First written 6 November 2011.
I’ve visited mountain areas before; I know it can get very cold at night. In packing for Panauti, though, I was so focused on the yajña that I completely forgot about the weather. Since 3:30 a.m. I’ve been awake, shivering, buried under a bedroll, wearing my rain jacket and wrapped in a mylar emergency blanket from my first-aid kit.
I don’t know when dawn comes here, but since it’s the auspicious – albeit chilly – hour, I decide to take out my volume of Upaniṣads. I open to a random page, read what I find, and can’t help but laugh.
“It is not there: it has not set
Nor ever risen.
Gods, by that truth
May I not be parted from brahman!
It does not rise or set for him: it is always daytime for the one who knows the inner teachings of brahman.”
—Chāndogya Upaniṣad, III.II.2-3.
Darn it, I think. If only I were a realised, enlightened being, I’d be warm right now.
Light. Cocks crow, a heavy mist hangs over the hills; a bird I cannot name sings a song so sweet it sounds unreal.
Bells of worship have been chiming for more than two hours now. I feel admiration for the strong town residents and a small measure of contempt for myself. My bones jitter and clatter in the freezing damp air…yet long before the sun ascends the horizon, the townspeople are awake, praising God through the dark fog, heedless of dawn and warmth.
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