Photo of the Week
Photo Title

« Back to Yak Board Archive Site

Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007


WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 55420
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2008-02-04 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

I've been trying to think of something really, really awesome to post in the reflection section of the yak yak board. I could yak my heart out about how much I miss Dolly and Bantu and their gorgeous children and incredible family. I could write something about how much I miss washing dishes with Komlauti (i'll never be able to spell that correctly) and her beautiful children. I actually have to stop now before I go on and on about all the wonderful things that I miss about India that could evolve into a long and heartfelt yak yak post.

So I was in New York the other night resting up before a trip to visit my friends at Dickinson College. I started to read Travels with Charley In Search of America by John Steinbeck. My friend gave me this book before I left for India, but between Moby Dick, Eat, Pray, Love, and The Reader, I hadn't picked it up until a few nights ago. And that is where I found the yak that I've been trying to contruct in my head. I don't know exactly what made me think "oh, I have GOT to yak this", but I think you can figure it out for yourself in whatever way you please. This is what I would have read at the end of the trip to juxtapose the quote from Moby Dick that I read on the first night of our trek. So I'm a few months late. Maybe i'm still on IST.

This sort of goes out to all Dragons students. Whether you just finished a trip and are headed out without Christina or Reed telling you what time to meet at the Program House, or are just about to leave the comforts of your home for an unknown country for the first time, I think there is something beautifully relavent in these words:

"When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts of a ship's whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage. In other words, I don't improve; in further words, once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable. I set this matter down not to instruct other but to inform myself.

When the virus of restlessness begins to take possesion of a wayward man, and the road away from Here seems broad and straight and sweet, the victim must first find in himself a good and sufficient reason for going. This to the practical bum is not difficult. He has a built-in garden of reasons to choose from. Next he must plan his trip in time and space, choose a direction and a destination. And last he must implement the journey. How to go, what to take, how long to stay. This part of the process is invariable and immortal. I set it down only so that newcomers to bumdom, like teen-agers in new-hatched sin, will not think they invented it.

Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the-glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control is. I feel better now, having said this, although only those who have experienced it will understand it."

- John Steinbeck, Page 1, Travels with Charley In Search of America

I miss you all and wish you well on whatever travels you embark on next.

Much love,

Xandie

[post_title] => I really miss India...and yaking. [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => i-really-miss-india-and-yaking [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2008-02-04 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55420 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 470 [name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [slug] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 470 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 68 [count] => 29 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 31.1 [cat_ID] => 470 [category_count] => 29 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [category_nicename] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [category_parent] => 68 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 )

Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

View post

I really miss India…and yaking.

Xandie Pasanen,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

Description

I’ve been trying to think of something really, really awesome to post in the reflection section of the yak yak board. I could yak my heart out about how much I miss Dolly and Bantu and their gorgeous children and incredible family. I could write something about how much I miss washing dishes with Komlauti […]

Posted On

02/4/08

Author

Xandie Pasanen

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 55500
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-12-12 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => Hi friends! Well I miss you all dearly, and you already know that because we've been telling each other on Facebook. So you got me; the truth is I just really wanted to see what a photo looks like on our new Yak Yak message boards! And what prettier, happier faces than our own?
    [post_title] => A Final Group Picture
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => a-final-group-picture
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2007-12-12 00:00:00
    [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55500
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 470
                    [name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007
                    [slug] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 470
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 68
                    [count] => 29
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 31.1
                    [cat_ID] => 470
                    [category_count] => 29
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007
                    [category_nicename] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007
                    [category_parent] => 68
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007
)

Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

View post

A Final Group Picture

Christina,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Hi friends! Well I miss you all dearly, and you already know that because we’ve been telling each other on Facebook. So you got me; the truth is I just really wanted to see what a photo looks like on our new Yak Yak message boards! And what prettier, happier faces than our own?

Posted On

12/12/07

Author

Christina

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 55510
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-12-08 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Dear Families of the India semester students,

We are reposting the note containing the return flight details, and we wanted to let you know that we are aware of the fact that you are unable to re-visit the previous Yak postings from your semester. We will be working on fixing this problem early next week, thank you for your patience!


As the semester nears its end, we're sure that many of you are anxiously awaiting your son or daughter's safe arrival into Los Angeles. For those who are returning under our group reservation, travel information is as follows:

The India group will be back in by 8:15pm on Saturday evening.


Saturday, Dec 8
Kolkata to Bangkok (1145am/405pm), Jet Airways Flight 9W0066
Bangkok to Hong Kong (7pm/1045pm), Cathay Pacific Flight CX0702
Hong Kong to Los Angeles (1140pm/815pm), Cathay Pacific Flight CX0880
(Arriving into LAX at 815pm, on the 8th.)


If you have any questions or concerns regarding the return - and you're calling outside of our normal office hours - please leave a message at 800-982-9203 x13. Dragons' administrative members will be checking x13 voicemail messages frequently during the upcoming travel days.
Please be patient if you don't hear from your son or daughter immediately after their scheduled return. Occasionally, re-entry into the States after an extended time abroad can take a bit of time. We have done our best to communicate to students that they should connect with home as soon as possible after landing in the States; unfortunately, we can't make any guarantees that a call will be made!


If, for any reason, your son or daughter misses their connecting flight and can't depart LAX that same evening, Dragons can help arrange reservations at the nearby Hacienda Hotel. Again, please leave a message on x13 if you need to connect with a Boulder staff member.


Here's to a happy return...


And Happy Holidays!

