I have thought about writing this a lot, and as I type this out – there are so many hurdles – the first one being, my mother is calling me for dinner and I am very hungry. Hunger after all is a hurdle for anything if you think about it. Depends what are you starving for. I met with bunch of Americans who had come along with Krishna Das [KD], and some of them were my age – we were sitting on the rocks in Mandakini River under the autumn sun, the water was flowing through us, and as we spoke about things, one of them said something remarkful, so I am going to quote her, as it perfectly fits here –
“In India, people’s stomachs are hungry, in America, our souls are hungry”
This observation is just incredible, no? We, Indians, are full of collectivism – families, kins, marriages, legacies, religious beliefs and social ideologies. We prioritise our cultural values – the groups we belong to – more than our individual needs. Mothers would give up anything for their children, and religious men would give up anything for their Gods. Social norms blind us, but faith unites us all. We have so many opportunities to feel associated with something or the other and a sense of belongingness is taken for granted because you can sign up for anything and you will be counted in. You walk outside your home and you know there will be something or someone that will leave you feeling connected.
I cannot comment on what is not primarily experienced by me [read: American Culture], but I can tell you what I have felt through conversations – it looks like a world full of resources, in abundance, with lesser people to share it with. Almost like the feeling of being lost and nobody’s bothering to find you. You’re on your own. There is freedom, but with a sense of loneliness. There is comfort, but lack of humane warmth.
I met Krishna Das [KD], for the first time, last year October . There is a long story to how I met him and through whom, so I’d write about it some other day [you can drop in a comment if you want me to write another blog about my first meeting with KD].
For now, I can tell you how I felt. It was no less than a dream that he came to my home and spent an entire day, singing with everyone, eating as my mother served and watching my father make jalebis. It was so simple and yet unimaginable, unbelievable and I usually run out of adjectives to describe my experience with him. While last year, I was still pinching myself to know for sure that I wasn’t dreaming, this year, when I met KD, it felt like this is the only real thing that I have experienced in my life – being with him is the closest I have been to hitting the reality [and of course, in a good way]. For the longest time I have tried to decode Ram Dass’s famous quote and also one of his books’ titles: BE HERE BE NOW
I experience that when I am with KD. I experience love – eternal, caught off guard and still secured.