We just returned from a trip to Rishikesh, the land by the Ganga, the land of rishis, yoga and rafting…
Our mornings were quiet. We spent one day sitting on the rocks at the bank of the Ganga, just musing. On another day we leisurely visited the Shivananda ashram and on yet another day we had the darshan of Neelkanth Mahadev. A holiday which is spiritually enjoyed!
One of the main events of our days was the Ganga aarti at the Parmarth Niketan Ganga ghat every evening and it is truly a wonderful experience! As the ashramites sing bhajans and the sun go down, everyone is engulfed with reverence for the Ganga and during the aarti, one would be able to see her as a mother and not just any river. In addition to this, we are reminded of our duties to mother nature and the Ganga (and all other water sources) by a senior monk at the ashram. People are encouraged to take a vow of either spreading awareness about keeping all the water bodies (not just Ganga maiya) clean or planting some trees whenever and wherever they can. An initiative well thought of!
It was even more meditative sitting at the quiet bank of Ganga, listening to the sound of the river. I looked around the ghats and saw various thought provoking sights.
There were people taking a dip in the icy cold water, and wondered if they are really seeking atonement for their sins by taking a dip in the holy river! There were several people especially in the mornings, offering their prayers at the Ganga and again wondered if it is merely a ritual. I wondered if it was just a thrill of taking a dip in the cold water as it was for my kids, as compared to a spiritual sanctification as it was for me!
There were vacationers enjoying their share of adventure, on board the rafts or drifting in the water holding on to the side of the rafts. There were people from different lands with a wish to learn ‘yoga’ all around, all of them holding a yoga mat dear. After all, Rishikesh is the yoga capital of the world! I could see many of them practicing early in the dawn at many of the ghats. Got me musing (again!) how casual I am with my life, unconscious, unbothered of the countless blessings I am constantly showered with!
One day I saw a person playing a flute at the Ganga ghat. He played well, music soothing to the ears.( I am no judge of right or wrong but I liked it!) but much more thought-provoking was his attitude. Playing the flute was his sadhana, standing in the Ganga and offering music to her. Not bothered about the people around, with closed eyes he went on for quite a while before we made his acquaintance (well, that’s another story…)
Overall, an educative trip I would say!