India

GLOBAL UNITY, common journey


Reflections from the First People to People Delegation of Metaphysicians

Delegates share a farewell dinner at Moon Valley Ranch on the College of Metaphysics campus before leaving on their journey to India.

Delegation leader Christine Andrews and new friend.

INDIA

“India is not child’s play.”

These were parting words spoken as our National Guide, Pran Jalai, was saying his goodbyes to our delegation. “Well put, “ I thought as I glanced out the bus window. It was after 11:00 p.m. and we were driving through Delhi. In a few short weeks I was accustomed to seeing the makeshift tents on every corner, the young children who carried babies wandering in the traffic knocking on car windows asking for money. The tapping on the side of the bus was familiar and I even recognized the child at our bus - she had been there on previous evenings as we came through this intersection. Pran’s words echoed in my mind. “India is not child’s play.”

As the delegation leader I have been anticipating this trip since January 1999. It was quite a moment to step onto Indian land and smell the pungent air that is distinctly India. It was 3:00 a.m. and our bus ride to the hotel was the first glimpse of Delhi. I was wide awake and soaking up every detail, the curve of the road, the signs in Hindi, the number of people moving through the streets, the sounds. We had arrived.

What is India like? It is a country steeped in ritual and tradition. It is a country where many faiths and religions coexist for the most part peacefully. Indians even pride themselves on accepting all kinds of religions. One of our Muslim bus drivers had statues of Hindu deities by his steering wheel. Everywhere we went there were shrines and temples - some large some very small stuck in the side of a wall. Offerings of flowers were often left at these places.

The sheer volume of people in India is astounding. People live, walk, sleep and labor in every open space available. This is true in each city, town or village that we travelled to. Many are refugees that have come from Burma, Tibet or even Kasmir (India’s most northern state). The day we traveled from Dharamsala back to Delhi I reached a point where I was tired of seeing so many people, weary of the dirt and trash. I realized I was at my own threshold of comfort and I wanted a reprieve. It was an interesting point to reach. These are the spiritual tests that arrive in each of our lives regardless of what continent we walk. How willing was I to cause harmony in my own mind? I used what I have learned in my studies with the School and after that day I no longer reacted to the foreign environment. I had connected with India on a deeper level.

One of our most important missions was to give the Universal Peace Covenant to the people of India. Everywhere we travelled we had the Peace Covenant with us and this was our greeting card. We made spiritual friends with people at mosques and temples, on trains and planes at Gandhi’s memorial, and at the gates of the Dalai Lama’s personal residence. We gave a large stack of Covenants to Pran who said he would first give them to family and friends. The Law of Infinity has ben set into motion and only God knows where this precious document will land.

There is so much I want to share with you. I am proud to have been the leader of this delegation, I am honored to have represented each of you and I look forward to aiding our next delegation (wherever that may be). One final note I would like to leave you with today. This epitomizes the School of Metaphysics at its best. Pran was very dear to us on this delegation and we wanted to give him much more than money to show our appreciation. After a late night meeting with the delegates we decided to make a book for him with our words of appreciation. Our resources were slim. We put together a beautiful booklet with stationary found in the hotel, wrapping paper from the gift shop and bound it with a piece of scarf given to each of us from the Tibetan monks. It was us giving our best to a wonderful friend. Namaste.

Christine Andrews


Interconnectedness

Our trip to India was a pilgrimage and had so many facets of interconnectedness. I was your eyes, your ears and we connected in time and space through holy places and practices.

Amritsar - The Golden Temple This is the headquarters for the Sikh religion. As we entered the temple grounds we could hear singing being broadcasted. This is live music coming from the main sanctuary. Here singing and reading of the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, goes on 24 hours a day. The vibration of the temple is one of joy. At first I experienced my heart chakra being stimulated. When we visited the Community Kitchen, I understood why. This is where pilgrims come to serve God by serving their fellow man -- helping to prepare meals for anyone who comes to the temple. Thousands are fed every day. The attitude of the Sikhs is generous. There are no beggars of hawkers around the temple and the Sikhs are a dignified well groomed people. I knew that at any time of the day I could give my attention and be a part of the worship here. How easy to connect with these people who practice aiding others to abundance and seeking first the kingdom of heaven.

Amritsar - Jallianwala Bagh This was the place where two thousand Indians were martyred in an attach by the British in 1919 as they worshipped. Even though this had been the scene of a massacre, I felt a peace and resolution here. It was time to do our circle of love and what better place to it than at this location. We invited our tour leaders, Pranji and Harpreet, to join us. I felt time and space coming together during this circle, you in the School of Metaphysics, and these people who had been martyred ninety years ago. Our love spanned time and space uniting us all.

