Monday, December 29, 2008

Feb. 11th, 2008 The Forest Ceremony, Lunch in the Rice Fields and Songs for the Children

Finally, after some painstaking weed wacking and tinges of frustration coming to the surface, I took Ramesh back to the front and was on my way. For one, I needed time to let all of this sink in and piece together the project description, but, along with that, I had a meeting with Prakada???, the man from the Sani Danam evening. He wished to take me to his village and I, without hesitation, agreed. Prakad??? Has those gentle loving eyes and light spirit that find you sinking deep in trust for his nature. He is one of those guys that just loves to do things for those that are different or, in need. Not that I am either one of those characteristics, but you get the point. He, much like myself, loves to take the traveler under his wing and show them something special about his natural surroundings. And that he did. He drove to the Theertha Hotel and, after a moment of comtemplation on my part, took me into the village on his cycle. So much of my being always wants to be in control of my time, when I should go, and have the freedom to leave at anytime. But, on this occasion, as I sat and stared at LOVE, she said, go ahead, surrender to the moment. I am so grateful I did. What we would experience over the next 3 hours was priceless, timeless and profound on so many levels. I cannot thank the Divine enough for walking me on this path of cultural diversity. What a gift.

On the journey to his village we, in the faint distance, heard the sound of some drums aggressively being played. After a moment, Prakada???? Stopped the bike and asked if I wanted to see a little ceremony. Again, without hesitation, I agreed. On the journey back toward the sound, he told me that today was a special Hindu Holiday and there would be a massive celebration in the area this evening. After a few moments the drumming abruptly stopped. I was…..we nothing really…just going with the flow.

We arrived to a rather simple Temple located in the middle of what one could call a thin layer bamboo forest. The scene was quite enchanting. There were a few swamys preparing for something and a few others preparing for other things. I met a few of the people working on the activities and was told that the drumming would start again in another few moments. So, I patiently waited under the 3000 year old tree. A little bit of an exxageration but really, this tree had all the makings of a grandfather. Huge in spirit, wilted in form and masterful in wisdom. This tree seemed to tell the whole story of the temple just by looking at it. I sat under the massive structure of natural beauty in complete awe. Thank you God for your creations. 10 minutes later, that familiar sound of distant pounding came into the field of my perception. Quickly I started rolling video. For the next 5 minutes the large group of devotees would inch their way over to the temple entarance performing various rituals and dances along the way. Mystified, I sat and honored the devotion. When they finally reached the Temple, a few of the me began to drum along and met them in the celebration. It was more then a sight to see, it was an experience to remember for lifetimes. The young children in the line gazed upon my presence like I was the 50 limbed mutant leper from Ziadre, a planet 6 solar systems away. I have gotten used to this familiar site. I really do think that some of these children are seeing a so called “white man” for the first time in their life. With that said, I can understand their confusion. The greatest part is they always top their endless stares off with a gentle, loving smile. This immediately sends my heart into a deeply still space of gratitude. How much of a blessing would it be to receive that same love from our children back home? I do realize that some of them behave like this, but in India, all children approach you with the eyes and smile of innocence and unconditional love. One of the many gifts I wish to share with everyone back home.

After some time, we decided to head to the village for some food and connection. Now this village was not like any village I had seen in India, it was an plantation of sorts. The road leading in took us to a point in which we were surrounded on either side by vast amounts of open space which were naturally filled by rice fields. The land in which Prakasan Owned was rich with green rice patties and backed up by a small hill of coconut trees which kept the home cool year round. We parked the bike a couple 1000 meters before the house and had a walk down the dirt road. On one side, we were blessed with the site and vibration of countless lotus flowers and on the other side, our senses were filled with the hearts of hard-working field laborers, knee deep in the mud. I exchanged smiles with a few and walked gracefully down the road, admiring the natural beauty of the surreal setting. When we reached the house, we were greeted by extremely small young children scampering about. One in which was his daughter and the other, his brothers children. I reflected on the fact that every single member of his family is living in the same vicinity. He pointed his father’s house, his brothers house and his many cousins. OH the joy and bonding that must give an family. I admired the flow.

