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The Kavadi Cremony

Srilanka Jaffna

sunny 28 °C
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The Kavadi Ceremony
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On the way to Trichnapali from Jaffna i was amazed to see a truck coming towards my car blaring spiritual music which sounded like an arti . It was well decorated with photographs of goddess Durga painted on it , but what took my attention was a man bobbing up and down like a yo yo on strings which was attached to a leaver .
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On top of the leaver stood a man jumping up and down making the guy hanging by the string bob up and down even faster . I asked my driver to stop the car , i jumped out in excitement this was something i had to take a closer look at . I went near this truck and realised that the strings that man was hanging on were attached to iron hooks which were imbedded into the flesh of the man’s back and he was hanging in mid air bobbing up and down by quick thrusts applied by the other man who was jumping on top of the leaver . This was indeed a unique site as kids and women thronged to the truck to take photo’s . The man also had a iron hook going through his cheeks as he looked like a fish caught by a fishing rod . I tried to make sense of all this and rushed into the temple near by .
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There i saw more devotees getting their backs pierced by the local priest , who put oil and cream on their flesh and then inserted iron hooks six inches thick into the flesh of their backs. Then they were also suspended into thin air in this manner ,as the crowd cheered and rooted for them . I was told this is the famous Kawadi Ceremony and is performed by the local people to please the gods so that they can keep bad spirits and omens away from their loved ones .
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It was also performed to keep away famine and sickness away from the villages . I took many a snaps of this unique and fascinating ritual as the kids danced around me . It is amazing how pain has been used as a medium to please the god’s . In islamic faith muhurram is a ritual performed in which people hurt their bodies with knives and lashes till blood oozes out of their body in order to please allah . In india Aghodi’s carry out similar ritual’s to please Shamshan Tara the goddess of the Shamshaan. Human and animal sacrifice has been used for years in many tantric cults . This however was an amazing site as not a drop of blood came out from the body of these devotees . I wanted to try this but was too sacred to , so just took snaps and savoured in this unique ritual .
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In Jaffna i also walked into the famous Murugappa temple , which is a temple made to by homage to lord shiva’s son . It reminded me of the famous temples of Thiruvantpuram in it’s structure and architecture. Full of painting of Parvanti , Ganesh and other deities of the gods , it was grand in it’s splendour with a little pond right in the middel of the temple.

But above all the Kawadi ceremony was the highlight of my day as i reached thrichnapali in the evening to relax in my hotel and savour the experience for the night.

Posted by Anuj Tikku 07:31 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged ocean religion srilanka columbo Comments (0)

columbo to jaffna by road

Jaffna

semi-overcast 28 °C
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Columbo to Jaffna by Road

Got up early today the driver arrived on time around eight in the morning . I had my trip planned by the staff at the Regent Hotel it is an eight day road journey around the coast and northern area’s of Srilanka , covering more then dozen cities like Candy , Trichnapali and many others . The road trip to Jaffna started smoothly . My Driver Jhoseph spoke good english and was alert all the way . We stopped over at a few ancient Hindu Temples on the way . The most remarkable thing i found was how distinctly different these temples and deities were from the ones i had seen in other south indian cities like Kochi and Thiruvantapuram . The colours were very bright and vibrant the sculptures of the various god’s , devi’s and diva’s also varied from the ones i had seen in say Kanyakumari and other South Indian cities . The domes of the temples carried the images of devi’s and diva’s itself , blue , pink and gold were the predominate colours used .

We stopped over at various eateries on the way i tried a beef samosa for the first time here . The Chicken and mutton dishes were very spicy and hot and reminded me of the Chittanad cuzine of India . I smoked the local Dunhill cigarets on the way and enjoyed the coconut water and pineapples . The coconut water in this part of the world is sweeter and the coconut is yellow in colour .

We stopped over at the Jaffna Lagoon on the way which had a huge Buddha staring into the Horizon . I chatted with some locals and some policemen .They informed me that Jaffna is now a peaceful area and their is no fear of the LTTE or their notorious gang leader Prabhakaran . The journey was a long one it took us twelve hours to reach Jaffna and finally to my hotel

Posted by Anuj Tikku 08:11 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged people ocean temple religion srilanka columbo Comments (0)

