Day 19 – 21: Shimla – Haridwar/ Rishikesh ( 290 Kms 7-8 hrs ) – University Yoga Study Stay. Today after morning breakfast check out from Shimla hotel and drive to Haridwar. It is an ancient city and important Hindu pilgrimage site in North India’s Uttarakhand state, where the River Ganges exits the Himalayan foothills. It has the largest of several sacred ghats (bathing steps), Har Ki Pauri hosts a nightly Ganga Aarti (river-worshipping ceremony) in which tiny flickering lamps are floated off the steps. Worshippers fill the city during major festivals including the annual Kanwar Mela. On arrival check in at University of your own, overnight stay at University Guest house for teachers. Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya
Driving downhills from the Himalayas, energy has changed around me. I knew all is going to be different, I have already crossed a mid-section of my travel and oncoming travel sequence was focused on a yoga and wellness. I gladly left Shimla’s romantic city memories behind and allowed a new a natural feelings entered my heart.
Somewhere between Shimla and Haridwar on the downhill…
As always, we had to hurry up to get to a final destination of today: Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya University, Haridwar before dust. I was fully dependent on my driver’s judgment and driving skills, and truly I followed him along without any fuzz, stopping only for brief moments for refreshment and his cigarette. We saw many attractions along our journey: local people dressed in a Hamachi traditional costume posting for photos, many pilgrims groups bathing in a holy river. By the way, they looked to me they were actually living on the bank of a river, it might be viewed as an Indian style get away for a whole family. But I wouldn’t ever forget one stop because of her, a TEA HOUSEKEEPER.
Do you feel thirsty in your bones if a Goddess suddenly passing by you?
To my surprise, the tea housekeeper was a woman. Beautiful one! The power was steaming from her solar plexus and since a moment, I have entered her territory, she has got her eyes on me. No English at all! But truly, my friends, do you think that Goddesses need any word to express their GODDESSHOOD? She read me well, she had that ability.
To get to this place of that power she embodied all women should realize that our Goddess strength is not in our “equality” to or our ability to compete with men. Our true power lies in our tenderness and delicate ways of influencing everyone behind the scene. By the way, every man, from the West or the East, by default craves feminine gentleness and the kind of closeness and intimacy only a woman can give. This Goodness in her female body got it all covered.
She was a real woman, in her late 30’, strong body build; she moved gracefully knowing her way around her Goddess’s land. She welcomed me with a smile and her scan preview, from a head to my feet; I smiled back, shying my eyes away and then, our inner communication between us started. What I knew from my first inner glance on her that she was Muslim and she wanted to be blessed by me. She invited me into her energy field. I did my moves and in a matter of about one minute, we are hugging each other, laughing and smiling.
From a distance, we might look like TWO SISTERS greeting each other after a long time being apart. Like two Goddesses who have married away to two different kingdoms, and now, they returned back to their homeland for a visit. Then, she turned and did something unusual; she run behind her tea house and brought me her son, a small boy was still sleeping! I was honored by her heart welcoming gesture, sharing her treasure with me, I knew what it meant!
“I RECOGNIZED HER IN ME.”
All people in her tea house were speechlessly witnessing ‘Two Goddesses Dance’ swaying on their own drum’s music. At the end of our brief meeting, she blessed me in her language and I crossed her on the 3td eye and sealed all with my kiss.
Viewing this encounter through the mystical lens, now I know, it was a feminine initiation for a higher altitude travel for me; not knowing a real final effect on my travel. Afterward, Perm, my driver, he was mumbling under his nose, “I told you, madam, you are “maharani ji” for all of us, if you only see yourself, as I saw you there” pointed out to the Tea House’s place slowly disappearing behind us.
HARIDWAR: Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya University – Science & Spirituality.
We arrived at the University campus, just before dark. I still could see beautiful greenery and flower beds, it looks like a paradise garden compares with dusty roads of India. Night lightings with prayers and chanting sounds from distance created a perfect spiritual atmosphere that I know from my dreams. Here we were in a mist of unknown mystery moving us towards something not experienced in India yet. I felt like I just arrived in my “dreamed India” we, as “western yoga lovers govers,” keep dreaming about – a place full of beauty, respect and harmony.
I was happy to meet Jwalant Bhausar, administration officer, who was still waiting for my arrival.
“Welcome to our university, your room is on the top floor of our teacher Guest House and your dinner will be served on the second floor.”
All was so organized and presented in a quiet manner. Even my driver, he got his private room and board and I gave him a full day off to replenish his energy, so deserved after all days of driving.
I found my yoga palace in India, it felt like home! After dinner and refreshment, I went for a stroll to explore my new surrounding with hope to meet my FB friend/ a yoga mentor for me Ghulam Askari Zaidi who is an Assistant Professor, School of Yoga and Health here.
“Be a GIRL with a yoga mat and mind of Holy, a WOMAN with attitude to stand up and rock the house and a Traveling LADY on her global journey.”
Taking a smart street approach, I asked one of a female student if she knows him. She smiled “everybody knows him here, he is an amazing teacher and he is a poet as well.” From nowhere, he was standing behind me waiting quietly on his turn to interrupt our girls talk. My friend had incredible credentials as Assistant Professor, School of Yoga and Health, Naturopath in University’s Polyclinic. He is a Member of Cultural Department and Sports committee in DSVV. He is in mid-30’, married with one son. I must admit the girl was right saying “by the way, he is handsome as well”, added at the end of her talk.
Since that moment, my campus stay was overlooked by him. He wanted me to experience and to learn as much as I can handle during my limited time here.
