\

Traveller’s seek…….. a forgone conclusion

There is only one species that is going to change the consciousness of the planet – the seeker and the cross cultural traveller!

Some 30 years back the planet opened up. Countries that were closed because of internal policies, wars and turmoil became peaceful and opened their door to visitors. People left borders behind and took travel as a human right. They went out exploring, learning and connecting to other cultures, continents and places. Of course it was not all sunshine out there. Many western people realised the power of their money and brought suffering in forms of prostitution, drugs and other human abuse to many places and unfortunately to some extend continue to do so.

Yet, travel became the means to connect and getting to know each other. Because of this keen seeking to keenness to understand the world enjoys today a variety of wonderful manifestations.

We enjoy fusion music, world cuisine, student exchange programs, international researches in almost all fields, and so many more. Without the curious seeker, on whats beyond the boundaries of his home land much of this would never have happened.

If I look at todays world, it seem that travel is often no longer a human right, but slowly turning into a privilege. Right wing politics, racism, religion and “the so called war on terror” are closing down ever more borders and from the look of it, travel will even get more restrictive in the years to come.

Even the knowledge that it is just a few big conglomerates that benefit from the present war mongering is not going to change the situation as it stands.

However we can live without Avocados from Chili that turn vast landscapes into desert.

We can live without mangoes and beef from the amazon, who’s production destroys thousands of hectares of land each year. We can exist without changing the car every two years and we certainly can live without the handbags and shoes from high end fashion brands, because we know that they produce them at minimum wages in horrible conditions in Bangladesh and Vietnam.

What we should not live without, is travelling the globe. Experiencing new cultures, learning new ways of live and fill our memories with un-deletable pictures from what we experienced. Even the carbon print produced by travelling is offset by a long shot if we live a little bit more local at home.

Tourism is the only industry, not dominated by the very few big and dominant corporations. Its core drivers are local hoteliers, local money and local employment. Tourism weaves a string between cultures and is by all means forged by human spirit. If you choose well, you will always find the local spirit in where ever you go.

Easter is symbolically the resurrection of the spirit and if we travel, we will continue to use the experiences we make to transform our inside. Even Emperors like Akbar realised it in his vision of “Din-i Ilahi”; which says that if you merge all your knowledge and experiences of all cultures and religions, your wisdom and tolerance will be without limit.

Himalayan Stories – Light plays

The play of the sun rising over the horizon, painting the sky in a myriad of shades and colours remind me of you…..

Himalayan Stories – Kala Bhairawa

I remember the story, told to me by a priest in the mid Eighties. The story is of Kala Bhairawa, the god that is said to assist the righteous and destroy evil. The Legend tells that in olden days people having a fight were brought in front of the Idol and were told to speak the truth. Their fears of this gods wrath was so big that they were scared to utter a single lie. So legend has it that this place became sacred, a place of worship and holy ground. Even today people flock here to pay homage to this magnificent god that tolerates nothing but the truth.

Returning to the Himalayas next month I curious if this magnificent god withstood the wrath of the earth. Looking forward to meet friends, visit places and assist with what ever help I can offer. Himalaya – more than 30 years ago I was invited to your lands, so I could learn humility, listen to stories, hear your tales tales and encounter places, so beautiful that one could not stop tears running down your cheeks.

Himalayan morning

The sun rises gentle in the east, painting the sky and the hills with myriads of shades and colours.

Let me be like this morning, gentle and calm

Let me be like this sunrise, bathing everything in gentle light

Let me be like this morning sun, warm and caring

Let there be no judgement in my heart and mind

Let there be no vice troubling my soul

Let me welcome you, like the sun over the eastern horizon

bathing you in colourful light, let me touch you like the morning breeze

gentle and soft, not asking, just giving

Let there be just joy and silent understanding

so the morning breeze may gently play between our souls

.

Tea shop in Goa

The magic of travelling in India is that you get to see so many ways of looking at religion, faith and culture. Gods are simply part of their daily life and there is hardly a place where they are not smiling from a small altar, from a picture, or act simply as a decoration of a local tea stall. Faith is a constant companion of Hindu day to day life. The eternity of the soul and the freedom to express faith in a simple and personal way has managed to survive several centuries on Islamic rule in many parts of the country and it has survived the British Raj as well. Buddhism, who’s origin is in India and Nepal on the other hand has been routed and forced into exile by islamic invasions. Their religious structure was too easy to uproot, like the latest Chinese invasion of Tibet demonstrates. Christianity and Islam, probably because of their common roots have managed to increase their reach mainly because of hard line rituals and spreading fear of eternal hell and condemnation. Hindu faith, a mythology rather than a religion has been and remains till date one of the few faith with free flowing forms, accommodating different forms of expression, like demonstrated in the small tea stall. This really brings you to the basic question if organised religion should not be considered the enemy of faith and individual growth. History supports my claim. Where ever man benefits from spreading the message of any form of a supreme being it all went wrong. The self interest of the priest has sprouted into the most common affliction the world suffers today – “Greed and hatred for our fellow man”. Exploitation of the planet, our giver of life, the very essence of what we should call and respect as god is being ruthlessly abused and destroyed. We fight wars in the name of protecting our values against enemies claiming to protect the same values. The absurdity of it is so apparent and yet we seem to blind. So at this tea stall, once more like I did in 1984, I decided to abandon nationality and religion and follow just one voice, my voice within.

The Bodnath Stupa in Nepal

The Bodnath Stupa in Nepal

Bodnath is one of the really nice and peaceful places in the Kathmandu Valley. Especially around sunset hundreds of people flock onto the street around the Stupa to make their prayer rounds around the majestic Stupa. People from all walks of life begin a small pilgrimage to the self. Some of them alone,, some chatting with friends, but all in a deep sense of peace and harmony, creating a special atmosphere of peace and calm.

Of Buddha and modern times, Sarnath 1985

Of Buddha and modern times, Sarnath 1985

The Stupa of Sarnath is the place where Buddha delivered his first sermon. Later it became a place of learning and today it has become one of the most important pilgrim places for Buddhist around the world. For kids it has become a nice place to play. Buddha probably would be pleased to have kids running around, after all, when he spoke it was already a park with deer, trees and peace.