Love Yourself

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mystic Adventures in Varanasi - City of Light

“A nation's culture resides in the hearts and the soul of the people.

Mahatma Gandhi

Happy New Year! May this year be filled with clear conscious choices leading you to happiness, abundance, inspiration, deep peace and ultimate freedom for you and your families.

My journey to Varanasi – City of Light has unfolded a deep spiritual and mystic view of the Indian people and I feel like I have been taken back in time. For lovers of human civilization, culture, art, music, trade, spirituality, religion, liberation and freedom, Varanasi is the place to be. Whether taking a boat ride on the holy river Ganga along the Ghats of the city observing the devout Hindus – bathing in the river, worshiping the rising of the rising sun, performing yoga, meditating on the stepped Ghats, witnessing the sun set evening arti, sailing past the cremation grounds, shopping for silk, wools or aromatherapy oils, visiting historical temples of both Hindu and Buddhist faiths, here I encountered the deep and profound mysticism of India and the faith of the Hindus in life after death.

This is also the place that I accepted the finding of my spiritual teacher. Before coming to India and during my time here, I heard many people talk about their Guru or spiritual teacher. I thought about this and wondered how did this happen and what does it really mean. Most people tell me that it is a discovery and one knows when it happens.

Previous to my arrival in India, I had heard about a person that for some reason I felt that I wanted to connect with. This person does not advertise themselves or even connect with all people in this particular way. I did find a way to connect and a visit was accepted. Like any Sadhu or Mystic, they have their ways of knowing the truth. Thus the true reason for coming to Varanasi. After my experience (which is far more that I can even describe) I now know that this Mystic will play a new role in my spiritual growth and is a signpost on my journey to self -realization. At the end of our time together, this person accepted my request to continue the spiritual study of which I am grateful.

On my first days at Varanasi I went to the cremation grounds. Photos are not allowed for respect of the families. I was taken right into the grounds, which for me was truly liberating to witness how the families here take this as a celebration and a transition through purity and ritualization to ultimate freedom. Besides being a tad warm, at times it did seem a bit surreal.

There has been an eternal fire burning here for centuries with special clans that are the caretakers of this eternal fire. Here in India they have the caste system. These clans are at the lowest of the caste system…yet having the most power when it comes to the liberation platform. Cremations continue 24/7. It takes about 3 hours for the body to be cremated. The oldest son has the duty of lighting the torch.

They wear white, have their heads shaved and everything is about purity. After the burn has taken place, the ashes are piled along with all of the other bodies. There is a bone that remains (different for female and male). This bone is then taken and given to the holy river Ganga as the last phase of the liberation and purification process. Now they say their last good-byes.

Smell is minimal because of the special type of wood that they burn. They say to BE cremated here in Varanasi stops the cycle of karma and ultimate liberation. You can witness this process in a number of locations along the riverbank.

This is also the time in the city where you see all of the children playing with kites. They are playing against each other. You see the kites everywhere and the children...even adults at times on the roof tops anywhere they can get a vantage point. A few times the kites landed in my boat. The children were having so much fun. Have you read the book "The Kite Runner"?

On New Years Eve I rented a small boat from the main Ghats in Varanasi and at 5:30 pm our time (noon Greenwich time) I participated in a World Healing Prayer. It was a special moment knowing that my dear friend Eve and a host of others around the world were setting an intention at the same time for deep peace and well being for Mother Earth.

The beauty and strength of the special energy at this location is profound. To witness the Hindu and Buddhist together was very interesting. Later that evening, I attended the fire aarti held at the main Ghats in Varanasi, honoring Maa Ganga. Witnessing the young Brahman priests going through the sacred movements was moving.

I loved being on the holy river Ganga inside a small boat floating along the river. Here there is peace and calmness.

Early the next morning again we took a small boat and floated on Maa Ganga through the foggy mists witnessing the devout Hindus in their practice of Pranayama, worship, prayer and healing. It was very intriguing for me to be in this place of worship while at the same time learning from my teacher. I prefer this kind of classroom any day.

Did I mention that Varanasi is also a centre of trade and commerce? Well, they have it down pat. At first it can be a bit too much…for me anyways. Who can I believe? The systems they have devised to make money are incredible. The products like silk, wools, carpets, oils, and gems. I was fortunate to learn from my teacher who has great knowledge with families from generations of expertise in these areas. It was fun to learn from the best.

I was staying in a hotel away from the main Ghats to make it easier for my teacher to stay connected with me. Thus it was necessary for me to travel in rickshaws whenever I wanted to visit the downtown area. My main bicycle driver was an older Muslim character… slow but steady. I am getting pretty good at walking and weaving my way through the crowds and the road crossings. Amazing that my toes are still in tack. Every time I travel whether by plane, train or walking I ask Arc Angel Michael to be there with me….it really works. I am still in one piece and here to tell the tales. I do have to say though that it was also scary at times. One day I decided that I wanted to visit the Durga Temple. A Hindu friend that I met negotiated a good rate for me. Now this driver was on a mission and let me tell you, cheaper is not always better. You have heard that before, right?

