The Spider & The Blue-Throated God – 2/2

FB_IMG_1494089545295Did I go from being a neurotic worrier to a goddess radiating mega-rays of tranquility in a few short weeks? Sorry, but this ain’t no fairy tale. The sad truth is that I was born with a depressive gene: to see a glass as half-full instead of half-empty can still be a labor of Hercules. But by putting a positive spin on my life, my fears shrank, my vision cleared, and I could move forward with increasing confidence. Yet I still found myself embroiled in situations so dark I could not find a single reason to be grateful.

One such nightmare saw me trapped me in a guesthouse in Rishikesh during the Neelkanth Mahadev temple festival that annually draws close to half a million rambunctious rural devotees down from their villages to worship Lord Shiva. The temple is surrounded by dense forest and is adjacent to the Nar-Narayan mountain ranges. Hindu myth claims it was here that Lord Shiva consumed the poison Halahala that originated from the ocean when the Gods and the Demons churned the deep waters in order to obtain Amrita, the nectar of immortality. To save creation, Shiva swallowed this poison, which turned his throat blue—which is why he is known as Nilkanth, literally The Blue Throated One.\ Continue reading

Advertisements

The Spider & The Blue-Throated God – 1/2

3b61d0f59f5d346dca653f1df20c1727I owe a colossal debt of gratitude to a woman I shall call Grace, whose kindly face, hennaed hair, hooked nose and elfin green eyes still come with great affection to mind. I met her over a decade ago, at a friend’s potluck dinner in Eugene, Oregon—a fairytale town where I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a hobbit or two frolicking down the road, yodeling a hey-ho-happy-to-be-alive kinda song.

Instead of enjoying this slice of paradise, however, my thoughts had begun to stray obsessively into the future—specifically on the looming prospect of having to leave Eugene for south India, where I’d set in motion the construction of a beautiful home for myself. Whew, was I mad at myself for taking this big step! My radical ways had taken me way out of the Indian mainstream…and when, for God’s sake, had I ever fit into my conservative community? But now it was too late—huge amounts of money had already been paid towards this dream dwelling, and this time I had no option but to suck it up and go with the flow. Continue reading

ARUNACHALA, NOT ABRACADABRA

dfa1c558daeba093bd582958cc97f9a1“Why don’t you teach an analytical meditation at my learning center?” a woman asked me. It was a bright morning in Rishikesh, and while I loved my new apartment with its spectacular view of the Himalayas, my heart was heavy with confusion about the future. I did not like the commercialization of this ancient city, nor the sharks I encountered, mostly wealthy urban businessmen who had bought up all the apartments in my enclave for ‘investment’ purposes and appeared to have few ethics.

“All right,” I agreed, albeit reluctantly; perhaps it would do me good to teach the Seven Flavors of Samsara, an analytical meditation on the nature of relative reality that I had learned from a powerful guru, and which I occasionally shared with those perplexed about the nature of reality—particularly those  who agonized over why bad things happened to good people and vice versa. Continue reading

Groundhog Day in Tiruvannamalai…

Groundhog_Day_(movie_poster)Groundhog Day—a great movie on the magic of transforming one’s personal karma—was released in America in 1993. The plot is simple: for the fourth year in a row, Phil Connors (Bill Murray)—a narcissistic meteorologist who works for a make-believe Pittsburgh TV station—travels with his lovely news producer Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell) to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Phil is pissed off to be wasting his talents on this weather forecasting “rat”; unpleasant job done, he’s impatient to get back to the big city.

But a blizzard forces Phil and his crew to return for the night to dreadful Punxsutawney—and when he awakens next morning, the clock radio on his nightstand is playing the same classic it played the morning before—”I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher. Other events repeat just as the day before…and when the phenomenon persists the following day, Phil realizes he is trapped in a time loop: Is he doomed to spend eternity in this awful town covering the goddamned “rat”? If so, his life has turned into a living hell!

But soon, with no fear of long-term consequences, Phil begins to take advantage of the situation: he charms secrets out of Punxsutawney’s innocent denizens, seduces unwary women, turns to petty crime, drives recklessly, and gets thrown in jail. Oddly enough, his attempts to get closer to lovely Rita bear no fruit. Continue reading

The Spider & The Blue-Throated God – Part 2/2

sad_woman

Did I go from being a neurotic worrier to a goddess radiating mega-rays of tranquillity in a few short weeks? Sorry, but this ain’t no fairy tale. The sad truth is that I was born with a depressive gene: to see a glass as half-full instead of half-empty can still often be for me a true labor of Hercules. But by putting a positive spin on my life, my fears shrank, my vision cleared, and I could move forward with increasing confidence. Still, there were many times since that I found myself embroiled in situations so dark I could not find a single reason to be grateful.

One such nightmare saw me trapped me in a guesthouse in Rishikesh during the Neelkanth Mahadev temple festival that annually draws close to half a million rambunctious rural devotees down from their villages to worship Lord Shiva. The temple is surrounded by dense forest and is adjacent to the Nar-Narayan mountain ranges. Hindu myth claims it was here that Lord Shiva consumed the poison Halahala that originated from the ocean when the Gods and the Demons churned the deep waters in order to obtain Amrita, the nectar of immortality. To save creation, Shiva swallowed this poison, which turned his throat blue — which is why he is known as Nilkanth, literally The Blue Throated One. Continue reading