Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Long-Awaited Bath

June 20th, 2013

I lived in the holy village of Mayapur, India for 8 months and I had never taken a sacred bath in the waters of the River Ganga. My very last day in Mayapur, I was on a mission to submerge my chanting beads in the Ganga. I had thought that maybe I would also bathe, but now that time was ticking closer and closer to my departure, I started to chicken out. It was impractical; I would have wet clothes, I'd need to take a shower and pack up...

Finally, at 1 in the afternoon with the sun high in the sky, I made my way to Prabhupad Ghat between the tall waving grasses. I approached Mother Ganga reverently and offered my obeisance, the silky mud pressing against my knees, palms, and forehead. 

I stood up, folded my palms and offered prayers. Then I crouched down and submerged my beads in the river, chanting the holy name. I swished the beads in the golden brown water, the sun glinting off of the surface. Reverent pilgrims were offering beautiful Sanskrit prayers before bathing.

I prayed to Mother Ganga to please support me in my vows on the path to the Lord.

I waded my way out of the shallow water and stood on the bank, gazing at the beautiful, sacred river. My heart began to pound. I should just leave, it's too late now, too much of a hassle...

Then I thought, "I would never forgive myself if I had come all this way across the world, lived in Mayapur for 8 months, came to her waters the day I left... and never took bath."

With that, I set my beads aside on the bank, took off my shawl... and wearing my full salwar top and pants I waded into the waters. The water was cool and sweet. The mud squished between my toes.  I was grinning, giggling. 

When I reached a spot about hip-deep, I slid back and dunked all the way down! Woo-hoo!! Cool water washed over me. I dunked again. I was immersed in cool golden sunlight. I dunked a third time and came up, palms folded, grinning, laughing. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for giving me the courage, thank you.

May I go out into the world now and share Your love. 

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