It is a very beautiful part of the Ganges in Rishikesh and we can see the Lukmanjula bridge which is used to cross from one side to another. It is around this area where the Ganges is very clean and in certain areas very good for swimming, (Photo taken by Phil Mondo on his spiritual journey).
We can also see the other long boat which is used very often for crossing.
It was in 1982, but nowadays I am told that this whole area is much developed. At the time there were busy moments especially during the special holy days. This was a fairly quiet day and so we walked over the bridge but am not good at heights and it sways and I was anxious to get across. On the other side there are quite a few ashrams and to the far end was the Maharishi’s Academy where the whole T M movement started and I was hoping maybe it was open for visitors so we could go in and visit but a guard at the entrance said that this place was reserved only for Indians.
On that side, the river runs quietly and close to the shores there are many small rocks and the water makes a lovely sound as it goes by. It is very peaceful and one can sit and meditate. It was nice to discover all around this area where there were several ashrams and the possibilty of getting a fairly reasonable room later on. After a while we crossed back over and went for a swim. The water was lovely.
I had an address of a Sacred Heart Sister who lived in a convent in the area, and I had the map with instructions. We had to walk somewhat going uphill but finally found the place. There was a sign at the gate which indicated that the morning was in silence and interviews were for after 3:30 in the evening. I did not stay.
Sr. Vandana was the sister I knew as some prior years she came to visit our Franciscan House of Prayer in Canada. She did a retreat with me with reflections on the Bhagavad Gita. Their community was a contemplative one and I would have loved to say hello but because of the sign,we moved on.
We came back down the hill and found a beautiful spot where we had a good swim. After the swim, I placed my swim suit on a rock and got dressed and in a short while it was dry. It was around noon and time for lunch. There were some very good and reasonably priced restaurants in the area and luckily no smoke! After lunch we found a rickshaw to take us back over to Ma’s ashram. We were fully packed as the driver took five of us.
In another page, further on, I will explain more about this part of the Ganges where I spent some of the most
important days of my whole trip in India.
As I read these notes from my diary, I realize that when I was writing about my stay at Kankal and my visits to Ananda Moyi Ma, I had no clue of what the future was going to bring
Back to Kankal where I met an Italian guy who became friends and asked if I could teach him meditation. I gave him some instructions to practice on his own before teaching him. We were due to meet again in a few days. After the evening darshan and seeing Ma, I felt waves of devotion and really desired to receive diksha from her. That night, (I wrote in my diary) I had dreams of many dead bodies and she was also present in my dreams. Ma was also in my meditations this morning.
The new house that we were seeing her in, was built not too long ago and this morning early there was an inauguration and I went. I got a very good place near a window where I could see her clearly. It lasted over an hour with lots of prayers and chanting. I watched her closely and thought “surely she is a woman of God.” I desired to meet with her.
The next morning I went down near the Ganges to meet The Italian guy, he was coming for his first meditation and I was doing it as I was taught traditionally with puja and everything. It was not far from here that Maharishi had his early academy and it was there in the early years that my own meditation teacher had learnt and today I was teaching someone.
I never dreamt it would be so, We hoped to find a quiet spot near the river but there was already too many people and it started to drizzle. It would just draw a crowd.
I saw two elderly people taking bath. The water was cold and there were some clouds creating like mist on the distant hills. It was the 29th april 1982.
Soon my student appeared wearing a white cotton courta with rain coat and umbrella and we headed back to my place. He was smiling and he brought fruit and flowers and even camphor for the puja. On arriving at my place there was a note at my door with a blanket from one of Ma’s disciples to let me know that if the rain held up at noon we could take a rickshaw to go to the railway station to see Sr. Vandana.
We were able to sit comfortably and I did the puja and initiated the guy and we meditated for 30 mins. it was very peaceful. I was happy to have done so as he had some tetanus poisoning from a wound on his feet and his doctor said that his bathing in the Ganges did not help. He flew back to Italy and I have never heard from him since.
It rained too much and I could not go to visit Sr. Vandana but one day I met her on a train in the area and we chatted quite a while. their monastery now has grown.
That evening I went to Ma’s house for darshan and was lucky to be standing next to a window which opened and there she was. She asked for her glasses and putting them on, she looked directly into my eyes. I placed my hands together and bowed Jai Ma!
After darshan I was down near the Ganges again cupping my hands drinking its waters. It seems as though i could never get enough. I went back to my place and slept.!
I wrote a special page about the birds and animals around the Ganges in this area.
There are many swallows that make their nests in houses and temples and places where people gather.
As in most places in India there are also many crows.
