Alchemy of Tea

Swami Veda Bharati holds the prestigious title of Mahamandaleshwara in the Swami order of monks. He is also the Chancellor of HIHT University, Dehradun, which was established by Master Swami Rama. He has authored approximately 18 books on Indian spirituality including a 1500 page comprehensive commentary on two of the four chapters of Patanjali's Yoga-sutras. Before taking the vows of Swamihood in 1992, Swami Veda Bharati was known as Dr. Usharbudh Arya.

Alchemy of TeaWe are often asked how can we combine our daily life with spiritual contemplations in a modern busy world. Here is a poem by a happily married and busy young lady doctor, mother of two, in New Jersey, USA, who has imbibed the principle that any little object can help us to unveil the mysteries of the universe. Her name is Dr. Kani Ilangovan, born in Chicago, educated in USA.
This also goes to show that spiritual quest and vision are not confined to a single geographical area. Enlightenment happened to Siddhartha under the Bodhi tree in Bodh-Gaya. Enlightenment can strike also while you are sitting in a tea shop in New Jersey.
Here one sees that the depth of tea in a cup can equal fathoms of a spiritual ocean. Truth of even the littlest object being made of five elements is perceptible to the contemplative mind. Go deeper and the tea cup here reminds a philosopher of the clay pot called the body as in so many Vedanta metaphors . Each tiny ripple in a tea cup is an invitation to comprehend mighty waves of the universe-ocean. Thus, the poetess says: From this perfect fusion of elements he can find the holy language.
May the reader of this article find holy language in every cup of tea s/he sips from.


Sitting in a teashop
Blowing into my cup of peach melba tea
I do so for four purposes
To cool my warm tea
To fan the rich peach fragrance into my face
To create deep brown ripples
To see the light patterns that form inside the ripples
There is a lamp directly above my cup of tea
The light forms odd angular shapes in the ripples
that look like ancient runes, cryptographs
And I imagine an alchemist
Absorbed in the study of these shapes
Believing that this tea is
A perfect union of liquid
air from his breath
fire from the heat of the tea and the light from above
earth from the glass that contains it
From this perfect fusion of elements
He can find the holy language
And so he sits blowing into the tea
Recording the shapes
Seeking the secrets of the universe


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19 Dec 2021;
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Full Moon Meditation 2020

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