Friday, February 20, 2015

Journey to the center of heart

I have wandered quite a length and breadth in India, especially in the mountain ranges, but I feel it’s pretty much infinitesimal to expand the horizons of my experiences. I have this burning desire to roam around, at least in India, as nothing is more fulfilling than experiencing your own country, an amalgamation of diverse culture, and more importantly, to feel the sublime pulse of spiritual energy that flows throughout the nation, irrespective of changing trends.

In my small, but deeper spiritual pilgrimages throughout the country, I have met some extraordinary people. Some have forsaken their old lives in the West to gain something more meaningful in India. Some people came with a temporary objective and found a permanent one. Some people don’t abandon their identities but make great efforts to arrange their finance to come back again and again here, to find something new every time. There are not only western people but Indians who were from affluent families, left their opulence behind and began searching of their purpose.

What is the most important thing in life? Some people say love. Some say freedom. But I believe its purpose through which we all earn our freedom. Whenever I met people who left a so called secured life, I felt a certain peculiar aspect in them; you can say a certain type of irony where they were searching but with a happiness and focused approach. It is not that they were not facing difficulty sustaining their lives, climatically, psychologically and financially, but the approach towards life was so simple yet profound in their own ways.

Yann Vagneux

I was sitting on the ghats in Varanasi, and suddenly I felt my confusion, discomfort, doubt, everything went away. Ganges in Varanasi what people feel so dirty, I felt so pure in midst of filth and constant cacophony. Then I met this guy in pajama and kurta with a shawl nicely wrapped around his body. Our eyes met, perhaps for 10-20 seconds or so and he came to me with a smiling gesture. I liked him instantly and we went for our morning tea. Next seven days we used to meet every day at ghats, spending time with lots of talk and roaming around Varanasi.

Yann is older than me, a Catholic priest and a student at Banaras Hindu University. He has been staying in Varanasi for 4 years or so and never said anything against that city. Although he is a priest, still has a strong inclination towards Hinduism, and I was quite surprised to know his knowledge about India. At certain times I felt he knew Indians lots better than me, at least in Varanasi. After Varanasi, I met him again in Haridwar, from where we both began our journey towards Gaumukh, and Tapovan. He has inspired me to live a simple life, seeing things more clearly through religion and compassion.

Philip Zudi

First time in life I received a Christmas gift. Philip presented me a book written by Sri Aurobindo, and two music CDs that he brought it from Rajasthan. I met Philip in Dharamkot, a nice, and offbeat place, 2 km from Mcleodganj where human psychology plays in a different role. One side of Dharamkot is infested by hippies and dope smokers, and another one is longed by aspired meditation students and alike. One side you can find people party hard till the morning, and another side you will find Buddhist meditation centers like Tushita and Vipassana. I generally used to go to a restaurant every day, had my breakfast cum lunch and sat there for whole day, watching distant Dhauladhar range. In the evening, I walked in the woods, sometimes went to Mcleodganj to savor excellent momos. I met lots of people there but Philip was different. We had instantly grown a bond of friendship between us. We used to dine every day together, and then chatted for an hour or so in the same restaurant. (Picture below).

restaurant in dharamkot, mcleodganj

He was practicing Iyenger Yoga there, and the common thread between us the same yoga he used to practice every day. One day, we had decided to trek to Triund together. I think he was a bit hesitant to trek together at first, but ultimately he asked me to join him.

I met him two years back in Delhi when he briefly stayed in my place. At that time we shared certain personal thoughts and I was quite surprised with the wisdom he had. He taught me Spanish for two days, played guitar and inspired me to travel, even without money.

A Sadhu in Chopta

sadhus in himalayas

He said he was an engineer in his previous life (before sanyasa). He wasn’t concerned about his food, but he got his food unexpectedly from a villager that night. He smoked hell lot of smoke, and coughed like a TB patient. He walked inhumanly, covered almost 100 km in mountain terrain. And he was almost 70 years old. I met him during my trip to Chopta. He was not powerful as it seemed, but there was a certain honestly in his eyes that drew me close towards his talks. We spent the night together, talking and discussing about life. He was more interested in making chillum and smoke, and in between talked about him a little.


He was not Omprakash by any means. He was white, tall and extremely creepy in attire. I was sitting at German Café in Rishikesh when I saw him, dressed like a tantric, full black with at least 10 rings on 10 fingers, 3-4 stone necklaces with long hair. He told me he was 50 but looked like 70. He was extremely fond of girls, always commented of any girl he saw and told me lots of tale about his sexual adventure during his stay in Thailand. He married thrice, had one son, no occupation as such, and took money from his mother. On the top of that, he had experienced Kundalini with his queer description. He had his guru who initiated him in Tantra, he stayed in Varanasi and capable of spending lots of money in whisker (that I saw while roaming with him for 4 days.)

german cafe rishikesh

One thing for sure, he liked me very much. He even sent me a letter after one year, with typical American lingo and style. He was American, left his country and lived a life that I was confused that he really wanted to. However, he really gave a damn about things and did lots of things that I only imagine as a conservative Indian.

There are lots of people I met during my travel, but I think that will take a book to complete and I am no mood to write anything but to write a little more than 1000 words.

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  • Rohini C Sekhar says:
    February 20, 2015 at 11:57 PM

    You're very lucky to have met such interesting people in your life Shubhajit - and even luckier that you can actually make true the dreams that a lot of us have: to get to travel the world ... I envy you, but then, I am thankful to read these posts that vicariously let me travel and meet such inspiring people.

    Keep traveling and keep sharing your experiences - so that people like me, chained to the eternally moving wheel of life - can breathe a little too. :)

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