Varanasi - The Ramakrishna Mission We met with Swami Suddhavratananda. At the end of his talk we presented him with a Peace Covenant. He began to read it outloud. Of all the people we had given the peace covenant to, he was the only on who immediately read it out loud while we were there. He read with much appreciation, his images were clear. His words reverberated with every other time the covenant had been read and continued to echo all the way back to the time the covenant was created. I experienced a wave of energy go through me that not only connected me with all the creators of the Peace Covenant but also all people who have desired and worked for peace. I was moved to tears. The Swami is a simple, humble man. He depicted to me the consciousness needed for peace to exist. It is simple. It is humble.

Varanasi - The River Ganges Early morning worship is a holy ritual for the Hindus especially along the Ganges. We took a boat ride to observe these rituals and the sunrise. Many worshippers had come to the river to worship the sun and wash in the Mother Ganges. Men, women, old, young. An elderly woman was standing in the river, her cupped hands splashed water on her head as she repeated holy prayers. Westerners sat atop landings overlooking the river and meditated. Children were being taught the ritual of worship by their parents and grandparents. They squealed as water was poured over their heads. Smoke rose from the funeral pyres where bodies were being cremated. It is a holy place so we offered our Prayer for Peace to the Mother Ganges. The images of peace in the world seemed more clear to me during this prayer than at any other time I had offered it before.

As I walked across the College of Metaphysics parking lot yesterday evening I knew people were just rising on the other side of the earth. The monks at Dharamsala were beginning their early morning chants. I could hear the guttural drone of their sutras. I thought of the Golden Temple and heard the lively music there. And I saw in my mind’s eye the Hindu worshippers coming to bathe and worship at the Ganges at sunrise. It was all a magnificent symphony in my mind. We are never far from each other in time or space. You were never far from me while I was in India. One evening when we did our Prayer for Peace, I could hear echoes of two other Prayers for Peace at the same time. I knew our voices had joined together as our minds are always one.

Namaste (I salute the divinity within you)
Dr. Pam Blosser


Our Expanding Consciousness

Patrick Andries

“...Now expand this Circle of Love to each continent and across the entire globe until the entire planet is filled with this Light and Love...” This is part of a spiritual exercise that is practiced at the end of every class in the School of Metaphysics. It is also practiced at many special occasions. This was the first time that teachers of the School of Metaphysics performed the Circle outside of United States soil.

The reality of going to another country and visiting the people there, in their own element, far exceeds the experience of meeting a citizen of another country in the United States. The physical manifestation of the experience propels us each to a new level of understanding. It is a level of practical experience.

How can a sage say that he has been to London when he has never left India? How can a United States citizen say that he or she know

Indians when never having left the United States? It is possible to know the people, but it is difficult to know the reality of the experience in these other places.

I used to see pictures of these places on the television or see pictures in a magazine. This grants a certain level of experience, but it falls short of the reality of it. There is a certain insulation involved with the television and the magazine. When the sight of extreme poverty gets to be too much to bear we can change the channel or turn the page. When we look at a beautiful building such as the Taj Mahal or the Golden Temple it is in two dimensional form. We are missing much of the experience. We are missing the inclusion of some of our senses.

In a magazine we only get to experience sight. With a television we have sight and sound. What about touch, taste and the smell? These are integral parts to the experience. these must be added to know the truth. This is what the sages add to know these people and these places. This is the key to intuition. It is the direct grasp of the reality.

I know that for myself and the others in the delegation to India that we are now deeply connected to the people of India. We breathed the air they breathe. We have smelled their country. (Yes, India does actually smell different than the United States.) We have tasted their foods and touched their temples. We have seen and heard the history, the legacy of thousand of years. When India celebrates Diwali,the Hindu New Year, we celebrate. When Pakistan is at odds with India, we feel that too. They are an interwoven part of ourselves now, just as we are now a part of them. We are as entwined as the fibers of silk in a kashmir carpet. It has always been this way. Now we know it to be true. How wonderful it will be to feel this way about the entire planet. Or will it really be that wonderful in the beginning? How can we stand by now as one people war against another? Should India go to war with any country, we would weep with them. Should disaster strike, such as the typhoon that struck days before our arrival, we mourn with them. This is part of interconnectedness too. We experience what they experience. We share in the human experience.

But do we have to be drawn into suffering? No. That is the benefit of understanding Cause and Effect. We understand how to help those who desire to receive it. We can be with the poor and give them our love and be with them. We give our best service when we are at our best. The key is in the connection with people. Sharing the experience.

The poverty in India is more prevalent than anyone in the United States can even imagine. There is no comparison to being there in person. I have seen television programs and magazine articles as I am sure many of you have. The sensory experience is limited. Their reality is insulated. When you are there, there is no escaping it when you are uncomfortable with it or grow weary of looking at it. Several in our group succumbed to various degrees at different times. Our hearts reached out to them, yet we all know we weren’t there to give these people physical food. We had another mission. One that ultimately would take them farther than they could go with a handful of food. We brought peace. We brought back the practice of the teachings, many of which originated in India. We brought the message that there are earnest brothers and sisters on the path in the West as well.


copyright 1999 School of Metaphysics

Read a newspaper account of our India trip.

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