October 4, 2007

An experience like no other

Most religions have many myths and legends that we, the scientific people, often tend to dismiss as mere stories and fables. But, some of these legends talk about places that exist even today. When one visits any one of such places, one can not help but be awed by the overall feel of such places.

One such place that I have been to is Haridwar, which translates as " the door to God" in English. Haridwar is located on the banks of the river Ganges - a holy river that finds mention in a great many stories of the Hindu mythology. The water of the river is supposed to be holy, and one who has taken a dip in the holy river is supposed to be cleansed of all his sins. Thus, a large number of people, from all parts of India, visit this holy city.

The water from the river is carried back in cans and bottles, because this water is used in many rituals because of it's holy nature. Though, it never ceases to amaze me how the water of the river stays clean with such a large number of people of taking a bath in it every day. Honestly, out of the two or three times I have been to Haridwar, I have taken a dip in the river only once, and at the other times I avoided getting into the water. There were a large number of people around and I guess I just was not ready to wash my sins with so many people washing their "sins" all around me.

But, that aside, there is a strange sort of calm that greets a person as soon as he enters the city of Haridwar. It was night time when I went there for the first time. I was troubled because of something that was going on in my life at that time, and going to Haridwar was not a choice, but a stop over on my way to somewhere else. But being there was a blessing in itself. The cool breeze flowing was soothing, and the unseen presence of the river Ganges was relaxing.

After that, I have been there a few more times (due to a friend who lives in a town near to Haridwar), and every time I have been there I have felt a feeling that is exhilarating, like something or someone is blessing you, and all you have to do is just believe.

Have you been to any place like that? What was your experience?


new illuminati said...

Try upstream!

Secret Simon said...

When we go on holiday (usually to to Spain or Italy), I always pop into churches. To a greater or lesser extent, the atmosphere is always calming and seems to nourish the soul - this in spite of the fact that I am not a Christian in the normal sense of the word. (Rather, I acknowledge the truth in all the great religions, Christianity included.) I remember once feeling quite depressed when I visited the cathedral at Palma de Majorca. But I left feeling very much at peace. As I entered the building, it felt like water flowing onto parched earth.

This effect doesn't surprise me, though I can't explain it in words. You can get a similar effect in rooms that are often used for meditation.

Sandy Carlson said...

I really appreciate your blog posts about your culture and your faith. It's always good.

Your post made think of wise old King Solomon building the temple. Scripture has him talking to God and working out the very fact that because a place is set apart as holy, it is holy. "We will be mindful here." That alone makes so much possible. Seems to me this is something like what you describe.

I always find this experience when I stop by the church where I was married and my daughter was baptized. There is real peace in that place, a peace that creates a clear place to connect with the sacred deep inside.

I would very much like to visit a place such as Haridwar someday.

Thanks for this post.

Wally Banners said...

so then who is your God?
You got my Battle of the Blogs Vote:)

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