Friday, July 24, 2009


I took a bus from Bangalore to Sringeri, which departed from Bangalore at around 10:30 PM to reach Sringeri in the morning. Thursday night was full of goodbyes, good lucks, and good wishes. I was really amazed that even having stayed in Bangalore for just about a week, I had made a family already. They all told me to come back whenever I had a break. I told them I would come back for sure. It was not a sad parting at all; in fact, it was happy, because we all knew what was ahead… Adventure!

I took an auto rickshaw from Aksharam to the Majestic, which was the bus stand from which the bus would depart. We found the bus I was supposed to take, known as the “Ambari” coach bus, and I boarded. I was carrying one large suitcase, one small suitcase, and a box about 1 ft x 1 ft x 2 ft full of books given to me at Aksharam to prepare me for my studies. I was so grateful, because they gave me the books for free! They said it was on them because I was doing work for Sanskrit anyway, which was a big enough payment. Such is the way of Sanskriti. I am amazed by its potential every time it reveals itself. There is so much love everywhere I go, within the Sanskrit-speaking world, because that is often the only thing they [we] have to give to each other. Beautiful. It’s a good world to be part of.

The bus departed on time (surprise!) and we were off to Sringeri! I still had absolutely no clue about what to expect, and I was surrounded by people who seemed to be professional Sringeri-goers. This was slightly intimidating, I will admit. At this moment in time, for the first time in a long time, I felt slightly alone. I did not speak the local language, it appeared to me that nobody on the bus spoke Sanskrit (or they were too good to be spoken to), I did not know what to expect, I was going into completely unknown territory, and I had absolutely no friends on the destination side. This combination did not strike me as the best possible scenario. However, putting my faith in the Divine Mother, who holds me in her grace for which I am eternally grateful, I let go of my fears and took a deep breath. I know that there is always a plan in the universal mind whenever things happen, so I put my trust in that plan, though unknown to me, and closed my eyes. This was the start to a big adventure, I could feel it. I slowly (the ride was bumpy) drifted into sleep.

My sleep was broken several times through the night by many things: sounds, smells, jolts, mosquitoes, temperature changes… but the time that I finally woke up, I realized how beautiful my final destination was going to be. It was around 5:30 in the morning, and the sun was ready to rise. I realized we were surrounded by dense forest and the most abundant tree I saw was the palm tree. Palm trees, as many people know, are the symbol of paradise. Whenever someone draws a picture of paradise, it includes palm trees for sure. So here I was, entering my semi-permanent destination… paradise. When the sun finally rose, just 30 or 40 minutes before I reached my destination, I realized the extent of the beauty I was to be surrounded by for a year. With the sunlight, I was able to see past the forest that surrounded us. I got a clear view of mountains and hills, covered with forest and fields, clouds and mystery. The possibilities that lay ahead were racing through my mind. I still held no expectations, but had I held any, this place would surely have exceeded them. Never in my imagination had I come across such magnificence – there was so much to see here! I silently thanked the Mother Goddess for showing me the beauty in everything and not the flaws.

I realized that what we see is what we want to see – always. There is never a time that we see something other than what we want to see. The people who want to see beauty see beauty everywhere – in nature, in animals, in people, in places, in existence. The people who want to see imperfections or defects spot them right away. If we see imperfections, or rather, if we highlight imperfections, it is because we want to see them. We only see what we want to see. Always. And why do people want to see imperfections? Do they get some sort of happiness in doing so? Anything we ever do is for our own happiness; there will never be a time when someone does something to be sad. But the amount of happiness one gets from seeing beauty instead of flaws is infinitely greater, because it is lasting happiness. We may get a fleeting sense of happiness, or satisfaction, from pointing out the faults in another, but what happiness is there in remembering that we pointed out the faults in someone/something else? Instead, if we see the beauty in everything, we will not only be happy when we see it, but be happy when we remember it too. Therefore, seeing beauty is infinitely more beneficial than seeing imperfections. Remember, it is 100% our own decision to make.

We reached Sringeri at around 7:00 AM, and there was a man (one of the teachers at the university I would be attending) by the name of Giridhar, waiting for me at the bus stand. Together, we came to the university in an auto rickshaw. He dropped me off in my new room, in the guesthouse on campus, and told me to take some rest. At 8:30, there would be other students who would come to get me to take me to breakfast. Emotionally, I was a mix. I had the sense of excitement to begin my new journey, and the sense of uncertainty about my destination. I was ready to become who I would become, but I was nervous to see who that would be. I was relieved to have finally reached my destination, but I was tense about what that meant. With this mixture of feelings, I lay down on the bed that was to be mine for the next… I didn’t know how long. But I let the feeling of relief spread through my body and mind and decided to rest. After much anticipation, I had finally arrived in Sringeri.


Skittles said...

Thus begins another amazing and absolutely beautiful adventure. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy all the beauty and wonder of the world around you, friend. I’m glad you see it all so well.

Rajiv Khanna said...

Very well written. I specially enjoyed your bus escapades. I was reading it like watching a movie. I have been to bangalore but in those days bangalore was very quite pretty town and the buses were not as many and as crowded (1981). So far your trip has been a wonderful adventure. With God's and all your guru's blessings, this year will be a very memorable one for you.
Our Ashirwad is always with you.


watersquash said...

Dear Varun,

!!! <--lots of excitement on your behalf.

1.) I really wish I could see this place, it sounds amazing!

2.) I've never taken a bus in India and it sounds downright terrifying.

3.)"I realized that what we see is what we want to see – always. " I'm glad you realize's important and it really changes the way you interact with the world

That is all for now,
yay for long/detailed posts, keep it up!

::virtual hug::