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A July trip to Rishikesh

First week of July. It’s time to leave Gurgaon with the family, at least the time of a long weekend. Four months since we have moved and we haven’t really ventured outside our society! Gurgaon is not the most entertaining place and we somehow get super lazy to drive one hour to go to Delhi …

My friend was in favor of flying (to Dehradun) and I booked train tickets (to Haridwar). So that I would not have to experience more turbulences than necessary! And you should see how much they feed you in this 4 hour train with full on AC: chai, toasts, chai, breakfast, lunch and more if there had been time! However it was a little less funny on the way back when we were nearly 2 hours delayed...

We went for three nights in Rishikesh. It was completely off season, with the rain, and most of the guest-houses were empty. Especially those oriented outdoor activities – for example, it has become very trendy to do rafting on the Ganges. I would have been really happy to stay at the Glasshouse on the Ganges of Neemrana (cf the posts and photos of my previous trip in 2008) but it has become far too expensive, monsoon or not monsoon! For half the price we stayed at the Rainforest House, a guest house, which doesn’t look anything fancy from the outside, but the rooms are very nice, the family room open to the outside, offering a completely vegetarian cuisine which tries to incorporate Ayurvedic principles, a great yoga room, monkeys jumping around and the Ganges at a few minutes’ walk. There are a few disadvantages, mainly the quite dicey 500 metre walk down from the main road (and up on the way back), the owners (an Anglo-Indian couple who built the house), nice but they really keep to themselves and a more than fluctuating phone network – although personally I see it rather as an advantage! 

Despite the humidity, Rishikesh is definitely charming during the rains... Including the ‘Beatles ashram’ (Maharishi Mahesh Ashram) and the Vashishta caves which are by the Ganges and offer the opportunity of a nice walk along the river, with more nature than in Rishikesh city.



When there is no more space there is still space!



Daily scene on Gurgaon roads


It’s my destiny! (Karma for dummies)

What is karma? Every action you do, like me writing at this very moment, has a consequence, an effect, in this life or the next. Everything is a matter of cycle. Basically if you do a good action with a good intention, you will sow positive fruits. However if you do a bad action with a bad intention, careful with the backlash! And there is no way to escape... It’s a bit like fatality: it’s inevitable and it looks like an occult force which would determine the events. Nevertheless it doesn’t make the individual less responsible: he is his own master, and everything depends on him, on his intentions and his choice... If your life is full of shit, too bad, there is no much you can do about it, you are carrying bad karma; however you can keep doing good things for the future effects! Just see what Sogyal Rinpoche writes in Glimpse by glimpse:

india,karma,buddhism,religion,destiny,fatality,diwali,noise,crackers,sikkim,rumtek monastery,monk

And to illustrate... One day I did something wrong. What I don't know but as a result, I got a cracker exploding right next to my ear and it was so deafening that I thought it would lose hearing. It was my first Diwali in Mumbai, in 2009. Following this unfortunate incident, I swore I would never spend another Diwali in this city, already noisy in a normal time, and which turns crazy during this festival of lights; they burst crackers (and not small ones, day and night). So this year I went to Sikkim. A very small State, in the North of India, Buddhist like I like it. With mountains, lakes and monasteries. Peaceful. Quiet. I was there, on top of a hill, in the backside of Rumtek monastery, next to the monks’ playground, when, while I was enjoying the view, a young monky... bursted a cracker just next to me, blowing my ear. Karma suffers no exception... I just have to live with it: I am meant to have my ears suffering during Diwali!

By the way, at the time of writing these lines, I hear a valse of crackers. Apparently they are celebrating basilic (Tulsi) - go figure - and preparing for the birthday of the guru of the Sikhs. It's  like another Diwali, which I have never experienced. If this is not the proof of karma what would be? One cracker for each slap I gave my younger brother, I am not close to the end of it!!

india,karma,buddhism,religion,destiny,fatality,diwali,noise,crackers,sikkim,rumtek monastery,monk

The prankster monks of Rumtek monastery, Sikkim