Monday, March 20, 2006

By The Ganges

First of all, my apologies for the unexplained absence -- month-long, as I realise now. One month: four weeks. The first week was the most anxious in my life so far; the second most blissful; the third week contained residues of the bliss and hence the most peaceful; the fourth was spent in numbness induced by pleasant suprises that life is capable of throwing up at the most unexpected moments.
A month ago, I might have described in detail what I went through in each of these weeks. But now I will stick to the second week, the blissful one, for that alone is relevant here and worth sharing. That was the week I spent at the feet of the mighty Himalayas, in Rishikesh, when there was hardly a moment when the swiftly-flowing Ganges was out of sight. At times the river was green, at times grey, at times black with shimmering electric lights reflecting on it. A narrow street. On it cyber cafes and samosa shops; sadhus and beggars; the Oriental and Western; stray cows and dogs; flies and cowdung and incense sticks; Indian restaurants and an Italian restaurant; love and no hatred; love-making but no sex; chatter and chants; mortals and the Gods.
The seven days I spent there, participating in an international yoga festival, melted away faster than the Ganges. But not before I learned a few things, which I would like to share with you guys:

1. The simplest things in life are the most difficult to achieve. Just like the simplest of asanas, or yoga postures. The trikonasana or the triangle pose, for example, might seem to be child's play, but you could spend a lifetime perfecting it. The trick is to keep trying.

2. Never push anything -- be it your body, your relationships, your capabilities or whatever -- beyond 70 percent of its limit. Leave that 30 percent of space for imperfection. Things work the best that way.

3. When you fall or lose balance while doing an asana, the only option is to get up and get back to the pose. The same thing applies to life.

4. A beautiful smile is the offshoot of a beautiful mind. Don't trust the dentist or the toothpaste ads.

5. If you think you are the best, you are mistaken. There are people who are 'bestest'.

6. Have faith. Real faith. Doesn't matter if you don't believe in God.

7. Do yoga. It moves your butt like nothing else, even though yoga might seem something where you only lie on your butt and do nothing else.

8. Visit the mountains once a year.

9. Visit the Ganga, or the Ganges, once a year. Life is incomplete if you haven't been by the Ganges.
10. Sabse oonchi prem sagaayi -- the union of love is the greatest union.