20161218

Disappointment as a seed of lightness

In seventh grade, a school trip during the Diwali vacation took us from Bombay, where we lived, to Madras. We traveled from the West coast where we overlooked the Arabian Sea to the East coast overlooking the Bay of Bengal on a very slow train pulled by a steam engine. There were no showers on the train and two days later when we arrived we were covered in black soot. I was restless.

From Madras we traveled south to Pondicherry, once a French colony, the site of the Aurobindo Ashram. The atmosphere of the Ashram grounds, right on the beach and water was wonderful after the long journey. Most of us settled down to a routine of play and sleep. But I was still restless. When a small group of tenth grade students asked me to join them in meditation inside the ashram I was delighted.

Sitting cross legged on the cool floor of the ashram I could smell incense, sense the presence of my fellow students, and relaxed into my first experience of meditation. We must have sat there for an hour. But when we left I felt only a little less restless than I had before. I was disappointed.

In eighth grade my father abruptly moved our family from our family home in Bombay to Baroda, a small city just north of Bombay, which was once the center of culture and spirituality under the Maharaja of Baroda. Although I found it hard to adjust to being in a smaller, less Westernized, less cosmopolitan city, I soon found an oasis of peace and tranquillity--the home of Sri Aurobindo. He had lived there when he first moved back to India after being educated in England. It was a large wooden house with a beautiful courtyard and garden. I would spend hours here after school. 

One day I went up to the second floor of the house to what had once been Sri Aurobindo's bedroom. I sat down cross legged on the floor. And I began to meditate. Soon I experienced a oneness, a lightness, and my restlessness lifted. 

My visit to the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry was linked, in a circular, non-linear way, to my experience at Sri Aurobindo's house in Baroda. My disappointment in Pondicherry was the seed that sprouted as lightness in Baroda. 

Peace and love,

Abhay

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