[post_title] => Return flight information and your yak yak board [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => return-flight-information-and-your-yak-yak-board [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-12-08 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55510 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 470 [name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [slug] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 470 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 68 [count] => 29 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 31.1 [cat_ID] => 470 [category_count] => 29 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [category_nicename] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [category_parent] => 68 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 )

Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

View post

Return flight information and your yak yak board

Dragons Administration,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Dear Families of the India semester students, We are reposting the note containing the return flight details, and we wanted to let you know that we are aware of the fact that you are unable to re-visit the previous Yak postings from your semester. We will be working on fixing this problem early next week, […]

Posted On

12/8/07

Author

Dragons Administration

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 55514
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-12-08 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => Family and Friends, This morning the students were safely dropped off at the Kolkata airport to begin their journey home (besides Jesse Knust, who is staying in Varanasi for another two months!). Indeed, the departure is a mixture of emotions: excited to see family, friends, familiar landscapes, foods, smells and sounds, and saddened to leave a counrty we've grown to love and a group that has come to be family. The students have been instructed to call home when they reach the LA airport. Please be patient to get their calls, as traveling makes communication difficult. AND, be patient with them as they arrive home! We are all filled to the brim with stories, and they will be told and unfold over the days, weeks and months to come. Thank you all for trusting your loved ones to us, and enjoy their company as they touch ground in less than 24 hours!!! Best wishes for the holiday: Instructor Team 
    [post_title] => Homeward Bound
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => homeward-bound-9
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2007-12-08 00:00:00
    [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55514
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 470
                    [name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007
                    [slug] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 470
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 68
                    [count] => 29
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 31.1
                    [cat_ID] => 470
                    [category_count] => 29
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007
                    [category_nicename] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007
                    [category_parent] => 68
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007
)

Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

View post

Homeward Bound

Reed Harwood,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Family and Friends, This morning the students were safely dropped off at the Kolkata airport to begin their journey home (besides Jesse Knust, who is staying in Varanasi for another two months!). Indeed, the departure is a mixture of emotions: excited to see family, friends, familiar landscapes, foods, smells and sounds, and saddened to leave […]

Posted On

12/8/07

Author

Reed Harwood

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 55525
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-11-29 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] =>   

Here is my ISP presentation:

Modern images and ideas of yoga typically involve arms and legs twisted and "switched" into positions that most people would compare to a soft pretzel. Before power yoga classes and Prana were invented, yoga was a practice designed for the soul. Yoga is a practice gifted by Lord Shiva. He practiced Yoga through meditation. You wouldn't have found him sitting on Assi Ghat in downward dog. The grand-grandfather of Yoga is Mahashi Kapil, the first human to practice yoga. Although neither Lord Shiva nor Mahashi Kapil documented their yoga practice, the Bhagavad Gita contains definitions of five different types of yoga: Karma yoga, the yoga of performing deeds and labor, Bhakti yoga, the practice of the fascination of gods, Nishkam Karma yoga, the practice of working without expecting benefits for yourself but rather offering any results to the gods, Raj yoga, meditation yoga which is 100% mental and Guyana yoga, the yoga of wisdom where the final goal is enlightenment.

The first composed book of yoga is the Yoga Sutra. Written by Mahashi Patan Jali, it was designed to set rules of behavior and habits for practicing yogis. These rules outlined appropriate foods to eat and lifestyles to live. Although yoga is not a religion that you must take vows to join, the guidelines of the Yoga Sutra can be compared to the vows taken by Monks or lay people of different religions. The main purpose of the yoga as outlined by Mahashi Patan Jali was to facilitate the union of the soul and the super soul. The idea of the soul and the super soul is best distinguished by the following metaphor: If a mirror is dirty, you cannot see your own reflection. Even though you cannot see your reflection, you are still standing in front of the mirror and the potential for the reflection is still there, but you must clean the mirror in order to see yourself clearly. Similarly, the soul and the super soul both exist in each of us; they exist together and separately like a drop of water exists in the ocean. The soul is like the drop of water and the super soul is like and ocean. The soul commits all worldly deeds while the super soul is purity and truth. To achieve attainment of the super soul, the soul must be cleaned first. When the soul is cleaned, then you can see the super soul, much like the idea of the mirror. Long, long, long ago, there were less desires and mental harassments that dirtied the soul. In the current era, we need to work harder to purify and clean our soul. We need to look inside ourselves and clean all of our impurities.

According to Hatha Yoga, the style of yoga I have been practicing with Vyas-ji, the first step to this cleansing is through the physical approach. As westerners, we may assume that physical cleansing means losing fat and gaining lean muscle, but in Hatha yoga, a fit body means a clean digestive tract and a balanced central nervous system. Hatha yoga was created from the idea of the Samana Vayu. Although there is no direct translation of Vayu from Sanskrit to English, it can be understood as the energy which governs our physical self. There are 5 different Vayus which are the foundation for yoga: Prana Vayu, the cosmic energy and the vital force that sustains us in the womb; Apana Vayu, the intake of food and the excretion of waste; Samana Vayu, our digestive fire and fitness; Udan Vayu, roughly described as the energy which keeps our throat area warm; and Vayana Vayu, the stimulation of our senses. The creator of Hatha yoga, Baba Maschhander, derived his idea of the physical aspect of yoga from the Samana Vayu.

Hatha yoga is the yoga designed for our physical heath and fitness. The primary goal of Hatha yoga is to create harmony between the physical body, the mind, the intellect and then the spiritual soul. Hatha yoga is where the idea of the union of the soul and the super soul is most relevant. The first step to achieving the union of the soul and the super soul is through cleansing our physical body. Once the physical body is clean, the mind must be purified. After the mind, the intellect must be cleaned and then finally the soul and super soul can be unified.

