Monday, May 07, 2007

Ancient India

Namasate to you all, after visiting Ellora caves my next trip was to the Ajanta caves about an hours trip from Aurangabad. I'd heard about the Ajanta caves back in Australia so I was really looking forward to seeing these ancient temple caves. I caught the early bus because after visiting Ellora I realized how big and how much time it would take to get around them, especially if I wanted to meditate as well.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived was how touristy it was at the bottom of the hill. Once I got to the caves I could tell it had lost some of it's magic. I really don't know what's best for ancient sites around the world, I've seen so many through Mexico, Peru and now India. Is it best to leave the site untouched with minimal interference or is it best to have all the modern facilities to make it easier for tourists. For example Ellora was clean and had a few security guards around other then that there was no real interference from the Government here, it felt as though it was just as it was fourteen hundred years ago. Where as Ajanta felt as though you were watched all the time and there were to many rules and modern conveniences.

So in the end I was a bit disappointed with Ajanta, I mean don't get me wrong it was wonderful and some of the paintings that were still intact on the walls were amazing but I guess the energy just didn't feel right to me. It was a little bit like when I got to Machu Picchu in Peru, I'd wanted to visit this place for years and when sat up on top of the mountain looking down over the ruins I couldn't help but notice the huge red roof of the resort just outside the gate. The energy there felt like the whole area had been abused and used. Ajanta certainly wasn't that bad but it still had feeling of been over abused in some way. I could look at it as well and that is, do I find fault's in things and not see past these what I perceive as something wrong, should I just acknowledge it and just look at the beauty, I think this is the way, because finding a fault is judgement and judgement doesn't serve anyone.

So as I write this I realize there are a few things to look at for myself, as with most people when I have expectations on anything once you experience what you wanted alot of the time we feel let down, upset that it just didn't live up to I guess unrealistic expectations, we feel in some distorted way, cheated. This can happen in just about everything in our lives, from meeting someone you've heard about, to a book or movie and even in our love relationships. What's the key, well for me one is to realize that everybody on this planet sees and experiences every single thing differently. So when someone tells us, 'oh you must go see this movie', or ' you must go to that place', that's their experience and I can pretty well guarantee you will have a completely different experience to them.

So what else can we do, so we don't feel let down or upset by something or someone that doesn't come up to scratch in our minds, don't have any expectations what so ever on anything at all. Go in with an open mind and heart, then it's impossible to feel cheated and let down. Look at my example, I'd known about the Ajanta caves for months before I got there, I had all these images in my head about what I would see and experience, the pictures were painted by another persons experience. On the other hand I'd never heard of the Ellora caves and I just decided to go on the spur of the moment with no expectations what so ever. Ellora blew me away, because, one I had no expectations what so ever and two I'd never seen anything like it before. I probably had at the time running through my head, 'well if this is this good and I'd never even heard of them before, imagine what the Ajanta caves would be like'. So now there were added expectations, so instead of seeing Ellora caves for what they were and the Ajanta caves for what they were, I was now comparing them both, making one better then the other.

So now I have another thing to add to my conundrum, first I had expectations and now I have comparisons, in other words, this thing is better than that thing. I'm starting to realize how much I compare things, people, places and experiences, in other words putting different values on them, instead of allowing what ever it is to just be what it is. We can go even further with it, the big one "EMOTIONS", we are taught from the moment we come into this world what are good emotions and what are bad emotions like everything else. So then alot of us go around trying to find happiness, forever chasing the dream of 'when I'm in this situation or I have that in my life then and only then can I be happy and full of joy instead of been happy and contented now. While we're all chasing happiness most of us are running from sadness in some way, I'll tell you now it will never work, it will never stop.

So how do we stop the chasing and the running away from, start accepting all emotions as equal, not having preference over one or the other, just allow yourself to feel what ever your feeling no matter what and just love it. All your emotions are part of you, every time you make one out to be bad your separating yourself once again and when we feel separate we will never feel whole. So start excepting and loving all things inside yourself and on the outside, through this way I believe that love will transmute everything into oneness and wholeness.

Here's some pictures.

This is a view of the roof temple in Ellora.

This picture was taken on the way to the Jain caves, it almost felt like I was in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

After meditating in one of the caves, I was greeted by this wonderful scene of the sky.

The entrance to the Jain temples.

By this time I was running out of space on my camera so I didn't get many photos of the Jain section.