By the time I finished this little adventure I gave the guy double the price…just because I got home alive! I have never seen anyone move an auto rickshaw like this one. When there was too much traffic he would just turn us around and start going against the traffic. He went so quickly that I did not have time to think about anything. I did close my eyes a number of times and had to remind myself to breathe. He would keep weaving his way until he would find an alley with a clear path. I did see many cow dung walls. Did you know that they use cow dung as fuel? Up until this time I had never felt uneasy. Then my other self just said…"go with the flow or GET OFF!"

The time spent with my teacher was invigorating and expanded my awareness of what is possible. All on subjects, concepts, ideas, cosmic expansion, mysticism, spirituality that I had no idea about. Each day I opened the book to a new chapter of what is possible.

My chakra energy centers are opening from the bottom up and the veil that I have been wearing is slowly slipping away. What an awakening, to be so much more clear, aware, awake, confident and in a state of rejuvenation. Thank you Mother India.

Varanasi is a Shiva city full of dynamic and special energies. I will be back in the later part of this year offering 6-day journeys in small sailboats along the holy river Ganga reaching Varanasi on the full moon and Devi Dewali Festival. Both my teacher and myself will be offering this adventure to 6 to 8 unique women. Sure to be an enchanting Journey of Rejuvenation of the Self in Mystic India. All will be unveiled through the incredible worship of the Goddess. Details coming on the website shortly.

Besides the Mystics, many great artists and scholars lived here in Varanasi.

Pantanjali – gave us the Yoga Sutras. This quote sums up my experience.

Peace can be reached through meditation on the knowledge which dreams give. Peace can be also reached through concentration upon that which is dearest to the heart.” “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

That’s me, a life long learner and living in the loveliness of life. Varanasi, I will be back for more.

My teacher gave me a book that I am to read over three times before I ask any questions. I am finding it so fascinating that it is not easy to put down. Every once in a while I pinch myself again. Is this real, is this for sure, is this truth….how had I not been exposed to this stuff before?

I was planning to leave Varanasi on the 4th of January. Each day the fog was getting more noticeable and when I got up on this morning the fog was as thick as pea soup. My travel plans were to take me to Khajuraho by plane for two nights, on to Orchha for one night and then by train to Delhi.

Well, the Universe or Great Spirit had something else in store for me. A cold snap of weather and rain in Northern India spreading to Delhi had caused severe foggy conditions. My flight to Khajuraho was cancelled but the airlines put me onto a direct flight to Delhi. I had planned on staying in a hotel for a night and then heading south to Chennai. Actually, I was considering going north into Nepal and trekking to Everest Base Camp. Now with the weather changing my inherent wisdom said “GO SOUTH”. During my flight I thought to myself, What am I doing? If I stay in Delhi things may not be better the following day….head south now!

Delhi was busy with so much confusion with flight delays, cancellation etc….I managed to finally get my bags. Every airline told me that their flights to Chennai and Bangalore in the south were full that night with openings the next day. Well, they would also be delayed because of fog. By this time I was determined that I would find my way out of Delhi that night.

I went to every airline and said “please get me ticket anywhere south” they looked at me kind of funny…."you want what? Where you wish to go?"

I decided to sit down on my cart and check in with my inherent wisdom. Where and what am I possibly not realizing. My choice is to head south, my wish should be my command and anything is possible!

Suddenly, I got a message to walk along a group of buildings and down an alley path. At the end was a ticket booth for an airline company called IndiGo. Yes, they had the last seat on a flight that night to Bangalore. Not where I really wanted to go but it was south. I took the seat and decided that all would work out and I would be where I wanted to go by the end of my journey. It was really fun…just going without a real plan.

The security in the airports has stepped up a lot since the Mumbai events. With patience, I just followed through the process.

Finally, I arrived in Bangalore after midnight. They have a fantastic airport. It was a treasure, with clean seats, air, and lots of room. I found a flight leaving at 6am for Chennai on the east coast. I just visited with people in the airport, caught my flight with King Fisher Airlines (they are the best –I love this airline) arrived to Chennai and within half hour I was in my taxi travelling to Mamallapuram. This beautiful place is located 1.5 hours south of Chennai on the edge of the Bengal Sea the east side of India. My niece Tanya is staying here on the beach. I called her about 10 minutes away from the town and she said with a surprised voice, “You are where?"

So here I am. The Indian Dance Festival is happening every night, the sun is shining, and the beach is beautiful. It is warm. My room costs me $8 CDN per night and all is well. Life is perfect. I am living an aspiring life.

Today, I am now sipping coconut water. It is very cooling and refreshing.

I leave you with this thought.

“Let your aspiration leap forward, pure and straight, towards the supreme consciousness which is all joy and all beatitude.” The Mother

Will catch up with you later. I am off to the beach for sun, fun, and relaxation after my adventures in the north.

Keep smiling… if you are shoveling snow - stay fit. Just to make you feel better, I will shovel sand.

With love and light

Valma Ji

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I have created this amazing life, attracting incredible women into my space. All of these women are unique and ready to live their real life too. My definition of success is like a river flowing with freedom, magical adventure, creativity, curiosity and recognition. My personal mission is to travel and create an enlightened world by spreading the light of consciousness. Everything that I choose to BE, DO and HAVE meet this mission and every day in every way I remember who I really am. I love my life!