Personally, I find daily news stories upsetting, so I stopped watching mainstream media and news many years ago. To stay current, once a week I go to a local cafe, get a latte and browse through a few newspapers. I like being able to feel the paper in my hands and to choose which story I decide to read. Some people say I’m out of touch and my reply is “out of touch from what?” As there is so much news not even being published.
Last week there was an article on stress and using meditation to calm down. The article was on transcendental meditation, a notion that came to North America 50 years by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. If you are not aware, Maharishi was the guru to the Beatles and the Beach Boys.
This news story had me reminiscing of when I was a teenager. I remember going with my brother to a studio where he was about to study transcendental meditation. He was given a mantra (which is a saying you say over and over again while meditating). I remember begging him to tell me his mantra which he would not – your mantra is given to you and is not for anyone else!
I have spent years in my yoga practice and had a dream that one day I would go to India. This became a reality for me in 2014 when I went on a Bhakti Yantra Tour to Northern India. Bhakti is a practice where you chant, it’s called Kirtan (which I love). Bhakti is another form of meditation because you are chanting to feel connection with source, and you are able to reach a peaceful bliss state rather than sitting quietly in silence. I find movement meditation suited me more than the sitting still meditations.
We traveled in northern India visiting the yoga capital Rishikesh, the beautiful Taj Mahal in Agra, and the holy city of Varanasi. We also spent time in Vrindavan which is considered one of the holiest places in India because it is where Krishna grew up. We partook in a daily yoga practice and we would chant in caves, at temples, by the river, in schools and other places along our journey.
The tour was very simple, we stayed in modest accommodations and ate a vegetarian diet which was basically dahl, vegetable curries, and rice. It was here in India that I had the best marsala chai in the world.
I wish to share one of the most powerful and memorable places I have ever experienced in Vrindavan. Vrindavan is a very poor city with more temples than I have ever seen in one city and although poverty is everywhere there was a beauty to this city. The place that was so memorable to me was the day we went to Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj-ji’s Samadhi Temple.
The Samadhi Temple was quite simple compared to many of the others we had visited, and it had a lovely courtyard which I was drawn to. When we got there, we were blessed and taken into a small room where the Maharishi would meet his disciples (when he was alive). It was a very simple room, and everything had been left as it was from when he was living. At the front of the room is the bed he would lie on and the blanket that he would wrap himself in while talking. That was it. I remember having the feeling that he was going to walk in at any moment.
I could feel the energy immediately and I knew that this was a sacred place and it was an honour to be there. As we all settled into the space, Saul (who was our tour guide and who sang Bhakti) started to play his harmonium and we started to chant the Shree Hanumaana Chaaleesaa. I did not know this – luckily we were given a book with the words.
As we started to chant, I found myself focusing too much on the words, so decided to put the little book down and sat in silence with my eyes closed. It is challenging to put into words what followed but I will try my best. The energy was palpable, and I could see beautiful greens, purples and pinks swirling in the air. My heart was tingling, it was so full I thought it was going to burst – then my energy field expanded, and I sat in the most exquisite blissful state. Everything was pure love and I felt connected to everyone and everything. It was amazing!
As the chanting continued someone in our group began to cry. They tried to control it and then just let go and sobbed as the singing continued. It seemed to start a cascade of crying as many in our group began to cry. As chanting and crying combined, I thought to myself this sounds other worldly. It was so beautiful to be there being in a state of bliss.
I have no idea how long we were in that room for but at the end, Saul said, “Now that’s heart surgery what an amazing experience.” I smiled and thought it sure was. The energy of Krishna is about the love in your heart and finding that sweetness of life. I know that I had found my sweet spot!
We sat in the courtyard and as I looked around at our group, I noticed how beautiful everyone was and then I realized I was seeing them as their pure essence.
This was one experience of many that I had in India. Every day we were at another sacred site, meeting Gurus, opening and connecting into our own divinity. The Bhakti Yantra Tour in India will be one of most life changing experiences of my life. Was every moment fantastic? “No” and seeing so much poverty at times was overwhelming. However, there is something so sacred there, an ancient culture that supports you to see your own light and touch the sweetness of life.
PS – I took this photo of these beautiful ladies in the courtyard at The Samadhi Temple.
Do you want to achieve more happiness and know the sweetness of life. Meditation is life changing and I recommend it to everyone. I created meditations using the wisdom of nature and alchemy. They are short audio meditations to help you on your journey to more peace and the sweetness of life.