The Saint's Of The East

Badrinath , Kedarnath ,Hrishikesh

The Holy Men of Asia

India being such an ancient and wondurus civilisation is the land of holy men , aesthetic , Sadu’s and Saints. My travels took me to far away places which are the gem’s of indian spirituality , smouldering with the flavour of Hinduism these pilgrimages where the most enriching experiences of my travelthon. From the banks of ganaga in Hrishekesh and Haridwar . The sadhu’s were everywhere .Smoking chillums , meditating , chatting and drinking sugar cane juice . Some throwing food to the monkey’s that crowd the many temples of the holy cities. In the morning the sadhu’s come for the holy dip into the river . Many come to them to perform puja for their ancestor’s and haw an . In Haridwar their is a famous eatery called Chotiwala which has it’s symbol as a pot bellied sadhu with a huge pony tail. I meet Haridas a sadhu in Hrishikesh “ I pray only at 3 ‘o’ clock in the morning , it’s the best time of the night all energies are aligned and one can get into trance dental states with ease , if one focusses and meditates on the lord Shiva.” Haridas had lived in Kenya for years and was in the Human Resource business until he lost his fortune and thus lost fiends and his only wife . Most of his family are a bunch of greedy liar’s according too him and that is why he became a Sadhu . “ I have been wandering these holy places , also Kedarnath , Chaar Dhaam and the Himalaya’s for two decades now , look at my skin it is all dark and black . I sleep under trees and bate in the river small price to pay for the freedom one enjoy’s “. He was a enthusiastic admirer of OSHO and despised most holy men to be fakes and quacks. “ It’s just a money making exercise , i go to these sabha’s which are telecasted on spiritual channels on T.V , most of the crowd is paid there . When i am short of money i go to these places one can earn a fe thousand bucks just by being there.

In Kedarnath i meet Badri , a young Naga who was covered in ash , with huge dread locks and a trident in his hand , he looked like the fearsome Shiva. I told him about the tragic death of my father and he said don’t worry just remember at any given point of time the universe is giving you the best result . Life moves from perfection to perfection . With these words he blessed me and gave me a silver leaf , which i still carry in my wallet .

In Badrinath i meet Veer a sadhu who begged outside the Badrinath Temple . He was old and dark and smoked bhang . He invited me to his den i sat amongst his merry group to smoke the prasad of Shambhu every day before i went a for a swim into the Garam Kundh . It is a place were pilgrims bathe and purify themselves . Just under the temple run’s the ganga in all it’s rage and icy cold. Badri worshiped kali and sang old bhajan which were a treat to listen . I treated him to a dosa and lassi for lunch and thanked him for his smoke.

Posted by Anuj Tikku 11:08 Archived in India Tagged temple religion holy saint sages pious Comments (0)

In Search Of With In

OSHO ASHRAM PUNE

30 °C

The Search of With In

My meandering ways and my travels through india took me to a most fascinating place . Situated in the bustling town of Pune to a mystical ashram called the OSHO international Centre . The Ashram was created by Bhagwaan Rajneesh and his disciples in the early 1970’s .It was re christened as the osho ashram in the late 1980’s when the spiritual guru Rajneesh took up the name of OSHO which means the one on whom the heavens shower their blessings . The resort is now extensively used for meditation and many other therapies . In the middle of the resort stands a towering pyramid like auditorium which is used for Dynamic meditation in the morning and meditations like Kundalini Jagran and Nathbraham . Each of these uses sound and breathing techniques to put the subject slowly into a trance . As one goes deeper into oneself the mind begins to go quite all the cutter stops and slowly one drops the mind completely . This is called the state of the samadhi or what we call no mind . All that is left is the the breath and all that will remain is no mind . As one goes inwards into oneself a realisation dawns that you are not the mind nor the body all you are is the self or what the mystics called Sath Chit Anand . This way total bliss is attained .

The Nathbraham is another fascinating meditation you have to listen to the music and humm in a low breath once you drop the mind and reach the inner most core of your being a realisation of the ‘I’ is achieved . As one comes back from the meditation one begins to laugh very loudly . I came out of the meditation hall and stated laughing aloud . When i asked the instructor why was a laughing he told me “ You see through this meditation your inner being has been classed all sadness , hate , sorrow , defeat all negativity has been removed . So the only thing that is left is a hollow space which is taken over by laughter that is why you were laughing” .

But my most fascinating experience was when i was doing the dynamic meditation in the morning . We were asked to jump and dance with the music . I had my keys in my pocket which began to jingle and make noise .The instructor got annoyed and asked me to leave the meditation hall , she came out and ranted “ you are disturbing everyones meditation get out and go back to your hotel room .Look at you you even look like a monkey .” I was startled to get such a harsh treatment in such a loving place . I went out and started weeping then i fought dawned to me that i am in the house of a man who was thrown out of everywhere in the world where does a man go who gets thrown out of his house . Indeed OSHO had been thorn out of his commune in the US and subsequently 25 countries did not allow him to form an ashram . I took my question to the breakfast table where other osho followers had gathered . I narrated the incident to them in the morning and asked them the same question . Suddenly a old lady from Finland heard my question which was “ I am in the house of a man who got thrown out of everywhere in the world where does a man go who gets thrown out of his house ?” The lady smiled and said “ son their is still one place you can go and that place is with in.”

I got my answer that no matter how bad things are their is always one door that is open and that door is the door with in . One can always go their and one does not need the approval of society or of any one to got into that door .

Posted by Anuj Tikku 12:09 Archived in India Tagged religion god Comments (0)

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