The asanas that I am about to outline approach an hour-long session in the same way which hatha yoga is approached as a practice. First, we will do standing asanas, which focus on our body. Then we will do some balancing postures, which focus our mind. Then we sit down and do some sitting asanas which first focus on cleansing our body, and then some lying postures which allow for the body to heal. We finish with some breathing exercises, which cleanse our intellect by balancing our central nervous system, and then with Om chanting and the prayer. Keep in mind that all standing postures are beneficial for our frame, all sitting postures are beneficial for our mind, and all lying postures are for healing and activation of endocrine system.

*If there are any postures that you can manage to do every day, make sure you do sun salutations and forward/backward bending

*SUN SALUTATIONS (2 VARIATIONS):

9-STEP ASHTONGA SUN SALUTATION:

1. Chandrasana - hands together, arms straight, reach up, bend backwards slightly

2. Padhastasana - forward bend; hands behind heels, head to knees

3. Padshirasana - hands flat, look forward, elongate spine

4. Dandasana - plank; body straight, elbows bent, look forward

5. Cobra - toes flexed on ground, knees off the ground

6. Downward Dog - heels on floor, legs straight, head down, stretch tailbone up and back

7. Padshirasana (step 3)

8. Padhastasana (step 2)

9. Chandrasana (step 1)

12-STEP TRADITIONAL SUN SALUTATION:

1. Namascar - hands in prayer on chest

2. Chandrasana - arms up, bend backwards slightly

3. Padshirasana - hands flat, head to knees

4. Horse Riding - right foot forward, hands of floor, look up

5. Plank - elbows straight, body straight

6. Ashtonga Namascar - toes, hands, knees chest, chin touching the floor, butt up in the air, back arched

7. Cobra - toes flat on floor

8. Downward Dog

9. Horse Riding - left foot forward

10. Padshirasana - hands flat, head to knees (step 3)

11. Chandrasana (step 2)

12. Namascar (step 1)

STANDING POSTURES:

TRIKONASANA (Triangle)

Start with feet together, jump feet apart to activate cerebrum. Start by doing each side five times; eventually hold each side once for five breaths. Toes can be pointed forward or depending on which side you are reaching for, the toes of that foot can be pointed out. Keep hips forward for better stretch.

1st variation: right hand to right ankle, left hand up, look up at left hand; reverse

2nd variation: right hand to right ankle, left hand over head, look up; reverse

3rd variation: cross; right hand to left ankle, left hand up, look at left hand; reverse

BENDING:

Start by doing each side five times; eventually hold each side once for five breaths.

First, side bending: Inhale, hands up, bend to the right slightly backwards, exhale; reverse

*Next, backward/forward bending. Five times each side. Feet hip width apart, gradually feet closer together. Right hand on small of your back, fingers pointed towards your head. Left arm extended; Inhale bend backwards, hold breath at threshold. Exhale bend forward, hold breath at threshold. Switch hands, so left hand on small of your back, fingers pointed up, right arm extended; repeat. Then try with both arms extended, minimum five times.

KATICHAKRASANA (Spine Twisting):

left hand to right shoulder, feet planted on ground, right arm extended, thumbs up, twist your right shoulder back, eye on thumb, don’t move your feet. switch sides and repeat. five times each side.

BALANCE POSTURES:

VRICHHASANA (Tree):

Stand with a firm left leg planted on ground, bring right leg up so the bottom of your foot is on your inner thigh, arms together, straight and raise above head. focus on one point in front of you, keep hips and shoulders squared, Switch legs

HALF LOTUS:

Bring right foot on top of left thigh in half lotus, hold foot with left hand, release hand and keep leg in half lotus, raise arms above head, straight and together. focus on one point in front of you, keep hips and shoulders squared, Switch legs

NATRAJ:

1st variation: Plant left leg on ground, reach forward with left arm, eyes straight ahead, with right hand reach behind you for your right big toe, extend leg so it creates a U shape, and pull it over your head. left shoulder reaches forward, right shoulder reaches back. Switch legs

2nd variation: Plant left leg on ground, both hands together, straight and reaching forward, lift right leg, keep it straight, the more you raise your leg the more you bend forward. Switch legs

SITTING POSTURES:

HALF BUTTERFLY:

Extend left leg, keep it straight and foot flexed. Bring right foot on top of left thigh in half lotus, hold right foot with left hand, hook right hand around right knee from underneath. Inhale bring right knee to nose, exhale push down on right knee until it touches the ground (it's ok if your left buttocks raises off the ground). five times each leg.

TITILEE (Butterfly):

Bring soles of both feet together and close to pelvis. Place your right hand around your toes, then left hand on top of right hand, then right thumb on top of left hand and left thumb on top of right thumb. Switch your legs up and down, bringing them as high as you can and as low to the ground as you can. Switch fifty times.

BHUMINAMAN (Floor Salutations):

Extend both legs in a straddle position, inhale, and exhale as you twist your spine to touch your forehead to the ground behind your butt. five times both sides.

