Mukund and I spent 5 blissful days at the Sivananda Ashram at Neyyar Dam during our Christmas vacation. The days passed in a blur of back-bending (literally!) yoga classes and mind-blowing (again, literally!) meditation and Bhagavad Gita classes. Every day, we spent 4 hours in yoga classes, 3 hours in meditation and singing bhajans, 1 hour at the Gita class, and 1 hour doing karma yoga – helping to clean the ashram. We even attended a workshop on Bharatnatyam and tried out a few steps!
No words can do justice to the humbling experience at the ashram but as a writer, I would like to try. So here goes……
I sat in the Bhagavad Gita class and the Guru roared…..
Witness your thoughts. Witness them as they come and go.
Witness your thoughts. That is the technique to transcend your mind
If you do this, shanthi, and even moksha, you will find…..
Witness my thoughts, eh? Let me try.
I lay in shavasana as the Guru explained the pose
Witness your breath. Witness them as they come and go.
But as she pushed my shoulders down for a better stretch
I thought – I just ate fried rice. Hope the head pose won’t make me retch…..
Witness my thoughts, eh? Let me try again.
I sat in satsang as the Guru asked me to chant
Beautiful mantras praising the Gods of our land
But as the Om resonated around the prayer hall
I thought – Hope the cat moves away, someone might trip and fall…..
Witness my thoughts, eh? So here goes…..
I thought I was considerate:
Until I saw someone pet and feed the cat I had just shooed away.
I thought I was religious:
Until I saw hordes of foreigners trek up a steep hill to see my God and pray
I thought I was pretty flexible:
Until I saw yogis on wheelchairs do the poses with a smile
I thought I was reasonably fit:
Until I went on a trek and saw even a snail hurry past by
I thought I was gracious:
Until I saw my Iranian friend dance for the first time on talent night
I thought I was humble:
Until I saw strangers clean the remains of my meal every night
I thought I had courage:
Until I saw the lady with the broken leg and her smile so sweet
I thought I was adventurous:
Until I saw people leave their homes and countries to learn the Bhagavad Geet
Witness my thoughts, eh?
This is not totally working for me, you see
Because I seem to find everything that is wrong with me
Maybe I should just stop all this nonsensical thinking
Cause if I think anymore, I may just take to drinking……
Dedicated to all the blessed selves at the Sivananda Ashram.
PS: No thought was injured during the making of this poem………!