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Helloooo from the house of our Pandit, where day one of our training is now complete. Its almost 9.30pm and as such, almost time for bed (on account of the fact we tend to get up real early in retreat mode). Somewhere between 5.30 & 6am).

Today’s schedule was to drill our understanding of Sanskrit and correct pronunciation.

And something that’s very important is emphasis. As in, a word can look the same in diacritics (English transliteration of Sanskrit letters) but if there’s a little symbol of some kind over or under a particular letter, that changes everything.

So, there needs to be some careful attention paid to such symbols, to ensure, for example… you don’t end up calling someone a prostitute instead of referring to their nose. I’m not kidding!

A little bit like how misunderstandings can occur between people using what we think is straightforward language… awareness and consideration are always useful skills to possess in order to avoid such mistakes…

Once we’d drilled letters and sounds and the alphabet all morning, we spent the afternoon chanting a number of sacred texts – things we use in our yoga practice anyway, but now have much greater understanding of and control over how we pronounce them.

The end of the day was interesting… we went to the local Hindu temple, which is actually a Sri Lankan Saivite temple (dedicated to Shiva – which is our linneage as well). It was a juicy puja – the hair where it attaches to my scalp has only just stopped tingling… several hours after we got back, actually.

They were performing a (very Tantrik) Sri Chakra Yantra ritual – which is about the worship of a living, married and happy woman as an incarnation of the Mother Goddess, for the benefit of all beings.

Thing I love about this stuff, is not just the worshipping of women, but that worship is considered an art form, personal and individual. Ya gotta feel it!

There’s no preaching, and beyond a few guidelines, there’s no set way of performing any Tantrik puja. There’s a freedom there, to commune with God/god as you see fit (or not).

And in my estimation, that’s how it should be.