Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mahashivarathiri 2007

The night of Shiva, it is said. I must say it was a privilege to have spent this night awake. A greater privilege it was, having spent it with Isha. I was unable to go to Coimbatore for the function as I was due to take a longer leave in a short period, so I attended this at the Chennai center – Meenakshi College @ Kodambakkam.

The program was scheduled to begin at 6PM IST on 16th Feb 2007, but my work kept me at office until 7PM. By the time I reached a place close to the venue, my blood was boiling with anticipation. I had to ignore Eckhart Tolle’s advice inside my head – “you are resisting what is”. With 10,000 people or so at the venue, I was very fortunate to obtain a parking space very near the entrance. I reached there in perfect timing for the “Nadha Bramha…” chant.

The pleasant Sadhguru I always know and love was absent this day. He was tangibly intense, though not fierce. Some portion of the audience was already very animated, either by Sadhguru’s presence, or by the energy situation or a combination of both. After the chant, we did our practices, Shambavi and Shunya and had dinner at the center. There were quite a few from our office – Aravindh, Narasimhan, Shankari, Radha, Savitha and myself. We kept meeting quite often throughout the night.

Close to midnight, the much anticipated Mahamantra recitation started. Sadhguru gave an overview of the Mantra for us logicians who liked an explanation of why we were doing what we were doing. But the chanting was on a different plane. Eyes closed, still I could feel the audience go mad even at the beginning. As the chant picked up pace, I was getting feverishly worked up, and then the drums started rolling. Suddenly, it was as if I was caught in the vortex of a fierce storm. The drums reverberating created a thunderous impact, and from the center of the storm was Sadhguru’s chant pervading over the drum beats. It was a mind blowing experience in the literal sense. How hard it is to put into sound syllables called words, that which we effortlessly experience at many times. Later, I would hear from my friends, their experiences of the night which were very deep and intense for them in their own terms. What surprised me most was the impact these processes created despite the lack of physical proximity with Sadhguru and the Isha center.

Sadhguru’s words, “Shiva, who has been the way to the divine for many a seeker in the past, who continues to be the way and will continue to be the way forever, to Him, let us bow down” touched a very deep chord within me. I feel very gratified, awed and humbled to be in a Space which has had the Sacred Spiritual thread running underneath the many surface events of history for time unknown.

As night gave way to dawn, it was time for Sadhguru to depart, as always, with tears in His eyes. It was one unforgettable night – the fact that on some other day and time a few years back, I would have spent it sleeping makes me enjoy it all the more.

Oh Shiva!
Just a glimpse of who You are,
We got on this magical night.
Skating on the border of the form
And the Formless,
You gave us all a glimpse
Into your world,
The dark night,
Paved way to the Dark One
A fierce yet gentle Guide,
You sent to us,
A partner, He calls You,
Shambo O Shambo!!,
We see You through Him!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pranic Food...

As part of our silence preparations, one of the recommendations was to eat only pranic food. Things were going fine - my mother was especially supportive as she cooked without onions, garlic, brinjals, green chillies or asafoetida. Day before yesterday, the craving for tasty food got the better of me and Radha and we decided to eat out at a nearby restaurant - our thought process being that we will watch out for non-pranic food.

At the restaurant, we asked the waiter for items that were "safe" - and to our surprise, he mentioned that all dishes are custom made, so we could specify our requirements. With detailed instructions, we ordered for "channa masala" and double-confirmed our requirements. In the end it turned out that it had a lot of onion in it. Besides, I am double sure that it had ajinamoto (which is nothing but "MSG". I think this product needs a separate ad campaign as there are efforts on for popularizing this product. All along I was assuming MSG would be an "America" thing - I didn't expect this product to be a big hit so soon in India).

So there went; 20 days of Sadhana for a moment's stupidity.

One fortunate aspect of the incident was that I got a chance to see the effect of 20 days of pranic food only. The contrast was startling - the effect of the "channa masala" lasted for nearly 12 hours. At least we turned a little bit wiser with our error - I hope.
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