“Contact with the objects of the world gives one only limited and momentary pleasure. Pleasures last only for a short time. They are transitory in nature¦ the absence of the object of pleasure leads to anger, grief, depression, or anxiety. One becomes fearful of losing or not attaining the desired object and becomes envious or jealous of others attainments. All of these unpleasant emotions arise from the search of sensory pleasure. Sensory pleasure cannot quench ones thirst. The thirst of human beings can only be quenched by ever lasting happiness.”
V.23: Bhagavad Gita
It’s 6am and I am sitting watching the sunrise on January 1st at Vaidyagrama a wonderful ayurvedic, healing village tucked away in the foothills of Tamil Nadu, just over the boarder from Kerala, South India. Holy tantric priests dressed in lungis make puja offerings of colourful petals, tulsai (holy basil) and cow dung(!) in small fires to welcome in the dawn of the new year.
At one side is an alter to Ganesh- the remover of obstacles and promoter of healing. The central space is dedicated to offerings for Shiva the lord of destruction; Vishnu the sustainer and Shakti the great mother of creation.They are the tantric symbols of death and rebirth in this instance for last year which has now passed and the new year which has dawned. Mandalas of flowers with their circular patterns decorate the hut, continuing this cyclical symbolism.
My year too has been one complete circle. One year has ended and another begun in this same special place. Last year I watched these tantric priests making offerings to send off 2012 and welcome in 2013. I contemplated what experiences lay ahead for me back then. Now I let go of 2013 and welcome in the new. It’s the same place and ritual it seems- but things in 2013 have changed me and I have grown. This past year brought travel, happiness, challenge, love, pain and learning. I am grateful for all of it. These things have shaped me- allowed me see more clearly, helped me understand myself, as well as others and have a greater acceptance and appreciation for my life as it unfolds.
Sitting here I clearly see that everything in us and around us moves in a continual circle. Once something begins an end will always follow. The ritual is the same, even if the experience differs slightly to the last. According to the Tantric philosophy at death we go back to the same elements that created us. Then a new form begins. It may have a slightly different journey to the last but it will have an end and return to the same place. I ponder on what journeys await me in this new year coming. However it unfolds, this year is a new chapter, a new beginning and exciting adventure which I am ready to embrace:). Who knows, I may well be here again at the end of it, in this sacred place with such dear friends, reflecting on 2014 and seeing in the dawn of 2015:). Another complete circle.We shall see what comes!
I wish you all a wonderful start to the New Year.
May it bring you love, health, happiness and contentment:).
Look forward to seeing you soon:)
Sending love and warmth from Vaidyagrama!
P.s- Many of you may have heard me talk about this unique and incredible place. If any of you are interested in experiencing the magic see: www.vaidyagrama.com.