Tuesday, July 7, 2009

2009 07 07 Tuesday.

2009 07 07 Tuesday.

Today is Guru Purnima. In the Hindu lunar calendar its the annual day when devout Hindus in India and around the world celebrate and honor their guru. As you can imagine, its a pretty big deal here at the ashram. This morning I was told that there would be no breakfast served. The only food would be the prasad they serve after the morning Guru Purnima ceremony. Prasad is blessed food (usually something sweet) that is offered first to the guru or temple deity and then offered to the people attending the ceremony. The main ceremony started at around 8:15am. I was doing some of my morning sadhana and got to the ceremony in the Kali Temple around 8:45am or so. It was packed. In the front was a beautifully decorated chair with a big picture of Amma that was draped with flower garlands. One of Amma's senior ocher robed swamis was leading the ceremony, seated on the floor, chanting and throwing flowers petals into a big heap in front of the chair. I think deep under the heap of flowers were some sandals that Amma may have worn at some point. I've seen that at other Amma ceremonies. Then they sang some bhajans with the speakers cranked up way too loud. Ouch! You guys wanna make my ears bleed or something?

Then we all got in line to throw a few flower petals in front of Amma's chair and bow down. It was a long line and the older, really short Indian man behind me was pushing at my back the whole time. Its an Indian thing, just part of their culture. I was about 18 inches taller and apparently that was highly annoying to him. Or maybe he has a fetish for tall skinny western men. More likely he was just very eager for his chance to offer flowers to Amma's picture. If someone is annoying me because they're crazy for Amma, well . . . perhaps that's OK. My Amma friends back in the US annoyed me all the time; I should be used to it by now. (Hey Sanatan and Jagadish! How can I intensely practice patience and forgiveness when you're not around?) Being in a good mood, I just took the old man's constant pressing against my back as one of Amma's little tests of my patience and forgiveness. I usually fail these tests in spectacular crash-and burn fashion, but this one went OK. Purely Amma's grace. Putting up with all the zillion things that annoy me may help to make a small dent in my towering mountain of smelly putrid karma.

I finally got to add my handful of flowers to the big heap in front of Amma's picture and bow down. Jai Ma! Maybe it was just the energy of the crowd but I got a nice feeling when I got close to Amma's chair. Perhaps the nice feeling was because the location where we bowed down was right where the senior swami was sitting leading the ceremony. More and more I think the swamis definitely have some special spiritual energy that they keep mostly hidden. I'm scheming of ways I could get to massage their feet. Any ideas?

Then I went to get my prasad. It was about 10am and I was pretty hungry. I know, I know . . . always thinking about my stomach. Well, it does a lot of hard thankless work digesting all the food I cram into it so I like to give it a treat when I can. They gave us a ball of some dark brown sweet, a small cup of hot sweet pudding (payasim) and some sweet crumbly yellow treat. Looked like crumbled laddus. Really good! Definitely better than the dry tasteless communion wafers we got in Catholic church when I was a wee laddie. (To any Catholic readers: just a little teasing fun. Now go say some Hail Marys for reading this heathen blog.)

On the way back to my room I was surprised to see the very nice Korean guy who lives on my floor with a plate of Indian food. I asked "They're serving breakfast?!" He smiled and said yes. He has a beautiful smile. I went to my room, grabbed my bag and plate and got a nice hot plate of watery rice and some unidentified lightly spiced yellow curry. When I went to get a second helping of the curry, all the food pots were gone. Oh, well. No problem because the prasad was also digesting nicely in my belly so I had enough jammed in there to hold me till lunch.

I'm looking through some of the recent entries and see my blog has gotten slightly boring (maybe more than slightly). I've been really busy with the compost project and haven't had time to add some of the spicy flourishes I like to add to the entries. Things may get worse cause when Amma gets here there will definitely be a lot more food waste to compost.

("Spicy flourishes" translates to "stuff I make up".)

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