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Rajasthan Reflections

Rajasthan Reflections


Dear Friends-
It is a long time since I have had a chance to update everyone on new arrivals of essential oils, absolutes, etc or with any new newsletter. As you already know we have been away in India since the last week of May until the first week of June. Actually our return to the USA was delayed by a few days as we extended our visit a few days. Then we were home for a few days during which I packed orders like a busy bear before going up to Washington to visit my mom until today.

This will just be a brief update and hopefully within the next couple of weeks a more substantial newsletter will go out on a specific aromatic plant and its essential oil.

The recent trips to India and Washington were in every way dear and precious. Not specifically aromatically oriented but heartwarming and charming in every way. On the physical plane we went from temperatures of 120 Farenheit in the desert of Rajasthan to the cooler day temperatures of 55 Farenheit in the Pacific Northwest. Quite a shock to the ol'body but well worth every second of both expriences.

The region of Rajasthan we were in is so remote as to be quite unimaginable unless one has been in those types of regions themselves. Yet in a few simple words I will try to share a little of what it was like. The Thar Desert is one of the hottest regions of the world. Yet due to extensive irrigation canal systems that are supplied by water from rivers coming out of the Himalayas, areas of that desert have become farmable. The people who live in the region where we visited were mainly Hindu land owners with smaller percentage of Sikhs scattered throughout the region. The distinctive apparel of the women in the form of colorful dresses has been oft depicted in documentaries of Rajasthan.

The simplicity and beauty of the ancient lifestyles of the people living in this region was a delight to behold. There one could hardly see any gasoline powered vehicle. Camel carts, bullock carts, bicycles and foot travel were the preferred means of transportation. The dwelling places were simple adobe structures that fit in with the landscape beautifully. The bodies of the people were lean and tough yet full of exquisite beauty. Their every movement reflected an intimate harmony with the world in which they lived. Even in that blistering heat men, women and children went about their daily works related to the agricultural life. Many crops had been recently planted so hoeing and weeding were taking place of such crops as wheat, legumes, mustard, etc-the main staples of their diet.

The peoples faces were illuminated with a bright intelligence and natural zest for life. The childrens countenances reflected a pure inner light that was unsullied by any of the complexities of life that we accept as normal here in the west. One simply wanted to take each and every one of them to their heart and hold them their forever. One simple sweet smile from their pure faces gladdened the heart immensely. Rather than sitting and watching TV or any other external diversion when not engaged in their works, they would sit around and talk with each other sharing stories from ancient times as well as experiences of their daily life. These stories and experiences while often filled with the most sweet and innocent humour often carried profound messages about the deeper meaning and purpose of life in this world. In the late evening and early morning we sat with our farming friends and for 1 or 2 hours participated in the most enjoyable and happy conversation imaginable. Fortunately both Suzanne and I speak Hindi which is also widely spoken in that region so we could directly participate in the lively conversations around us. The highest enjoyment that our friends could imagine having in the outer way was that of each others company. What a wonderful way to live and think.

In the evening we all slept out under the stars on simple rope beds. Many people of the small village joined us in a sort of community meeting place to share even the night rest. During the day the few of us from the West that were there could not venture out. 120 degrees farenheit is really toasty. I had never been exposed to such type temperatures before. Even the interior walls of the adope building were hot to the touch. But still we felt comfortable and happy in the relatively cooler interior temperatures of the buildings we wre staying. Our hosts did everything in their power to make us comfortable even though the concept of airconditioning was hardly known to them. They did go off and procure a couple of swamp water coolers just to make us more comfortable because the knew we were not use to these types of temperatures.
They also showered us with an endless supply of sweet watermelon, mangoes, grapes and cantaloupes. It seemed like the very ambrosia of the gods and in a way it was because our simple and kind hosts while having no material wealth gave us the most precious thing of all-the love in their hearts.

Then coming home to the cooler temperatures of the Bay Area we immediately started packing up orders that came when we were away. Over half of them were completed(the rest will be sent out a few days) before Suzanne and I went to the Pacific Northwest to visit my mom. In the space of a few days we went from one of the hottest places on earth to one of the mildest. The Pacific Northwest in the area where my mom lives is a gardener's heaven. The cool summer temperatures and long days give plants of that region a wonderful environment to grow in. As my mom is a devoted gardener who loves to nourish her plants with compost and mulch, the plants display an even greater vivacity than anywhere else I have seen in the small town where she lives. She has lived in her small home surrounded by a large garden for the past 14 years and each year she has developed the soil with tons of organic matter providing the earthworms and microorganisms living in the soil with a balanced diet to thrive upon. The roots of the plants therefore sink themselves into a rich mysterious world from which they draw nutrients into their systems that cause them to grow and bloom with a wealth of colors, textures, forms and fragrances that radiate into ones being sublime messages of beauty that exhalt the heart.

Reflecting on these two vastly different manifestations of the natural world-Rajasthan and the Pacific Northwest it was not hard to see that the profound message revealed in both was that in life simplicity and love are the things which make us most happy. My mother like the farmers of Rajasthan has little material wealth. She is an extremely simple person who has found her joy in caring for her garden and making her friends and associates happy with small bouquets or greeting cards she makes from flowers she presses. She doesn't even own a car. She walks where she needs to go or catches one of the city buses. But in each and everything she looks for the good and beautiful and this quality causes those who come in her contact to feel glad to be alive..

I realize that these small stories do not directly relate to the world of aromatic plants. Yet in a deep way one may say that they contain within them a lovely essence. Fragrance of plants is one of the most precious outer reminders of all the things that make our own life truly fragrant-kindness, thoughtfulness, sharing, sweetness, forgiveness. Just as each flower has its fragrance so do these qualities which live in each and every heart have their hidden fragrance that spreads into the environments in which we live if we make our own heart and mind quiet enough to manifest them. Quite a challange in our complicated modern times but definitely worth working on because in them one gets glimpses of that Hidden Life which bestows peace and joy o our hearts.

Kindest regards-
Christopher