The rooster population must be greater than the humans. They sang in concert resounding much like the consistent howling of jackals which I hear in the Bengal countryside early in the morning. It was a symphony.
Hayagriva, Sahil and I, preparing ourselves for a long drive to Habana, took to trekking on a modest paved road which is a major artery into Rodas. Here, we were definitely in the countryside and not in India (although we spotted these white humped Indian cows grozing). There, we were in central Cuba where sugarcane is plentiful yet does not reign supreme to boost the economy. Tourism has taken over. Rodas, however, being kind of a tucked away town, sees few foreigners. Hayagriva and I are in saffron and Sahil is a tall big-boned Punjabi boy raised in Canada. We are a curiosity.
Inquisitive too was our host, Merci, the doctor. Her friends, who happened to come by after our trek, came out with classic questions. How to address the mind which is helter skelter? What caused the soul to arrive here in this mundane world? How to achieve a sense of peace, safety, and sanity in this wild world?
All questions were patiently addressed and we compare the nature of the mind as being like a rascal monkey, a ridiculous clown or to money, never staying in one place very long, then it seemed to resonate beyond every nationality. To put things in light perspective this explanation charged a laugh, at least a smile, as much as it did when Hayagriva on our trek, accidentally stepped in some horse dung to which I remarked “El Grosso!”.
En route we went to Habana by car and we did indeed admire a major method of transport by the locals: horseback and sometimes buggy as well. As we entered the precinct of Habana we could feel another universe. Smells of oil, diesel and such, permeated the air. Old models of dodges, chevys and fords charmed us. Our destination in Habana was the home of a community member at one of these beautiful in town estates, a stately-looking house which had seen better days. It reminds me of those well-built mansions from the British period in Kolkota.
There we conducted a kirtan in a lush green courtyard followed by a fire ceremony and an initiation into our spiritual community. Raphael accepted the sanskrit name of Raja-vidya (king of knowledge) and Regis accepted the name Raja-guhyam (the king of secrets). Our Canadian contingent was also there and was the force behind the feast and other areas of co-ordination.
Once again they were impressed with the warmth of the Cuban people being less tainted by the greediness of much of the rest of the world. Viva Cuba!