As soon as the plane touched down on this profound and expansive part of Mother Earth, I felt a sense of being home.
I turned to the local man sitting beside me and professed, “Ah, I am home!”
“Me too!” he smiled. “I travel all over Europe for work bi-monthly, but India will always be home. Because there is no place like India.”
“Exactly,” I smile back.
It’s truly my heart and soul home. The place I seem to feel the most alive; the most vibrant; the most supported in what it is I am doing on this planet, within this particular lifetime. I feel deeply grateful for this opportunity to be in this deeply devotional land, and hope to share and celebrate all that I am graced with here. I am honoured to be a part of this life — and joy overflows in my heart.
Here are 9 immediate ways the local culture has engaged me on arrival, that sincerely touch my heart.
- Guest is God/Goddess here. In Indian culture guests are treated as a deity, and offerings (of chai and home-cooked food typically, but also gifts and sometimes even money) are made to them, just as Indians make these same offerings at an altar.
- It’s a FULL immersion back into Hindi on arrival since I stay with my relatives in Delhi when I land. It always takes me a day or two to really get into it, as I find myself searching for the words of this script that comes from Sanskrit – the most ancient language on Mother Earth. I rarely speak it back on the west coast of Canada, just sometimes with my dear father when it moves through me. Though I have already called him once, and spoke fluent Hindi and noticed it even took him a minute to get into it with me – surprise, hah!
- The plethora of home-cooked Indian meals and chai that just keeps on coming. My relatives know what my favourites are, and they are ready on arrival. YUM. And more YUM.
- Nobody uses names here. Everybody is your bhaiya or bhen (brother or sister). And I am called bheti (daughter) by my relatives. So sweet, love it.
- People here touch their heart with their right hand to say hello. It is similar to the standard Namaste (which corresponds with the joining of the hands at the heart). Both gestures recognize one another as the light of Awareness (Satya).
- Nobody – and I mean absolutely nobody – is in a hurry here. All are fully immersed in the present moment. Aram say is most often the reply when one asks a question. It indicates that your request/answer will unfold in peaceful time.
- The warmth. Not only of the peaceful and joyful people all around that recognize the Divinity and Truth in everyone around them. But also in terms of the temperature. Mid 20s (celsius) in the Himalayas presently. (A humid 35C in Delhi upon landing which was way too hot for my taste.)
- The opportunity to bring more mindfulness into my actions and interactions. For example one should not use the left hand here to make any type of gesture or action – as it is considered an insult. (Re: so we wave with our right hand, shake hands with our right hand, pay with our right hand, eat with only our right hand, etc.) Also, we do not touch anything with our feet except the ground we walk on, as it is also considered disrespectful. If we mistakenly touch someone or an item of someone’s with our feet or shoe(s), we apologize profusely.
- Mother India is truly my heart home. The deep sense of devotion that is intertwined into daily society here greatly supports my entire Being. Every where you happen to look there is a form of devotion unfolding. Be it a namaste, aarti, temple bells, murtis (devotional statues), images of deities and saints on shops and restaurant walls, om symbols, altars, sacred flames, the waft of purification incense, tilak on the third eye of locals, molley (sacred red protection thread around the wrist from a recent ceremony they attended) – it just goes on and on! JAI MA!