Deepening our Practice - Meditation, Music and the Gita

Dear Friends,
 
We are writing to you again from Rishikesh. We are as surprised as anyone by the fact that we are still here. When we first came to India, we said we were going to let spirit guide us, but we never guessed that we would be guided to stay in one spot for so long! 
 
At the point of our last email, we planned on leaving at the end of this week, but even that plan has changed. By a divine moment of synchronicity, we were introduced to a wonderful woman called Mataji Devi Vanamali. She's a writer and we've been reading her books about the Indian deities for years. As soon as we heard she lives here, we began attending her nightly meditations, and this led to an invitation to New Years lunch.
 
Mohan and Vanamali serving lunch 
 
Vanamali is also a great spiritual teacher, and by another stroke of perfect timing, she invited us to join her for an intimate, in-depth study of the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita is perhaps India's greatest spiritual contribution to the world and also a favorite subject for us both, so we jumped at the opportunity.
 
Now we find ourselves immersed in the world of the Gita, spending two hours every morning with Mataji, as she reads it to us in the original Sanskrit, and then brings it to life in such an amazing way! It's a chapter a day at the most (after one week we've just finished chapter 3!). The text is 18 chapters in total, and even though it's cold here in Rishikesh now and our bodies are longing for the warm South, we just can't bear to leave!
 
This feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity, (she's 78 years old) and we are loving it so! She is steeped in Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Wisdom), her faith is as strong as we've ever encountered and to top it off, she won't accept a single rupee from us in exchange for her time. We knew we had to stick around after she told us last night, "you two are the calves that have coaxed the milk of the Gita out of me once again." 
 
Vanamali's Altar
 
Sticking around has the added benefit of allowing us to keep up on our Indian music lessons. We have been taking daily lessons, Melissa on harmonium and vocals and Rob on Tabla (Indian percussion). In addition to learning about Indian music, we are learning tons about humility! Talk about feeling like beginners!!! Here we are with our respective teachers, Nirmal and Keya Goswami. (They are also husband and wife)
 
    
Rob and Nirmal                                Melissa and Keya
 
Another recent highlight was our day trip to a beautiful place called Devprayag. Dev means "God" and Prayag means "confluence." Devprayag is the place where two heavenly rivers, the Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi, combine to create the sacred Ganga. 
 
Look at the difference in the colors of the rivers!
 
Devprayag is a popular pilgrimage destination, because of the holy confluence of course, but also on account of the ancient Rama temple that sits on the hill above the river.
 
 Raghunathji Temple
 
Rama is said to have come here to practice austerities and tapasya for 6 months after defeating Ravana in the story of the Ramayana. In fact, at the temple there is the stone meditation bench he used, and down near the water is a large rock with his footprints on it. 
 
 Rama's footprints
 
 Post-Prayag Puja, the beautiful Alaknanda behind us.
 
We are both falling in love with Rishikesh and it already feels like home. The Indian people are so wonderful and their history of devotion inspires us on a daily basis. Although right now it feels as if we could stay forever, we are returning to the Pacific Northwest at the beginning of February. 
 
Two main reasons:
 
 First - We miss you!!!
 
Second - The Northwest Yoga Conference!
 
 
We are psyched to announce that we will be at the conference again this year! We are teaching the community class (free for everyone) on Saturday and providing music for two incredible teachers, Kia Miller and Terilyn Wyre.
 
Our schedule at the conference:
 
Friday, Feb 10
9am-11am
Lead with the Heart with Kia Miller
 
 Saturday, Feb 11
2:30pm-3:30pm
Kirtan Vinyasa Flow with Rob and Melissa
4:00pm-6pm
Radiant Truth Within with Kia Miller
 
Sunday, Feb 12
8am-11am
Wake up your Core Intelligence with Kia Miller
4pm-6pm
Devotional Bhakti Flow with Terilyn Wyre
 
Learn more and register to join us at:
 
 
 
Stay tuned for more India updates and our spring schedule as it unfolds. 
 
With love,
Rob and Melissa
 
 
A snapshot of a typical walk to breakfast...
 
 

Comments

Sophie January 10, 2017 @08:27 am
Love, Love, Love, Love, Love, Love!!! :)
Chris January 10, 2017 @07:27 am
So glad you're having such a good time. Devprayag looks gorgeous. But also excited that you're coming home.

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