For India we had basically three main aims. First, to learn about Hindu religion and experience the space and places where some of the main streams of Hinduism which floats into the western world are coming from. Second, visit place or places connected with Mahatma Gandhi. And third, try to find out the area from where the Gypsies could be from (as there are many Gypsies living in my country and I knew almost nothing about their roots).
We started in Kolkata where we participated the festival of the goddess of power, Durga Puja, the biggest Kolkata festival of a year. We got in touch with locals and eventually we even did a performance of Tadysho on a festival stage. In Kolkata we also visited the main centre of Ramakrishna movement and learned about swami Vivekananda’s work and thinking.
From Kolkata we went to Mayapur, the centre of ISKCON (“Hare Krishna sect”) where we stayed and followed their schedules and rituals for couple of days. I also visited lectures of their elders and main representatives and discussed with one of them some topics concerning their religion.
From there we travelled to Bodhgaya, a place of Buddha´s enlightenment. There was a big main temple in the middle of the town where it is believed the historical Buddha reached enlightenment. And behind the town, in a little village, there is even a cave where it is believed Buddha lived for many years practicing asceticism. We visited both.
Unluckily we got there in a season characterized by some dangerous bacteria moving in the space. Soon we got infected from street food and through the red glasses of sickness we weren’table to enjoy the place much anymore. I was coming to the main temple for Zazen everyday but soon we both, Fukiko and I, got sick and fighting high fevers, nausea and diarrhea we were pushed to stay in bed for couple of days. Luckily we found a good doctor, got some injections of antibiotics and soon got better. Then we left Bodhgaya for the west.
After staying for some time in ancient city of Varanasi where we stayed in an open room close to a place where dead bodies were being burned, and after breathing their smoke everyday, we headed to Himalayas to some sacred places in the height of four thousands meters. We went to the temples of Kedarnath and Badrinath, where we visited and talked to some “sadhus” (Indian holy men) in their caves.
Himalayas were strong experience. The mountains were intense and the lifestyle of the sadhus highly attractive for me. For first time in my life I was tempted by certain place so much that I started to think about staying there for the rest of my life. However, the Universe wanted differently and by almost miracle circumstances Fukiko pulled me back into the life of an ordinary men.
We carried on. I read Bhagavadghita at the place where, according to a legend, it has been written and we stayed one week with a Hindu priest in his little temple by a side of a pilgrimage rout. He let us participate in his prayers and rituals every day and he shared with us some knowledge of Vaishnava way of Hinduism.
Then we stayed in Rishikesh, famous yoga place and important pilgrimage site for many Hindu. We lived there in one of the local ashrams and took some classes of hatha yoga included some given by 106 years old yogi. We also visited some lectures on Hindu and Buddhist philosophy given by one local guru and participated in Natural Cure workshop given by a curer Salila Tiwari – a personal doctor of a former Indian prime minister. (We have learned from her some basic body cleaning practices like the breathing exercises called “pranayan” or washing of a stomach with warm water called “kunjal” that we practice occasionally till present days, and we have received some basic knowledge concerning fasting, diet and the use of four elements in curing of a body.)
After Rishikesh we stayed for about one week in a Sikh’s village in Punjab participating Sikh prayers and rituals and learning about the basics of Sikh faith. Our educator was one of the elders of the village, farmer, poet and spiritual teacher who we fall in love with as with ourIndian father. We stayed with him only for couple of days but despite the short time we established strong relationship with him which remains till present days.
In Punjab we also visited a camp of traveling gypsies and then carried on researching the gypsies roots when we moved to Rajastan. We stayed couple of days among the locals in a desert town listening to their language and observing their behaving and soon we had no problem to believe the theories speaking about gypsies roots originally coming from there.
From Rajastan we moved to Ahmedabad where we stayed whole day in former Gandhi’s ashram, mediating about the life of this extraordinary man, and from Ahmedabad we went straight to the beach of Nargol where Shri Mataji, the establisher of Sahadja Yoga, is said to reach Self-Realization. The Sahadja Yoga was the goal for us at Nargol but eventually and accidentally we got in touch with another religion of India there – Zoroastrism. We stayed a night with a local Parsi family and they gave us long introduction into their faith and even took us to a monument reminding the arrival of the first Parsi people to India which was situated near the beach.
After that we went to Mumbai and finished our trip across India by taking a plane back to Czech.
When we traveled in India, once we were in wwoof farm. Wwoof is a shortcut for an organisation called World Wide Opportunity on Organic Farms. This organisation offers volunteers work in exchange for food and accommodation in organic farms all over the world.
It was in Punjab where we did wwoofing at one Sikh village staying with one old Sikh man and his family. He had big cotton farm with many employees, and he had organic farm of his own vegetables and fruits. Some exotic fruits like Mango and Guava were his main organic fruits. And he was traditional Sikh practitioner and also poet.
He discribed us five elements which are hanging on us preventing us from meeting God: Fear, Anger, Greed, Selfishness and Blindness.
These elements are darkenning our mind. And when our mind is in the darkness we are away from God, he said.
When we misunderstand the reality, we are in the darkness, we fear. We need to bring the light into our mind to be able to see what’s in self. A guru is like a door-man, who is standing in front of a door to help us to lighten ourselves.
I fear only when I am disconnected from myself. But when I include myself into the world, when I am concentrated and mindful, I do not fear. The fear eats me only when I am not able to see the reality. The reality that I am here and now.