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Hare Krisna in Cundinamarca

After my misadventures in Cali I needed to rest a bit and heal my skin. Then I decided to head back to Bogota to get a cooler weather. Over there I found a yoga monastry at one hour from the city. Yoga, calm, country side, perfect for me.
I enrolled in their voluntary program: 4 hours of communautary work per day and 10US$ for full accomodation. I arrived a tuesday noon by a cloudy and cold day. Gopal, a soft and bright colombian girl dressed in Saree, was in charge of volunteers and was waiting for me. At this moment, I discovered that this place was more than a yoga monastry, it was a "Hare Krishna" temple... One could feel as if in India, divinities covered with jasmin collars, typical indian music playing in the speakers of the garden, smell of encens everywhere. And when I carefully listened to the music I notice there was only 3 words in the lyrics:"Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Hare Hare Krishna Krishna". Wow..where am I?..
Gopal explains me about the phylosophy of the place (vegetarianism, detachment from material things, austerity and inconditional love for Krishna and the german guru who built up this place 30 years ago). She details the program, her life past and present and much more. She doesn't stop talking for 2 hours. Ok I got the idea, it's really a monastry not a resort... I confirm that, and the word "austerity", when they bring me to my room, 2 m square with blank walls and 2 wooden beds as sole furniture. The attached bathroom consist of a basic metallic hose pipe integrated in the wall, a dirty sink and a leaking toilet. The shower water comes directly from a rain accumulator at the roof top and is damn cold. The external temperature is around 12°C and the water should not exceed the  8°C.. And I was complaining of the cold when it was less than 25°C... I don't know how I will manage!
It's time for lunch. We head to the cafeteria, the other members of the community are here. Men, called "Prabus", eat on one side, most of them wear the traditional orange pagne and a hair tail at the top of the head (meant originally to help Krishna pull them out of the "ocean of materiality"...). The women, called "Madre" (mother) are on the other side. No mix, no temptation...
This segregation makes me inconfortable but everybody is very nice and welcome me. I'm the only volunteer here. Most of the Prabus are not married and seem to be looking for their wife. The Madre are mostly older and are married with children. One rule of the community says that one can have sex only for reproduction purpose.. No wonder why they seem so frustrated...
Life is peaceful here. Everybody wakes up very early for prayers and singing, and fill up the day with communautary work. I start the day with a session of yoga and spend all my time with Gopal, we go walking in the mountains, do some art painting, talk about philosophy and culture. She is a lovely person, very caring and open minded.
I meet slowly the communauty members, many of them are artists and quite interesting persons. They don't force their beliefs on me which I appreciate greatly.
On the 3rd day, I start to smell pretty bad and resign myself to taking a cold shower. My hairs could be used to make french fries but never mind, cannot do it yet.
Apart from the wet and cold weather that freeze me up to my bones day and night, I manage to rest a bit and learn a great deal on ecological gardening, Krishna, making sweet pop corns (a product they manufacture in the temple and sell in markets), and cooking vegetarian food.
After one week, my hatred against the cold wins and I decide to leave this place. The good byes are very emotional, it was a great cultural exchange. I leave with a lot of small gifts from everybody. An old renunciating Prabu comes to meet me at the gate, he kiss me on the cheek while handing me a beautiful white rose. Very cute!


There is no Plan B said...

lovely experience. hare krishna!

There is no Plan B said...

and........ just a comment about religions trying to control sex by saying only for making babies. GET OVER THAT!!!! there are abut 3 billion people too many on this planet....

crazy. all religions try to impose restrictions around sex. grrrr.

Em said...

Wow. so cool. but at the same time, ick, cold. hare krishna.

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About me

About me

Travelling to learn, learning to travel.