As I sat on the porch, I realized that the house faced perfectly East and he nodded his head in agreement. Prakasan is a man whom knows the knowledge of the anchient scriptures and is living his life to the fullest along the lines of the great knowledge. He wakes everyday to a chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, he performs regular pujas, he is faithful to his wive, he rarely drinks and uses nothing but Ayruvedic Medicine. His health of mind and body glow in his gestures although he, like every other man in Kerala, eats way too fast. At one point during the meal, he actually asked me to speed up my eating. I smiled and we spoke on the matter. He tried to convince me that eating lunch fast was good for you, but, looking at his belly, I held firm in my conclusion. I guess it is just one thing that they have trouble controlling. Honestly, I have never seen people eat faster then the ones I see in India. It is a remarkable site.

The full flavored, taste bud exploding, South Indian Feast ended and we headed off. There was one strange thing I noticed when I was present at the space and that was that the wife never came to greet me, only the grandma. He said it was a cultural thing, I was weary but I let it go.

We got back on the bike and headed back into town, but first, one last stop, my favorite stop, his first school. When we pulled up to the toy like school, I first noticed the beautiful teacher glance outside at us and light up with a smile. I quickly hopped off the bike and when I peered around the corner, 75 little smiling faces lit up like a Christmas Tree. The lethargy that persisted was immediately erased as I personally asked each and every one of them there name, in their local language. When I turned on my video camera, they fought for on screen space like fans in the front row of a sold out rock show. There hearts were wide open and there excitement was palpable. I could not stop smiling. Then, an interesting turn took place when I went over to the 1st Standard children and found them all silent and organized, ready for my arrival. I guess that shows you the power of good teaching. On one side you have complete uncontrollable bliss, on the other, mature and subtle organization. The world needs both and I am sure they will teach each other down the road.

When I left the 1st Standard, after writing I LOVE YOU on the chalkboard, I came back to find the 3rd and 4th in an uproar. They wished for a rhyme and, with a slight but subtle hesitation, I delivered. As I was channeling through words of love, the students repeated every single line back to me. I must tell you, these were the most remarkable young children I have ever met in my life. I was astounded. Then, I went to the office to sign the book and say goodbye and they pocketed me in their as if to never let me go. Their enthusiasm was mind-blowing, their energy was beyond uplifting. In the office we sang at the top of our lungs Jia Guru and as I was leaving we all jumped up and down for a few minutes. I was told they had never seen an American person in their life. What an honor. I promised the children I would come back on the return and we somehow slid out the door. Even then, the children all came outside to say goodbye one last time. We got them all to line up and took the final video of the day. My GOD!!!! Never in my life have I experienced such pure unconditional LOVE. My EGO wanted to think of me as a Saint, but my heart quietly realized that I had just been the part of an incredible exchange of what it is like to experience the purity of love. Those children did not have one inkling to judge me in any particular way, they just wanted to be a part of this magical day. SO GRATEFUL!!!!!!!

The crazy thing is the day did not stop there. For some reason, today I was in that space of sharing with the public. So, the next journey I would partake in is a quick journey to the Internet Café which was full, so I quickly took the comp home and headed for the beach. On the way a rather large man stopped dead right in front of my bike stalling the motor. Next thing I know there are 30 people surrounding me. One, happened to be a small child who spoke a few words of English and hopped on the back of my bike and headed to the beach with me. When I got to the sand, I quickly threw off my clothes and got down to my shorts and jumped in the water. It had been a few months since the last time, so It was a must. Afterward, I wished to meditate for a while but was surrounded by eager young children. I actually took it upon myself to tell them to leave and they did. Within a few moments I playfully and subtlely called them all back feeling their intentions for the interaction were pure. We spent time laughing, throwing a ball, teaching each other our respective languages and smiling heavily. The young girls were very flirtacious and the young men were as well, in their own way. We spent over an hour sharing space and enjoying one anothers company until it was finally time to depart. With smiles and detachement, we parted ways with the probably possibility of never seeing one another again. Another beautiful trait of the Indian culture. The ability to let go, instantly.

I arrived back to the hotel, had two more rounds of my favorite ice cream and packed my things. What a gift of a day. I slept in a smile that echoed in my soul.

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