Friday, 27 June 2014

Bihar School of Yoga

My next trip after Bodhgaya was to Munger to visit the Bihar School of Yoga. I arrived there after a challenging train ride. Although, I had booked an air-conditioned sleeper, I had to share my bed with 5 others. Well it is all part of travelling in India, you never know what will happen! Apparently, it is a common practice in the state of Bihar to ride trains without a ticket. Therefore, the trains get jam-packed and you get to sit very close to other passengers. Moreover, I had developed a mouth infection which lowered my immunity immensely. Hence, I was contemplating on changing my ticket to go to Turkey earlier than planned. 

Bihar School of Yoga felt like a big university campus. The main door was always locked and everyone needed a permit from the management to leave the grounds. There were many people from all around the world who were either visiting or living there. Some people had been there for a couple of years. Karma yoga, which is selfless service, is the common practice. Each day, everybody gets assigned different duties in administration, maintenance, arts, garden, kitchen etc. There is limited contact with the outside world.  

My main concern at that time was to get out to see a doctor. I applied for a permit in the morning. I was told that it usually takes a day to get approval, but I thought in health related cases it might be quicker. Well, I was wrong. In the afternoon, I was told that I could not go out till the next day. I was furious and frustrated but had no choice rather than accepting this decision. Then there was a moment of surrender. I could not do anything to change the fact that I was stuck there but accept the moment as it is. I am grateful for this experience which helped me to surrender, probably for the first time in my life. This experience reminded me of the serenity prayer by Reinhold Nieburh which states "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference".

The next day, I was given permission to leave for 4 hours. By the time, I had made up my mind to go back to Turkey earlier and everything from that moment started to flow like clockwork. I went to the doctor and received some antibiotics. Then, rushed to the train station to book a ticket to Patna which is the closest city to Munger with an airport. I also booked a flight to Delhi for the day after and my wife changed the date of my flight to Istanbul. Amazingly, everything was done within 4 hours and I returned to the school for one last night.

City of Patna
I took the train to Patna the next day. When I arrived, my immune system was getting really weak. I ate in an upmarket restaurant as I didn't want to risk another Delhi-belly. I had already lost 4 kilos in 3 weeks and was feeling fragile. I caught a flight to Delhi the next morning. During the flight, I met Prem, a lawyer from Delhi, who was sitting next to me. He kindly offered me a ride as his son was picking him up from the airport. He also helped me to arrange a hotel in a safe area of Delhi which is the world’s second most populous city with more than 22 million people. I had a great last night in India enjoying the luxury of hot water, a comfortable bed and cable TV.         

India is a land of extreme contrast, poverty, challenge and spiritualityI came here in the search of a guru who would help me to find direction in life. Maybe I was looking for short cuts to happiness or enlightenment. I left India with the understanding that I don’t need a guru to show me the path. I am my own guru and am capable of living my life with the guidance from my higher self / divine. India helped me to improve my self confidence and made me more self-reliant. It taught me not to give my power away to other people with the hope of achieving spiritual wisdom. I learned the lessons I needed at this stage of my life. Grateful to have visited this sacred land of wisdom and spirituality. One day, I will be back with a stronger immune system.

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