A world so different, a thought so pure, and powers that are beyond our understanding. This is the world of Hinduism, of Shiva and Shakti, where temples, architecture, iconography, literature, scriptures, art and music bring home the value of living in India.
Chilling winds blow through the mountains as the fog descends on to sacred land. There in the horizon, high up overhanging the cliff stands a small temple, with a character so profound, my feet remain stuck in the earth as I look up to this splendor, this beauty that feels like a divine gift from heaven.
Brass bells hang down inviting me into this mystical world of beauty and power that I wonder as why I am wasting my life in this mundane reality when my heart yearns out to be with the Lord, here in his heavenly abode.
Lost in a world of its own, inaccessible to all those who either dont know or dont care, cradled in the lap of mother nature, with a few ancient stones put together to sanctify a presence of the Lord who once graced this planet, here stands the small and quaint temple of Lord Tungnath Shiva.
The Garhwal Himalayas tower around as a protective cover to this splendid workmanship once meticulously put together in stone. Such is the poetry that mystically covers this land, this earth, this temple, the sacred hands that once fell to the earth when Lord Shiva tried to escape from the Pancha Pandavas.
The bells ring, reverberating sounds pierce the air as the fog clears to let the bright sunlight through. White clad, ice laiden, transforming this beauty into a mystical maiden, Tungnath temple leaves anyone breathless over how beautiful the world can really be. The red flag of the Gods flies hight up into the air, the eroded rock wake up to another day of chilling weather, and the white snow gleams in the sunlight describing the untouched beauty of Tungnath.
My feet penetrate the snow that blankets this earth as the sunlight directs me to the open doors of heaven. My heart melts, my emotions sink, my eyes are frozen staring into this clear silence in the wind. Nandi sits in divine presence, the sound of OM becoming even more clearer as he sits at the doorstep of Lord Shiva in silent meditation.
In this chill, I sit for a while, closing my eyes, feeling my breath as I descend into meditating on the sacred verses of Trayambaka Shiva. There is nothing here, simple void, just the stark presence of the Lord makes one feel in union. The chill in the air, the clear blue sky, the constant sound of the bells, the sweet verses that roll out of my self and the deep breath that gathers momentum after repeating the sacred syllables. This is meditation, this is dhyanam, this is what the world looks like when we give up all materialism and desire.
The belief that great souls once walked this earth, the faith that there is power and purity in this land, the living power of sacred meditation now housed within stone walls of a small quaint temple, built centuries ago to preserve the truth that divinity still rules, love still exists, surrender is the only path and enlightenment is the only way forward to the next life. What a different thought, what a different feeling to live this profound worship.
I sit here swinging between two worlds. I met her, a practicing tantric and what a wonderful woman she turned out to be. She unraveled her life, a life that appeared to be a part of me. She sang her way through, she is the ultimate romantic. Just watching her is a pleasure. Just listening to her sweet words is an experience. Being with her brings me this uncanny joy and excitement I have never felt before. She once knew the real meaning of Bhairava, she once practiced Tantra.
With her presence my whole imaginary world of the Gods sprung back to life. The Lord reappeared into this intoxicating space. He lured me to this world of magic, of divinity and of such amazing charm that one could lie there swollen with love, paralyzed and drowning in bliss.
He breaks out of his stony shackles; he dances the wild dance of love. He awakens in me this strange frenzy that is waiting to just burst out of my contained human self. I am wild, I am free. I am that which you do not see. I am the eternal Bhairavi locked in this human temple for this life.
In this mystical realm, where all the Gods and celestial beings live, where charm and beauty are beyond the unthinkable, where intellect is pure and of superior nature, where the language of speech is that within the mind and where the essence of life is pure energy and love. There are no secrets, there is no good or bad, this is my world, the celestial land of the dancing Gods.
Nataraja dances gracefully, his long locks sway in gentle waves in the wind. Parvati seated in divine charm, a golden glow that surrounds her envelopes my heart. Chamunda and Kali bring out their wilderness, such depth in their beauty, such warmth in their eyes, such power in their being I have never seen or felt.
Is this the real worship in my heart, are these the silent depths I ache to see, is this that mystical world I want to be a part of... O Divine Lord, how much longer do I wait to have a glimpse of your divine feet? To be a part of divine land, to take a dip every day at the Ganges, to feel the cold of the mountains, to breathe the silence of the cave, to bathe in the tranquility of life and to view the very Lord every day...Ah! What a life, what an eternal moment of joy.
My eternal home, by a small shrine made for the Lord, by a small kund that holds water so pure, by the walls of towering mountains. To live on sacred ground surrounded by Shiva lingams, to live under the shadow of the divine Trishula, to be a part of that charming archaic world in stone, to smell the pure air and listen to the reverberation of the temple bell echo around the hill side... what a life. Photo courtesy: James G. Lochtefeld personal.carthage.edu