Shirodhara and the Hare Krishna Mantra

Shirodhara and hare krishna mantraI felt the thin stream of warm oil drip gently on my forehead from the container hanging on top. Spreading effortlessly across my shaven scalp, it flowed on to the table on which I lay down (with my face upwards), and then slid out through a tiny hole designed for the purpose at the table’s edge. This was a rejuvenation therapy, called Shirodhara, I was to undergo for a few minutes every day for the next 8 days. Having been through it for 7 days so far, with no results, it now resembled more a ritual than a therapy.

A month ago I had visited a friend who was amid the same therapy, and he too had expressed dissatisfaction over it. But when the treatment ended, he hurried to me, strongly recommending that I too undergo Shirodhara. Though his words failed to convince me, the joy on his face caught me, and I had decided to take the treatment anyways. And now at the Ayurvedic clinic, again I wondered if that decision was right.

Days passed at the clinic, and while I was busy counting days, I was slow to catch the psychophysical changes I underwent at nights. I began to feel as if on every night a time machine transported me back by several years—and there I found a rare calmness, a long forgotten one.

I analyzed. In course of decades—competing in class for better grades, then working hard for admission in a prestigious graduate school, and then worrying for a carrier—I had swayed far-off from a natural peaceful lifestyle, and had imperceptibly forgotten what a good night’s rest felt like. Though I had lately taken to spirituality which restores peace, the body still suffered from a bad hang-over. Shirodhara was finally helping me get over it. The doctor confirmed my analysis, and provided a technical explanation of how Shirodhara calmed down the life airs within, that could have been thrown off-balance because of a passionate lifestyle.

I analyzed further. How strange it was that though I had missed a peaceful sleep for years, I never realized I was missing it! I couldn’t help comparing this experience with the experience I had when I first took to chanting Hare Krishna.

Then too, initially I had felt doubtful if the process did any good. But soon I was caught in a magic that acted almost imperceptibly, as with Shirodhara. I began to feel an inexplicable ‘homely feel’ with the mantra, a feel that transcended the body, and I terribly missed that feel on days I did not chant. Why was this happening? Upon inquiry, a student of Radhanath Swami said that chanting Hare Krishna begins to reconnect us to our original nature, our long forgotten nature as spiritual beings. Up until that point in life I had never felt I was missing my natural spiritual status. Now I was beginning to miss, because I had practiced chanting Hare Krishna for a while. Though there was a long way to go for perfection, at least I realized what I had been missing for lifetimes.

 There are things in life which we don’t miss until we are fortunate enough to start missing them.

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