Varkala, Vishnu and Honey Ginger Lemon Tea

Verbal learning of scriptures & motivated sacrifices, penance & charity can’t show you reality as it truly is. - The Bhagavad Gita.

Sweet, sweet red rocks and cliffs of Varkala. It was nice to get away from massive cities, having spent the first week in Chennai and Delhi, and settle in some epic tropical landscapes. Massive rolling red cliffs encasing a cozy beach in the sweet silent air is a pleasure that is rare, and jarring if you always trawl through cities. You can stand over the cliffs and just let the ocean scents simmer in your nose.

Varkala was made when Lord Brahma went to perform the ritual fire sacrifice and decided to choose Varkala as the place to enact the sacrifice. He became obsessed with the ritual and forgot his duties of creation, so Vishnu came down as an old man to visit Brahma. Brahma’s assistants tended to Vishnu and fed him, but his hunger could not be quelled. Vishnu’s perpetual hunger led him to Aabhojana, and Brhama realizing the old man was Vishnu, said to him that if he eats this meal the world will be swallowed by a final deluge. Vishnu promised not to indulge if Brahma went back to his role as creator. This duality between Brahma and Vishnu was observed by the lesser lords who laughed at the creators, and they responded with fury demanding repentance. In this repentance, they created Varkala.

The rocks were coloured by the fire sacrifice, the water was formed by Vishnu and the land was moulded by the lords as tribute to Vishnu and Brahma.

2000 years later, a statue sits in front of the ancient temple holding Aabhojana in one hand, the sweet food inching closer to it’s mouth, representing the tenuous foundation of modern life.

I found it all quite poetic.

But, modern life in Varkala is very different. Tourists, T-Shirts and Holymen recreating the holy essence of Lord’s Brahma and Vishnu. Take a look, I’ll describe more with photo captions.

Personally, I feel as though my willingness to go with my emotions has emerged as one of my most potent sources of strength. But, it opens you up to a lot of vulnerabilities. In Varkala, just like much of India there are many vulnerable people - people who are poor and downtrodden by the wider scope of society. As we were walking to the temple grounds I was approached by a holyman to do Puja, which is a sort of ritual cleansing of bad omens. Everyone believes, in how they think it ought to be.

In India, many poor people congregate around temples: one of the more popular points of Hinduism calls for caring for people around temples. This particular temple was 2000 years old and pretty popular so there was quite a lot of people affected by all walks of life. It’s often a shock to see people living without access to things, which I view as so fundamental and accessible for modern life. It’s hard to see so many people suffering, so I did what I know how to do.

Although, you can’t change the world overnight. Our minds are so powerful, able to create a world much better than the one our eyes can see. These things can inspire you to be a more wholesome and better person in your day to day life, and maybe consider that there are greater things than self-fulfilment. Making others happy is often a great path to happiness as well. Small steps are the way to build staircases, and most importantly - decisions are made by those who show up.

That’s where the Honey Ginger Lemon Tea comes in. Over the next few days, we relaxed and enjoyed the vibes - with a beautiful start to each morning: Honey Ginger Lemon Tea. Tune in next time, for the epic Keralan backwaters.

Peace and Love

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