Friday, January 29, 2010

Surfing with Krishna

The town of Mulki isn’t even on the Lonely Planet’s radar; it frazzled our taxi driver with skinny roads and turns to no end. But eventually we arrived at the peaceful "Surfing Swami" Ashram tucked deep in coconut palms, and next to a river that flows into the Arabian Sea. "We" consisted of myself, Sashwa, and our dear friends from Northern California - Alexei and Katja - finishing off their final week in India with us, chasing surf and exploring the South.

Chasing surf in India is not what one would expect. There isn't much surf culture at all here even with the heaps of ocean all around. The boys of the ashram are the sole exception, having formed a sort of team of old and young surfers, both local and from the states - devout devotees of Krishna. The waves they have all to themselves.

Congruent with how it is here in India, where everyone wakes to their morning puja, and Muslim chants blare through waking streets at 5AM, the surfing ashram is no exception. Though it seems play, i.e. surfing, is part of their devotion too. We joined them for their evening kirtan chanting, singing prayers and praise in front of an alter erected in thanks to Krishna. This alter is also where the boys brought our food to receive blessing before we ate our evening meals. Blessed food does taste better!

I got up on the surf board. This of course was the highlight of my own adventure as I want to be able to surf SO BAD. But so was singing with the ashram boys too. Prayer is everywhere here, in the streets, in pujas on the beach, on the faces of woman who have already done their morning offerings and started their busy day of selling fruit or caring for their families. It is maybe the most striking thing to me so far - almost like ritual is so familiar to the people of India that touching their head to the ground in front of Ganesh is as mindless and common as opening a door.


  1. "Pujas on the beach" what more could you ask for!

  2. I am transporting there right now...