I surprised a snake this morning as I was walking back to my room. The sun had just risen, and there was a hazy quality to the air. As I stepped onto a rock, there was a sudden swish about two feet away from me, and a three-foot-long dark colored snake (the only description my mind could accomplish at that speed) suddenly materialized out of the vague underbrush. Before I could focus it had skidded soundlessly to the side, almost flying against the ground. I followed it with my eyes as it disappeared and reappeared in the debris nearby, passing under a small log and over a basket remnant, until it was out of sight.
“So, Dr. Ramdas, are there many snakes around here?”
“Snakes? Um… yes.”
“Are any of them poisonous?”
“Ah… you could say. Yes.”
“What kinds of poisonous snakes?”
“There are cobras here?”
“Yes, cobra. That is why it is best not to go walking in the sand from 5:30 to 8 in the evening, that is their hunting hour.”
“Their hunting hour??!”
“But do not worry. I am one hundred percent certain nothing bad will happen with snakes here. We do pujas for snakes. So that is not a problem.”
To have such confidence in your relationship with nature is astounding. The staff here know they are following the rules of harmony in the world. They have set their intentions and solidified them with ritual, and in return they depend on that compliance to protect them.
And they are right. There have been no problems with snakes on their property.