Mumbai February 21 2014

The following is an article I wrote along with photos I took for Namarupa Magazine in February, 2009. Reprinted here with the publishers permission. 

 

This is the original text as the printed article may be too small to read:

 

I was fortunate to spend a weekend in Mumbai recently, and in a single jam-packed day participated in the age- old traditions that have kept India alive with vibrant spirituality: temple worship, teachings of the spiritual masters and holy festivals celebrated in grand style. The day began with pre-dawn puja for Lord Shiva at the Babulnath Temple in the heart of the city overlooking the Arabian Sea. Most of my time is spent in South India where direct deity worship is only done by the pujaris. So it is always exceptional to visit temples where flowers, fruit, milk, sandal paste and other items are available for visitors to do their own personal puja and worship.

I then took a short cab ride to visit the home of Advaita master RameshBalsekar, who, at the age of 91, still welcomes any and all to his home on a daily basis for casual satsang and question-and-answer sessions. He delivered his straightforward message on non-dualism with a delightful sense of humor in the informal atmosphere of his living room. 

That evening, I joined an overflowing and enthusiastic crowd of devotees at the Radha GopinathTemple, also known as the ISKCON Hare Krishna Hare Rama Temple, for Pushya Abhishek to celebrate the first day of spring. Imagine hour upon hour of ecstatic chanting, dancing and being showered with one ton of multicolored flower petals, some shipped all the way from Vrindavan. If George Harrison had thrown a rave, it would have looked something like this. In these unsettling times, ripe with threats of violence, modernization and materialism, this single day served as an uplifting and comforting reminder that the customs of ancient India are still alive and well and readily available for all who have a desire to participate.