On one side was the lit up bazaar with merchants selling rudraksh, sculptures of the goddesses and pirated copies of the chants. However, as soon as I stepped onto the Lakshman jhula, I was on top of the river Ganges, surrounded by the schools for yoga and meditation and magnetized towards the glorious chants. Monkeys dangled on the wires, scooters crossed the bridge and tourists utilized full capacity on their SLR’s.
I crossed the jhula and was welcomed by a colorful sculpture of Lord Vishnu. Strangely, amidst the crowd, there was a silence; silence of the senses. The background score was the synergized and rhythmic chanting by the pundits and yet it quietened the mind. Inhaling the fragrance of chandan purified the lungs. Looking at the devotees who are in love with the Brahman or wanting to fall in love brought an indefinite smile.
I climbed down some very narrow stairs and found myself in a little café abundant of colors, mainly shades of yellow, orange and red. It required of me to take off my sandals and sit in a lotus position. To my left was a group of Israelites who I could tell were there to stay for a while and to my right was the flowing water. The epiphany lay in the tea. I usually paid dollars to go buy a lemon ginger honey teabag and realized what a fool I’d been! They brought me boiling water with long strands of ginger, a saucer of honey and a slice of lemon. I am not sure if it was the blissful state of my senses or the organic ingredients but it was the best tea of my life.
My mind can’t comprehend what it is but there’s something soothing about Hrishikesh. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, it is known as the gateway to the Himalayas. Wikipedia dissects it beautifully – ‘Hrishik’ means senses and ‘Ish’ means Lord.
To attain the Brahman or become the lord, one has to practice control over the senses. I may resist a slice of cheesecake but it is to control my taste buds. I may take a deep breath but it is to kill the root of anger. I may filter my words but it is to take charge of my thoughts. I need to go back and cross the Lakshman jhula. I need to bury myself into the chants and drink that tea. I need to contemplate and I need to argue. I need to become the lord of my senses.