I love India. Jennie and I traveled to Bangalore to spend the weekend with my friends. Another reason I love this place, I’ve met more people and formed long lasting friendships. Also, Jennie hadn’t been to Bellur, Guruji’s birthplace. Unfortunately, by Friday morning I had a supersonic head cold. Despite it we went to the Bull temple, wild and crazy flower market that was so packed with malas of flowers that I wondered how they would all be sold before they soiled. We pushed our way through a melee of shoppers and sellers amidst the delicious smell lowers and the unpleasant smells of a crowded market. I marvel at how similar Mexico and India are with festival decorations always for sale, flowers, fireworks, chili and lime snacks, religious symbols and celebrations all the time. By afternoon, I was asleep. My friend Jaya came by and gave me some magic cure that I took and went back to bed to sleep for 11 hours. By Saturday morning I was in tip top shape. I attribute it to Jaya’s concoction of turmeric, black pepper, licorice, honey and ginger. And also the delicious home-cooking of Pryanktha and her mom’s cooking.
Saturday we traveled to Bellur where we were taken on a tip top tour of the hall, the dorms, the hospital , the school and the college all funded by the Bellur Trust established by Mr. Iyengar. It is peaceful and tranquil and Jennie and I dreamed of returning here for our studies where the hall is spacious and surrounded by green field, clean air and rocky mountains. I have a freakish memory of places. I wish I could apply this to Prashant’s classes or people’s names. So when the driver passed Egyptian Resort Center and drove on the overpass, I remembered we had to turn around. We might have just continued onward had I not remembered. We then visited the Pantanjali temple, the only of its kind in India.
The priest of this temple has a twin in the priest at the Ram temple. The first time I visited, I had a double take, no pun intended thinking this man had transported himself and grown a bit more hair in the matter of 10 minutes. At the Ram temple we saw an elaborate diorama of dolls retelling the story of the Ramayana. Just the day before towns, cities and villages were celebrated Dussera and also performing Ayudha Pooja were all instruments and tools get blessings and malas of flowers. We then went to a small village where sculptures of gods are made. Dropped off on a dirt road, I found the lane of the sculptor. Freakish memory.
A quiet evening at the home of my friend Jaya. She lives at the end of a lane in what I call the fairy house. A small lush garden precedes the two story house with playful, oddly shaped small rooms. I just love this house. I have dreams of coming to spend more time here.
On Sunday, we traveled across Bangalore to take class with Arun H.S one of BKS Iyengar’s oldest students. Unfortunately, he was not there. I spent the first 1/2 hour kinda pissed as I hung on the ropes in dog pose until my feet numbed. I thought perhaps I would say something, or leave but then I decided I was there for a reason. Jennie didn’t seem too eager to leave though I learned later she too was thinking similar thoughts. I had been really sick and hadn’t moved in a few days so I took the opportunity to practice what Prashant has been teaching in the interminably long poses. One time, Abhi told her grandfather, BKS Iyengar with glee that she had been in Sirsasana for 20 minutes. He asked, what were you doing in those 20 minutes. Basically, time is wasted if you are just racking up minutes. If instead you are engaged, learning and studying then the time is worth it.
Interestingly, Prashant’s class this morning was on this theme. Learning first followed by studying. Yoga is a man-making process. It is not for physical fitness. How this would never be an article in Yoga Journal these days! It’s also not for psychological fitness. Yoga is for culturing the consciousness. The mat and even what we do on the mat is incidental if there is no transfer to how we are living. This is exactly what I’ve been thinking about, concerned about and creating in some of my recent endeavors. It felt good to have articulated my biggest passion point- what we are doing on the mat should have an effect off the mat!
I love Bangalore, I love my friends. I love eating.