VAKRASANA:

Extend left leg, cross right leg over left and place right foot next to left knee/thigh. reach left arm up and place is along the outside edge of your right leg, holding on to the outside of your right ankle. Place right hand behind you as close to the base of your spine as your can, fingers pointed out, twist your spine from the base and look behind you. hold then switch legs

MARICHASANA (Spine Twist):

Extend left leg, place right foot on ground beside left knee. bring right shoulder inside right knee, reach right arm around right leg to touch your back, reach left arm around your left side to hold on to your right hand, look over your left shoulder. Hold for 5 breaths, switch sides

MASCHHENDERASANA (Named after the founder of Hatha Yoga):

Same as Vakrasana, only bend your left leg underneath your right. Hold for five breaths, switch

FORWARD BENDING:

JANUSHIRASANA (Janu=thigh, Shira=forehead):

Left leg extended, sole of foot on inside of left thigh. Inhale reach up, exhale bend forward bringing your forehead to your thigh (knee). Try to keep your shoulders back and spine straight. Hands on shin or ankle or behind foot. Hold, then switch legs

2nd variation: Bring right foot into half lotus and repeat

PASHCHIMOTANASANA:

Like Janushirasana, but both legs extended

LYING POSTURES:

PAWANMAKUTASANA (“Free the wind”):

Extend both legs, arms extended out, inhale and raise your right leg straight in the air, then bend your knee and hug it with both arms, raise your head to your knee and bring your navel to your thigh and exhale. Extend your leg in the air and then lower to ground. Five times each side, and then with both legs at the same time.

MARKET (Monkey):

Arms extended to the side, both knees bent, feet on floor, inhale and then exhale as you bring knees to right side, look to your left. Back to center and inhale, exhale opposite side. Five times each side.

SETUBANDH (Half bridge):

Bend knees, bring feet as close to your butt as you can. Raise your back and bring your shoulder blades together underneath you. Chin to chest, grab your ankles with your hands.

DHANURASANA (Bow):

Lay on your belly, grab your feet behind you. Lift your thighs and keep your chest on the floor, lift your pelvis off the ground and bring your toes as close to your head as you can.

SARVANGASANA (Shoulder stand):

Switch your legs up and bring them to a 90-degree angle. Bring your shoulder blades together underneath you, putting pressure on your triceps and shoulders, not your neck. Support your back with your hands.

CHAKRASANA (Wheel):

Keep your hands with your palm down and fingers pointing away from you next to your shoulders. Plant your feet and lift yourself up so you are supported by your legs and hands. Relax your head.

SHAVASANA (Corpse):

Totally relax body and mind. Physically and mentally free. Eyes closed, release all tensions in body. 10 deep breaths.

BREATHING EXERCISES:

KAPALBHATI:

Only push air out of yoru lungs from your belly. Natural inhale, no pressure on nose. 20 times then rest, repeat 5 times

ANULOMVILOM (Alternate breathing):

Block one nostril at a time, breath in through left, exhale through right, then inhale through right, exhale through left, repeat. 3 sets of 40.

OM CHANTING:

Inhale completely, then exhale with “O”, then half way through close your mouth for “M”; mostly vibrations rather than actual pronunciations.

PRAYER:

Sarve bhavantu Sukhinah

Sarve Santu Niraa mayah

Sarve Bhadrani Pashayantu

Maa Kashchid Duhkhabhag-Bhavet

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

May all be happy here

May all be free from diseases

May all realize what is auspicious

May none become subject to misery

Om peace peace peace

[post_title] => Yo-ga, yo-ga, yo-ga [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => yo-ga-yo-ga-yo-ga [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-11-29 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55525 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 470 [name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [slug] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 470 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 68 [count] => 29 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 31.1 [cat_ID] => 470 [category_count] => 29 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [category_nicename] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [category_parent] => 68 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 )

Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

View post

Yo-ga, yo-ga, yo-ga

Xandie Pasanen,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Here is my ISP presentation: Modern images and ideas of yoga typically involve arms and legs twisted and "switched" into positions that most people would compare to a soft pretzel. Before power yoga classes and Prana were invented, yoga was a practice designed for the soul. Yoga is a practice gifted by Lord Shiva. He […]

Posted On

11/29/07

Author

Xandie Pasanen

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 55526
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-11-28 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] =>   

I have a problem. It was manifested at it's strongest during the 10 day period before my high school graduation. It was consistent and sometimes alienated me from large crowds. Boys would run away from me, girls would pity me. I try to control it, but sometimes it is beyond my control. And now it's back.

I'm a crier.

I cried my way through Titanic the first time I saw it; certain songs bring tears to my eyes; and goodbyes turn me into a leaky faucet. So it's started to happen now that when someone mentions that we only have 6 days left in Varanasi I feel my throat start to close up and my heart beats faster. My eyes start to water and I have to either scold the person who mentions the little time we have left or keep my head down and think about something more pleasant. I'm definitely excited to go home and see my family and friends. I've been thinking a lot about how nice it will be to sleep in my own bed with an actual blanket and not a combination of my scarves and my sleeping bag. I can't wait to have my mom's homemade chicken noodle soup, with real, actual, protein filled chicken. But when I look at my host brother, Babu, and know that the next time I see him he'll be able to say more than "ah", "ba" and "da", and my host sister might forget that my name is Xandie and not Ghandi in a few months, I am overwhelmed by the thought of leaving these people that truly have become my family.

I've gotten to a point with my host sister Anandi that if she's being annoying or doing something that she knows is either not allowed or just straight up dumb, I feel comfortable telling her in my most strict and meanest voice to "mat karo" (dont do that). I've changed from being the babysitter who is concerned about what the parents might say if I yell at their children to the older sister who knows that the parents would say the same thing. It's a cool transformation that really makes me feel like I have a little Indian brother and sister now.

