More Hairy Om's. More days in Rishikesh brought more travel blog topics. More interesting people, places, cows, & even a robot! So far my India trip has been about staying in one place as long as possible & not zooming around like an italian stallion spending 2 days here, 1 day there. I've gotten very comfortable in Dharamsala/Mcleod Ganj (6 weeks) & now Rishikesh (2.5 weeks).
Again, Rishikesh is a holy ancient Himalayan city where the holy holy Ganges River flows direct from the highest of the most high mountains on earth, & holy men & women come down from their caves & villages to teach yoga-meditation & the art of supernatural potentials that remain unknown for most of humanity. Even before the Beatles & Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, this was a center for serious yoga studies with a lineage of gurus teaching various styles, probably the most well known being Sivananda. Many of the sadhus (dreadlocked, bearded, orange robed men) walk around here. I wasn't able to have any discussions more than 1-2 phrases in English with them, but was able to get a few good photos with permission. Isn't this one guy looking intense? The paint on his forehead represent his devotion to Shiva, divine consciousness...and the opening of the 3rd eye (intuition, wisdom,..).
More days in Rishikesh brought more travel blog topics. More interesting people, places, cows, & even a robot!
While walking across one of the two bridges I saw a dead cow with a flower wreath that had been thrown into the river as a burial. Of course in Varanasi you will see dead human bodies among other things in some of the absolute dirtiest, polluted water on the planet. Many, many Indians come to bathe in Varanasi in the holy Ganga as they believe it will give blessings, good luck, a good reincarnation, healing, and so on. Unfortunately I read that it is safe to have 500ml per litre of fecal pollution, & it has 1.5 million !!! Of course, in mystical India, many people have learned the lost art of 'mind over matter' and simply defy scientific logic. I believe it's possible & humans have potential to physically transform energy, but I have not learned this art yet so when I go to Varanasi someday in India trip #2, I will probably just watch others bathe & play it safe. The picture of the temple on the beach in Rishikesh is where I swam one warm November 16th day, and here the water is coming direct from the mountains & fresh, pure, & ....ICE CccccccOld! I lasted about 15 seconds! But now i'm blessed right? Hope so! I am having good luck on this trip!
I have mostly just been doing the Trika Agama yoga school 6 days a week, 4-5 hours yoga, 2-3 hours of lectures, & homework. In between I have had time to attend an aarti puja ceremony that hindu's do every sunset & sunrise on the Ganges River -songs, prayers, & flower-candle trays sent down the currents as offerings to God. There was one big one I attended that had a famous bearded mystic guru who came and did some prayers. Everybody in orange robes, singings songs of love & devotion. I didn't get any pictures of this unfortunately. To be honest...i didn't feel much spiritually from these ceremonies, but that is mostly because i don't grasp the complicated Hindu religion, don't speak Sanskrit or Hindi, & therefore enjoyed it more on a surface level (i just thrive on the cultural studies & novelty of being in new situations such as these). I did discover a small temple where 8-15 people or so go & chant various mantras at the same time, ringing bells, burning incense & a very timeless feeling. I meditated there 2 mornings & recorded 6 minutes of chanting on my mp3 player. I can't remember if I mentioned but...pssst...i have a secret! I got a secret mantra initiation at Trika Yoga school! I finally learned the ancient art of internal "unstruck" Nada Yoga mantra chants. silent chants that you say to yourself & receive a humming buzzing echo-reply back from the cosmos. very powerful i must say! if it's your cup of tea. if not, TV meditation will have to do, eh? Heck, it's what everybody else is doing. But those of ya that know me know i don't follow the trends. I go by that old saying that if you want to be succesful (or in this case healthy)...do the opposite of what the majority & mainstream are doing!
As far as sugar goes I am following that saying. (get ready for a little more preaching...i mean...schooling) Upon arriving to Rishikesh, I got 2 of the biggest & painful zits (one above my lips, one inside my nostril) from eating too many treats one week. Well, i decided to do 2 weeks of no sugar, while i watched countless other travellers eating those delicious looking chocolate cakes, pies, & locals eating all the Indian sweets (even worse for ya...pure sugar & oils). I'm quite proud of myself for doing it. Felt good energetically. I finally cracked when I saw how good that German Bakery apple pie is...I had to have one! Now that I did...I feel like doing 4 weeks of no sugar & will go til X-mas til the next. Why you say? Why the heck not. All this sugar we are extremely addicted to is causing our immune system to crash, messing with internal organ health, making us restless, & has no nutrional value whatsoever. Purely a taste thing. And a chemical reaction (some say sugar is a drug?) that makes us high or hyper fo awhile. Oh & it gives many of us zits too which is a sign of dietary/environmental toxins trying to come out of our bodies! Last year I met this 60 year old woman that went 5 years with no sugar & had not been sick that entire time! She was the most healthy, radiant person i've ever met & I must say that she inspired me to someday attempt longer periods of time away from humanites favorite drug. But...uhh...i'm not that extreme & I do love my chocolate so...maye i'll do a season (3 months) sometime?!?