The dirt, the filth, the colours, the music, the praying, the inequality, the food, the traffic!!!
When we visited Jaisalmer, the golden city, we visited a Jain temple. There were ‘holy men’ asking for money inside the temples… there were signs up saying do not give money to the holy men… put it in the box. It was out right hypocrisy… and in the middle of my rage of indignation that they ‘dare to’ pollute the Jain temple with their materialistic desires…. I was suddenly eye to eye with a statue … a statue very typical of the Jains.. and it was peaceful and smiling and I literally heard the message ‘its ok. Don’t worry about that. Don’t let them upset you. Keep your calm. Stay centred. Let it roll off your back without touching you.’ And a feeling of SUCH love and understanding … honestly, it has helped me SO much.
There were moments when I was totally outside of myself and over taken with pure awe. (I feel like I learnt nothing, just to be amazed). We were in Sarnath, where The Buddha was suppose to give his first talk after enlightenment. I didn’t expect anything there, and as we approached one of the main temples, I began to see flashes of a Golden Buddha floating in front of me… and then we entered the temple.. and the REAL statue was almost exactly what I saw in my minds eye… I started to walk towards it and was EMPTY of mind.. just filled with amazement… after some time… I read that they say that the remains of the Buddha are enshrined there… (of course I’m not sure if I believe that, but I certainly felt something amazing… )
I’ve always been a bit against images… and have felt that the statue ‘becomes’ like a ‘god’ to people…. … however, I have experienced something else!
I was in Dharamsala, and entered into one of the temples and suddenly, my eyes fell on the ‘green tara’ – one of the bodhisattvas and I was overcome with love and compassion and something outside of myself….
I read a bit about her, and the Buddhist method of meditating on Buddhist statue images, and felt that all of the qualities of the TARA were embodied in her… in a symbolic way.. something that reached out and touched me beyond ration… purely symbolically…
After I understood the symbolism better, I was able to break down my resistance to many of the deities that we saw in India…
(they are EVERWHERE)
And this leads to the last story…. :D
I was becoming more and more against Hinduism while I was there… all of the different deities, the selfishness in the praying.. the traditions and stupidies that go on in the name of GOD… and in the last place we stayed… in Mallampurum, there was a statue of Ganesh in the garden… every time I went near it I felt warm and peaceful… when I had a bit of time, I went to the statue to feel it, and see what was there… and it was again something welcoming, something positive and loving… It was living in the garden. It seemed absolutely real to me… and alive. And I lost my negatives reactions to the deities of the hindus… and understood the need for each person to find the images and symbols that suit them, and they can respond to….
Thank you India. You gave me so much
This post originally came from World Nomad Journals.