Last Days in Delhi
Namaste to you all, well I finally arrived in Delhi, it was early morning and quite cold. Its been three months since I passed through Delhi on my way down to the South of India. I had a brief moment to reflect on how different I felt and how confident I was to compared to when I first arrived in this city five months ago.
I think once you've mastered a city like Delhi, you could just about handle any place in the world. How different it was now to get around this intense city I thought to myself, as I made my way through the hustle and bustle of the streets. I was in command now, with in seconds I had negotiated a fair price from the station to Majnu-Ka-Tilla. Indians are so intuitive, I could tell by their energy that some how they knew I'd been around a bit and I wasn't about to be pushed around or riped off.
I had alot of emotions come to the surface once I arrived in Maju-Ka-Tilla, I'd passed alot of people that I'd seen before, some of them looked at me with inquisitive faces. They knew they'd seen my face before but weren't sure. The last time I'd been there I had shoulder length dreadlocks, now I'd come with a shaved head. Is it apart of these people that sees on a daily bases the tremendous effect this wonderful country can have on travellers? I think so, its like their soul says 'there goes another one' and acknowledges, the path and experiences your soul has just undertaken.
I rested for the next two days, just taking it all in. Part of me happy to be going home to hopefully a new life, but still part of me sad to leave this magical ancient country. Finally I went and changed my flight, there was a bit of a drama there for a day and it cost me alot more money, so I was glad that I didn't go to Varanasi because I wouldn't have been able to pay for my ticket. Looking back at it now I probably was a bit impatient to get back to Australia and to start my new life, I probably could have gone up to Nepal for a couple of weeks and changed my visa, then took my time coming back, oh well I cant have any regrets.
By the time I'd payed for my hotel and plane ticket I was pretty well broke, I was thinking how was I going to eat for the next two days until my money came through from one of my business ventures? That morning I was woken by the phone in my room, my instant thought was why would anyone ring me? there was a soft voice on the phone that said 'happy Losar' I was still trying to wake up, I couldn't work out who was ringing me at seven o'clock in the morning, and what the hell is happy Losar? I thought to ask 'are you the man from the reception desk?', 'yes, yes' the voice replied very excitedly,'come down and join us for breakfast and every meal for the next two days, its Tibetan New Year, you are our guest, all the foods for free'.
Well you didn't have to tell me twice, I jumped out of bed and got dressed. As I was walking down the stairs, I thought to myself, only yesterday I was wondering what I was going to eat for two days?, then the next morning all my doubts were vanished, we certainly are looked after by the universe, if we just let go and go with the flow. When I think about it, I have never gone without in my entire life, something always turns up just as I start to doubt the universe or God if you like,(will I ever learn?) some how I always get by.
I finally made it to the ground floor and there before my eyes was a banquet laid out on a huge table. I was greeted by some Tibetan monks and the staff of the hotel, they had smiles from ear to ear. 'Happy Lasar, come eat with us my friend' they all said like happy little children at a party. So there I was eating traditional Tibetan food, surrounded by beautiful people, 'how good is life' I thought to myself.
The days past quickly and I was soon getting a cab to the airport. I thanked the people at the hotel for their generosity, and hopped in the cab. There I was once again at Delhi airport, but this time I was going the other way. I sat there waiting for my plane, thinking about the wonderful experiences I'd had and the wonderful people I'd met over the past five months, I tell you I certainly was grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Here's the last of my photos of Delhi, next week I'll do a full run down of my journey(what I found with the do's and dont's when Travelling India) and place some more photos that didn't make on my blog the first time.
Me in front of the Buddhists temple,(it was the first temple I'd seen in India) its right in the heart of Maju-Ka-Tiller.
Happy Losar, this is the little shrine they had set up at the end of the room, for Tibetan New Year.I went into the heart of Delhi just one more time before I left India. On the way back I was fortunate enough to come across a Traditional Indian wedding. I never got to go to one which was a bit of a shame, I've been told by a few people it was one of their highlights when they traveled through India. Oh well maybe next time.
As with everything in India the male has all the fun, the groom gets to ride the horse while his new bride has to walk. I passed two weddings in India and what I could workout was the groom gets all the attention, it certainly is still a male dominated culture that's for sure. Yes girls its even worse then in your western countries.
