"Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitute wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there." Meister Eckhart (12th Century mystic)
Each year, for the past twenty-five years, we’ve taken our pilgrims to a snake temple on the outskirts of the local village. This is no ordinary temple. Upon entry, we are greeted with an image of a beautiful goddess hooded with a five-headed serpent and the body of a snake. What is remarkable about this temple is that a live serpent dwells here in the form of a female cobra.
Eggs and milk are left out daily and are consumed by the snake that dwells in a large mound covered with turmeric as a sign of healing and worship. There is also a stone form of the goddess inside, upon which the priest pours liquids for special pujas. He performed a rather remarkable ritual for us, during which we chanted many of the mantras we use in our school, along with mudras, to engage the experience.
The original snake cults that are also associated with fertility cults continue to be integrated into the Tantric form of Hinduism that dominates popular Hinduism today, especially in our native state...