Each morning our group rises by 4:00 AM to attend the abhishek ceremony at Nityananda’s Mahasamadhi Temple. Afterwards on the first morning, someone asked me, “How was your experience?” And I answered, “Overwhelming. “
During abhishek, the huge, life size, golden murti (statue) of Nityananda is woken up, bathed, dressed, and adorned with garlands of greenery and of flowers, like Hawaiian leis, by two Brahmin priests and their assistants. On this first morning of our yatra (pilgrimage), they were joined by four women. For at least an hour, all my senses were alive and enlivened by the disrobing of the golden murti, the water splashing, scrubbing with a white cream, drying each body part and each deep fold, re-robing with beautiful fabrics, incense burning, the waving of flaming ghee candles (arati), bells ringing, and drums booming. We were invited to come forward three times during the ceremony: beforehand — to put our hands and head on the engraving of Nityananda’s feet; during — to receive from the head priest some of the bath water; and afterwards — for prasad (sacred refreshments). My body, mind and heart vibrated to the beat of the drum and the clapping of our hands during the Jaya Jaya Arati chant to Nityananda at the end of the ceremony. Inside and outside, Nityananda was there with me, and I was with him. We were alive together, One.
Interestingly, I have never been a Nityananda devotee. Now, however, I am. He is the source, my heritage, the Guru who gave Muktananda his Self; and Muktananda who in turn gave Swamiji her Self. Now it’s my turn — I can still feel the Guru in my Self, as my Self. We are all The One.
Years ago I was a person who enjoyed extreme experiences — pursuing a PhD in my professional field and a university faculty position, while being a mother, wife, daughter and more. Along the way I took up biking, running and swimming daily, loving the extreme training. For what?
My life has always been purposeful, filled with many uplifting, strong experiences. So here I am in Ganeshpuri India, with Swamiji and many other wonderful yogis, plus a staff of people who facilitate our daily living and practices. I get to live all day long in the overwhelming experience of the early morning abhishek. What a gift from Swamiji. Thank you Swami. All I have is gratitude and love for Swamiji and for this opportunity to live in the overwhelming experience of Ganeshpuri for two weeks.