Underwater photography - How to capture the essence of an underwater moment
September 10, 2014
Finally a blog!
June 8, 2014
Sardines Moalboal article published in DIVE.in magazine
September 17, 2014
Sadhus of Nepal
December 10, 2014
Above is a photo taken with the Sadhus (holy men) in Pashupatinath, Nepal.
Been away for some time in Nepal, enjoying amazing views of the Himalayan mountains, breathing in scented smoke from numerous Hindu and Buddhist temples, exploring my spiritual side and beginning a new way of yogic living for 4 weeks through an intensive and philosophical yoga teacher training course.
This has been the first time I have attempted to connect with my soul, and Nepal has brought a new state of enlightenment in me. I have yet to achieve the moksha (liberation) which is what Sadhus and yogis main goal is, but this sneak peek into my spiritual side has surprised me.
I found this short chapter from a personal story online when researching about Sadhus and Pashupatinath, which is where I took the picture above. Enjoy.
The smell of incense, burnt ghee and marijuana filled the air. It was only evening but already dark. Inside, the candles burnt brightly as the fires kept us warm and safe from the cold winter air outside. It was such a surreal feeling. I knew where I was but at the same time I did not understand the surge of emotions running through me.
He sat by my side, always so confident and strong. I wanted to hold him but it was not possible during the holy ceremony and definitely not in such a holy place and conservative country.
The Baba or Sadhu held the lamp and went around to each one of us offering the energy of the fires. When it was my turn, I received the fires with both hands and felt the heat in my hands, then closed my eyes and transferred the energy from my hands over to my head, face and eyes. I felt safe and a sense of calmness came over me.
It was such a surreal feeling being in this small smoky hut. Sitting across from another baba in his striking red and ironically modern-looking jacket, I sat in a daze watching the flames from the candles do their dance to the sound of the drums and bells. In between the process of rolling his joint, a young Nepalese guy made beautiful sounds blowing into a conch-like shell, drawing me further into a trance.
Smoke continued to fill the air as the religious practitioners smoked their pipes and played their drums while the candles burned and bells rung. In a few hours I would be leaving. I glanced in the corner of my eye to see his reaction but only felt a surge of intense emotions. Holding back my tears, I could not look at him; I was not ready to leave.
The chanting started and the practitioners were starting to sing and recite the mantras. They did it with so much dedication, reciting every single word of Sanskrit, mantra after mantra, word after word, fast and furious like they were exhaling and inhaling the words of Sanskrit. Rocking my body to the rhythm of the chants, I closed my eyes while images of the past months in this spiritual land flashed through my mind.
I have never felt such soft skin and strong muscularity at the same time. Every touch of his skin and feeling of his body against mine was a union of cosmic energy. The intense energy and familiarity coursing through my veins and as though I had known him before in my past life. His breath on my ears and neck, down to my nipples and breasts, made me melt into his arms even more. It was unification of the purest form of mind, body and soul.
The snowcapped mountains of the Himalayan ranges surrounded me while the hard rays of sun pounded on my tired body. Spending days of solo trekking breathing in the thinness of the mountain air, but I have never felt more alive. Now the air smelled smoky again and I heard a familiar mantra to the super consciousness.
'Twomeva mata, cha pita twomeva
Twomeva bandhus, cha saka twomeva
Twomeva vidya, dravinam twomeva
Twomeva sarvam, mama deva deva'
I opened my eyes and the guys were singing already the next mantra which I didn't know.
'Are you alright' he said.
I could not look at him nor hold back the tears no more. How is it possible to have developed such intensive feelings in such a short time in this foreign land? For the first time in my life, I explored my spiritual side, believing in the energy of the universe, accepting that things would happen as they should. I have never felt more safe even on the back of his motorbike driving through the dusty and traffic-packed streets of Kathmandu valley. Every time it seemed like we were just inches from another vehicle or on-coming traffic, I would only hug him closer and hold him tighter. How is it possible to trust someone you have just met? Such were the forces of the cosmic universe coming together; forces of nature that flowed like water and I surrendered myself to flow down a little stream towards the big ocean without any hesitation.
Now it seemed I was flowing through a series of rapids, going up and down, being pulled left and right. Suddenly it was time to go. The last ride on his motorbike and then goodbye. My vision was a blur from the tears and lights from the heavy traffic. Please let this be the longest ride of my life. I held on tighter and closed my eyes.