The University mission statement states:
“To unite contemporary education with spiritual training to cultivate well – rounded, competent and personality uplifted graduates who have a scientifically grounded understanding and experience of spiritual transformation and a powerful drive to use their gifts to promote the greater good of the society.”
Academically, they established harmony between science and spirituality which is not an easy matter to do it. Under the guidance of Chancellor Dr. Pranac Padaya, whom I had my honor to meet him later, a special department was open here for scientific spirituality through cosmology, Ayurvedic science, and Bhagawad Gita. It was too much to absorb for me at once, not having him next to me, I might be lost in a process. He guided me well and a step by step I aligned with the inner dynamic of the university life.
Firstly, he was focused on yoga and naturopathy and allowed me to experience their yoga classes and naturopathic clinic procedures. It was so needed for my aching body. I was just wondering in a spirit “How can all be done so magically?” It is so different from the world from behind the gate full of dust, chaos, and despair? It truly must be Divine power guiding the university management/ ashram accomplish all with joy, happiness, and harmony.
My first living GURU from the North.
It was truly a moment to remember to be in his presence. I have never been in a presence of a living Guru in my life. I only heard stories or know their faces from images and here I was standing in a front him, just one meter from him being introducing to him by my mentor. I couldn’t believe he arrived on the time for the University evening assembly, just on the dot! Not Indian clock runs in him. I didn’t know what to say and how to behave. I just was who I am, smiled and waited for him to make a move. After a brief intro of who I am by my yoga mentor, he looked and me saying “I wish to see you, Veronika, at morning for more talk.”
Not knowing what it really meant, I learned it was an invitation for a Guru Morning visitation. It was a mission to accomplish. Time was so busy there and when I saw an orange crowd of hundreds of people in a front of the ashram waiting, I thought I rather not to go. But this was “NO” for my Indian friends who know their way to get me there just on time.
Sitting in a car, I was observing how everything works. Gulam was calling and talking a lot and then, a car door opened and he said “we are ready now; you will follow this man, just stay behind his back. Talk to nobody and he will get you there.”
I felt like James Bonds, Agent 007 on a secret mission when “the West is going to meet the East” in a close encounter!
No time to waste, we have only a few minutes to get you there.” And it happened as he said, I just went through all tiny passages, stairs, a leaving behind plenty of waiting for people, and then, I looked up and I found myself in a large room with a few people in a line moving slowly and bowing down in front of Guru and his wife.
I observed their way of approach and once I was ready to knee in a respect, he smiled saying to his wife “and here is Veronika from Canada, a travel writer and yoga teacher.” Wow! He remembered me from our last night brief moment, impressive! He took my business card from my hand, “can you stay longer to experience our university?” I apologized I couldn’t for this time around but I said “next time, I will stay longer and then I will write about to share my experience with the world!” my answer made him laugh.
There was no time to share about building energy in my soul: “West Meets East” Yin & Yang Yoga yoga workshop that crossed my mind and soul. I shared this only with my mentor. He said very seriously “and, therefore, you must come back ….so much we can do with YOGA for both countries!”
Just a brief scoop of a yoga teaching – still only in my mind:
Allow Yoga & Healing Arts with Veronika to take you on a healing journey to your intuitive, creative and authentic self—the True Being, awakened! Learn how to express your soul’s longing by consciousness movements and asana; like in a story telling you will delve into soul myth that awakens your imagination and speak of a truth yet unexplored in your body and life.
My weekend’s stay flew fast, I left this amazing place with ever felt desire to come back for a longer time to embody yoga science completely. I have the desire to be bathed by a spiritual life as I observed here. As they all wake up at 5 AM and participate in activities like Yagya, prayers, and meditation. After all, classes are completed, melodious tunes of flute music fill up the air and students sit for their evening meditation. Their spiritual life creates their destiny…..I kept this memory in my heart forever.
RISHIKESH: Mecca of Yoga in India.
As Lonely Planet writes about Rishikesh “Ever since the Beatles rocked up at the ashram of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the late ‘60s, Rishikesh has been a magnet for spiritual seekers. Today it styles itself as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’, with masses of ashrams and all kinds of yoga and meditation classes. Most of this action is north of the main town, where the exquisite setting on the fast-flowing Ganges, surrounded by forested hills, is conducive to meditation and mind expansion. In the evening, an almost supernatural breeze blows down the valley, setting temple bells ringing as sadhus (‘holy’ men), pilgrims and tourists prepare for the nightly Ganga aarti (river worship ceremony). You can learn to play the sitar or tabla; try Hasya yoga (laughter therapy), practice meditation or take a punt on crystal healing.”
I must admit, soothing waters of Ganges made a noticeable calming effect on my soul. I was accompanied by my driver, Perm, when we met my FB friend Sunil and his lovely family. I couldn’t believe that he went through all trouble and brought his beautiful wife and two kids to meet Traveling Lady Moon. I truly appreciated his small gift for me; jewelry set from natural stones – earrings and necklet- from a local market that suits me so well. Actually, he is a very first person I got a gift from in India. My friend, he is his late 40’, a trade business man. He has his own company producing kitchen equipment for hotels. We talk and walk along Ganga upgrading our FB friendship into a real friendship. Prem’s translation came handy so all around our lunch table we share our food, stories, and laughter flawlessly. Rishikesh kept so much calming memory for me, I wish to go back again.
Can you smell a human body as it turns into dust during sunset over Ganga?…
Edit: Glenn Williams