the temple had their biggest festival of the year. we harvested every flower in our garden for today. maybe a thousand marigolds all strung up hanging around the temple room. and bouquets of dahlias and daisies and gladiolas and more. it was so fun. the festival is called Bhandara. it’s Maharaj-ji’s Mahasamadhi (the day he left his body). i love that they celebrate that day. why don’t other cultures? death is a birth of sorts, too…depending on what you believe i guess. i had this strange dream the other night. i was dying and floating up like a balloon into the night sky. then, i was watching all these balloons floating up from below and popping, and as they popped, the sky lit up more and more with stars, and then i was flying, bodyless, thru galaxies of stars. guess we don’t know til it’s our turn, but it felt really exciting, like this energy escaping, rather than dissolving, while flying off into total expansiveness.
i will never forget my first visit to Benares, one of my favorite cities in India, and a very holy pilgrimage site for Hindus. it is situated on the Ganges River, also called Ganga Ma (Mother Ganga). many Hindus come to die there and/or be cremated there. Patrick and i were taking a morning boat ride along the Ganga, and our boat driver (or paddler) began talking in Hindi and pointing to the side. there was a young boy, maybe 14 (?), lying in and under a giant mound of giant gold and orange marigolds. his entire body was covered except for his face, like you would bury someone in the sand on a beach. as we watched in total silence, Indians were approaching him one-by-one with more marigolds. we learned that the boy had drowned in the river that morning, just hours before. there was no police, no yellow tape, no commotion. no disturbance at all. just complete respect and love from family and strangers, all caring for this boy and his body. i will never forget that moment. it was among the most beautiful i’ve known.
i haven’t thought of that time in awhile, but the marigolds reminded me today. i have thought a lot about traveling lately, and how i miss it. how i know i want to do more of it with my family in the future. and how it can reveal things to you and grow you in ways that you just can’t otherwise.