Thursday, October 20, 2011

Back Again


The quest for dharma begins in earnest yet again, with my return to India. I hesitate to call it the motherland, as I recently came across a realization that was hidden away deep in the recesses of my mind until now. For those of us who consider the world as our home, there is no motherland. Or rather, the entire world is our motherland. The world is our mother. We respect her wherever we go, for there is only one world, and the divisions created therein are man-made. This assists us in being “home” wherever we go. I only feel like a foreigner in a place so long as I allow myself to feel that way.

I am also yet again sharply reminded of the disparity between the rich and the poor in this country. Just as I left the airport, I saw some poor people sitting on the side of the street. They had matted hair, dirty clothes, cracked skin, and glazed eyes. Zipping by them in big SUVs and other expensive gas-guzzlers were the richer members of society. It always breaks my heart to see this. I wish I could help every single person in need, but how? I can’t just give them money; they wouldn’t know what to do with it. I can’t just open schools; they would not be interested in attending. I can’t just put them in another place; what right do I have to do that? A lot of thought has been given to this subject, and I need not add my own thoughts on it until they can add to the discussion in a productive way, so I will save this particular discussion for later.

As I have been ill for the past few weeks, which is what delayed my trip in the first place (I was supposed to arrive on the 5th of October, but instead have come on the 17th), my first goal is to rid myself of this lingering cough. To this end, lots of tests and checkups are in order…

I have come to India this time to learn Sanskrit from Dr. Pushpa Dixit, whom everyone calls “Mataji” (Mother). She is a retired professor of Sanskrit, and now writes Sanskrit grammar books full-time. I will be living with her and her husband in the true gurukul style, in which the student lives with the teacher, learning is 24 hours, and is not limited to academic subjects, but rather addresses all aspects of life. Last time I stayed with her (May 2010), I enjoyed it very much and learned a lot. At the end of my stay, Mataji told me to come back to learn from her, as she wanted to teach me more. I agreed, but since I was committed to Cambridge already, I could not start learning from her right away. Instead, I went to Cambridge, completed my MPhil, and am now on my way back to learning from her (until I commence my PhD). In the meantime, I will update this blog with events that take place and thoughts and ideas that I have. Usually, the latter stems from the former, so let us let life take its course!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

you are right Patriotism is a pretty narrow minded ideal according to me
But...don't you think everything has its own quality, and India has an intrinsic feel of a mother, a female quality...warm, engulfing all encompassing...downtrodden, lithe and distorted ....people trying to break her and pushing her towards a masculinity absolutely different from her
I was thinking India will function much better as a beautiful woman
But of course these are just images and thoughts One world is pretty poetic

Varun said...

yes indeed, india is mother-like. there is a deep sense of affection for the country as one would have affection for one's mother. and to expand that same vision to the whole world, to feel like you are in your mother's protection (and that you are your mother's protector!) wherever you go, is to go from being an indian to a global citizen. of course, both being an indian and being a global citizen are mutually inclusive, so one can retain one's national identity while also maintaining a sense of global commitment.

elisa freschi said...

I hope you will post more on your gurukula experience.