Thursday, May 27, 2010

sacred bath ritual

i didn't meditate this morning. what happened? because i was in the ashram temple at 4 for a sacred bath ritual. to do that i had to get up and get going at 3.

as i wait outside the temple before the temple is open i take it all in. the silence is deep and beautiful. the light is low. through the glasses in the double doors i watch a beehive of activity inside. an army of sari clad beautiful women of all ages, and some men, strong and dedicated in indian outfits or suits, doing a whole range of tasks. nothing is too small to pay full attention to. stacks of trays of small cups of fresh fruit salad to be gifted to all the participants. garlands and bouquets of fresh flowers. piles of folded blankets to keep everybody warm. special chanting books for the occasion. under dim lighting and from the distance i see people doing seating, putting out lines of chairs and blanket squares to make sure as many people as possible can be seated comfortably in an orderly and easeful manner. audio equipment are set up. permeating in the atmosphere is the exquisite fragrance of devotion, experience and focus blended in perfect balance.

time and time again throughout the vedic prayers i lose grasp of the sanskrit syllables and find myself plunged into depths below the ocean of sound. there, time is not linear. we are not separate individuals. it is the experience of being and being one. when i emerge from this formless, timeless consciousness i am right back into the sacred sound ocean.

no sooner than the ritual is completed it begins to drizzle gently. in vedic beliefs this is a sign that nature, the universe, heaven and the deities are pleased with what we are offering. as i revel in the soothing sound of raindrops caressing the tarp scaffolding over us i am wrapped in this sense of bright and luminous gratitude.

i didn't sit down formally for meditation but i meditated as deep as can be in the presence of all these dedicated and selfless yogis.

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