Since I’m not making any notes these days, i’m posting everything from memory in short.
* A Meeting with the Kabir Panthees – Visited the Kabir Ashram in Dhaulpur, Rajasthan and stayed for a day there. Amrit Sahib is really a learned as well as spiritually grown person. See guys, my contact with spiritual people is growing, and they all want me to join them. He also explained that Kabir Panth is in the middle between the Argumentative Bramhans and the Silent Buddhists.
* People in Rajasthan respect the holimen a lot. Many people did me Namaste seeing my holy robes. And at the Ashram, not only the young people, but even a man older than my dad touched my feet. Guys, looks like I’m also becoming a holy man… After all, many people since my childhood have been predicting than I’d be a holy man. :lol:
* Met a soldier from Andhra Pradesh on the train. He was very friendly with me. He was also a devout Christian. It was a bit revealing for me that a person with a traditional Sanskrit name could also be a devout Christian who reads Bible before going to bed every night. He was also a very funny man. ‘You know, while I was reading the Bible, I felt an urge for sex’ he said. I told him to go to the toilet and release himself. He said: ‘No, I’m going to home now. I’m release it with my wife.’
* Another incident I forgot to mention: It was a Holi festival when I arrive in Bodh Gaya. A policeman gave me a lift for about 4 Kms. See guys, everyone wants to help me to achieve what I want. After all, it’s going to benefit the whole humanity.
*Ajmer: I found Ajmer more interesting than mentioned by the guides book, especially around the Lake area. And contrary to a traditional sounding name, the Ajmeris are a fashion concious people.
* Pushkar: Pushkar is really a quiet place surrounded by the desert mountains. A lesson to learn from Pushkar is that they have built a system of providing drinking water at various points.
* Right now I’m in Dharmashala. Will meditate if got an opportunity, otherwise will move further.
* After travelling this much, I’ve sensed that India takes security issues very seriously. So to undertand India, you must understand it’s security concerns. And that’s understandable. I’ve also sensed that security people are a bit concerned over my motive of travelling. They need not. India has been my second home since my childhood.
* Some people are wondering why I’m travelling like this. Guys, I’m not only travelling, I’m also becoming a travel expert on India. And that could be my next profession.
* A Note: May be I won’t blog for a long time. As I’ve said earlier, thinking interferes with meditation. So, please visit at your own risk.
Archive for india
Was into meditation again… but as long as I write blog columns, it’ll be difficult for me to do the concentration part of meditation…coz thinking interferes with concentration…moreover, thinking for blogging is also interefering with my other pursuits here… moreover, finding a cyber is really difficult… so, i’m ‘thinking’ of discontinuing blogging…so, don’t miss me guys, if you don’t see an update..
while meditating i see it vividly that i’m not a being but all the time i’m becoming… every moment the world is becoming and i’m also becoming… and i also see how people invite misery for themselves out of ignorance… personally, i’m happy, so i don’t need to meditate for personal reasons…but i admit that i still have to grow more spiritually…
A well-wisher colleague had once suggested that instead of blogging i should write books…i think i should also ponder over his idea… or may be i should write travelogues for magazines…that way i would also make some money for survival…
I’m amused to find that so many people in India are willing to help me… some have even given there adresses and have asked to contact them whenever i needed any help…
An interesting event: A man suggested that I should change my surname to a more polite one… coz it shows my ‘bramhinistic arrogance’…In fact, often I also find my surname a bit uncomfortable, although i’ve to use it that way officially…… so, in the Facebook, I’ve again changed my name to Divas Sapiens…
Even in India many people are wondering what course i’d take further… whether i’ll be social or i’ll take even more individualistic way…
A few people have suggested that a highly individualistic person like me should go to the Badri area and meditate there…they say that there’re many places and people like me there…but I’ve still to see many parts of India before that…
The Hawa Mahal(Pic from the net)
Arrived at the Jaipur Railway Station.
Was having some stomach problem for the past few days.
So was looking for the toilet to evacuate the bowel contents.
A police personnel of South Indian origin asked if he could help.
Told him that I was looking for a toilet.
