I also contracted the shits yesterday afternoon – typically, it came on strong when I was far from home walking the back streets in search of cheaper accommodation for us ;) I had plenty of sensation to observe during the subsequent long walk/run back to our place. Fortunately I made it in time. It’s funny how often conversation in India revolves around toilets and the state of stools. Everyone is quite happy to share this info with total strangers. I assume this is because the topic effects everyone who travels to India sooner or later. Top tip - charcoal is an absolute winner where diarrhoea is concerned. Nix and I have both dosed up and it really helps. “Diarrhoea” is almost as hard to spell as Tamil place names are. I wonder if there is a town in Tamil Nadu called “Diarrhoea”. If not, there probably should be. It would have to be called something like “Dairrhoeapuram” though.
Nix was feeling a bit stronger this morning so we attended Amma’s Darshan. It felt like a strong sit for both of us. Last night I ran through a mental list of pros/cons to staying in Tiruvannamalai. I came up with a lot of cons and not many pros. The morning Darshan is a pro for both of us. Now that we have a method of annihilating mosquitoes that’s another pro ;) I spoke to Nix about it and we came to the conclusion that we need to participate more fully to give the town and people a fair go, as we chose to do at Amritapuri. Neither of us have yet attended the Ashram bhajans that we wanted to, climbed the Arunachala mountain (and done the full moon walk around it) or visited the interior of the Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple. It would be good to stay open, do these things and monitor our states of mind along the way. Leaving now would feel like giving up or letting the challenges facing us “win” - and both of us are stubborn as mules ;)
The morning meditation at Shiv Sahkti is challenging – there are large signs asking those present to observe silence; a sentiment that the majority of attendees ignore. There are many Soviet devotees who don’t appear to speak English – perhaps the signs should have been written in Russian ;) The bulk of those in attendance talk, shuffle, throw down cushions, laugh, speak on their cellphones, take photos and so forth without any mindfulness whatsoever. Strangely there are never any Indians present at the Darshan (except for Amma!). Perhaps they can’t handle the Western massive (I wouldn’t blame them). Or it could be that the locals do not like a woman guru since it challenges the social order. This was the case with Amma in Kerala – the locals do not generally like her and she’s had threats on her life. I think India needs more women gurus. The Shiv Sahkti ashram is a perfect testing ground for inner stillness, just as Amritapuri was. If we can be still during all the disruptions in and around Shiv Sahkti we can be still anywhere. Both Nix and I managed to maintain equilibrium before, during and after the session which felt great. We sat for about an hour and a half and were the last to leave the hall so we could soak in the stillness after the drawn out chaos of the others leaving had finally subsided. The Darshan itself is only 15 minutes long. The really big challenge is to maintain this equilibrium at all times, in all situations, with all people ;) Baby steps bad bwoy.... If we can do it for any amount of time in the day then surely that is better than nothing ;)
If our insides hold out we’re going to join in the bhajans this afternoon at the Yogi Ram Suratkumar Jaya Guru Raya Ashram. Every time I see that name I think they really should abbreviate it - something like “Yogi’s” or “Ram’s Place” might be more suitable to encourage recollection ;)