Friday, October 9, 2009

vedanta Retreat in Rishikesh: Ganga-jee, Aaarthi and a Birthday

My earliest memories of a river is linked with my grandmother! I remember that it was in Paschimavahini near Mysore that I had my first contact with a river. We were on the banks of river Kaveri and I was a bit scared as my friends had told me that there were crocodiles in the river.

But I had no time to think as my grandmother grabbed my hand and we went down the steps into the water! She then asked me to sit and take a dip. She ensured that my head was fully under water by pressing it down as I tried to take a dip. I came up gasping as it was cold and began to walk up the steps. She said I was not done and that I had to go down two more times under water. After three dips I relaxed a bit and wanted to be in the water longer, but she said 'enough' and we walked up to the steps to change our clothes and to go into the temple.

I remember asking her why three times! She said 'you get punya!' (merit). Probably I was too young to understand the purport of 'washing one's sins!' Sadly, today many rivers stain you rather than wash you or your sins! Hence we were thrilled when we found Gangajee in Rishikesh clean enough to bathe and exhilarating!

This friend of ours, very choosy, decided to wait rather than join a crowd of human bathers!

Surya and Ashutosh had a great time as they swam in the flowing river.

I did not dare swim as I had never swum in a flowing river and had my customary three dips! On occasions six dips for a good measure! We took our dip at 5 pm after yoga. Very refreshing!

The ghat would be crowded often and you had to be careful where you stepped in as the river bed was very uneven!

The magic of Ganga in the night. We were there in the night for the Ganga Aarthi Dineshjee had sponsored.

Arun is obviously happy with the picture he took!
Bhradwaj had mastered the art of blowing a conch!

David was inspired by this aarthi and planned another aarthi on Sharon's birthday as a surprise for her. Sharon who had fever and a bad cold for a couple of days recovered on her birthday and was well enough to participate!

David and Sharon at the Shiva temple after the aarthi.
They shared birthday sweets, Rosgulla, with diners of the day!

David also had managed to get a Birthday cake with the help of Surya and the staff as a surprise!

We wish Sharon and David all the best in their quest!

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