And he took me to the toilet himself.
I was really impressed.
Later when I was lying outside near the ticket counter, the Tickect Checker or TT came with a few police personnel and demanded for the ticket.
Actually, sometimes I do cheat while on travelling on the train – for various reasons. Sometimes the line is too long, sometimes when I’ve a weak stomach, and sometimes I’m in a hurry. And sometimes just for the sake of fun – as the foreign tourists say.
However, when the TT catches me red-hand, I do pay the fines. And that’s some time much more than travelling with a ticket. But this time I didn’t feel like paying. So, I made some excuses. Coz I’d arrived Jaipur by hanging on the door, and many times i felt like it might be my last moment. So, instead of paying the fines, I thought it better to enjoy their scoldings.
The Railways authorities should increase the number of general or the II class bogies. Most of times the II class bogies are so crowded that it’s suffocating, especially during the summer months.
On Varanasi Experience: Looks like the real Sadhus Babas were not against me in Varanasi. Actually, I’ve sensed that many people including the real Sadhu Babas want to help me. Looks like the Ghat authorities and people who make a living out of it were unhappy with me. Coz I’d made a comment on improving the Ghat for the pilgrims.
Next time when I’ll be in Varanasi, I’ll spend my time on some isolated Ghat.
Jaipur is really a ‘Pink City’. Perhaps, the Pink City is the most beautiful planned settlement in India – in terms of architectural beauty. But, I wasn’t aware that Jaipur is also the capital city of Rajasthan. It’s also one of the major tourist destination in India.
An interesting incident: When I was standing in front of the Hawa Mahal, a Chinese looking female tourist (I call her Chinese coz she said ‘Nee-How’, I think that the ‘Namaste’ in Chinese) asked through gestures if she could take my picture. I was really amused. She was interested in one of the most narcissistic persons of our times. So I gave her a really philosophic pose. And she was happy to take my picture.
Pic from the net
Yesterday, a Naga Baba asked me to sit beside him. ‘I’ve been trying to talk to you for so many days, but you don’t pay attention to me. Are you angry with me?’ he asked smilingly. Actually, I don’t pay attention to anyone, unless I think it’s necessary.
Naga Babas are generally friendlier than other Babas. They ‘re also natural in their lifestyle. ‘Wanna take some chilum(marijuana)?’ he asked. I might have given company to Baba by taking one or more puffs, but I don’t know how to smoke from a chilum. So, I said no.
In fact, I don’t feel like taking any intoxicant. Why take any intoxicant when you’re already happy naturally? But people are people. Sometimes people insist for cultural reasons & also to show camaraderie - so sometimes I do take a few sips of alcohol for social reasons. But I neither drink nor smoke nor take any intoxicants. These days, I take only my anti-hypertensive medication, and my hypertension is inherited, not acquired.
Then another man came & asked Naga Baba a few questions on awakening the Kundalini. The Naga Baba was honest. He said that he’s been trying to awaken his Kundalini through Bhajans but hasn’t been successful yet.
I’ve also increased my meditation hours. While meditating I focus on sensations all over the body. Yesterday morning I felt like my Nabhi Chakra was active for some time.
Looks like cultural tensions much higher in India that I’d previously thought. I was enjoying my time in Varanasi and the people also seem to have accepted me. But some Sadhu Babas are unhappy with me coz I don’t follow their ways. So, I’m thinking of moving to some other place.
You guys might be wondering where I’m these days and what I’m doing. Well, I’m still at Varanasi. This place has been able to keep me here for several days. And for many reasons.
Varanasi, especially the Ghats around the Ganges, is a place for eccentric people like me. Even culturally you don’t feel an outsider here. In fact, I was a bit surprized to meet two Jyapu teachers from Bhaktapur Bode in the Nepali Dharmashala during my first visit. And the place is also filled with tourists from all over the world. Hence, the place is generally tolerant of unknown people. In fact, it’s a multi-cultural world.
You can swim in the Ganges whole day long and free of cost. The Ganges here is quiet and wide, and it remind you of Sholokhov’s ‘Quiet Flows the Don’. And I’m amused when I hear boatmen shouting: Par Jaaoge?(Wanna go the Other side?). Do they really understand what they’re saying?
I’m always around the Ghats, that too nearby Dashaswamedh Ghat. In the morning I sit on a cool berendah of a closed shop. Since it’s hot in the afternoon, I find a shaded place a sit there. Surfing the net is also easier here. Foods are also comparatively cheaper. And most importantly, you can sleep on the Ghats free of cost.
Although I don’t speak with anyone, I think people have begun recognising me. Even the security people are aware of me. A security personnel checked my hand bag the day before yesterday. And yesterday, another security personnel in plain clothes and with a sniffer dog checked my backpack. But they were very decent with me. I guess security people also know that I’m in India as a special guest of President Mukherjee and PM Singh. They just wanna make it sure that I don’t take a ‘wrong’ way. And I see them working really hard for my safety. Good job, guys!
Yesteday, I ate a free meal for the first time. I was roaming around looking for some cheap place to eat, and saw that ‘free meal’ or ‘Prasad’ was being distributed in front of the Biswonath Temple. Later I came to know that since it’s a Prasad, everyone takes it. And although I don’t participate in the rituals, I also enjoy eating Prasad.
I’m trying to keep my cost of living to a minimum. I eat basic foods like Idli, Puri, etc to save money. And I’ve started to drink plain tap water. In this way I can go on for a long time, even without begging.
And I’ve become even more introvert. Looks like I’m still ‘angry’ with some people from my past for their ‘unfair’ treatment, although I don’t get emotional. I avoid speaking as far as possible. I just wish people didn’t talk to me out of their curiosity. Coz speaking interferes with my observation. I’m thinking of hanging a placard on my neck with the message: Silence Please’.
In short, I’m happier and even more peaceful.
There are two ways of living. Either accept everything that life offers: both pain and pleasure, or ignore both and remain in the balance. Live your life anyway, that’s your choice.
Vipassana meditation is the second method of living life: ignoring both pain and pleasure. Mostly people do Vipassana when they’re in pain, I’d also done it in Kathmandu long way back. And at that time I was depressed. Actual I was depressed since my birth.
But this time, at Sarnath, I joined the Vipassana course not out of any pain. I was already in an elated mood, somewhat like what they say in a ‘Sat-Chit-Ananda’ state.
This time I joined Vipassana coz I wanted to grow spiritually even more. Ideally, I would like to do it alone in a jungle, but I’ve not yet found any such place where your basic material needs are also fulfilled.
Swami Ananda had also promised that he’d provide all the necessary arrangement. But for that I’d have to accept Swami Ananda as my Guru for which my ego was yet not that prepared.
And the Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka and his assistant teachers in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin do it in a very excellent manner, that’s why they’re more popular around the world even among various strands of Vipassana methods.
But, for a thinking person like me, the concentration part of Vipassana is abit difficult. Becoz, I’ve trained my mind in such a way that all the time I’m thinking of how to share my experience with world. However, the ‘Arya Maun’ or ‘Silence’ part is very suitable and natural for me.
But, after doing Vipassana, on the tenth day, when I sat to write my experience, I didn’t feel like writing anything. That’s coz Vipassana presuades you toward not thinking, but toward ‘nirbichar chitta’ or ‘thoughtless mind’. And I was also at a loss – now what to do next ?
I think I’ve really grown over the years. Coz most of times I was in Samata or Equanimity. Vipassana also helps you to discover ‘hidden’ facts. I also discovered how people play tricks. But life is really strange. It’s because of them, I’m enjoing this bliss.
I’d like to discuss more on the subject of meditation techniques and spirituality. However, right now, I would only describe the settings at the Sarnath Center. Since you have to apply online for a Vipassanna Course, and since I’m a ‘public’ figure , I sensed that the people there knew that I’m a blogger. But since I was in a cross-cultural dress-up of a ‘Swamiji’ and a ‘foreigner’, they were also confused about me. Guys, I know that you knew who I am, and I also know all your tricks . And I’m happy that my blog readership is growing.
The Teacher, Mr. Bijay Kumar Khanna, the mangers at the center, a jolly old man (sorry, I mean old looking jolly young man, I know you’re a pahalwan, a wrestler ), and a middle-aged peaceful man, and another middle-aged peaceful man with a mustache who did the most of the chores there were really spiritually grown people. You could see it. And they were happy to see me after the course. After all, doing meditation all the time and enjoying the ‘dawat’(treat) and service from others does make you even more balanced and less egoistic.
However, I missed to bid good-bye to the mustached man, please convey my good-bye and thanks to him.
And as Goenkaji says, one of the ways of sharing one’s merits is to spread the message of Vipassana, which I’m doing it here. Do Vipassana at least once in you’re life guys – you’ll be blessed, and the society will be more harmonious.
Btw, since I’m increasingly becoming famous, the number of my well-wishers is also growing, and I’ve sensed that they’re concerned for me. Don’t worry for me guys, the whole Indian establishment is taking care of me. And I mean it.
Guys, looks like i’ll disappear again for my inner journey, you people gonna miss me again. So, I’m writing some of my experiences so far in short.
Btw guys, I’m not into begging yet! In fact, I’d to pay double for the breakfast this morning also owing to my ‘foreigner’ get up.
One suggestion for everyone travelling to India: If you’re a budget traveller, be careful if someone approaches you for any ‘help’. Most of the times they will try to extract money from you.
Two suggestion for Varanasi Municipality: provide enough clean & safe drinking water and clean the moss on the ghats. Many people fall into the water due to the slippery ghats. Yesterday, a girl slipped and nearly drowned. Thanks to a man nearby her, she was saved. Also construct enough comfortable public toilets – for both sexes.
Thousands of pilgrims and tourists come to Varanasi everyday. And you guys make lots of bucks from them. Shame on you if you don’t make things better for the visitors.
However, remember that I’m not a cynic. Despite it beings a town of ‘crooks’, security is good in Varanasi – I’ve been sleeping on the Ghat for the last 3 days without any problem.
Can’t post my own photos, coz although I have a mobile, it doesn’t work.
When I was going to Darjeeling from NJP, the young ‘humanist’ soldier from Sikkim looked at my saffron colored handbag and said: It’s cold in Darjeeling.
In Darjeeling, an anxious looking man approached me and said in Hindi: Dost, pardon me if I disturbed you. But I saw you eating Roti at Dolly Didi’s place, and I see you again. So, I felt like talking to you. I hope you won’t mind.’
We shook hands, looked into each others eyes, and smiled.
Like in other parts of the North-East, cultural tensions are high in Darjeeling as well.
A couple were teaching their girl how to swim. The girl was scared. The parents insisted on taking a dip. I was observing them. They noticed that I was observing them. Then they looked at me and laughed. I also laughed.
But, perhaps they don’t know why I was laughing.
Hahaha…even a Banarasi Panda(priest) feels threatened by my presence. Yesterday, a Panda interrogated me, and warned: You’ll not be able to stay here for long.
I laughed and replied: I can stay anywhere if I wanted to. But the thing is that I don’t feel like staying at any place for long. And that’s my choice, not my compulsion.
Then the panda ran away.
Was walking in the narrow streets after the aftenoon swimming. A few youngsters greeted with ‘Namaste’. Saw a bundle of Rs. 500 notes lying on the way. Took the bundle and kept on walking. The boys yelled: ‘Hey man, that’s fake. April Fool. Hahaha’
I also laughed and thanked them for letting me see who I am.
A word for jealous guys: Travelling is not easy you assholes! Otherwise couch potatoes like you would also be doing it. But the insights you get while travelling and the joy of sharing your insights with the humanity makes you go through all the pains happily.
Btw, these days I’m swimming in the Ganges whole day in the sun. Also got sun burns. But, I’m happy that I’ve further honed my swimming skills. I’ve discovered that people who swim in the rivers are happier than those who swim in the pools.
Afterall, you’re the happiest when you’re closest to the nature!
Remember: I’ll disappear for don’t-know-how-many-days in my inner journey. But, keep on pondering over my lessons.