And my host parents, good lord. Dolly is only 3 year older than my brother at home, but she's got 2 kids and she married and she cooks so many meals and shes just wonderful. I have enjoyed every rickshaw ride we've taken and all the time I've spent sitting on the counter in the kitchen asking her questions about India and answering questions about America while the smells of aloo tomato or subji fill the kitchen. She's promised that she'll come to America for my wedding, and I agreed to that plan under the condition that she understands that I'll come back to India as soon as she has her third child. And I've learned that Bantu makes fun of me and tells me to "shut up" a lot because I'm really just his favorite dragons student ever. (Ok, so maybe I'm not his favorite dragons student EVER, but I know he'll miss me). He may not be home at night when Dolly is feeding the kids and I'm chasing Babu around the house trying to get him to wear pants, but he's a great man who loves his family and his work and his country. And his mother! If I didn't learn that "crazy" is Hindi is "pagal", I might have had a much harder time communicating with her. We laugh a lot and she says things to me in Hindi to which I usually reply "Ap pagal hai, Ama-ji" (you're crazy, Ama). She sits in her little chair by the window and watches trashy Hindi soap operas, but I find her so fascinating and I love all the time I spend pretending like I understand what shes saying to me in Hindi while I'm really just watching her and thinking about the few things I know about her life like that she was married when she was 7 and that her sister married her husband's brother. I don't know much about her but I really love her and think she's so wonderful.

So i've made it through this yak without crying, which is a really good sign that I might be able to hold it together for the last week, but I will miss this place so much and I couldn't write enough about how much I love my host family.

We walked from the very last ghat, Raj ghat, all the way to Asi the other morning. I spent a lot of time looking up at the buildings and down at the river thinking about all the crazy things that I've done these past three months. The ghats were crowded in some spots and loud and we were harassed by probably thirty "hello, boat madame?"'s during our walk, but despite the smells and the crowds and the trash, I felt like I could make that walk every day thinking about all the wonderful things about India and Varanasi. But all good things must come to an end, and I know I'll be back some other day. Maybe by that time Anandi and Babu will have enough patience to walk the ghats with me.

[post_title] => I would walk 500 ghats [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => i-would-walk-500-ghats [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-11-28 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55526 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 470 [name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [slug] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 470 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 68 [count] => 29 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 31.1 [cat_ID] => 470 [category_count] => 29 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [category_nicename] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [category_parent] => 68 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 )

Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

View post

I would walk 500 ghats

Xandie Pasanen,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

Description

I have a problem. It was manifested at it’s strongest during the 10 day period before my high school graduation. It was consistent and sometimes alienated me from large crowds. Boys would run away from me, girls would pity me. I try to control it, but sometimes it is beyond my control. And now it’s […]

Posted On

11/28/07

Author

Xandie Pasanen

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 55532
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-11-23 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] =>   

Although we were all about as far from home as we could get for Thanksgiving this year, there was no shortage of holiday festivities (or food!) on this all-American holiday. Somehow in the midst of chipati, rice, dal and subji, we all teamed our efforts to pull of a surprisingly American (and vegetarian) Thanksgiving feast. About a week in advance, Julia compiled a list of recipies, and we each volunteered to make at least one dish. Our spread included paneer (which somewhat represents fresh mozarella) and tomatoes on toothpicks to start, apple sauce, eggplant parmesan, two different kinds of stuffing (bread and rice), green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, glazed carrots, egg curry, bread, salad, apple pie, chocolate cake and ice cream. The night before the cooking began with the apple pies, which all ended up slightly burned in the old electric oven, but were eventually salvaged. The following day, the smells of tomato sauce, stewing apples and frying eggplant wafted through the program house all morning. Gaby set to work decorating the table outside with flowers, candles, and little potatoes decorated like turkeys with a picture of each participant's head stuck in the front to use as a place setting. At around three o'clock, people began arriving. Xandie walked through the mingling people like a classic caterer offering paneer and tomatoes. We sat down to eat around four with a wonderful grace by Jesse and translated by Bantu. In attendance were all the students and leaders plus Bantu's wife Dali, her children (Shiva and Anandi), Cumlauti and her neice and son(Puja and Krishna), and Riley's host brother Saurab and his friend. All in all we were eighteen strong and we still had enough leftovers for a full lunch today! We all enjoyed eating familiar foods and sharing them with our friends from Varanasi. After dinner, we played a few lively rounds of spoons (a tradition from Reed's family) and then broke into the pies, cake and ice cream. The evening wore on as we digested the huge feast and relaxed on the pillows and cushions we had sat on to eat dinner. Slowly people began to leave, until Christina and I were reduced to picking at one more piece of apple pie as Riley and Jesse washed dishes. When all was said and done, I think I can safely speak for everyone when I say that, while we all missed the traditional home Thanksgiving, we had a wonderful time pulling it all off in India. Here are the final credits:

paneer and tomato-Xandie

eggplant parmesan-Reed

apple sauce and salad-Christina

glazed carrots, rice stuffing and bread stuffing-Julia

green beans and egg curry-Riley

mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes-Jesse

Apple pies-Aviva/Julia (me)

Decorations-Gaby

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Aviva/Julia

[post_title] => A (slightly) Indian Thanksgiving [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-slightly-indian-thanksgiving [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-11-23 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55532 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 470 [name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [slug] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 470 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 68 [count] => 29 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 31.1 [cat_ID] => 470 [category_count] => 29 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [category_nicename] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [category_parent] => 68 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 )

Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

View post

A (slightly) Indian Thanksgiving

Aviva/Julia,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Although we were all about as far from home as we could get for Thanksgiving this year, there was no shortage of holiday festivities (or food!) on this all-American holiday. Somehow in the midst of chipati, rice, dal and subji, we all teamed our efforts to pull of a surprisingly American (and vegetarian) Thanksgiving feast. […]

Posted On

11/23/07

Author

Aviva/Julia

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 55537
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-11-20 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] =>   

At this very minute, scouts from every major city in India are making their way to the site of the recent natural disaster in Bangladesh. There, they will pick through the rubble of the dead and displaced, in order to find, lure, trap and/or steal young orphans and make propositions to the parents of those that have no other options, in order to secure and move a fresh lot of women and children into India's sex, slavery and human trafficking trade (that includes over 3 million victims in the country).

