MY INDIA EXPERIENCE IN A NUTSHELL!
From the moment I walked out of Bangalore Airport and stepped foot on Indian soil I felt a profound energy in my heart. I had no idea what to expect for the next month and a half, but one thing was certain, I expected the unexpected. I was sure it would be an experience I would never forget. As an American born, non-Indian female, traveling in a foreign land can be one of two things: exhilarating beyond belief, or the most frightening thing anyone could possibly do. Let’s face it, as human beings we have an innate fear of the unknown. Each and every one of us is, by nature, a control freak. We feel immense consolation when our mind is in a balanced state of equilibrium. When that equilibrium is tampered with, forget it, all hell breaks loose. We do everything in our power to get back to that state of tranquility. This state of mind is synonymous with my definition of what India is… a place of blissful chaos. Cows roaming the streets, traffic with no organization or order whatsoever, street vendors yelling out to foreigners to purchase a trinket, buses pulling over in the middle of the highway so passengers can get out to use the bathroom (by this I mean squatting on the side of the road and letting it all out). But somehow, some way, amongst all the chaos there exists a permanent state of bliss and functionality that is witnessed when one gazes into the eyes of the locals.
It was 5:00 AM when I was awoken by the loud sounds of Sanskrit mantras blasting over a loud speaker. I got out of bed and began to follow the chants to see where they were coming from. I arrived at a temple and watched curiously as a few men dressed in orange robes began washing an enormous gold statue. What I didn’t know at the time was that this was a sacred ritual to be repeated every morning. And it wasn’t a simple act of “cleaning” the statue, it was much more symbolic than that. These men who dressed in orange robes are known as ashramites, men who live at the ashram, and aside from sacrificing the material and physical world, their ultimate purpose in life would be to attain enlightenment. The ritual they were performing was an act of worship to Lord Anandeshwara.
For the following three weeks I had undergone a transformational process. Aside from the yoga, meditation and chanting we had to do everyday, what I didn’t realize at the time was that my actual soul was going through a spiritual cleanse. For anyone who questions the mystical abilities of the universe, I am certain that a short period of times spent in India will clear up any of those doubts.
India is a place where nature and logic is transformed and one transcends the limitations of their old beliefs and mental setup. To describe my experience in a few words is no easy task. Each day felt like a month, but now that I’ve been back in New York City for a month, my India experience feels like a dream. It felt as though somebody picked me up out of my typical routined lifestyle here in NYC, and placed me in a fairytale filled with mystical experiences and magical people. Aside from my experience at the ashram, I was blessed with finding the most interesting people along my path. I learned about Ayurvedic remedies to naturally cure all sorts of ailments. I met a man who taught me about crystal healing and the powerful properties in various stones and crystals. I met an astrologist/psychic who went into detail about my past life as well as fascinating truths about my current life situation. I met a sadhu (wondering monk), who sat with me under a beautiful tree, which happened to be his home, and we spent hours together in -meditation and admiring nature’s beauty.
For anyone who is interested in tapping into a resource of knowledge, wisdom and experiences, India is the place to go. Aside from learning about Indian culture and Hindu traditions, through the attainment of this plethora of wisdom I can confidently state that I learned much about myself. My entire life I have been taught and conditioned to pray from a prayer book everyday and to practice very specific techniques in order to find God around me. After a month and a half of being in India I can confidently say I found God within me as well.