The last shot I took on the last day in India. I think it just about summed up what India is all about, vibrant colours, lots and lots of people and above all mainly joy and happiness at the simple things in life.
The Road Back to Delhi
Namaste to you all, the journey back to Delhi was certainly interesting. India was going to test me right up until the last minute that I left her shores. I'd caught a little bus from Omkareshwar, and for once it wasn't overloaded thank god. While on the bus many thoughts were running through my head, you see one of the biggest problems I had was that I didn't really know how much money I had in the bank. For some reason all the teller machines I had been using weren't giving me a balance of my account.
So I sat there contemplating, do I take the chance and go to Varanasi one of the most famous cities in all of India and not be able to get home or just keep heading towards Delhi and be happy and contented that I've had such an amazing five months travelling and it was time to go home?. Well I made a decision when I finally arrived in Indore, Delhi it was, I had to get as deep as I could and be sure of the decision that I was making. How do I get what I believe is the best decision in most occasions? I use three methods and some other little techniques and just go with that. I believe one of the biggest keys when making a large decision is once you've made it, go with it whole heartedly and if in your mind at the end of it, thinks it didn't really unfold the way you thought it would, make sure you don't beat yourself up about it, because that's the worst thing you could possibly do. As we all know things are alot easier in hindsight, accept that when you've made the decision and that you made it doing the best you could with the information you had at your disposal at the time.
Number one rule, NEVER EVER MAKE A DECISION OUT OF FEAR!!! I'll tell you now if ever you make a decision out of fear, I'm pretty certain that it will be a hard road. Yes, you might get the end result you were looking for, but I guarantee it would have taken longer and you would have suffered more then if you had made the decision out of love. The next thing I do is try and get into a meditative state or at lease try to be in a quite space. Once I'm in this space I simply ask, 'what is for my highest good?, is it better for me to go down this path or that path?. Now for me most of the time I get a quite, loving voice suggesting a certain way to go. This voice I believe is my higher self or god presence, now some of you would say, 'oh well that's alright for you I don't get anything and I've tried so many times', well like anything in this world and like the old saying goes, 'the more you practice the better you'll become'. I say to alot of people who tell me they want to be able to 'speak to their higher self, see clairvoyantly and have this gift and that gift', 'I tell them that each and everyone of us possess all of these and that they are just like our muscles in our bodies, the more you use them the stronger they become, its a natural thing'.
So if you want to have a strong connection to your higher self or god if you like, start today getting in that quite space and simply ask, 'what is for my highest good in this situation?which path is best for me, that offers me the most ease and grace? You don't have to use these one's you might have a few of your own and certainly if you feel you might have better one's write a comment. Now I feel I should tell you and this certainly might not happen, usually when I hear of people trying out this exercise for the first time and I know it happened to me, one of the first big issues that arises is 'Trust'. I believe the mind kicks in straight away as a defence mechanism and starts to panic, why? because your mind feels its losing its control, it has been running the show for most of our lives. So once we bi-pass the mind and go straight to the higher mind, the little mind starts to go into fear. Why? because when it comes to decision making, I believe our mind usually comes from a space of fear or survival and believe me when when I tell you, when we all realize that we weren't put on this earth to survive, we were put on this earth to flourish and it's our god given right to, if we all realized this law, this world will be alot better place.
I find that one of the best ways to start anything new is to take baby steps first. Start with small decisions for example, when your driving to a new place and your not familiar with the area, put the street directory away on some occasions and simply ask which way do I go, left or right? Try it on anything and before you know it, you'll find that you can clearly distinguish what is from the positive, loving higher mind and what is from your egoic mind. That's all you have to remember that your higher mind will always use loving and positive words and suggest things to you, your personality mind or egoic mind will always come from fear, use negative words and the biggest give away is when the voice uses words like you should and shouldn't.
One of the other methods I use if I'm not getting anything on a situation, is when I ask a certain question, I feel how my energy changes. So if my energy or even better my heart chakra, feels expanded, uplifted, then I know that in most cases it's for my highest good and vice versa, if my energy feels restricted and my heart feels as if it has closed then I don't follow that decision. Now back to my story, I get a little bit side tracked sometimes, oh alright I admit it side tracked big time. My higher self suggested that it would be best for me to go back to Delhi, I can always come back to India at a later date and see places I didn't get to see this time, I took the last little part that I would be back in India for sure one day.
