Like Dave, I’ve enjoyed and felt blessed by my time here in India. One of the things that struck me immediately was how natural it felt to be here.
This pattern repeated itself several times in the first couple of days:
- I see someone (an Indian) while I’m walking down the street. They are probably staring at me; no smile or anything friendly.
- I smile and raise my hands in namaskar – a gesture like the traditional prayer gesture, with the palms held together. It means, “That which is Divine in me honors that which is Divine in you.”
- They break into an incredibly sweet smile and make the same gesture in return. The whole encounter is silent and has a sense of inward communion.
The Indians here have a natural sincerity and kindness that is inspiring. It’s a different kind of kindness than we might tend to practice in America – one centered more in being and less in doing.
For example, think of the kindness that we practice by listening to someone with real attention and interest. This can be more meaningful to someone than giving them a present. I find this more often here, along with a clearer understanding that “people are more important than things.” It may be a change in my own consciousness or a cultural difference; I’m not sure which.
Amusingly, perhaps especially so after my earlier post about joyful meditations, it has sometimes been difficult to meet even the minimum time requirements I set for my daily meditations ! A little counter-productive, right? To come to India on a pilgrimage and then not take enough time to go on the true pilgrimage: the journey within, towards God. Nothing to do now, I guess, but do better tomorrow (or tonight)!
Swami Kriyananda’s Talks
I want to write more about my time here, later, especially about a trip to the holy town of Rishikesh. Also, the twin weekends of events, with appearances by Swami Kriyananda, were very good. That Swami was able to speak at all is remarkable considering the recent difficulties with his health. The day before one of his talks I heard that he was having trouble even putting a full sentence together.
Yet he did come to deliver two talks that first weekend – and good talks, too! He mentions some health challenges in one of them, but as a friend said, you wouldn’t know it for being in the audience! He seemed really fine. So this was something that I found inspiring about the whole two weekends of programs. I think most people would have given up long ago, but Swami just keeps going, for God and Guru, with great willpower and grace.
All of the talks by Swami Kriyananda and others, from both weekends, are available online. I definitely recommend them!