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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Faces in the Crowd - The Old Man at the Monastery

We were at the Rumtek Monastery, and we were enthusiastically discussing Tibetan Buddhism and life in Sikkim, with our guide, Monay. An old man standing by smilingly said something, and our guide laughed and translated – “So many questions you have!




That was so true. We did have innumerable questions, and it was good to see our guide answer us patiently. We told him to tell the old man that yes, we had many questions, we wanted to know more about the monastery. He smiled again, and the smile lit up his eyes, and his age lines seemed to smile too. I usually avoid clicking photos of people, but something about this old man made me want to click one of him, so I asked him, pointing to him, and then my camera. He nodded, and I clicked these two photos.



As we turned back, our guide told us that he was among the oldest inhabitants of the monastery, one who had been blessed by three Karmapas (the leader of this order)! He had been a child when his parents had brought him to seek the blessings of the 15th Karmapa who had arrived in Sikkim on a pilgrimage. When the 16th Karmapa arrived here in exile from Tibet, he joined the order, and in recent times, he has also been fortunate to live with the present Karmapa, the 17th.  He is now in his 90s according to our guide, and yet is active, both physically and mentally. He is truly blessed, isn’t he?



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Comments

  1. So true! He is blessed! He has a calming effect too. And content.
    Looks like he has 100s of stories within him, waiting to come out.

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    1. Yes, Nisha.. that calmness and contentment was the most striking thing about him. Unfortunately, he couldnt understand english or hindi, and apparently doesnt speak too much, or it would have been nice talking to him

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  2. There is something that makes me uncomfortable in the presence of most elderly people. It's like a feeling of a subtle guilt for being young and strong whereas they are not anymore. However, this old man doesn't project anything of this sort - he's young and strong in his own way.

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    Replies
    1. Thats an interesting thought, Antonina. I have never really felt uncomfortable around old people, but that is probably because i grew up in a house filled with them! our house, when I was growing up had, apart from my grandparents, scores of grand uncles and aunts, and i was close to all of them... and this old man actually reminded me of them...

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  3. Well, he just taught me - Wrinkles can't deter ur smile and spirit. If i ever visit this place, i m definitely going to look out for him. Amazing soul. God bless him!

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