I arrived at Indore train station just in time to get the only train that day to Delhi. I only had to wait about an hour and a half or so, for it to arrive, this certainly was a good omen I thought as I walked up the stairs to the ticket office. Indore certainly was a dusty, crowded city, it was one of those cities that you just past through in India and if you can try to spend as little time as possible. I rounded the corner of the platform and to my surprise there weren't really that many people waiting in line, 'how good is this thought' as I counted only six people in front of me.
I couldn't see the normal sign that is displayed above each counter, it reads something like this,"war veterans, foreign tourists and disable people line up here", (there's probably a few more in that list). Anyway I stood in a line where I could see old men and women. Even though it took fifteen minutes just to serve six people, I knew I had plenty of time. If I was a fly on the wall it would have been quite amusing to watch the events that unfolded for me over the next hour or so.
It always makes me laugh when we look back and yes there's that magic word hindsight, at how we acted or reacted to certain situations that are obviously there to test us. There I was all happy and positive that I'd made the right decision, saying to myself 'look how easy this is flowing, isn't life fantastic how it all flows when we're in our hearts', etc, etc. Then as usual for me and maybe alot of you out there, all of the universe conspires together with all the angels, ascended masters, the higher selves of the people you are about to come in contact with and I'm sure they all get together, grab their popcorn, maybe even a choc-top and sit back and enjoy the show that is just about to play out. I'm sure they have angel scouts out looking for it, red lights go off in heaven sirens sound, this one thinks he's got it again, everyone in position lets see how much of it he's actually got, let's give him a test and see how he acts.
Well finally I arrived to the front of the counter all smiles, all happy about all the time I've got to spare, 'one ticket to Delhi, please Gee'(means sir in Hindi) he smiles and points to his left at another counter right down the other end. With that smile still on my face I casually swing my head across to where he was pointing, well with in a spilt second that smile was wiped off my face, the line he was gesturing to had about fifteen men in it and at the front of the line there was a big argument.'Oh no, no', I said, 'I'm a tourist' with my smile returning to my face and my chest filling up as though I was someone special. 'Where's the special line that I have been in so many times before?', 'we don't have one', the man behind the counter said in broken English, 'that's it'.
I grabbed my bags in a huff and went across to the line, I took a deep breath and thought I've still really got plenty of time, no worries. Nearly One hour had passed by and I tell you now it wasn't pretty, the constant swinging around looking back at the clock the winging to my fellow passengers about how hard I've been done by and that my train was coming soon and if I don't get on that train all hell was going to break loose and so on and so on. Yep people it was pretty ugly, well finally I was two off the front of the line and was starting to calm down and yep you wouldn't believe it, while I was chatting to a young Indian man,(when I say chatting, bitching was probably a better word to use) the old man issuing the tickets put up a small sign saying 'Be Back in Ten Minutes', well it wasn't just me this time crying out, everyone was in on it. The man at the front of the line screamed out like a wild animal. "WHY?" the little old man turned back and said the computers were down and off he shuffled.
At this time I think the hole congregation of angels, God and everyone else would have been laughing their heads off, watching how my whole personality was reacting to what was unfolding before their eyes. I now only had half an hour to catch my train and I was getting pretty worried that it wasn't going to happen. Then you can guess what was going through my head, 'oh have I made the right decision?', 'why would my higher self lead me to go to Delhi when it's become so hard and it's now showing me that I'm suppose to go to Varanasi?', I thought. Then within and instant the computers came back on line it had only been a couple of minutes. Great I thought there's my answer, Delhi it is.
Finally I got to the front of the line, 'one first class ticket to Delhi please', I said, by this time I'd calmed down and was actually starting to laugh at myself, as I took myself above the whole scene I witnessed how I dealt with whole experience, the test that was placed before me, I didn't fair to well I thought. I smiled again at my antics, which is important to do. Next thing the old mans voice interrupted me, 'one thousand, one hundred and fifty rupees', he said with a big grin as though he knew something that I didn't. Hey I thought to myself, the Lonely Planet said the ticket was one thousand rupees, and yep you guessed it, I only had one thousand rupees on me, with my whole being coming crashing down with a thud, 'WHATTT?', he repeated to me again, 'yes, yes' I said, 'but I don't have the extra one hundred and fifty rupees', 'well sir, he said with an even bigger smile on his face, 'you'll have to go to the bank and get some more money then wont you', Those words were like he had a knife in my heart and gave it a final turn.
