I’m washing my laundry by hand with blue cake soap called Rin.Â My new pair of yellow pants stained my new pair of white pants (made for me by a tailor in Hampi) so my vision of dressing all in white with like some orange flowers around my neck and looking really spiritual is one step further away.
I’ve been easing up on the chai.Â The four top categories in my daily budget are (in order) 1) internet 2) food 3) room 4) flowers (for hair, for puja, for gifts.)Â And in total, none those things is more than two dollars per day.Â It’s hard to know when to give money to people–sometimes I give a couple of rupees to an old woman or a sadhu, but you can’t give to everyone, so it’s not all the time.Â When flowers climbs to the first or second place, I’ll consider my journey a success.
Everything here happens in waves (often in three’s) at the level of akasha. Someone lent me a book called The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho. I’d read The Alchemist but not thought about the author since. The next day, I was reading the paper (which I never do here) and there was a column by Paulo Coelho. The day after, I had The Pilgrimage in hand and another friend had his book Warrior of the Light sitting on his mostly bare shelf. And I love how it all fits in to my travel in India as a challenging, mysterious, and awe-inspiring journey.
After Shiva Shakti several days ago, I rode with my friend to a lake just outside of town. It’s lined with palm trees, and there is one magical tree that is a palm tree growing inside a banyan tree! It’s full Shiva Shakti–male and female entwined. We climbed the tree (the Indian rickshaw drivers playing cards below were wary of our tree-climbing skills) and offered flower puja to the trees and sang some baijans.
The next night when the traffic cleared, we rode around Arunachala, the mountain, on a motorbike. We stopped at several temples to Shiva, Shakti, and Ganesh along the way. One is a special temple that you walk around the back and crawl through to be reborn.
The next night–or was it? They blend together… I went to a concert held in the ashram. It was only about 45 minutes long. The melodious flute and the droning mantras and the rhythmic shaker gave it an incredibly jazzy feel. It seemed to end not much later than it began.