Saturday, October 24, 2009

05 September - Bhojwasa to Gaumukh continued

Walking up to Bhojwasa, I walked alone.  I had the company of the wild flowers, the insects, the animals that roamed freely but kept to themselves and an occasional pilgrim passing by.  But most of the time, I walked alone.  I saw in the distance four Swami's.  One Swami walked ahead whilst the others followed close by.  I later came to know this Swami as Swami Tatwananda, a Sadhu from Kerala, the Southern part of India.

While walking between him and the group, he would make space beside him.  There seemed to be a silent invitation for me to draw near.  To walk close.  I did.  We walked most of the may in Silence, occasionally smiling at each other.  The rest of the Swami's followed behind.  We eventually made it to Gaumukh.  It was a sight to behold.  A huge figure of an ice mountain shrouded with mist.  Blocks of ice floated down from the big iceberg known as Gaumukh and formed the source of the Ganges.  The water was really cold.  Almost freezing.    We reached there in the early morning, with mist still surrounding most of the mountain, and us.  The mist would clear and we would behold Gaumukh in her splendor.

It was cold.  About 4 degrees.  I was warmly clothed.  As we stood there, the thought came to me:  Okay, this is nice but i am really cold and wouldn't mind being back at my hole in the ground in Bhojwasa around about now.  Just as the thought came to my mind, I saw an old Swami (perhaps in his late 80's) zoom past me with lightning speed.  He was barefooted, skinny and had nothing on him but a shoal around his waste and beads on this neck.  It seemed he was on a mission as he had no time to talk.  I heard later that he is a well respected swami around these parts and that his home was in Tapovan, about 18km away from Gaumukh and 15000 feet above sea level.  He was doing one of his routine walks there.  It was snowing.  He was half naked.  I was not sure that was possible.

Going back to Bhojwasa from Gaumukh i developed a repoir with Swami Tatwananda it seemed.  He always welcomed me beside him/    It was good walking with him.  It was wonderful looking at the peace and calm in his eyes and feeling that so strongly in his presence.  At some point i decided to walk ahead of the group and make my way back to 19km to Gangotri.  I would be there a day earlier and wanted to establish communication with Sunil to let him know.  About 8km down the path, I saw a mountain man walking with his horse.  He asked if i needed a ride.  He asked with an air of desperation in his voice and i could tell that he could use some extra change. I agreed, jumped on the horse and rode back to Gangotri.  There were some very close calls and i was thankful to make it back in one peace.  I made it back to Gangotri well ahead of schedule.  I thought about the others walking behind me and how the path, for all intensive purposes was meant to be walked by foot as i saw it as being meditational and cathartic.  This was not the case with me and i felt a little dissapointed with my decision to ease the load.  I also thought about the horse and the man who would whip it on its rear with a stick.  I realised it may have been a bad idea to have taken the ride.  I will walk to Gaumukh again and back some day soon.  With no horse on the way back though.

Monday, October 19, 2009

05 September - Thoughts on the way to Gaumukh

As i walked through the mountain, i mulled through a few thoughts in my head:

When one truly understands the nature of the ocean; its width, its depth, its hidden mysteries, then one can begin to understand its varied expressions in context.  Let me explain:  To the outside world, the oceans most common expressions are the waves.

Ode to the former self

Words that could help describe the space: 

~Fleetwood Mac
I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

Well, Ive been afraid of changing
cause Ive built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
Im getting older too

Oh, take my love, take it down
Climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe the landslide will bring it down

05 September - Creatures of the Night,

(continued from the journey)

I woke up at 5:00am this morning.  Last night was very difficult for me.  It seems i was not alone in this little hole dug into the ground.  There were other creatures there with me.  I realised this the moment four tiny feet made their way across my face mid sleep.  It felt and sounded like a mouse.  I could not see a thing.  It was dark.  I heard many noises and realised that there were other animals in my space and became afraid.  I tucked myself deeper into my sleeping bag, trying to form a hedge of separation between me and this new world i found myself in only to feel something cold and slimy underneath my armpit.  I was filled with disgust and anguish.  I slipped my fingers underneath, pulled out whatever it was that made its home there and flung it against the stone wall surrounding me.

04 September - The Journey,

continued from belonging

I know for sure that i have been to this place before. Everything here is so familiar to me. The flowers, the trees, the rock crevices, the smell of the Himalayan Thulsi. I walked 9 hours today in the Himalayas from Gangotri to the rest stop in Bhojbasha. I crossed 3 rivers, walked along dusty footpaths, saw 3 mountain deer, passed hermitages and caves where sadhus have been living since the time of the ancients. I walked through an amazing forest in Chidwasa. I climbed through rocky crevices and winding pathways. The river is still by my side. She has been constantly leading me. Closer. I am at the rest camp now in Bhojbasa about 12 000 feet above sea level. It is very basic. I am now in a 2x2 hole in the ground covered with metal sheeting. It is dark here. The little light bulb in my room works with solar energy. It has been going off from time to time.

I will take my rest here and tomorrow morning continue toward the source. I have never been a part of scenery this peaceful and pleasant before: the eagles flying above me, the snow-capped mountains, the range of wild flowers in the valleys below me. I feel a deep belonging to this place. I would like the opportunity to continue my sadhana here some day.

Mother guide me. Guru teach me. Spirit find me between these breathes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mystery of Reminiscence

Who and what gave to me the wish to woo thee--
Still, lip to lip, to cling for aye unto thee?

Who made thy glances to my soul the link--
Who bade me burn thy very breath to drink--
 My life in thine to sink?

As from the conqueror's unresisted glaive,
Flies, without strife subdued, the ready slave--
So, when to life's unguarded fort, I see
Thy gaze draw near and near triumphantly--
Yields not my soul to thee?

04 September - Belonging,

continued from Gangotri

Last night we cooked on an open fire. Sunil, his dad and myself. It was cold, around 7 degrees. We all sat around the flame. Spicy noodles, vegetables and ginger chai. It was good. We talked, we laughed, we listened to each other, to the river, to the silence between words. I was tired, it was a long day and was time for bed.

Sunil looked at me with kindness and said, "I am really glad to have met you Vishalin ji. I feel like I have known you, like you are my own brother." I was humbled by his words. I felt the same way toward him. I smiled. I thanked Sunil and his dad for their hospitality and i made my way to my room. Tomorrow would be another long day, I would have to get up at 6:00am the next morning. My trek to Gomukh awaited.