Saturday, March 14, 2009
This Holi, a most wondrous spectacle opened which left me with an ineffable poetry of feeling and a joy of thought. I had decided not to celebrate Holi this time because of my increasing preoccupation with pollution and my desire to avoid synthetic colors. However, being in a Delhi University hostel, I didn't have much choice. In the morning, as I came out of my room, my hostel buddies were ready with the gulal. I didn't protest much and let them rub it on my cheeks though i was apprehensive of its effect on my skin and hair. i especially wanted to avoid any gulal on my hair for after coming to Delhi, I have developed a morbid obsession with protecting my hair form premature greying, something I have noticed is distressingly common in this city. I thought this was due to water pollution and have ended up using purified water for my hair. However as the spirit of holi got the better of me, I was open to one day of polluting gulal and wet colors. The next half an hour or so was fun with victims being made to lie supine and sprinkled with water-hoses. As I was enjoying the colors and the joyous mob, some of my nasty friends repeatedly persuaded me to drink thandai( a traditional North Indian drink made of milk, water, almonds and spices) and assured me it did not contain 'bhaang'(hemp). I was not really taken in by their protestation but I carried the unfounded notion that 'bhaang' would taste bitter like liqour. When I tasted the 'thandai', it was sweet and delicious. I thought it couldn't be bhaang and drank it with gusto. Indeed, after a while I even took a second helping even after I had grave doubts about it being just 'thandaii' by then. I reasoned if it is bhaang and I have already had one glass, why not enjoy a full experience of losing control. Yet, I wanted to be aware as long as possible and to witness the intoxication so as to transcend it. For a while, I enjoyed the mingling of color and bodies, but soon retired to my room. It was the end of holi form my part but my friends had different ideas. Some of them banged open my door and sprayed me with aerosol, which i particularly dislike and which seemed toxic going by the smell. i asked them to stop it but they were too merry to listen. After they had left, I bolted the door and went in the verandah for fresh air. As, I was standing there, leaning against the wall and gazing at the badminton court immediately below, a most wondrous thing happened. Not only did I lose awareness of time and self, but everything became thick with life. It is very difficult to explain but let me make a sincere effort. As I was standing in the verandah, everything became thick with awareness, everything became an ocean of awareness - a dense coscsiousness. There was no Aman, no badminton court and no sunlight or sky, except as barely perceptible modifications of a beautiful intelligence, an all pervading consciousness. I was emerging out of and again merging into a unity; when in the unity, there was no 'I', and the emergent 'I' was very profound and yet frail because it was, as if newly born. When aware of 'I', I was astounded at the wonder of the all pervading awareness in which I was only a point of consciousness. The physical world around me, the sunlight, the badminton courts, the shouts of the holi mob, seemed unreal, a play of images and shadows. reality seemed a wondrous unity of awareness, a thickness of consciousness. An ocean of awareness was I, and everything was awareness. Everything was oceanic, a wavelike sea of concsious vibrations. In this coean of reality, my body was a pattern of conscious light, a pattern ogf vibration with a distinct frequency which made it appear as distinct form the surrounding physcial reality. I was not aware of physical movement, but of a kind of light or a pattern of energy drifting across a denser light as I came inside my room.