On the banks of the Ganges near the ghats and where bodies are burnt, I noticed some huge white birds like ibis. I have seen beautiful king fishers, woodpeckers, doves and pigeons and some green parrots that make their nests in holes in the walls and many birds of varieties I do not know.
There are batches of monkeys that pass through some three times a day, early morning, lunch time and again in the evening. I notice that kids and some grown ups are always throwing stones and chasing them.
Then there are the pigs, garbage collectors as they eat all those things that we wont to put our bare-feet on. There are many dogs, mainly sickly one with skin diseases. They usually hang around the cremation ghats looking for some human left-over meat.
I have never seen such a collection of sick cows, some with broken bones or legs. I noticed one huge black cow on the banks of the river behind the Shiva temple where there was some grass. She moved about on that patch of grass very painfully.
At times when I went in the water, I could perceive some fish which came and pecked at my feet. I noticed donkeys too as they were used to transport the wood for the funeral pyres at times. Of all these creatures I loved the parrots the most.
Yesterday as I stood in the drizzle on the banks of the Ganges, I saw two green parrots perched on a branch and kissing one another. In my room there is a squirrel, several lizards and a rat which comes visiting regularly not the mention the occasional scorpion and mosquitoes at nights. Also Kankal is a city of flies!
I took a bus to Rishikesh to see if I had any mail and the bus broke down and so we had to wait for over an hour for another. When I got off, the ticket collector short changed me as usual. I got back to my place exhausted and went down to the Ganges and washed my white pants and while they dried in the sun, I went in for a swim. when I came out and walking back to my room I felt so relaxed. The Ganges to me, was so refreshing I loved it more and more each day.
Teachings of Anandamayi Ma
Your sorrow, your pain, your agony is indeed my sorrow. This body understands everything. You may want to leave this body. But this body won’t leave you for a single day – it does not and never will leave you. One, who has once been attracted to this body, even though he may make a thousand attempts, will not be able to efface or blot out the memory of this body. It will remain and persist in his memory for all time.
“You should kindle fire by any means, either with clarified butter or sandalwood or even straw. Once alight, the fire burns on; all worries, darkness and gloom gradually disappear. The fire will burn to ash all obstacles.”
“Always bear this in mind: Everything is in God’s hands, and you are His tool to be used by Him as He pleases. Try to grasp the significance of ‘all is His’. and you will immediately feel free from all burdens. What will be the result of your surrender to Him? None will seem alien, all will be your very own Self.”
“Just as fire burns away all dross and rubbish, so the three fold suffering purges man’s heart from all impurity and results in a growing single mindedness in his search after Truth. When he becomes deeply conscious of his weakness and tormented by the thoughts of his undesirable impulses and distressing characteristics, when afflictions like poverty, bereavement or humiliation make him feel his life is futile, then and then only does he develop real faith and religious fervor, and becomes anxious to surrender himself at the feet of the Supreme Being. Suffering should therefore be welcomed. Never does the soft moonlight appear more soothing than after the scorching heat of a summer day.”
“To believe in Him under any particular form is not enough. Accept Him in His numberless forms, shapes and modes of being, in everything that exists. Aim at the whole and all your actions will be whole.”
Enquire: ‘Who am I?’ and you will find the answer. Look at a tree: from one seed arises a huge tree; from it comes numerous seeds, each one of which in its turn grows into a tree. No two fruits are alike. Yet it is one life that throbs in every particle of the tree. So, it is the same Atman everywhere.
All creation is that: There is beauty in the birds and in the animals. They too eat and drink like us, mate and multiply; but there is this difference: we can realize our true nature, the Atman. Having been born as human beings, we must not waste this opportunity. At least for a few seconds every day, we must enquire as to who we are. It is no use taking a return ticket over and over again. From birth to death, and death to birth is samsara. But really we have no birth and death. We must realize that.”
“Suffering is sent to remind you to turn your thoughts towards That which is real – to God who will give you solace.”
“Joys and sorrows are time-born and cannot last. Therefore, do not be perturbed by these. The greater the difficulties and obstructions, the more intense will be your endeavor to cling to His feet and the more will your prayer increase from within. And when the time is ripe, you will gain mastery over this power.”
“Whenever you possibly can, sustain the flow of a sacred Name. To repeat His name is to be in His presence. If you associate with the Supreme Friend, He will reveal His true being to you.”
“As you love your own body, so regard everyone as equal to your own body. When the Supreme Experience supervenes, everyone’s service is revealed as one’s own service. Call it a bird, an insect, an animal or a man, call it by any name you please, one serve’s one’s own Self in every one of them.”
God is within everyone, but man goes out in search of Him. This is what constitutes God’s Play and God’s