The only Blue Moon of the year 2020, also happened to be its brightest and most mesmerising. It was the full moon night of the Hindu month, Ashvin, the Sharad Poornima, the harvest festival of Khojagiri, and it was a Blue Moon, being the second full moon of November.
Around 15 of us Yoga enthusiasts, gathered to celebrate this celestial concert, in an open farmland, in the interiors of the Sahyadri ranges. The purpose of the overnight camp was simple. To bask in yoga, while soaking in the moonlight.
Beyond the Yoga mat
Our small medley, from varied walks of life, but with a single purpose, gathered well before sunset. The scent of the earth, freshly cleared for pitching our tents, filled the air, and our excited greetings were interrupted by the tap-tapping of the hammers, as we nailed the tents into the ground for the night. After depositing our small backpacks on the neatly laid rubber tarpaulin inside the tents, we gathered outside for a round of invigorating Vinyasa yoga.
Our special guest, and guide Harishchandra, is a young yogi from Bangalore, specialising in Kalaripayattu, an Indian martial art form, closely associated with yoga. Following his moves was a challenge for the body, as well as the brain. The rhythm of the Vinyasa, and the incessant chirping of the birds, coming home to nest in the overhead trees, and the heady aroma of the jasmines in full bloom, made the blood race through our veins. Dusk settled with our exhaustion, a perfect setting for the descent of the majestic bowl of fire in the western sky.
Her Majesty arrives
As the darkness deepened, we had the first view of the magnificent panorama, a moment of time venerated by the ancients, held holy throughout the ages, and awaited with bated breath by us mortals.
The first Blue Moon of 2020, escorted by small, fluffy clouds, and heralded by the rise and fall of the cool breeze, rose regally from the east. Grass and bushes, trees, and even our tents, all donned a silver silhouette, as the soothing sheen of the full moon cast an enchanting spell on the world. A magical command caused the temperature to drop, raising the hair on our arms, and made us huddle closer, seeking the warmth in togetherness.
This called for the lighting of the campfire, from dry twigs gathered from the nearby jungle. Being organically oriented, saatvik yogis, we had decided to use ghee as fuel, for lighting our campfire, and so the pleasant aroma of desi ghee filled the air as the fire sprung into life. Tongues of flames leapt into the darkness, illuminating everything in its reach.
Symphony of sounds
Some invisible music conductor gave an unseen signal, and in the distant, a bullfrog started croaking, joined eagerly by his friend, and in moments, it seemed, it was an orchestra of frogs, all croaking and serenading their loves, supported by the joyous chirping of the crickets, and the nocturnal insects. The melody was made more musical by the cheerful crackling and popping of the fire, and the faraway howls of lonely hounds. Dry leaves crunched under our feet, as we gathered on our mats around the warmth, seeking refuge from the chilly wind, which flowed through the fields, leaves and branches.
Legend has it, that the night of Khojagiri, when healing positivity pours from the heavens is made complete by consuming food which is white and pure. Following this tradition, my friend Maria had made arrangements for hot milk, left simmering under the moonlight for a couple of hours. As the night deepened, and the full moon paraded the silver aisle of the sky, resplendent in her Solah Shringar, we sat nursing the warm cups in our hands, savouring the sweet taste of hot milk, flavoured with honey and saffron, made rich with almonds and pistachios.
It was as if Amir Khusro’s famous lines,’ Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.” “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here.”, had begun to take on a new meaning!
Contributor: Nafisa Shabbir Master
About our Writing Program Student
Nafisa is a Behavioural Psychologist, Neuro Linguistic Master Trainer, and Life Skills Coach. Apart from over 20 years of experience in Corporate Coaching, she also takes time to travel and go trekking. An avid traveller and trekker, Nafisa has trekked to the China, Myanmar and Bangladesh borders. She loves reading, cooking, singing and making friends. She’s happily married and a proud grand mother of four beautiful children.