March 14th

We go to the Kumba Mela in Hardware, just outside Rishikesh. As we neared the site, we saw a huge, very tall Shiva statue by the dam. It must have been around fifty feet. The Kumba was not as crowded as anticipated, but I did not mind, as I was not sure I wanted to experience 'rush hour' traffic all day. It is the end of March when the great masses appear. This is the most auspicious time for the Mela.

We were able to move freely through the area. Something inside said I should go in for the Spiritual dip - how wonderful. I stripped to my jockey shorts and stepped in. The water was knee deep but moving swiftly. Quite a few pilgrims came to my aid. They were pretty curious about this white westerner. We all became instant friends – Bengali Babus. Friends, no doubt, from the past. A few invited us to their camps for food.

Even Teri went in. A lady told her that she has to dip eleven times. So I went back in and dipped eleven times. What genuine fun and cleansing.

Later, we saw a thief get caught and summarily punished with three lashes on the backside.

What an experience we had. We got back to camp and discover we have it to ourselves. The cook is in tune with what we can eat – great meals with warm sweetened milk.

We also visited Lahiri Mahashaya's Hardwar ashram where some of his ashes are buried. We saw his favorite meditation tree and we got to meditate in his meditation room.

Each morning in Sivapuri, we did our energization, chanting and meditation on the banks of the Ganges – Ewing brought a harmonium. This is just like being an Indian Yogi.