After the New Year arrived, I received a phone call from former roommates who are like family to me. I’ll call them Matsya and Ani in these stories. Since October, they had been traveling abroad in India and surrounding countries. My heart was filled with joy to hear their voices after several months apart.
When the excitement of speaking together simmered down, they said, “Hannah, we have to tell you something. Each night in the ashram, everyone participates in a ritual called Havan. We chant mantras over lanterns fueled with ghee and cow dung. We are seeing images of you here with us.”
Tears welled up in my eyes. My connection to Matsya and Ani felt so strong despite our physical distance apart.
“The ancient Vedic texts refer to ghee having its origins in India,” they continued. “If you travel here we can learn about the traditional and medicinal uses of ghee to inform your new company. What do you think?”
I laughed. How else could I respond to that invitation? I told them that was highly unlikely considering I have responsibilities running a business- I can’t just take a month off to travel around India learning about ghee. There are newsletters to write, classes to plan, labels to design, meetings to attend, equipment to order. Dropping everything to go away until spring seemed absolutely ludicrous.
Then, I paused. I closed by eyes and took a deep breadth.
I heard a small voice from deep within. I listened. The voice had a different response. It did not react or resist. Instead, the voice responded with a deep wisdom from the core of the Earth. It said, “Go.” This was the voice I listened to that day.
One month later, I picked up my passport and visa in New York City, hopped in a cab to the airport, and boarded a non-stop flight to New Delhi.
This is part I of a series called, Ghee Stories.