Tomorrow I leave for Hṛṣīkeśa to travel to Anand Mehrotra's Sattva Yoga Center at the foothills of the Himalayas. I've never been to India. Twenty years have passed since I first "noticed" India. How was that again?
Over the past seven years, my desire to go to India has increased intensely.
It will be nice to be in a country where vegetarianism is and always has been respected.
It will be nice to feel the earth there, the dirt.
I have absolutely no expectations. I have a few fears but no expectations. The fears: How I will handle the poverty I might see on the street? Caffeine withdrawal. Getting sick. Not being able to run to a store to buy a charger, shampoo, pads... - the impulse-buy trait developed over my lifetime is a serious burden.
But, tomorrow I go. Imperfectly.
I'll keep a daily "journal", I'll recite prayers daily, I'll sit by the river, I'll stare at the mountain...
In Bhagavad Gita, Kṛṣṇa is referred to as Hṛṣīkeśa because He is the owner of all senses. And Kṛṣṇa is situated in the hearts of all living entities and directs their [our] senses. Bhagavad Gita 11.36 states:
sthāne hṛṣīkeśa tava prakīrtyā
jagat prahṛṣyaty anurajyate ca
rakṣāṁsi bhītāni diśo dravanti
sarve namasyanti ca siddha-saṅghāḥ
Arjuna said: O Hṛṣīkeśa, o master of the senses, the world becomes joyful upon hearing Your name, and thus everyone becomes attached to You. Although the perfected beings offer You their respectful homage, the demons are afraid, and they ﬂee here and there.
So I am going to a place, named after the Controller of the Senses... That's simply perfect.
In preparing for my trip, I listened to a couple of talks given by Krsna Conscious devotees on the subject of, in general, farming and, in essence, God (or Krsna). These talks poured into me, soothing my blistered heart like aloe vera on burns. The idea of God is so deeply personal to me and also the source of so much trauma. These devotees - these preachers - talked about God in such a way I've never heard before. Their God is filled with Love and the practice of attempting to see this Love, is absolute Bliss. I want to know this God. But I want to see God here in this world, in every person. This is what I really want to do - to slay the ego that separates me from the Divine; I want to see God everywhere!
... and Fire and Time, said one preacher, Fire and Time.