Ajit-ji, founder of GURIA, an organization that fights against trafficking and prostitution in India, spoke to our students on the subject. Quoting him as quickly as I could, here are a few snippets from that discussion:

AJIT: "Prostitution is not the problem. Poverty and starvation are the problem. Women do not seek a life of prostitution. They are forced into it. You free the world of prostitution when you free the world of starvation.

And you should think now like a child, "What is this?" "Why that?" "Why not?" Why, if we can put a human being on the moon, can we not feed people that are starving for food? This is a simple question. Do not think politics. Do not look into all the rationalizations. Just think like a simple man; "Should a person die of starvation? Is there any reason why?"

This is not a question of charity. This is a question of justice: how do we make a humane world? Trafficking of human beings refers to the movement of people, against their will, for prostitution, slavery, organ transplants, beggary and manual labor. Trafficking in India is, after drugs and arms dealing, the largest market of crime in India. Of the three, it is the most violent and deadly. You can't just take a child out of the network. Everyone is involved, from the police, to the law, to the pimps, to the mafia, to politicians. Yes. I've had many death threats for saying this.

Education and health care are good, but they are not the goal. If you educate a prostitute, then you just have an educated prostitute -- who still lives under the same thumb and power of her oppressors. She is still controlled by the system. For change to happen, the structure itself must change. We have to minimize the dependency of the woman on the system."

QUESTION: "But what do I, as a Westerner do to help? Do I sponsor a child with donations and give your organization money? Do I legally adopt the infant of a prostitute as my own child? Do I write the story and give it to the press? Do I stand and wave banners in protests? Do I go back to my own country and raise money for the cause in India? Do I go back to the US and work with the prostitutes that walk the streets of my own city? Tell me. How do I help?"

AJIT: "Ah. So you want to know where to catch the snake: by its head, tail, or by its middle? That's a complicated question with an easy answer. Don't try to find the answer in textbooks -- that's a limited framework within which you’ll only find more limits to your thinking. You want to know how you help?

You have the guts to look inside.

You have the guts to look inside and then you walk within your heart.

What you should know is that you will always be alone. You are only one person. So you will always be a minority. You have to put the world behind you. And you have to have the guts to walk alone. This is the problem you will always face. You'll be isolated and ostracized. Your greatest opposition will be your family. And then society. But don't think of what others will think. These groups, they should not destroy you; they should service you. So begin by asking yourself the simple questions. And then, work to create a humane world. Just create a circle wherever you are.

I don't know the answer to your question. But you do. So go inside your heart. Walk there. Listen there. And there you will find your answer."

*******

From the GURIA phamphlet: "GURIA has been fighting the sexual exploitation of women and girls, especially those forced into prostitution and trafficking, which has further become severe and complex due to sex tourism and the spread of HIV & AIDS. While responding to their immediate suffering, we are focusing on the root causes of prostitution -- inequality and poverty. We strongly believe that it is not charity that is wanting in the world -- it is justice to make a humane world where all beings co-exist in harmony."

For more information on Guria, visit its website: www.guriaindia.org

[post_title] => "the guts to look inside " [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-guts-to-look-inside [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-11-20 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55537 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 470 [name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [slug] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 470 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 68 [count] => 29 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 31.1 [cat_ID] => 470 [category_count] => 29 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [category_nicename] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [category_parent] => 68 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 )

Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

View post

“the guts to look inside “

Christina,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

Description

At this very minute, scouts from every major city in India are making their way to the site of the recent natural disaster in Bangladesh. There, they will pick through the rubble of the dead and displaced, in order to find, lure, trap and/or steal young orphans and make propositions to the parents of those […]

Posted On

11/20/07

Author

Christina

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 55541
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-11-18 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] =>   

Is it possible to feel energized and happy and excited from exhaustion? Because that's what I'm feeling right now, and with barely two weeks left in Banaras and two and a half left in India, I'm happy and grateful that my list of things to do and accomplish is only growing.

Since our return from Bodhgaya, over the past week and a half or so, so many exciting things have happened! It began with an amazing three, then four, then five day celebration of Diwali, the Festival of Lights. While the festival technically ended on Friday the 9th, fireworks were set off through Monday, both day and night. And then on Monday night a group of us went to see Om Shanti Om, whose star is Sharo Khan, probably the most popular male Bollywood Star at this time. The movie was incredibly rediculous and entertaining, and the poppy theme song has been stuck in my head since.

Tuesday morning I met an Indian friend whom through Jesse we organized a squash lesson at 6 am, bright and early. Though she was a complete newbie to the sport, I enjoyed her quirky and energetic personality, and her badminton skills helped her pick up some basic skills within the hour we played. [That morning was actually the coldest I've felt since I've been in India--it might've been about 50 degrees--but of course it warmed up during the day to a sunny 80 degrees or so.] Again on Wednesday morning I played squash, but this time with Reed, at 6:45. It felt great to really get moving, and I really enjoyed the cool and breezy bike ride to and from the BHU courts.

