Happy Holidays from India!

Dear Friends,

We've been here in India for nearly four weeks and SO much has happened! It's hard to know where to begin!
 
Overall, India seems like one grand paradox. On one side, it appears like total chaos, so many people, so much noise, trash everywhere, but on the other side, if you tune into it, there is a peace beyond description, constant prayers on the people's lips, and divine beauty around every corner.
 
Ayurvedic treatments are so popular,
even the cows want some...
 
The streets are wild: rickshaws, cows, people, monkeys, dogs, cars, and motorcycles, all honking and weaving, but under the crazy is this current of unity, of it all working together as one mystical organism. 
 
And then there is the devotion. Oh, it is so pure and sweet. It isn't something folks just do on a Sunday morning, it is woven into the fabric of society. Even the greetings are imbued with the divine: Namaste, Hari Om, Hare Krishna, Radhe Radhe...
 
Indian Grafitti
 
The culture is so steeped in spirituality that the wisdom, the dharma, and the teachings can be found everywhere, not just in the temples and ashrams (which are countless). If you open up to it, it can come from the most unexpected places. A wandering holy man on the beach, a taxi driver, even the shop keeper might drop a serious bomb of wisdom. We are learning so much, it's hard to keep up! 
 
The retreat with our teacher Govindas was amazing. Being in the foothills of the Himalayas near the sacred city of Rishikesh was the perfect way to get acclimated and we fell in love with each one of the beautiful people in our group. Here's a pic of our sunrise kirtan circle on the banks of the Ganga:
 
 
Next, we went to Vrindavan for a few days. No words can describe this place. Well, maybe two words: Krishna and Radha. Vrindavan is an ancient city in the heart of the area known as Vraj, where Krishna grew up. These days, it is an intense combination of dirt and devotion. It's a relatively small town, yet it's home to some 4000 temples, and the streets are teeming with activity. Krishna and kirtan are king here and the Maha Mantra never stops! Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!! The highlight for us was visiting the Neem Karoli Baba ashram. Here we are in front of the ashram's Goshala (Cow House):
 
 
 And a sweet Vrindavan cow:
 
 
 After five sleepless nights in Vrindavan, we were ready to move on. But where to? One piece of advice we heard from numerous sources kept ringing in our ears: "If you really want to know India, you've got to stay put in one place for awhile." This was a challenging concept to our adventurous nature that wants to do, do, do and see EVERYTHING, but the idea started to sink in. So instead of pressing forward, we jumped in a cab and took a harrowing 8 hour drive back to Rishikesh.
 
 
 
This area of India, near the headwaters of the Ganga, has been a place of worship, yoga and meditation since before written history. It is a vortex of spiritual energy as well as being a stunningly beautiful natural environment. We've been enjoying settling in over the past few days, and plan to make it our home for the next few weeks. Already, we are seeing it in a different light, making friends, discovering the details, and getting a deeper sense of what it means to "be in India."
 
This entry seems so long, yet has barely scratched the surface of our experience! We wish we could share every moment with you, but then we'd never stop writing! Just know that we love you, we are thinking of you every day, and sending you many blessings!
 
 
Happy Holidays!
Rob and Melissa
 

Comments

Chris December 19, 2016 @09:37 am
So glad to hear you're having such a good time.

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