Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Embrace of Mother India

The traveler is in search of the greatest adventure, the journey of self-discovery. 
“Why India?” I've been asked repeatedly why I am drawn to this vast country. India is the home of my heart, a country that makes me feel keenly alive. As a middle-class American woman in her forties I have been embraced by Mother India four times, joining the 2.5 million tourists a year that have chosen to visit this pulsing country. It's a land of abundant extremes. Garlands of jasmine and marigolds entice my senses to linger, while the ripe smells of trash and sewage propel me to the next scene of the moment. Yet, I am ever present with it all. No one is to blame if I don’t like something, if a plume of exhaust makes me cough, if a barking dog wakes me in the night, or if I am overwhelmed by what I see. All is experienced in the heart of who I am.With a population of 1.1 billion people, India’s endless hues and vivid scenes of humanity appear magically as if I am walking through a mirage. Sadhus, aesthetic holy men, draped in orange and white cloth, and Sikhs wearing bright turbans appear like surreal guardians in a whimsical, ageless arena of garnet and amber-tinged castles, ivory mosques, and chestnut temples which remain greatly untouched as the whiz of traffic create a cloud of frenzied movement. India’s beauty shines amid the scars of war and ambition, graced by the footsteps of Gandhi, countless scholars, the Dalai Lama, and many of the greatest Hindu and Buddhist teachers throughout the centuries, including the legendary Buddha. Modern development has taken hold like the scorching heat of an India summer. Though, the cooling monsoons protect the spiritual essence of India. The radiant heart of Mother India will remain a beacon for those who are drawn to come. For me, India's primal vibration awakens my heart, revealing who I truly am. 'Finding Yourself' happens by simply being present with what is, without trying to change anything. In the midst of everything arising within and around me, Truth is continually revealed. I am India, and India is I. This is the embrace of Mother India. 

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