At sunset, Shree Maa, Swamiji and the group took a very scenic boat ride on the Ganga in Varanasi.
On this special occasion, Swamiji and Shree Maa were blessing the ring ceremony (engagement) of a devotee and his fiancé.
Shree Maa, with the help of a few devotees, quickly created a beautiful altar for the worship. Swamiji performed the Puja, which captivated the minds and delighted the hearts of the couple and all who were present.
It was a wonderful scene to observe Swamiji’s worship in the middle of the Ganga.
When Swamiji reached the Puja Naivedya (the offerings of worship), he offered the couples’ rings and all of the other gifts to God.
On this trip, I have witnessed on several occasions how Swamiji and Shree Maa inspire us to bring God into every moment and every event of our lives. This occasion was no different. By watching the ceremony, I realized that Swamiji had integrated this important life event with the worship and love of God. All of the couple’s gifts, including their rings, which are the symbolic of this couple’s commitment, had become God’s prasad.
As we continued down the river, we floated by many famous Ghats of Varanasi. A Ghat is a set of stairs that lead down to the river.
The river Ganga plays such a large role in everyone’s lives and the Ghats are the places where they can connect with Her. There are Ghats for bathing, washing clothes, cremations and many other purposes.
One important Ghat for cremations is named Harischandra Ghat. The story is told that Harischandra became the servant of the Chandala and worked in the cremation grounds. Swamiji story explains this story in detail in the Swami Purana.
As we floated by, Swamiji stories of the intense sadhana that he used to do at the cremations grounds.
Swamiji says worshiping in the cremation grounds gives rise to a special bhavana of detachment. You see that everyone is coming and going empty handed.
This attitude gives one a deep inspiration to continue seeking God and focusing one’s life in worship.