India: My Return to the Source

Seeking Truth in the Land of Knowledge, Wisdom & Love

There is something wonderfully compelling about India.  Once you have experienced her colourful beauty and felt her spiritual vibration, you are attracted back like iron filings to a magnet. I love India! While discussing this with an 80 year old Russian New York art professor who travels to the Ashram each year on his 2 week winter vacation, he told me, “I even love the ugly parts”. Of course, he meant the poverty and broken down structures and garbage everywhere. But we agreed that all countries have their so-called ‘ugly’ parts. For those of us who travel here regularly there is a richness that far surpasses anything we can touch in the West. India is the ancient spiritual centre of the world and thus is the source of ethereal sustenance so lacking in modern industrialized culture.

IMG_4527This is the time in India of the annual “Mela”  – a spiritual festival that attracts sadhus, sannyasis, monks and seekers from all over India who congregate in a tent-city on the banks of the holy Ganges River. This gathering has been going on for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.  In the book, “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda, an account of the Mela is written by his secretary, Mr. Wright, that very much applies to today:

Our party reached the Kumbha Mela on January 23, 1936. The surging crowd of nearly two million persons was an impressive sight, even an overwhelming one.The peculiar genius of the Indian people is the reverence innate in even the lowliest peasant for the worth of the Spirit and for the monks and sadhus who have forsaken worldly ties to seek a diviner anchorage. Impostors & hypocrites there are indeed; but India respects all for the sake of the few who illumine the land with supernal blessings. Westerners who were viewing the vast spectacle had a unique opportunity to feel the pulse of the nation, the spiritual ardor to which India owes her quenchless vitality under the blows of time.


The first day was spent by our group in sheer staring. Thousands of pilgrims bathed in the holy Ganges for remission of sins; Brahmin  priests performed solemn rituals of worship; devotional offerings were strewn at the feet of silent sannyasis; lines of elephants, caparisoned horses, and slow-paced Rajputana camels filed  by, followed by a quaint religious parade of naked sadhus who waved gold and silver sceptres or streamers of silken velvet” (p 462).

Audience1FBThe Kriyayoga Ashram has its camp on the Mela grounds and each day Swami Shree Yogi Satyam teaches classes, both in Hindi and English in the early morning and late afternoon. It is cold in India this year. The sun has barely peaked out in the week that I have been here. It is overcast and damp, like in Vancouver in the winter, although thankfully, without the rain.  It is challenging though, because there is no central heating and concrete buildings are very chilly.

There is not always hot water to be had, nor reliable access to internet or phones.  It can all feel extremely inconvenient at times and yet I have no choice but to “accept the things I cannot change”. It teaches me patience and is an opportunity for deeper surrender.  I learn that I can’t always get what I want, when I want it, and instead I can adapt, accept and refocus.  In fact, there are more important things to focus on, most importantly, being in the ever-transpiring present moment – conscious and conscientious.

IMG_4548 - Version 2Each day we walk down to the Mela, passing hoards of travellers doing the same, most seeking spiritual upliftment that will hopefully take them to a new understanding of their relationship with God. I love how people greet each other here – by clasping their hands in prayer fashion and bowing to one another.  It’s an honour to be greeted in this fashion and a way of respecting the Highest Self in one another.  My Guru says that if partners and family members did this as a regular practice, then their lives would be much more harmonious. He says:

“ You should worship your wife as Goddess, and worship your husband as Divine Father; children should be worshiped as Divine Incarnation and children should worship their parents as Gurus.  Then the family home will be like Heaven.”                (Ohio, 2013)

With this in mind, I’d like to offer a challenge to all of you reading this.  Take the time today to honour lovingly someone you are close to.  Bow to them and while doing so visualize the very best you know that person to be – it’s a quiet gesture that speaks volumes.  Or, forgive them for some wrong they have done to you and extend the proverbial ‘olive branch’ to them.  As you do this, make note of how it feels inside you.  If you notice that YOU feel better, then keep up this new practice, knowing that, despite what many are taught to believe, it is you who is in charge of how good you will allow yourself to feel.  What appears at first as a ‘selfless’ act is at the heart of it, quite ‘selfish’ – or as Stephanie Covington says, “self-full”.  We are all connected in the unified web of life and so whatever we do to make someone else’s day a little better turns out to fill us up too.

Tell me: How happy will you allow yourself to be?  Decide and take action.

Until next time, I bow to the Cosmic Consciousness that you are,


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