Trip to India

Trip to India – l

(Don’t expect here a sequel to ‘A Search of Sacred India’, by the well-known author Paul Brunton)The thought of going to India came to mind – despite my advancing age and unsteady gait- through the contact with a user of Quora with whom I had been relating quite well through that medium. There are a number of such users who are either followers of the great Vedantin of the past Century, Shri Satchidanandendra Saraswati, or acquainted with his writings. Through that contact I learned that two Swami-s who took care of SSSS, one of them during the last 16 years of his life and the other during the last year (1975) were still alive and living in Bangalore, the city where my contact, Sowmya, lives (there must of course be other close followers of that sage in other areas of India, but we are now talking about Bangalore (or Bengaluru, as recently renamed) and some of the people who live there. With the indispensable help and support of my wife, we took to India without thinking it twice.

Bangalore, a sprawling and variegated city of over 10 million people and hub of a frenetic development in systems of information technology, soft-ware, etc. (the Indian Silicon Valley, as it is now known) is a chaos of old, decrepit buildings, intermixed in areas with brand new ones. Formerly called ‘the Garden city’, is now renamed ‘the Garbage city’. No need to describe the traffic conditions – taxis, bicycles, motorcycles with a family on top, and rickshaws a continuous smooth-flowing serpentine where separate lanes are unmarked and unknown. The so-called centre of the city is also a sprawl – I never knew where we were located, criss-crossing or winding streets and small shops all around – one or two dogs and one or two small cows ambling carelessly about.

I will not talk about monuments (except for a huge card-board or compressed-material-made image of Shiva).

Unbeknownst to me, but to be expected – and duly prearranged by the ubiquitous Sowmya, who took care of every detail – I spoke in front of audiences of between 20 and 30 people on three occasions; they were Advitins or adult students of Vedanta – I suspect all of them Brahmans. My spoken English was not very good (I suppose the strong Spanish accent was to blame), and some of the people’s there was even worse (unintelligible – to me of course). We were all rescued in this area by the very able assistance of Sowmya, who often –whether absolutely necessary or not – repeated, and improved, every one of my phrases. Her sweet and musical Kannada diction was appreciated – and now fully understood- by those who were present.

3 thoughts on “Trip to India

  1. A great Travelogue, thanks Martin. An exciting start!

    Brings back my own memories of living in that enchanting city in the 70s. The people used to be very friendly, docile and helpful in those days in Bengaluru unlike in many other cities in India. Every roadside “Pan shop wala” (kiosks selling betel leaf, cigarettes etc.) invariably kept a potted plant, clean surroundings and a picture of God with incense burning.

    I think Sowmya deserves rich compliments on her abilities to pull you and your wife to that charming city and to the sacred precincts of SSSS Ashram.
    Looking forward to the remaining parts.

  2. I second that, Martin – fascinating to hear of your experience. I was encouraged to visit India when I was involved with Advaita Academy but did not take up the offer. Maybe in a few years time…

    Best wishes,

  3. Hats Off to You Amartin for your courage!
    Banglore and other Indian cities are live examples of ekoham bahu syam from Chandogya Upanishad…. one became many many many……………………..

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