All I could do is laugh, nothing more, nothing less. I don't know if any of you had been in a situation like this before, or it only happens to me every now and then, but if I look at that type of laughter that was coming out of my mouth, I'm sure it sounds like I'm crazy. The nice young Indian behind me said that he would allow me to get in the front of the line if I hurry to the bank. Twenty minutes and counting, I ran out of the train station down to the bank, bags flying everywhere. Of coarse every beggar, car and auto rickshaw in Indore suddenly appeared between the railway station and the bank. I dragged myself to the teller and yes you also guessed it, an old Indian gentlemen was at the machine fiddling around, thank god he didn't take long. I grabbed my money ducked in and out of traffic, jumped, dodged and swerved around what seemed like every beggar in India had come to that very spot, flying around the corner, apologizing to a group of women that I nearly trampled over. I ran to the front of the line, where my little Indian friend had persuaded everyone to wait, I handed the man my money with a smile, he nodded back with a big grin showing all his full set of brown teeth and off I went with ten minutes to spare.
I sat down on my bed nodding to my fellow passengers, if they'd only known what I'd just been through, if they'd only known that this smiling Westerner had not to long ago been acting like a something like the creature out of the Black Lagoon. So I sat back and started to read my only book I had at the time, "God I AM", by Peter O, E'Baire(I think that's how you spell his name). It's one of, if not the best books I've ever read. I opened it to a page and as usual it talked about what I'd just experienced, my smile returned. As I write this I realize that I've fallen for the illusion of life again, in other words I've taken my circumstances serious again, instead of flowing with life the past week, I've started to get entangled and fight my way through it, thank god that this came up at the perfect time to rise above the situation I find myself in and see it for what it really is and I can laugh and smile once again.
The Holy Place of Omkareshwar - India
to you all, well it was time to leave for my next adventure. I'd been told that there was a small out of the way village called Omkareshwar
. It's described in the Lonely Planet book as a place more geared for pilgrims rather then tourists(they also say that there's no ATM's
there, well lucky for me there is now, because I forgot to get any money out it was a great little experience to just let go and trust that I'd be alright). Well say no more, I certainly love seeing the touristy places, but for me I probably get just as much enjoyment if not more at visiting the out of the way places.Omkareshwar
is a very important little village as far as the Hindu religion goes. It has one of the twelve jyothi lingams
scattered throughout India there. What is a jyothi lingam
? it is the holy symbol of Lord shiva
that is considered quite sacred and worshipped with devotion by the devotees. It is considered the foremost sacred symbol for shaivaites
and has been worshiped for ages. The significance of the shivalinga
is that It is the resplendent light (flame) form of the Supreme - solidified to make the worship of It easier.
I finally got a sleeper bus again which made me very happy, though I was concerned a little bit when I asked the driver and his helpers to wake me up when we get near the turn off to Omkareshwar
. As usual they smiled and nodded their heads with a defiant shake of the head. After all this time travelling through India I still feel an uneasiness when an Indian shakes his head with what we would think was a no, but to them most of the time it means yes. So off to sleep I went and low an behold at around four o'clock in the morning, the bus stopped and I was woken by three smiling Indians gesturing that I'd arrived at my destination. I guess they knew Shivaratri
was in a few days and were probably excited that a foreigner was interested in such a festival. Shivaratri
is a Hindu festival celebrated every year on the 13th
day in the Krishna Paksha
of the month Maagha
(February) in the Hindu Calendar. The most significant practices on this day are offerings of Bael
) leaves to the Lord Shiva, fasting and all night long vigil.
Well I stumbled off the bus still have asleep, it was still dark and I realized the town that they dropped me off at only consisted of a few shops, it really was just a stop off point to catch another bus out to Omkareshwar
. I walked over to a little shop where a man was still awake, I asked could I get a chai
tea and as usual he obliged. Well before I knew it as the sun was rising all the Indians started stirring, coming out of places I didn't think a human being could possibly sleep. Pilgrims started arriving from everywhere, the little man gestured for me to jump on the little bus now(I guess so I could get a seat) well thank god I listened, before I knew it there were Indians everywhere within seconds, I got the last seat on the back seat and believe me I thought I'd seen some pretty overloaded buses before but this one took the cake.
