I was recently able to spend several weeks in India, and while I was there I spent a considerable amount of time on the Ganga. Known affectionately as Maa Ganga, this river is considered sacred by Indians, and her healing effects are felt by everyone who meets her.
My next real meeting with Maa Ganga (aside from a
From the town of Rishkesh we traveled north to The Glass House, which was our beautiful retreat location. The Glass House sits right on the Ganga, and we got to spend a glorious week chanting to her, playing in her, and meditating with her. She was quite rough here, and her force was one not to be played with. She demanded respect, and it was obvious that she had tremendous powers to transform, cleanse, and heal. Watching her rush by and hearing her roar is something I will never forget.
One day we took a trip to Vasishta’s Guha. This cave sits along the river, and I found Maa Ganga’s temperament to be much different here. In this place, she was gentle and soft, quiet and nourishing. Her grace fits the scene beautifully – this is a place for deep meditation, as Vasishta and countless others have done before me. Unfortunately my meditation in the cave was long enough that I didn’t get to visit the water’s edge here, but I didn’t need to be on her banks to feel her energy. She quietly whispered to me from the mouth of the cave, and that was enough.
I spent day after day with Maa Ganga, having my chai with her, offerings her my prayers, hunting for rocks, washing my feet, shedding tears and experiencing peace. Before my trip I was holding on to sadhanas that I had been doing daily for a long time – some practices for months, and one practice was part of my sadhana for two full years. I was often times just doing my practices and no longer feeling them because they had gotten so familiar, but I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) let them go. When I got to India, I decided to stop clinging and just allow myself to experience all that was being offered. I realized that so much of what I had been holding on so tightly to was simply no longer serving me. Sometimes we have to let go in order to reach for something new. It was in that realization that I was able to transform my sadhana, and experience the grace of the Divine in a different way. I have no doubt about the role that the river played in this experience.
Jai Maa Gange Svaha!!