Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Abhishek of the Earth

There has been no rain for weeks - the drought has struck the entire Southeastern coast of the United States. The smoke from fires up north has chased down to Florida and has suffocated the air for weeks now - trees and people are smoky outlines. I have felt stifled and heavy from shallow breathing for too long. The previous day, the temple president had announced that we would sing as a community - I kid you not - 12 hours of bhajans every single day to pray for rain. We were to begin today. 

Yet as I pull into the temple for the Sunday Feast, little puffs of dirt rise from the parched earth as rain begins to descend. And when I offer my respects to Radhe Shyam in the templeroom, the downpour begins.

Aaaahh.... How exhilarating! At last, rain.

As we raise our voices, booming claps of thunder and the roar of rain resonate through the closed doors.

What am I doing inside?

So I step out onto the verandah, slipping along the wall to where I can sit down. I watch as devotees brave their way from their cars, dashing through the rain with tiny umbrellas and huge grins. And God Bless Alachua, but we overgrew our facility five years ago, so basically you're in the templeroom (dry) or on the verandah (wet). Or, like me, you're curled up in a tiny [slightly] dry nook, chanting.

I gaze out into the magnificent rain, the wind whipping the trees, and I close my eyes and bask in the glory of the thunderstorm.

I breathe deep, the sweet air soothing me. At last, at last. And then, as if a switch turns on, the sound of the temple kirtan threads its way to my ears. I envision the kartalas, mridangas, and the resonance of hundreds of voices suffusing the rain with sweetness. I smile - like rose water.

Hmmm... like abhishek of the earth...


Anuradha Kesavi said...

I just wanted to comment on your beautiful expression. You write quite well and sing wonderfully too :)
All the best for everything!

Jahnavi said...

This was SO beautiful Bhakti - thunderstorms are so inspiring and your wonderful description brought me right into that moment...what a meditation :)

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