View Full Version : A.06 - Blissful India

December 18th, 2013, 11:45 AM
“India is like a powerful drug that makes me happy at the very moment I step on its holy lands. It was difficult for me to hide from the group I was travelling with the joy I was feeling. I didn’t try to explain it to them - I knew they wouldn’t be able to understand.”
“I received bad news as soon as we landed at the airport in New Delhi, though. I wouldn’t be able to reach the Ganges River, where I had planned to scatter my brother’s ashes. First, Ganga was flooding, which meant it would take us twelve hours to get to Vrndavana - normally it takes only three. Second, government was about to decide to whom a disputed holy site in the city of Ayodhya would belong – the Muslims or the Hindus – either way, there was going to be violence in the streets, and a curfew had been imposed. It would be impossible to travel to Hardwar. I was anxious and sad, I felt I had failed, even though I knew it wasn’t my fault, I had done all that was in my power to have my brother’s ashes taken to Ganga, but I wouldn’t be able to do it. I am a fighter, and as such I never give up, but death has ways of making even the most stubborn fighters give up. So I accepted I had to scatter my brother’s ashes in the Yamuna River instead of the Ganges. Besides, the Ganges had flooded so much, that it had reached Yamuna anyway - the waters of the two were intermingled.”
“When we arrived at the Gaura Gadhadara Samadhi Mandira in Vrndavana, my ex-husband received me and my group warmly. He is a nice gentleman, and after spending 12 years in India he had become a respected priest, in charge of the 500-year-oldtemple in whichwe stayed during the funeral ceremonies. It is a beautiful temple which our guru had rebuilt, with marble stones, an enchanting place, so quiet, so comforting, so peaceful – I felt at home immediately and happier than India had already made me. It bothered that lady and her son to see me that happy, but the other devotee and Madhuri shared my happiness. My brother used to support this temple with his donations, and all the monks were very grateful for it. They were all very happy too. Hinduism usually celebrates death more than birth, you see - a wedding procession and a funeral procession in India are almost identical.”
“I did not know that customarily a close relative of the deceased played an important role in the ceremony, and of course I was the only one they had so the priest chose me. He did not speak a word of English, and the ceremonies were all in a Hindi dialect and Sanskrit - and I didn’t know I knew enough of those languages to make it work, but somehow I did. I had studied them, some, but not enough to know the way I did. I can’t explain what happened there. It was like I did that before, in previous lives.”

“I don’t want to interrupt you, I know you are about to tell how the ceremonies took place, but I am intrigued. You never mentioned being married, and I would like to know if you could tell me more about your ex-husband, he seems a special person too.”

“I am glad you made me talk about him. Actually it is quite relevant. My brother had a fair skin, and my ex-husband has this tan one – I used to say they were my coffee and milk. Now I have only coffee, milk is gone. I have never been officially married or divorced. We had a religious wedding ceremony in December 1990 and we spent our honeymoon in India for three months. We visited many monasteries in our honeymoon, and in those kinds of places women and men are not allowed to stay in the same building, let alone in the same room. It was definitelynot a normal marriage. During the 10 years we were married we founded a temple in Brazil for our guru. Some monks from Latin America came to live with us, so we never had privacy. We had to travel often, and when one of us had to travel the other one stayed to take care of the devotees. Then my husband was called by my guru to do a service in India, and we didn’t realize he wouldn’t be back anymore. We thought it would be like the other trips, just a couple of months or so. My guru was trying to find someone to take care of this temple, and no-one before my husband was capable enough. My husband turned out to beperfect my guru couldn’t let him go home. So he stayed there for 10 years, since 2000. He came to Brazil couple of times to renew his visa, but most of the time he did it in Nepal. The last time he came to Brazil to do it, he got a five-year-visa, due to the influence I had with the Indian consulate in Brazil.”
“So it is hard to say I was married and got divorced, because that is not the truth. We weren’t married to each other, we were married to my guru’s mission, and in this sense we still are. Every time I refer to him it sounds strange to call him my ‘ex-husband’. I don’t feel that way. He is my best friend, he loves me, and I love him too – but there is nothing carnal about it. He was a good friend of my brother too, and the news of Valter’s death devastated him. Luckily, when we had that family gathering for my mum’s birthday, he came to Brazil, so he got to see Valter just few days before he died. That was something really rare, you know, all of us together. When I called him saying that Valter had died, after he went back to India,he couldn’t believe it. He cried, and I had never seen him cry before.”
“When we were there at the temple, the Italians were there, he was all smiles, though, a perfect gentleman - the head of that ancient temple. And if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have known how to deal with that lady and her son. I had to focus on the ceremonies. To tell you the truth, I didn’t spend much time with him during the ceremonies. As soon as he noticed that lady was acting belligerent, he took her and her son to Agra, to see the Taj Mahal.”

“So that lady and her son didn’t attend the ceremonies?”

“They did. But there were lots of preparations, everything in India is too slow, and yet too fast. It is hard to explain. They went to Delhi too, to go shopping, and tried their best to feel at home in India!”

“So, you had just arrived at the temple, and then what happened?”

“I was informed we had two possible auspicious times for scattering the ashes: one would be at that very moment, and the other one would be three days later. We couldn’t wait any longer, because the other ceremonies couldn’t be performed after 11 days from his death. Scattering the ashes is the least important part of the ceremonies. Actually, when I arrived at the temple, I called my guru and he said I couldn’t keep the ashes in there, it was inauspicious, and I was being informed by the pandit, the priest, that we had to decide to do it now, or three days later. When I say ‘now’, you see, I mean immediately - no time to prepare, even hurrying we did not know if we would make it in time. I had to put my blue punjabi suit on, the dress monks like me had to wear in India, and run to the Yamuna River. The lady was already in her room, and when I knocked at her door, saying we should hurry, she couldn’t believe it. She thought scattering the ashes was the most important ceremony, and it should be performed in Ganges, not in Yamuna.”
“I didn’t have time for her questions. Yamuna and Ganges are not just rivers, they are entities, and at that time they had become one. The pandit was pressuring me, he was an astrologer, he knew the planets were moving, I couldn’t be late, the next window would be three days later, and then the other ceremonies couldn’t be performed anymore. I didn’t have time, I let my husband to control that woman’s hysteria, and ran to Yamuna. My group followed me, and it was all very sweet, well, at least for me it was – for all of us. The pandit chanted many prayers, I had to repeat them facing the four cardinal directions, it was around 10pm, Yamuna River was so warm, so comforting, so calm. At that time, the usual crowds had already gone home for the night, it was just us. That silence and the prayers, the chanting, it was easy for me to enter in a state of mind that made me deliver my brother’s ashes in a blissful mood. It was a very fast ritual, about 20 minutes to half an hour. After that I had to enter in Yamuna to purify myself, since the ashes are considered impure. I dived on Yamuna’s waters, and felt embraced by them, I didn’t want to leave them, but had to.”
“On my way back to the temple I almost danced, had to control myself not to.”

“Please, enjoy this state of mind some more. I feel you need that.”

“We all do.”