 ladies sitting in the balcony area with 2 children. They seemed startled to see me at first but after the old lady spoke some words in Hindi, they smiled and bid me to sit down. One of the ladies quickly got up to make me some tea and the other to fetch some water. I felt so much at peace, I felt myself generating much love at that point. We tried communicating. They understood a little bit of english and I a little Hindi so it helped. But most of our communication was from heart. Laughter, smiles, hands and the occasional nod of the head. They all seemed so enthusiastic at my arrival and so full of life. They seemed to trust completely. Every gesture that i made invoked a response or a remark from some person in the group to the entire group. I had never been received so warmly and endearingly before.

After a while and in the midst of our communication game, a gentleman came out of the house. He greeted me and sat down next to me with a calm, collected smile. He tried to speak with me in English. His command of the language seemed better than that of the ladies, although it was not much. He welcomed me and the 6 of us sat there and communicated as the sun set in that beautiful Gharwal village in Uttarkashi. As night approached, i was asked to stay over by the man i came to know as Santosh. I shook my head politely and refused but they protested. I was told that what i did was dangerous. That there were wild animals in that part and for someone who doesnt know his way around he shouldnt walk there freely. Secretly i desired to stay, I had formed a deep love for this family. These people were so simple, so beautifully kind, accepting and loving, how could i be anywhere else at this time, how could i be with anyone else?

We took supper that night together, Santosh and I. The ladies and children ate seperate. Such is their custom. Santosh told me that any visitor in their home is an expression of the Divine. I truly felt that in their treatment of me. And so with divine grace we ate together until out bellies were full.