Rishikesh… Journey is my destination

As I folded my jeans and planted my feet into the shallow cold waters of the Ganges, it sparked a rush of blood upwards into my body tantalizing the dogmas that I carry within.

A positive start, I was sure.

I was traveling once again to the holy town of Rishikesh, seeking much needed peace and solace from the hustle of my hurried life. I do that often, grabbing any slightest opportunity that I get to go there. Rishikesh has been one of the most calming and inspirational places I have ever visited. Vividly joyous yet deep rooted in its day-to-day life, that place teaches me something new every time I go there.

I had a booking for a weekend stay at one of the ashrams in the Ramjhula locality. Situated on the banks of Ganges and overlooking a giant Shiva statue, the view from the ashram was magical. Faint sounds of rippling river from one direction and rhythmic chants of the yogis from the other, kept me enchanted throughout my stay. Once we cross the river, there’s this half a mile walking stretch towards the ashram. Surrounded by few of the funkiest (menu wise) cafes and fine bookshops, a walk through this stretch any time of the day is a pleasant experience in itself.

However, this isn’t a travelogue. The words that will come ahead describe a snapshot from my trip. It’s a photograph, a still image out of my travel.

Little did I think that it would all narrow down to this one particular moment. The moment, right now, when with folded jeans and feet submerged in the river, I am experiencing one of the most cognizant and realizing instance of my life.

I was actually jealous of the river. The coursing water was gleaming in the sunset. The flow was full of pride and why not, for the awareness of source and destination was reflected in every drop of twinkling water. Did she not know that sooner her existence is about to perish into the vast sea? I reckon that she did, but the very joy of the present moment superseded the premonitions. And that’s what made me more envious of her. She seemed to be completely ignorant of the future and too engrossed in playing with fading sunlight and people over the shore.

I noticed a bunch of rapids at the far end of the stream. The river was perhaps laughing at my confusion.

A meager identity as compared to the mighty river, it was best for me to surrender myself in order to find those answers. I pleaded within myself, “Help me to be like you!”

The river kept flowing and didn’t respond or did it?

I melted further into the river determined not to leave without a answer. A gush of wind passed over that place. The wind, moving downstream, paced the flow of water for a moment, sort of emphasizing the flow. Quite elegantly, the river had actually communicated to me its secret, it was the FLOW.

And then the river talked…

“I originate from a source hidden deep within the valleys. Although in oblivion, that narrow dull glacier is the source of all my charm. Thumping into difficult terrain, crashing onto stones, I get the liberty of letting out myself only once I flow into plains. I rise if the road is narrow, I expand otherwise. All the while, religiously I keep flowing.

At your point of view, I flow towards the ocean. This is ignorance on your part. The truth is, I JUST FLOW.

At your point of view, my destination is the ocean. This is again ignorance. My friend! The truth is, JOURNEY IS MY DESTINATION.

Just like me, you have a source hidden deep within yourself. Your outer self, the body and the senses make the river and its branches. Connect with your source and let the river flow. Celebrate the numerous blessings that are bestowed upon you while you flow. And as you plunge into the vast sea of death, don’t be dejected, for the life cycle will repeat itself. The soul rises to the heavens simply to pour down again. The rain would liven up the river again.”

Sipping my evening tea at the Office, a café near the ashram, I could not avoid contemplating about this encounter with the Ganges that I had earlier. It was a deep insight that I gained that day. I sneaked into the balcony of the café to have the view of the river, and to thank her personally. I was gazing at the river, when its flow created a engaging illusion. It was as if the river was still and I, together with my bit of earth, is flowing at its pace.

I can be the river; I just need a change in point of view.

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