Water is sacred. I have always known that, but I felt the ocean’s sanctity more strongly than ever this past weekend when I witnessed Arvind seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
He walked to the ocean’s edge and stood very still. He was filled with reverence and awe. He didn’t move for a very long time. At some point, he said, “She is so beautiful! So powerful. You know, the Ocean is Mother. That is what we believe.”
Arvind offered a puja to Mother Ocean by bowing, scooping water into his hands, offering the water pouring from his hands to the sky, and saying a quiet prayer. It was so beautiful to watch. A puja is an expression of honor, worship, and devotional attention carried out by Hindus and Buddhists. A puja can be very formal or it can be part of an every day ritual. Arvind’s puja was spontaneous and appeared to be the most natural way to honor WATER.
Earlier, we began the day with yoga. Arvind injured his wrists badly long ago when he fell out of a tree and his wrists healed poorly. He wasn’t sure he wanted to do the yoga asanas because it hurts him to put any weight on his wrists. I just happened to have a pair of “gripitz”, a gadget you hold to protect your wrists while doing any asana that puts weight on your hands, and Arvind was able to do yoga! He was delighted that he could do yoga and not have any pain. We did yoga while Rick played violin. It was a lovely morning session.
I was touched watching Arvind do yoga. His yoga practice is not about how flexible or coordinated he is. No, his yoga practice is about connecting to the sacred breath, to the immense and vast energy around us. The expression on his face was one of calm and reverence. There was a deep sincerity in his effort to move his physical body and connect to his breath, prana (life force), radiance, energy, to the sanctuary we have created inside and outside at Little Renaissance.
Arvind saw the deer on our property and I think he felt as if he were in Sarnath, Deer Park not far from his hometown of Varanasi, where Buddha gave his first sermon, the birthplace of Buddhism. When Arvind saw the two deer hanging out on our south lots from up close, he said, “You know, deer only come to a place if they feel peace and harmony. They do not come where there is violence and fear. These deer are here because they can feel your energy and they feel safe.
I am so pleased Arvind and Kelley got to spend time with us at our special sanctuary in Ocean Shores. I am happy that I got to share the gift of yoga with Arvind. The truth is that Yoga is what you LIVE in India. Arvind might not be able to do the asanas without the gripitz, but he, like so many people in India, lives and breathes his yoga all day long. The yoga postures are just one of the eight limbs of yoga. To do yoga or to practice yoga is to unite every aspect of your life with universal energy, to live a whole life and to embrace life fully.
Thank you, Arvind, for gracing our home with your presence and wisdom!