Wednesday, February 6, 2013

pujas and congee

photos by nat

i love pujas. i love prayers. i am a big believer of pujas and prayers. Still it is remarkable to see a hospital so fully immersed in prayers and pujas. let me be absolutely clear. this is not a spa. i’ve had treatments like abhyanga and shirodhara in a variety of places. but this is full-on, comprehensive, immersion ayurveda. from the moment i wake up to the moment i lie down in bed it is a schedule designed for my condition by the doctor. every treatment is strictly according to the ancient ayurveda text. every element of the daily schedule is purposed to support and facilitate the healing process, also according to the ancient ayurveda texts. for instance, you don’t expose yourself under the sun while going thru major treatments. oops. there goes the idea of ‘panchakarma in the morning, beach in the afternoon.’ food is not for the tongue because the digestive system has to work as little as possible. yes, that’s right, they don’t cook for the tongue and they are proud to congee-fy your meals. in fact there are days when the only thing a patient would have is...warm rice water.  anyway, the pujas and prayers are done in accordance with time-tested spiritual practices. when all these are integrated so seamlessly into this beautiful and tranquil complex that is located in the midst of a forest environment it is magic.

photo by nat
so much about panchakarma for now. back to pujas and prayers here. every one of them, big or small, long or short, involve ancient mantras and rituals for the purpose of invoking grace for healing, cleansing and purifying, from the individual level to every particle in the atmosphere, plants and buildings. all this happen on a subtle level, beyond the senses. all about vibration. it transforms the place into a magnifying glass, a high-power microscope. if you would pay attention to look through this healing microscope, you would be stunned at what is revealed, stuff inside you that you don’t even know they exist. so the doctor says, ‘welcome whatever comes up in your healing process, even the negative and unpleasant. it means your system is responding. you can’t control what the response is and how it is unfolding. for instance. second day into internal oleation, meaning drinking oil, i have this ear ache in the evening. it just comes, out of the blue. turns out this is among a wide range of responses possible during internal oleation. i let doctor know. he gives me some ear drops, says, you’ll be fine. sure enough the ache immediately lessens and totally gone in an hour.

photo by nat
in one evening satsang a lady from switzerland asks, can anyone tell me what to do when i am having all this emotional ups and downs? she illustrates with her hand moving like a roller coaster ride. i immediately say, you are very brave. she is. she is in india for the first time. she has never had any ayurveda experience. somehow she had decided to be here to do the whole thing. and to ask the question the way she does shows that she is not consumed in the emotional movement. she is watching, witnessing. as i type this, she has arrived at the final stage of the panchakarma process, ready for rebuilding the body. she looks radiant and clear. she beams. she says, 'the body is kind of weak. i'm not concerned. the strength will come. my spirit is really great. i feel i am so ready to follow my heart.'

photo by nat
have i mentioned that after six weeks of congee for breakfast, congee for lunch, congee for supper, i am so in love with congee that i plan to continue this congee thing as much as i can when i am home. the palate is so clean that i can actually taste the sublte sweetness in bitter melon. it’s thrilling. all this congee is like giving the digestive tract an abishek, holy bath. all these pujas soften and dissolve the subtle garbage polluting the body and mind. out they go and upswell our natural sweetness.

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