It was almost sunset at Triveni Ghat. Still sleepless and exhausted yet a surge of energy slowly coming through seeing her.Ganga.. the mother, feminine energy, and her many moods from stillness to a strong force that can destroy all..
One look at her and we felt calm. She was soothing, a balm to our wounds, inner and outer.
We had been here for the evening Ganga Aarti ( prayers) before but today something was different, really different. Was I dreaming?
The Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat was a lot less commercial and after seeing the Aartis in other places in my previous trips I made it a point to visit this Ghat. Today, there was a different vibe to it. No selfie sticks or selfies among people. There was peace and devotion in all.
We sat by the banks and watched her flow. Somehow the stress and exhaustion we felt seemed to have gone into the background. The pandits were getting ready for the Aarti and before that was the special pujas to be done for families who paid for it.
Without realising it we were in the front watching them start the ritual.
At sunset, with the Ganga flowing ,the pandits started the ritual first with smoke lamp followed by the lit lamps with songs and chanting by priests and people.
Bhim explained each step of the process, the beautiful ritual that is a part of our culture and heritage. We were so up and close to the ceremony, we couldn’t believe we would be here, like this after all we went through.
Ganga Ma tested us, made us fight for her so we could be here right now. How do I explain what it does to the self when you see her and the beautiful ceremony.
I looked back at Bhim with tear filled eyes as he gave a smile, he was overwhelmed too. After all that turmoil this is how she redeems us. We were filled with her divine light and benevolence.
Suddenly Bhim said Aarti! One of the pandits gave us the lamp to do the Aarti to Ganga Ma! I was so shocked that I remained frozen for some time. Was this possible?? Us doing the holy Aarti?
Regaining my composure Bhim and I held the lamp and did the Aarti together. By now I was crying shamelessly, heart overwhelmed, feeling blessed and puny, knowing how stupid we humans are.
She tested us and will keep on testing us and right when we lose all hope, she tells us, ‘You fools, look beyond yourself, I am here, I was always here and will be, don’t run away, just have faith.’
The pandit came towards us, put the holy tikka on our forehead and another pandit gave us the holy offering( Prasadam). It was a complete ritual where we got everything we never expected..
Bhim and I hugged as I kept on crying saying, What is this Bhim? I can’t believe what has happened!
Ganga Ma removed all the tiredness and trauma we felt from the past 40 hours in one go. She healed us, treated our wounds and aches, all the turmoil we went through vanished away.
In hindsight I feel she was preparing us for something more challenging, tougher and testing us to our maximum limit.
We sat at the steps smiling and looking at Ganga. What an evening it was. We felt cleansed, purified for this is why we came to Rishikesh. To see her, feel her love, energy and warmth. These are the many moods of a mother isn’t it?
To be continued..