Monday, June 05, 2006

Footloose in the mystic mountains

It was the time when summer and monsoon meet. It started raining when we reached Mallandur enroute to Muthodi forests from Chikmagalore. Just two days rain had changed the weather, geography and as well as our minds. The single road, sharp curves and deep gorges had brought on us an unexplainable fear and everyone was silent. We had to reach that place before sunset and there was a sense of hurry in our silence. The sound of the water flowing in the adjacent valley, rain dripping on our car and the various bird calls was like an archestra playing a new nature `raga'. The last three kilometres stretch road to Shigekan where the forest guest house stood was still trecherous and slippery because of incessant rain. The huge trees which were burnt down by lightning stood like pillars watching us. Fresh elephant dung on the way increased our heartbeat. We thought our vehicle wouldnot make that stretch and the journey seemed unending, but everyone let a sigh of relief when we finally made it just before sunset.

We were dumbfounded by the amazing sight of the forest and the blue mountains. A sea of green forest on all the sides and hills covering them as if not to let them go out. Our minds crumpled by the unexplainable fear and exhaustion burstout in joy and the exclamations were as varied as the chirping of birds.

The mystic beauty of the mountains- was it because of the rain which had drenched everything in sight? Or was it because of the misty clouds which had formed a bridge between earth and heavens? One becomes silent and engrossed and the pleasure of enjoying nature which cannot be explained surrounds the soul.

The different windows of the mind keeps opening till you are amazed at their sheer number and you see a new and different sight from each of them. We surrender without murmur to the complexities of the nature's mysteries or is it as Mahatma Gandhi said because of the simplicity of the expression of nature itself!

There was no electricity in the guesthouse and no television which made us more sensitive to the sounds of the forest. It rained whole night and strange sounds created strange images in our dreams.

Early morning before sunrise I woke up and sat in the balcony to watch the play of sunlight and shadows. As sun cast his glow hills turned to strange blue- mystic blue- the sight I had never seen anywhere before.

Mystical Blue!

I began to wonder at my perception- how much is truth and how much of it is illusion? When the innumerable windows of the mind are open to the mysteries of nature, what you see through them is not important, rather how you see through them becomes important. The perceived truth is relative and that truth becomes a fact (to you and only to you) only when you live it.


In the forest we saw a lot of peacocks, bisons, deers and a three hundred year old teak tree with an enlightened new vision.

Three hundred year old teak tree

While returning from the deep forest to the guest house, road was blocked by the uprooted trees which was cleared by all of us including children.

Road Block

Rainy poured incessantly

Rain did not stop. We had to move out of the forest. While on our way back I remembered a Zen saying: `Before enlightenment forests were forests and mountains were mountains; After enlightenment forests are still forests and mountains are still mountains'. The experience which we may call mystical is the experience of of the heart. The vision that transforms us transforms the world. Or is it the otherway round?

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