On Thursday, thanks to Aviva's invitation, I had the incredibly opportunity to visit two different villages on the edge of Banaras to visit two different women's Self Help Groups (SHGs), one group of young women ages 15-20 learning tailoring skills, and the location of a Non-Formal Education (NFE) project. All of these projects, and many more, are overseen by a local NGO, whose mother-NGO is called Asha. During this trip, I learned so much--about the traps of money-lending, the system of micro-financing, the hardwork and dedication volunteers must invest to build other's trust, the significant impact gaining financial independence can have on women's morale and overall well-being, various caste issues, etc, etc...the list goes on and on. For now, most everything I learned is still bouncing around in my head, sorting itself out, but a seed has been planted in my mind, and I think I'll return often to our visit.

Finally on Friday morning I played badminton here in India! Reed, Saurabh, and I met at the BHU courts at 6:30 to nab a court, but the courts were all taken. [I've yet to mention thus far how amazed I am everytime I arrive to the BHU field anytime between 6 am and 7:30 am, the location of the field hockey field, tennis courts, squash courts, basketball courts, etc, to find all of the sports equipment crowded with young and old alike. In the States, I feel like you would never ever see a group of young teenagers up at 6 am playing basketball. But I guess part of everyone's motivation is that all the courts are filled by so early. ] When we finally got a court, we shared it with two Indian girls, I on one side and Reed on the other. The girls were really good, and the games were close, but my partner and I were the victors (of course :-)). Surprisingly, when Reed and I were on the same side, we succeeded in holding our own for a while, and I hope we have time to play again soon!

There's tooo much to recount, so I'll skip right to the Chaat Puja, or the Sun Prayer Ceremony. The Ceremony took place along the ghats Friday during sunset and Saturday morning during sunrise. While on Friday early evening I only ventured close enough to the ghats to witness the massive crowd of people, women dressed in what I swear must've been their most colorful saris, many holding baskets of prayer preparations in hand or, in some cases, perched a top their heads, on Saturday morning I arrived to the ghats at 5 am with Christina and Jesse to really get close this time. When I left my host home just before 5, luckily I had just been using my headlamp to navigate to the bathroom (the power was out), otherwise on my trip to the ghats I could have crashed into a wall in the darkness. Actually, both my headlamp and the hoards of people also making their way down to the ghats got me safely to Bantu's house, where I met Christina and Jesse. Still about 30 minutes until sunrise, we grabbed a quick cup of chai at the nearest stand and then headed towards Assi ghat. The atmosphere was bustling and yet focused--most everyone was either in the middle of puja (prayer) or setting up a space for their puja. The area was lit up by prayer candles and fireworks. Yes, fireworks at 5:15 in the morning. And I don't just mean the small "bombs" set off by crowds of young children. There were huge, Fourth of July esque fireworks, too. We stood at our first waiting spot for until the sky was only barely lighter, our gazes fixed on the mesmerizing glow of the prayer candles dispered amongst the sea of people.

Over the course of the morning, until about 7:30, Christina and I made our way down to about the fifth ghat from Assi. We made about four or five stops along the way, observing with unwavering awe and enthusiasm the on-going pujas, bathers in the Ganga, colorful saris, and the transforming sky. When the sun finally showed itself, there was a cheer of excitement (and what I think was relief; afterall, for some, this prayer ceremony is preceded by three days of fasting, without food or water, and the appearance of the sun means that they can eat and/or drink.). It was beautiful! The sun's reflection was a brilliant line extending towards the ghats, and I enjoyed watching several boats approach this "line," intersect with it, and pass through, unphased by its "piercing." Christina took some beautiful pictures of the scene, and I suggest that you look at those since I really can't do justice to the experience with words. And what a perfect end to a perfect morning: on the way back from the ghats, Christina and I had chai at one of the best chai stands in Banaras!

Today, Sunday, Reed, Riley, Gaby, and I spent time at the Leper Ashram in Sarnath, about an hour away by car, doing more "yellow-washing" of some of the buildings on the grounds. We worked really efficiently and made real progress. Even more rewarding was seeing that our work there last Sunday had indeed made one of the buildings look much cleaner. I really hope the brightness of the wash will bring a bit of satisfaction to the workers and patients of the ashram. I can't wait to head back there next Sunday to make even more progress!

Tomorrow we head to Bantu-ji's village for a two-night homestay. I can't wait!

[post_title] => Happily exhausted [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => happily-exhausted [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-11-18 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55541 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 470 [name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [slug] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 470 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 68 [count] => 29 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 31.1 [cat_ID] => 470 [category_count] => 29 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [category_nicename] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [category_parent] => 68 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 )

Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

View post

Happily exhausted

Julia Watson,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Is it possible to feel energized and happy and excited from exhaustion? Because that’s what I’m feeling right now, and with barely two weeks left in Banaras and two and a half left in India, I’m happy and grateful that my list of things to do and accomplish is only growing. Since our return from […]

Posted On

11/18/07

Author

Julia Watson

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 55546
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-11-13 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] =>   

My first week in Banaras quickly introduced me to several of the most strongly spiritual believers I've ever met. One of them was Santosh. We met at at sitar concert that Bantu organized for our group at the Program House. He had invited Meagan to his temple at his home the next day, and invitation she extended to me. The next morning we met at his house, around 8 o'clock AM. The temple was annexed to his abode, right outside the front door. It was small, with two steep steps. We sat inside, cross-legged. The walls were bright orange. There were two inset shelves on the sides of the room-- each contained a framed illustration of various divine images-- Kali, Saraswati, Ganesha...there were dead marigolds in front of the them from a previous offering. We sat quietly-- Santosh was in his home bathing and putting on new clothing.

