Sharing The Peapod's Travel Adventures...

Varanasi Temples and a Meditation Intensive on the banks of the Ganges

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This entry was posted on 3/11/2008 9:54 PM and is filed under India.

We had a day long meditation Intensive in the garden of our Hotel under a tent on the banks of the Ganges.  Our meditations were accompanied by the sounds of the city - the hotel generator going on when the power went off as it often did, the sounds of the boatmen calling out, the people talking in their many different dialects, the sounds of the bathers at the ghat just under us and the prayers and music from the nearby alleyways, all interspersed with the quiet stillness of our meditations.  It was a profound day - sitting from the morning until the night in deep meditation fueled by the magnetic  pull of the Ganges and guided by our phenomenal teacher, Mark Griffin. 

Here's looking down onto our setting during one of the breaks...

Evelyn and Jeanette decorated the space and the back puja...

Joss at the Intensive...

One lovely evening we went on a magical rickshaw ride to the Pilgrim Bookstore where Hard Light Center had sponsored a fabulous evening of singing by a well known singer, Krishna Kant Shukla.  The owner of the store, Rama Nand Tiwari, threw millions of red rose flower petals on all of us as we arrived and continued throwing them on us until everything and everybody was covered with petals.

Here's the rose covered carpet...

Watch this little movie of Krishna singing "I'm a Yogi" - the tabla player was a professor of music at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and highly respected - notice how beautifully relaxed he is as he expertly plays...

Here's a link to Krishna's web site: Krishna He's an interesting guy - Having studied in some of the best schools and colleges in India and U.K, he went on to obtain an M.S. and PhD. at the State University of New York at Buffalo in Solid State Physics. While teaching Physics and Astronomy as an assistant professor in upstate New York, he decided to quit the family trade of academics and follow his heart and soul deep into the fathomless waters of Indian Classical Music.

We went on a 2 day pilgrimage through some of the many Temples of Varanasi.  Some of them we could get to by foot and others we had to go by rickshaw or by car.  They were ancient in their feeling and spiritual attraction.  We got used to leaving our shoes by the entrance and walking through them barefoot, then coming out and forgetting where we had left them.

Here at the Kala Bhairava Temple, one of Varanasi's most important and powerful temples, you can ring a bell, coming and/or going as a symbol of your devotion to God.  This was one of the more active and wilder temples.  It is said that if you only have time to visit one Temple, this is the one to see.

This is Kala Bhairava.  It is said that everyone who comes to Varanasi should visit him because he is the main governor of Kashi (Varanasi).  Kala Bhairava means "Terrible even for death".  He destroys sins in the quickest possible way.  He is also a protector of sadhakas (those who practice spiritual discipline) keeping them on the path of spiritual growth. 

Fernando accepts blessings and a string bracelet from one of the very few gentle vendors surrounding the perimeter of this Temple.  Many of them could get very aggressive in suggesting that you needed their particular blessing, ash on the forehead, bracelet on the wrist, or hitting with the peacock feathers in exchange for a generous rupee donation.

We visited many other temples throughout Varanasi, but pictures were seldom allowed.  The city is full of temples and holy places throughout, as well it should be.  Here are a few of the photos of special deities we took with permission from some of the Temples...

This is our gallant and gentle guide, Yogananda from Poland, who rides the rickshaw in his own unique style, turning heads everywhere...

These massive statues came from the Kabir Ashram and Temple where we were able to sit for a few minutes with their main teacher and Guru.

This is a Temple devoted to worshiping Shiva in the form of a giant lingam.

Mark B., Stan and Stephanie at the Temple of the 3 Goddesses: Tara, Kali and Durga...

Mark Griffin told us that the city is home to over 300,000 power vortexes, all contained within one massive vortex that is Shiva.  To the eye of those who can see, each vortex looks like a whirlwind or tornado, extending up to the edge of the atmosphere, over 1000 feet.  These massive spiritual power points here are what truly define Varanasi.  Everyone feels it, though few know what it is they are feeling.  Without the support and direction given by a spiritual master, this energy is quite overwhelming - which is why most of Varanasi is in such chaos; people are just blown away by it.  But with the support of a true Sadguru - as we are fortunate to have -  this city proves to be an amazing location for doing deep sadhana (spiritual practices).


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