Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Aho! Mitakuye Oyasin

A few moon-lit nights back, by the mercy of HG Madhava Ghosh Prabhu and HG Soma Prabhu, I was able to participate in my first sacred sweat lodge ceremony. I'll leave you with the impressions...a straight narrative isn't going to cut it. It isn't going to make you sweat like we all did.....

Grandfathers....Giriraja. Ghosh twinkled his eye in his way, promised it would be an adventure. I just wanted to take a nap on the ride there. This ancient tradition...Ghosh told me I would die and suffer, burn away my impurities. Seeing as that I have mounds and mounds of all kinds of collections of unholiness from lifetimes uncountable, a little heat might go a long way. And hey, if Adi-Guru was down for a sweat, I was down too.

Aho! Haribol! Even in the drizzle, as the Holy Name rose itself into the clean, green air, there was no need for faith that the atmosphere was ready, willing, and able to clear our minds and hearts. But still that faith was there. The fire initially gave itself with difficulty, reluctance...fanning the flames with vigor, that strength of determination that comes automatically from trials and tests of adversity and also from the trust of loving relationships. We banged drums and stood in the mud...Our Mother waiting for us to return to her womb.

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya! Her womb...It is said that when we are within our mother's womb, we are so uncomfortable at the prospect of another life in this material world, that we pray with all urgency at our disposal to Krsna to give the upcoming life in service to Him. This would be the barometer of our experience this evening...

Entering the lodge now, smudged, all brothers, deep respect, a careful anxiety and anticipation. Giriraja...The first five stones enter to our silence. I inhale...exhale, trusting You to do what's right, for You can only do what is right for me, even if my whitebread middle-class mind recoils and flees in fear. I sit determined, stuck to the hottest spot in the lodge, nowhere else to be. I am not my body.

Hey Govinda! The first big wave of heat hits...I wail. Nothing else to do. Don't move. Watch for ashes. Hey Govinda! Soon I start to understand....We swim, deeper and deeper. Our only breath is our prayer, collective and personal. All the halfhearted statements I may make to Your Lotus Feet throughout the day now are the only thing on my mind. Sweat rolls...brothers together. So many things I desire...for now the steam is able to cut through the layers of dust upon my heart. There at the core is the one...sincerity, seva, commitment to vows, taking full shelter of my Guru Maharaja. It becomes one prayer....Hare Krsna Hare Krsna...I realize that if I could just chant my japa always in such heat, such sweat, I would be on the right track.

Grandfather, Mysterious One,
We search for you along this
Great Red Road you have set us on.

Sky Father, Tunkashila,
We thank you for this world.
We thank you for our own existence.
We ask only for your blessing and for your instruction.

Grandfather, Sacred One,
Put our feet on the holy path that leads to you,
and give us the strength and the will
to lead ourselves and our children
past the darkness we have entered.
Teach us to heal ourselves,
to heal each other and to heal the world.

Let us begin this very day,
this very hour,
the Great Healing to come.
Let us walk the Red Road in Peace.

Nrisimham adim sharanam prapadye....Adi-Guru delivers this prayer in his comforting tone of sound...Exactly what I was thinking. Couldn't think of a better place to leave this 80's made Ford vehicle that is my body, but so much work to do. All glories to Prabhupada! All glories to the devotees in this circle, on our Mother Earth! Despite all my faults, addictions, and inabilities, please let me serve all living entities sincerely.

Cool air...we exit offering respects to all our relations, Grandfathers, Giriraja....Giriraja, I beheld You by Your mercy a few months back on sweet parikrama. Now You behold me and give me the heat of your purity so that I may recognize further and further that Your strength is always with me.

Aho! Mitakuye Oyasin (All My Relations)

No comments: