First-time India traveler Maya’s impressions
I think I lived there in my past lives. How do I know? I can feel it, I recognize it in my heart, all things Indian resonate so strongly in me – food, fragrances, melodies, images – all this made me feel at home before I first got there. I imagined it in detail, had dreams, and even time/place-travelled during meditations.
Yet I was not meant to go there for many years from the time I began to feel it. Five trips during the last several years had to be cancelled for different reasons. When it happened the last time, I even had airplane tickets and all the necessary documents, but existence knows better what we need. This last time taught me to be more patient and humble about my wishes, and finally when I relaxed, I was accepted to the Holy Land. When the plane landed inNew Delhi, my heart almost exploded from ecstatic joy. I was jumping and singing and loved everything! (Continues below slideshow…)
Then came the Shock.
To put it lightly, the simplicity and yet intensity of life in India is not possible to imagine for a western person living comfortably in a big city – like me. And to put it straight, my body and mind could not bear the whirling mix of the place bursting into my being: the concentration of dust in the air, terrible noise in the streets, dirt and stenches which made me feel really sick, chaotic movements of cars, bikes, rickshaws, people and various animals, bright sun, no space to think. That was something. Anyone who knows, knows; others cannot imagine until they get there. And now I understood why I needed to get to Vrindavan first – the place where you are exposed to even more of that shocking mix – it made me quickly break through the materialistic side of the place and see into its core. And the core of Vrindavan, the core of India is Love. Love was all around, in people, in cows and dogs, in trees, in land, in existence.
Within a couple of days my physical body got used to everything (well, almost), and I relaxed and accepted all as it came. The materialistic layer became more transparent, and then I could see another reality – the energy field, the spiritual power of the land, the Love.
This is how Osho expresses it:
“India is not just geography or history. It is not only a nation, a country, a mere piece of land. It is something more: it is a metaphor, poetry, something invisible but very tangible. It is vibrating with certain energy fields which no other country can claim. For almost ten thousand years, thousands of people have reached to the ultimate explosion of consciousness. Their vibration is still alive, their impact is in the very air; you just need a certain perceptivity, a certain capacity to receive the invisible that surrounds this strange land…
…because you are meditating, trying to be silent, you are allowing the real India to come in contact with you. …the way you can find truth in this poor country you cannot find anywhere else. It is utterly poor, and yet spiritually it has such a rich heritage that if you can open your eyes and see that heritage you will be surprised. Perhaps this is the only country which has been deeply concerned with the evolution of consciousness and nothing else. Every other country has been concerned with a thousand other things. But this country has been one-pointed, a single goal: how human consciousness can be evolved to a point where it meets with the divine; how to bring the human and the divine closer.”
Osho. The Osho Upanishad, Ch 21, Q 1
And this can sound like a concept, a theory, until you get there and relax into it, seeing it unfolding beautifully. Just be attentive! Conscious! Alert!
This land is accepting, non-violent. People are smiling, kindly accepting everything in wonder. Sweet cows shine with their kindness. Stray dogs are the happiest stray dogs I’ve ever seen. The energy is delicate, open, responsive: you go to a Shiva temple and suddenly have strong transcendental experiences in the middle of the crowd; go to Pagal-Baba temple and it fills you with such incredible joy of existence, that you feel your heart is going to explode and you want to dance and sing about love (Pagal means crazy, as this Baba was known to have incredible love for Krishna); go to Radha Raman temple and it fills you with sweet calm love to God; go to Sani temple and right afterwards you fall into deep meditation in the middle of a super-bumpy trip in an old Indian bus – just like that, without any effort, lotus position, concentration of the mind and pranayamas.
I heard that in holy places like Vrindavan you don’t accumulate karma. So what really amazed me in India, that everything was very easy. The moment I wanted to see someone, a person suddenly appeared even he/she had not planned to be there. The moment I realized I was lost in the mind, consciousness returned. The moment I noticed a judgmental thought, it was quickly substituted with feelings of love and gratitude. What a blessing!
In one of his discourses Osho said that in other countries you certainly can do meditation and spiritual practices, but there you need to put more effort into it, while inIndiait’s easier and faster, like going with the flow of a river, not against it.
We were blessed to live in the Brahman family of our dear friend Bittu Mallick, and this was an experience by itself, a journey to Indian culture and traditions. Mallick’s family is very musical; they are backed by 13 generations of musicians and some are very renowned in India and abroad. My fellow travelers and I were surrounded by love and care, and could immerse ourselves in their wonderful spirituality as a part of every day, every minute of their lives – God in everything. We could also sing and dance together, that was great!
We stayed in Vrindavan for some time, and then moved on to Rishikesh. That was a half-day journey by Indian rail, and although we didn’t stay long, it was definitely worth it. When we arrived all the tiredness disappeared immediately – such a beautiful place!
And then I met Ganga…
That is the power not to be told, but to be experienced. That is Mother River, a great living soul, holy water, magnetic and incredibly beautiful! I fell in love with it the moment I heard it from the window of the room, then touched its soft skin, smelled and finally bathed in its soul-cleaning waters. I felt so loved and relaxed near it, so I made a wish to come back and spend more time with it.
After coming back from the north, we were offered to make a parikrama around Vrindavan. Parikrama is an act of dedication and asceticism; it is done by walking around a holy place, preferably barefoot. It’s like a prayer in action. I had heard about it and was a little concerned whether I could manage the journey, but decided to trust existence to take care of me. If some of you have been to Vrindavan, you know that the outskirts are very polluted; people live on the streets or in very simple houses, pigs are digging in piles of garbage, there are also many very sick and injured people and animals. It was physically challenging to walk for 4 hours under the sun barefoot, yet the most important processes were happening inside. Seeing this shocking simplicity of life, illness, birth and death, the whole wheel of material life started running around me; this experience was very painful yet cleansing for mind and soul. ‘Temporary’ – that is the word I could hear resonating inside louder and louder. With this pain and shock I could feel how the fear of death started to loosen its clutches on me…
We returned to Delhi airport. Amazing to have gone through joy, shock, pain and happiness in such a short time! And by the end of the journey I could feel something I had never felt in all my many travels before – leaving this land was so difficult! My mind and willpower had to work hard to disconnect the body from India. But India is always in my heart.
My name is Maya. I live in Moscow, Russia, and work as a marketing manager for an international company. My interest in eastern spiritualism started about 10 years ago, and practices led me to exciting experiences, life-changing events and meetings with amazing people. I love travelling, photography, animals, reading, handmade things, laughing with friends, singing mantras, being in nature, dancing, listening to silence, smiling at the sunshine. Last year I discovered Osho, and that opened a new chapter in my life… www.flickr.com – maya108photo (at) gmail.com