OF INDIA—MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
The inspiration for these three articles came during Anna Cipollone’s first trip to India in February – March 2003. At that time she was on an unpaid leave of absence from her work as a high school teacher in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (a career which began in 1982), and had come to India to learn more about the science of Kriyayoga as taught by Swami Shree Yogi Satyam. Anna was so much inspired by the teachings of Kriyayoga and by the selfless life of service of Yogi Satyam and other members of the Kriyayoga Research Institute to the villages and villagers of India, that she has since resigned from her teaching career and has returned to India to continue learning the science of Kriyayoga, as well as to join in the work of spreading this eternal, ancient teaching.
My purpose for coming to India
The science of Kriyayoga is about
As I gaze out from my railway car window to view
the passing scenery, my mind drifts in and out of reverie as I reflect
back on these past six weeks that I have traveled in India.
My eyes drink in the various sites.
Golden fields of wheat, or fields of sugar cane, palm trees and
bamboo groves, simple homes made from mud or brick and straw, some with
clay tile roofs, form the backdrop against which life happens in India.
The scenes are familiar to me now—young boys
bathing in the river, or women doing their laundry there, with brightly
coloured saris strewn on the river bank to dry in the hot day’s sun.
We pass by neatly piled stacks of cow dung to be used as fuel for
cooking, as cows, water buffalo and goats graze in the fields nearby.
Women, having worked in the fields, carry their harvest in
beautiful straw baskets that they balance so gracefully on their heads.
Children carrying bags or knapsacks agilely walk on the dirt
roads as they make their way towards school.
At each station junction, vendors selling snacks or other wares
abound—some of them even hop on board while the train is stopped at
the station, attempting to sell their goods.
Such are the sights of India from this railway car
window. India is indeed a
land of contrast, and traveling in India is certainly not for the faint
of heart. Yet, in spite of
this, it possesses an allure for travelers of almost mystic proportions.
My purpose for coming to India was to spend time in
the presence of Swami Shree Yogi Satyam, deepening my understanding and
practice of the science of Kriyayoga.
What I got in return was much more than I could ever have desired
or imagined. In fact, each
and every experience of this journey has been a lesson in Kriyayoga, and
has provided me with an opportunity to learn and to grow spiritually.
The science of Kriyayoga is about bringing unity to
opposite forces. In a
systematic and scientific way, it teaches one to learn to “accept all
the changes” of life as an expression of omnipresent God, without
labeling the changes as good or bad.
The practice of Kriyayoga will eventually allow one to achieve a
state of Yog, or union of the self with omnipresent God.
As a Westerner traveling to India for the first
time, I had many opportunities to learn about even-mindedness, to learn
to “accept all the changes”—especially since most of my time was
spent in remote village areas in India.
Village life in India is quite different from the city life in
North America to which I was accustomed.
Even something as simple as learning to use the Eastern style
toilet system (squat style) was an adjustment for me.
Not to mention the fact that village life in India often means
little or no electricity during the day, and also, quite often, no
indoor plumbing—the only source of water coming from an outdoor hand
Needless to say, by Western standards, life in
rural India is a challenge. Yet
the grace with which the villagers that I encountered in my travels
handled their circumstances was an inspiration to me.
What amazed me even more was how freely they shared of what
little they had. Next to
Yogi Satyam, whose classes and lectures were phenomenal, these villagers
were my greatest teachers.
As I reflect back on my experiences of these last six weeks, one incident in particular stands out as a pivotal moment. It occurred one afternoon, shortly after I arrived in India, while staying at the ashram in Allahabad (before leaving for the villages). As I sat out on the verandah in front of the Meditation Hall reading prior to the evening meditation class, I noticed two women helping out with the construction work being done at the ashram. Each in turn would fill up a mesh plastic bag with cement, place it on top of her head and then walk with it to the kitchen area of the ashram where the construction work was occurring. For quite some time these two women paraded back and forth in this manner.
At the time, I remember thinking how inefficient this process was. From a Western perspective, it would have been much more efficient to use a wheel barrow or cart of some sort in order to transport a much larger quantity of cement all in one fell swoop. I remember feeling quite strongly about this matter—so full of judgment was I!
Then, somehow, it dawned on me during the evening
meditation class that I was being quite judgmental.
Who was to say that my way was right, or even better for that
matter? I came to the
realization that what I had witnessed as I sat out in front of the
Meditation Hall that afternoon was also a part of God’s creation—and
so, it too, was beautiful. As
Kriyayoga teaches, I had to learn to “accept all the changes”.
That sudden realization was so powerful for me that it moved me
to tears during my meditation.
These are but a few of the experiences, reflections and realizations that have occurred for me during this journey to India. It has been more than an incredible adventure for me. It has been a life-changing experience, and spiritually, the most significant journey of my life. How does one transition back to life in North America, with its orderliness, predictability and every convenience imaginable after the experience of these last six weeks? O India, I will return!