“Reflections on India”.
Encountering the ever restless India disrupts and shakes us. At least to those of us who live in Europe or America.
This immense country envelops you in a mixture of colours, smells, tastes and sounds that take us out of our acceleration and puts us in a more lethargic environment. But which of these two environments is better? I would say neither.
Our environment, one of the more modern countries, numbs us with its relentless push in the pursuit of success, money and the amount of things we have been made to believe we need in order to live. In theirs however, that of India, they are immersed in neglect, abandonment and annulment of ego. There are so many of them that very few come to “be somebody”.
The dirt and disorder is exceeding. Much of India is an “organized chaos”. An incessant flow of people, cows, rickshaws and bicycles that live among the garbage, the dust, possessed traffic and rickety buildings all richly coinciding in multi-coloured markets, an abundance of spices, flowers and things to consume.
It is this continuous parade of exhausted faces and lost expressions that mechanically attend their daily appointments for survival; torn between the yielding to a destination that has already been depicted for them (karma), or curry favour with any of the hundreds of gods that could help to change things – thanks to their reciting of mantras, lighting of candles and burning of incense.
Of course this country is not just that, it is much more. There are also their booming businesses, their prodigious technological development, its ancestral culture, their enlightened minds, their unmatchable Bollywood and hundreds of other things.
I am convinced that a special gift was granted to humanity in India, that revealed knowledge and techniques that allowed a singular change in our level of consciousness.
The wisdom contained in their ancient holy books (The Vedas) and it’s Rishis, Sadhus and Gurus are partly incorporated in that gift. However, some of that legacy seems to have been lost along the way, since their preached practice of renunciation, surrender and abandonment to become, if it were to lead to the awakening and enlightenment, it could also encourage apathy and external conformism. And if we should expect anything of these enlightened beings, it would provoke a dawn to those who were asleep, not those that were lying dormant.
Osho, the mystic Hindu Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), once said that it was easier for a Westerner to enlighten him to do an Oriental, because the former had an ego to surrender, while the second was not even able to shape one! Then, is it an ego that strengthens a desirable product of our society? It takes some thought. Western psychologists call it selfesteem.
But how can we illuminate the posing problem in India? The truth is that I do not know. I cannot work out how to solve it, because being in India, one does not want to think about it, but merely to observe and let it be. And maybe, within this great gift, it precisely states what this continent has done for the world: helped us stop thinking.
Is that not precisely what meditation is for? To, at times, achieve that pleasant state that stops mental activity and it’s thoughts along with it?
It may be that one day the action from the East and the inaction from the West may meet in the middle and from there, a new understanding of our lives may arise. An agreement in which we affront our absurd search of what we think we lack and they decide to give what they really need.
This seems to be the path taken by laudable institutions like the Vicente Ferrer Foundation and the Rural Development Trust, who are bringing order and organization to the people of Anantapur in Southern India, teaching them to meet their needs while respecting the culture and values of its inhabitants.
“Poverty is not there to be analyzed but to be resolved,” reads one of the texts engraved in stone at the site where the remains of Vicente Ferrer lie.
His message seems to be a contradiction. To a Western mind, the immediate question that arises is: How are we to resolve anything without having analyzed it beforehand?
But his message is directed at avoiding the “paralysis by analysis” mania that we have to circle again and again around the “great problems of humanity” but without really getting involved. His is an invitation to act with the urgency that love and compassion demand.
Thank you to FVF and RDT for being a meeting point between the materially and spiritually developed worlds.
Copyright (c) 2014 Vladimir Gómez Carpio
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