Guys, looks like India Govt is listening to me finally. They should. After all, I represent the voice of my age. After my complaint of excessive red tape in North East and on surfing the internet, they seem to have relaxed their grip a little. That’s good.
Have been bathing in the Ganges for the last 2 days with other small, big and old kids. An old man was so good at swimming that he could float on water without any movement. I wish I could also do that. And the kids call me Uncle jee.
You know what? After swimming, I was looking at how some old women pilgrims were making puri and sabjee for them. Seeing me interested in their culinary art, one old lady asked: Wanna taste the Prasad? I nodded. And she gave me haluwa and puri.
But, the I was attracted by the sabjee they were making – of alu and saag(potato and green leaves). It looked really tasty. ‘You want that too?’ she asked. I nodded again. And she gave me the sabjee as well.
I felt so grateful after eating what they gave me. By monetary value, what they gave me was not worth more than Rs. 5. But, they shared with me what they were making for themselves with such a good feeling that I was really touched by it.
I think that’s why spiritually enlightened people ‘beg’, although they’re not beggars. Otherwise, people who have attained higher level of consciousnesses are so powerful that they don’t need to beg. But, when you take something from others for free, you’re filled with gratitude. And owing to that gratitude, you happily extend yourself to help others.
As I was returning back from the North-East, I happened to hop on a compartment reserved for the army personnel.
Initially I was sitting in front of the door, and there were other ‘civil’ people as well in the compartment. In one statition, a man demanded to clear the space I was sitting on to keep his furniture items.
So I went inside the compartment and sat on a small vacant space on the upper birth. I was doing all these thing as any normal second class traveller does. But I was not aware that it was the ‘army’ compartment, and the security people sitting there were ‘suspicious’ of me.
An officer from Darjeeling asked me to get down and sit next to him. He asked me a lot of questions – in fact, I was being interrogated.
I sensed that the army personnel there were of mixed origins, and my presence there was creating a misunderstaing among the army personnels themsleves.
Some of them were of Nepali origin, others from Sikkim, Darjeeling and other India states.
The person who was interrogating me, Mr. K, was from Darjeeling. Seeing my interest in literature, he claimed that he can converse in poems. And he did answer me in a poem, when asked about himself. He was really an ‘ashu-kavi’.
Then he said: I feel like trusting you. But my profession does not allow me to trust you. Moreover, there’re my colleagues who don’t trust you. What’s in your that bag? Why’re you travelling like this? Why did you hop on an ‘army’ compartment? etc, etc
These days, I carry a saffron colored hand bag with an emblem of Shiva on it. I bought it in Haridwar during my last visit. I’ve sensed that security people are very suspicious of saffron colored bags.
I opened my bag and showed to him: See, there isn’t anything suspicious in my bag, just a watter bottle and a few paraphrenalia. And that I was not carrying the saffron colored bag for any ‘cultrual’ reason.
When he asked me what profession I was in, I replied: I’ve been to many professions, the last one was in the media. But, at present, I’m only a blogger.
Mr. K was not that well versed in internet. But his younger colleague, Mr. P, checked my blog on his mobile, and declaired: OK, he’s our friend.
The army personnel of Nepali origin felt obliged to support me coz I was from their country. And now the Sikkim man was also supporting me in the name of what he said ‘humanity’. Then the Darjeeling officer declaired: On my right side lies Sikkim, and on my left side lies Nepal. They both support you. Hence, I’m also obliged to support you.
Actually, he was saying all these things not to me, but to his other fellow personnel who were against my sitting in the compartment.
Then we shook our hands, and hugged each other. Then they asked me to take rest on the upper berth and Mr. P was assigned to ‘guard’ me.
When I was resting with my eyes closed, Mr. K asked: Is he sleeping? Others said: Yes. Mr. K: I hope I didn’t say anything wrong to him. I hope he doesn’t get a negative impression of us.
Others assured him: No, he’s positive. Didn’t he called you an ‘ashu-kavi’? That’s a great compliment.
They were right. I’m never against people on duty. I’m only against bloody politicians who make people fight with each other!
Btw, today I arrived Benares from Bodh Gaya.