He came in, barefoot and only wearing a lungi, and began talking about everything-- Kashi, God, his personal beliefs. People stopped to admire the covered statue of Shiva when they passed and paid their respects. A man arrived at the door, and delivered a leaf with a thick white substance on it. I thought it might be curd, as an offering or something, but then he started mixing other things in....sugar, ghee, honey, milk, and proceeded to rub it all over everything. As he hummed and went about his business, I asked him what the mixture was for. "Cleaning". I nodded quietly like I understood, but as he moved about the small room glopping it on everything, I watched it dry in streaks to the first statue he applied it to, and thought this practice has to be as useless as spinning a prayer wheel.

The substance he used is called Abishika Panchamrita. "Abishika" means bathing, "panch" means five, and "amrita" means nectar. In hindu belief, the cow is the most sacred animal, especially to Shaivas, or Shiva devotees. Not only was it Shiva's mode of transport, but his bull, Nandi, is a primary god and worshipped separately in temples dedicated soley to him. In India, thw cow is supposedly still considered highly sacred, although cows eating plastic trash on the side of the road is a conflicting image. Either way, the substance is very holy, and rinsed off well after having been distributed to...well, everything.

Now and then Santosh would speak again, but it was mostly quiet while he cleaned the temple. The purification process is a LONG one. He cleaned the walls, the statues, every little detail of the Shiva Linga. The floors, all the brass spoons and plates and cups used for offereings had to be cleaned with a brass cleaner...all in all, it was about 2 1/2 hors. We moved about so he could purify under the mats we were sitting on. Every time I thought the REAL thing was going to start, he'd begin cleaning something again.

When the cleaning finally looked done, I perked up again. The floors were drying, the old mala garlands were in a bucket to be dumped in the ganga (the water, panchamrita, and the old sweets and flowers are still considered holy, so it's improper to throw them away), and Shiva's face was shining like the top of the Chrysler building. It was time to begin.

But it wasn't. A woman arrived with a plastic bag full of more goodies. A fresh cloth, and a big pile of flowers, big garlands, small garlands, and handfuls of loose flowers, pink, purple, red, white, orange. The marigolds where huge, on giant garlands. Those were strung around Shiva's neck. One by one, statues and photos and everything was adorned with flowers. There was clearly a method to what he did-- he didn't just place all of one statue's flowers at it's feet at once. When he was passing out red flowers, each statue got their flower, in a certain order. I was getting anxious.

At last, a few sticks of incense were lit and some mantras began to be uttered. Everything had incense smoke waved at it-- even Meagan and myself. He picked up a bell and began ringing it, shouting these words that we didn't understand...the bell was rung louder, and louder, and louder, for 3 minutes? 5 minutes? The sound was almost unbearable and then at last we were awoken by the smash of a coconut on the floor. Dhire-dhire, he picked up the fruit and shook the milk at the statue. It's still one of my favorite images I've seen so far in India.

More incense was lit, and then mantras for Ganesh were chanted. All rituals open with Ganesh because he is the god of removing of obstacles-- no ceremony can begin with out first recognzing Ganesh. The manner in which this occurs is reciting the hundreds of names of Ganesh-- temple priests have them memorized. Like most other practices within temple ritual, the monotony of the sound or motion or smell can put you into a trance, until the arrival of the next practice pulls you back. More mantras were chanted, some sort of story of text that was being told-- it wasn't the same thing over and over. It went on for 15 minutes or so, and then sweets and water was offered to the linga. The red powder used for tikhas was also put on everything. By the end of it, it was around 12 noon, and my brain was buzzing and my clothes smelled like incense and I had a smudged tikha on my forehead. There were flowers everywhere, water everywhere, sweets and biscuits everywhere, and the coconut was being crushed between my teeth in a robotic way. This is called prasad-- the offerings that have been given to the gods and now are enjoyed by the practioners. I was dumbfounded. We winded down with some conversation, and Meagan and I headed back to the Program House.

I was confused. Why on earth doesn't he just clean the temple after a ritual? It certainly took up so much time, and while I was observing it, it seemed to be an annoyance to when the REAL thing was going to start. It took me a few more weeks of study and temple visiting to realize that IS the real thing. The care and effort taken in the cleaning and purifying of a temple before ceremonies is the greatest offering you can make to a deity-- like when you come home from college for vacation and your mom cleaned your room and you feel fantastic because all she did was clean your room. I think that's it. I DON'T WANT TO SPOIL the whole process, since this is the meat of my ISP paper. But I will say, if you ever come to Banaras, this is something to you have to/won't be able to avoid seeing. What is such a complicated ritual is really just...simple beauty [post_title] => RingRingRingRingRingCRACK! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => ringringringringringcrack [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-11-13 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55546 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 470 [name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [slug] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 470 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 68 [count] => 29 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 31.1 [cat_ID] => 470 [category_count] => 29 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 [category_nicename] => visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007 [category_parent] => 68 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/visions-of-india-semester-fall-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007 )

Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

View post

RingRingRingRingRingCRACK!

Knuster Ji,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2007

Description

My first week in Banaras quickly introduced me to several of the most strongly spiritual believers I’ve ever met. One of them was Santosh. We met at at sitar concert that Bantu organized for our group at the Program House. He had invited Meagan to his temple at his home the next day, and invitation […]

Posted On

11/13/07

Author

Knuster Ji

1 2 3