The Swim and the Sweat
Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
From the ISKCON temple in Ujjain two monks (brahmacaris) kept in stride with me to reach the ancient ashram location where Krishna and His close brother Balarama attended school under guru Sandipani Muni. The two young monks claimed they had a monopoly on the short cut through a university campus – uneven trails and a combination of main (or mean) streets and off the beaten paths. It was a good 8 Km trek with lively conversation. I asked the men what their view of the perfect world would be.
For starters they offered to propose the elimination of certain features of our mundane world such as plastics, cell phones, cars, tvs, computers, porno books, Hollywood, and Bollywood. They chose to keep mosquitoes, sharks, crocodiles and everything natural. Moderate Islam should stay, Elvis Presley, the police force and army. Pesticides, atomic bombs and a democratic system would be replaced by nature taking charge, peace talking and a Vedic monarchy. There was more they recommended. All in all the exercise although it bore a pinch of idealism was very thought-provoking.
Once we arrived at the ashram of Krishna, a rather peaceful and mystical place, the three of us were driven to a kund, a lake excavated by a great Maharaja (king) of the past. We were met by the men on the street; all wise and a little worn from the heat of the day. Most of the men I referred to are sannyasis, monk pioneers of Krishna Consciousness.
I’m the latecomer but I quickly got caught up in re-acquaintance. My friend Kripamaya from the UK was there as well as Canadian born Bhakti Raghava Swami. I believe he is the only one without a protruding belly. As we swam in swimwear it was evident that most of us went through a body change since the 60s and 70s when we joined. It’s to be expected.
Here was the perfect example of the soul’s transmigration. The body transforms. The observer, the soul, remains constant.
The day came to a close after Kirtan, chanting, in the temple. What a work-out! What remarkable sweat poured forth! We were hard at play, singing and dancing in midst of the biggest smiles.