By Samia Akbar
“Let me, oh let me bathe my soul in colours;
Let me swallow the Sunset and Drink the Rainbow.”
Beautiful lines – very aptly describing the festival of Holi, joyously celebrated just a while ago.
A day after Holi, while the mood was still with us all, we gathered to celebrate this festival of love in an entirely different way at the Aurobindo Ashram. The invite was for “…some Magical Moon-bathing and to feel the love of the Divine soak into you”. The environment was one of beauty and of soft classical instrumental music that enhanced the mood of peace and of Divine presence. The place was dotted with the soft glow of tea-lights and decorated with strings upon strings of roses. The air was scented with the heady smell of the roses and the special scent of a spring night that we Doon residents know and love.
To those of you who are familiar with the Aurobindo Ashram in Doon, there is a sacred space on the side of the Hall that is periodically painted with the traditional ‘peeli-matti’. It is called the ‘Aangan’. This space has been the chosen one for very special events in the past, too. Right next to this space is a beautiful Lotus pond, surrounded by emerald grass that makes for wonderful seating on a summer evening. Well, this was where the ‘moon-bathing’ happened – just 15 minutes of silent prayer, of meditative thought and a good soaking-in of the serene and blessed environment. Each participant had their very own earthen platter with a tea-light in the centre, surrounded by rose petals. We were told to start by meditating on that little, personal light of our own.
The 15 minutes went by rather quickly. We were brought out of our silence with the soft singing of the beautiful Sufi composition of Amir Khusrau, ‘EiRiSakhi’. This composition, like most Sufi writings, can be taken in its very literal sense too and be understood as appreciation of a beloved. Here, Khusrau has written of his feelings for his ‘Murshid’, his Guru, Hazrat Nizamuddin of Delhi. He has described how he yearns for his Master’s presence and describes the wealth of feeling when he is in his Master’s benevolent presence:
‘Jiska Piya sangh beete phagun, uss dulhan ki rain suhagan
Jis phagun mein piya ghar naahi, aag lage uss phagun ko’
The magical evening ended with very thoughtfully planned ‘moon-bites’ – light, bite-sized, moon-shaped snacks and a perfectly heavenly warm orange drink called ‘moonbeam nectar‘!
I came home feeling relaxed and blessed – all at once!