As the days passed, I watched many bathers on the banks of the river. Some in serious prayer, others playing with their friends and family as if it were a day at the beach. Mysticism pervades this region, and week after week, the conversations with monks who have lived here for years went to places many would find incredulous – flying monks, time travel and plenty of levitation. The stories are not told to impress, but merely come up in regular conversation. ‘I need to pick up some spices near that market where we saw the monk rise off the ground,’ or ‘when I was taking my morning bath in the Ganga, Swamiji entered my lucid dream and told me where to meet him tonight.’ Yes, regular ol’ conversation in Varanasi.
A Sadhu Leaves a Cremation Grounds
One morning, while walking alone taking photographs, I accidently captured a meditating monk in the picture. He looked up from his prayer and shot out, ‘There you go. Now you can take this picture back to Canada for your work. It might be useful near your birthday on October 17th.’
My jaw dropped. I was not carrying anything except a camera. No Canadian flag pin on my chest and I was certainly not talking to myself. How could he know? Sure, small miracles happen every day, but really? My exact birthdate? I looked down at this tiny man in his ochre robe, and he was actually doubled over with laughter.
The mystery remains to this day.
Sometimes, when I get bogged down with the ins and outs of everyday life, I like to time travel back to the ghats of Varanasi and tell myself that he was not laughing at my reaction, but at the power of his mind. In this space, there are rivers of possibility.
Kim Nightingale is owner at Nightingale’s Notes, creating content for business, government and media. Her website is http://nightingalesnotes.com
Editor’s note: Original World Travel offers multiple travel experiences across India, including several North India Journeys that take you to the sacred Ganges River and holy city of Varanasi, the Chandella Temples of Khajuraho and the exquisite and romantic white marble Taj Mahal.