So off we went as with everywhere in India everyone was looking and laughing at me, I could see in their eyes that they were trying to workout why a foreigner was in such an isolated place and I guess they were wondering if I possibly I was a pilgrim as well. I finally arrived in Omkareshwar
as you can imagine it had pilgrims everywhere all here for the festival. I see it would be quite a sleepy little town outside of Shivartri
. I found a tout and he lead me to a beautiful guest house called Ganesh
Guest house. I unpacked and had a walk around the town, I could feel the energy of the people and the place lifting in anticipation and excitement for festival. It rubs off on you when there's an Indian festival you cant help but get swept away with it all. I spent three days enjoying all the festivities, I went across the foot bridge to the temple where the Shiva lingam
was, I could hardly move. I finally let them do their blessing and prayers for me, before I realized what was happening I'd parted with quite a bit of money, oh well they finally got me.
Around this time I realized that I was running out of money and It was time to come back to Australia, my visa was expiring also in about two weeks so I thought it was time to leave this wonderful little town and head back to Delhi where it all started five months ago.
I don't know why I didn't take more photos at this place, especially with all the things that were going on, oh well it might have been showing me it was time to leave India.
Here's some photo's.
This is a photo of the new bridge that crosses the river from the mainland to the island where the Shiva temple is.
A view from the temple back across the river.
Shri Omkar Mandhata.
Everyone gets into the festive activities.
Sadhu's bathing in the holy river, they were gathering in there droves.
Monks of Ajanta, India
Namaste to you all, I'm going to place the last of my photos of the Ajanta caves in this post. There were a small group of Buddhist monks visiting the caves while I was there, I got some nice shots of them going about their business. If there's one thing I know and that is, where ever I was travelling through India and I came across any Buddhist monks I felt at peace just being around them. They have this calming effect on me and I guess maybe everybody else who comes into contact with them. I think its their humility and gentleness that inspires me to find that in myself.
As I write its quite easy for me to feel that gentleness wash over me, its an energy that I'd certainly like to achieve in every waking moment. I've tried for many years to find that peace and stillness at all times, is it possible? or is it a case of when I feel it to enjoy it at that moment and not to be attached to it, and when I'm not in that state to just accept what I'm feeling and not be attached to that either? I find myself questioning beliefs and my understanding of things alot lately. I was once told by a friend that in just about every instance when ever someone is talking of their beliefs or explaining how they understand the way life works, you can pretty well find a contradiction in everything that they say.
So is it a case of me trying to hard and not allowing things to just be? or do I have to be more mindful of where I'm at and work on things to better myself as a human being? I find that just about every belief or tool that I use each and everyday is getting questioned, does that mean that I've come to a point in mylife that I just have to let go of everything and start again? who knows? I guess I just have to experience another faze of mylife and be happy in that.
Do we as Westerners try to hard, is it our ego that's striving for all these things to feel complete in ourselves and its all just another illusion that keeps us separated? Sometimes I find myself even questioning this so called spiritual path that I've been on in the past sixteen years, what if its all just another illusion and when we die we sit up there in where ever we are suppose to go and have a good laugh at ourselves, oh but what if that doesn't even happen and when we die we just turn into dust? I guess we'll all just have to find out for ourselves.
Here are the pictures.
It looks a bit like I might have set this up, these are all just candid shots.
Caught me out.
Ajanta Caves, India
Namaste to you all, here are some pictures of the Ajanta caves. I realized looking through the photos again how beautiful they were in their own right. You have to imagine how it would have looked all those years ago, just about every wall and statue was painted in bright, beautiful colours, so it would have been breath taking when it was first completed.
As you can see the temples would have looked beautiful in their day. Unfortunately it was quite dark in most of the caves, they had lighting but my camera wasn't the best so I couldn't get photos of the paintings inside.
This statue of Buddha was huge, they depicted him in his sleeping posture before he awoke to enlightenment.
A view of the valley below, Ajanta.
This was taken outside one of the caves, just look at the detail they went to.
This is a picture of the ceiling in one of the caves.
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.