Sunday, 4 May 2008

The Ashram Aspect

The place I’m staying is a Krishna Temple / Ashram. The Krishna Consciousness devotees who live and run this place are part of a bigger organization lead by their guru Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Maharaja and they have another Ashram in Mysoor and are opening one in Switzerland and are looking to do another surf-oriented one in the Seychelles – and it’s no coincidence that it’s a tax haven over there, these guys are businessmen. The Ashram has many businesses to generate income to support it’s activities and the elders in the community (Americans predominantly) tend to have their own business interests ranging from farming to mining, from import/export to surfboard manufacture, from web development to property development. There’s no conflict between earning money and being spiritual in Hindu life, rather the opposite. Krishna is, after all, the wealthiest, prettiest, strongest, most powerful entity and boy does he like to show it!

They get up at about 5am and meditate privately from 5.30am till 6.30am at which time the conch is blown and the fun begins. We meet in the small temple room and various melodic chants are sung accompanied by a mrudanga drum, bells and cymbals all culminating in bellowed rounds of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna as the swaying sometimes spills over into dancing… at 6.30 in the morning! I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with all this strange, dazzling ritual. My body is softening to it as it becomes less alien to me. From my stiff, awkward, repressed-English-male demeanor to begin with I’ve loosened from uneasy stock-still silence to a sort of mumble-hum and a sway. At times now when I know the words I’ve sung my little heart out accompanied by full on Uncle-at-a-wedding style dancing…. Sweet.

I figure if I’m staying in this kind of environment I should live it, so I join in most morning’s and evenings. I haven’t broken free of the shackles of my false-ego to live forever with the divine… yet. But chanting Hare Krishna is apparently the fastest way to achieving this breakthrough in the current era, so we’ll see. If you notice a funny glint in my eye when I next see you, you’ll know the source.

The surf has picked up over the last few days – head high, fast and hollow peeling down the sandbanks deposited by the river with the surface almost unnervingly smooth making it hard to judge the pitch of the waves as they sweep toward shore. It’s breaking in waist high water and sometimes barreling, sometimes closing out so a mouth & shorts full of sand is a regular occurrence. I haven’t been able to take my camera across the lagoon to capture any of this magic so you’ll have to take my word for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds very relaxing , apart from the 5.30 start. But maybe you need an early start to catch the surf. Enjoy yourself. Dad