David and the 1,000 Steps of Chamundi

Is everything too easy? I mean, I often feel like every step is comfortable and every move is close. In our youth we learned of the struggles humans in the past had to face: harsh living conditions, endless work creating food sources and viable living quarters and often despotic rule by religious or authoritarian rulers. In such a place, our lives of security, prosperity and information seem to be the ultimate end.

But, I don’t think I’m the first to think that something is missing.

Entrance to the hill of 1000 steps.

Nandi the Bull, is the vehicle of Shiva

Chamundeshwari Temple

A woman paying homage to the representation of the Goddess Shakti.

There is a temple located in the edge of mysore, which can only be reached by climbing 1,000 steps to the top of Chamundi Hills. It is a temple dedicated to a particular manifestation of Shakti - one of the primordial Hindu goddesses. Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as ‘The Great Divine Mother’ in Hinduism.

When I first heard of this temple, I was interested in it simply to see how people here celebrate and express important things in their life. When I went there, something about these 1,000 steps stuck with me - I had enough time to ruminate these thoughts. In order to worship, to experience the creative power of Shakti you must climb, and it is not easy.

I mean, it’d be nice to have 1,000 step mountains and epic 2,000 year old temples where I live, but I think it’s the process that’s missing here. The process of overcoming, the process of sitting through the discomfort and uncomfortability of certain things changes you. Sometimes when I’m driving and stuck in traffic, I peruse my phone - or when there’s a lull in conversation I check out social media - or when I want an amazing meal, I go to Electric Mud. The world seems to bend to my will, but only on a simple level - a surface level.

David handing out food to people who were hungry!

Actually delicious.

We all need some help sometime.

David practices a duality of Hinduism and Christianity - very interesting.

Pillar of Fire

Flora at the Buddhist Botanical Garden.

Amazing plants, curated very well.

I’ve never seen lily pads before!

A view of the park.

One of David’s friends rolling incense.

Everyone loves a portrait.

Essential oils.

David offered us some rounds around the city and in the time we spent with him, we got to know him. He converted to Christianity at young age. He is a person who seems to draw from an infinite well of kindness and understanding. It’s incredible to see someone like this in action - humble life, little material possessions - but literally everyone he introduced us to, could not speak more highly of how great of a person he was.

He asked me to go out with him for the night because it was his 40th birthday - and I felt so humbled that a man would want to spend his 40th birthday with someone he just met! So on the town we went - to dinner and ice cream. David has a family and works to put his kids in school - so that they can work towards a better future. His humble approach at gifts and trepid timidity will stay in my mind.

In the slew of all the self-interested, the ruthless advertisers and the warring politicians - the religious extremists and the narcissistic celebrities, there are people like David. In a world that rewards self-interest and materialism, voices like David’s often go unheard, but I believe they are the most powerful because they resonate with us on a transcendent level. With what little power I have, I choose to amplify David’s voice, so more people can listen to what makes a good person.

The Divine Creative power of Shakti is so powerful in Hindu mythology because of her dependence on No One and her integration with the Universe. I think, we should leave dependence on no one for the gods, for they need no one. Us humans though, should look to each other, because whether we like it or not - we need each other. Just like David needed someone to celebrate his birthday, I needed a reminder that people like David are there and abundant.

Peace and Love
Sandro

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