My Journey On Foot In Ahimsa Yatra With Monks Of Jain Terapanth...[3]

Posted: 03.05.2005
Updated on: 02.07.2015

I start to write this my third and last report on the Yatra (Walk with Jain Terapanth monks and nuns), while in Jaipur. I have walked a fifth day with them which entitles me morally to write some more of my experiences.

Today is the 15th of April and I last walked on the 6th of April 2005 from Fatehpur to a little village called Harsawa Bada only 15 kilometers before Laxmangarh, but I would like to come back to my stay in Ratangarh where I spent a long time, almost a week, and where I lived some important happenings.

It was at Ratangarh where I had arrived in the middle of the night the 31st of January 2005 under a terrible cold I had never expected in this part of India. It is known that deserts are extreme for both for heat and for cold, with a loving man Nagendra P. Jain whom I met at Adhyatma Sadhana Kendra, New Delhi, who wanted to recover a couple of big parcels he had left 10 years ago at Ladnun, (occasion from which I took advantage to come with him and visit Ladnun, the headquarters of Jain Terapanth which in the long run gave rise to this long Terapanthy experience of mine.) Among the books and papers he had in those parcels what he was really looking for were some pictures of his mother. Isn’t it sweet?

Ratangarh gave to me that night a ferocious impression. Waiting at the bus station to get the first local bus to Ladnun I saw startled a group of squatting Indians warming their hands on a fire. There was fire here and there in the dark gloomy atmosphere of the bus station, making me think of the famous film entitled “The quest for fire”. The scene I was living was not too far from those of the film.

But funnily enough I happen to know Ratangarh from other angles while in the Yatra. The Baid family I mentioned in my second report, was nourishing me so lavishly was continuously taking care of me as they saw I was stuck at the computer with my translation and second report’s task.

I will keep nice memories of Mahendra K. Baid’s daughters who were bringing every now and then something for me to munch. One night Mahendra took me around Ratangarh with his motorbike introducing me to his numerous family. Some, the younger members, paid respect to me bowing addressing their hands in the direction of my feet respectfully, and if they were not so young they touched me at the height of the knee or lower thigh which was an uneasy feeling not been accustomed to these types of salutation.

My abdominal health had been showing some signs of discomfort. Every three or four days I was feeling a little pain but it had to be at Ratangarh where one night I was having an overall pain after having accepted a dinner at Ranjit Dugar’s most wonderful house. (Ranjit is a most devoted lay follower of Acharya Mahapragya who compiled the extraordinary book “Finding your own centre” and wants me to translate it into Spanish). Of course I’ll see to that once in Spain.

My pain was not receding. I had started auto medicating myself with some antibiotics I brought from Spain and probably the cause of the pain was partially that and partially the mango juice on a tummy had not received anything in two days. Having experienced I could not find a posture without acute pain lying down I started walking outside the house inside a family compound just in the case the movement of the body could alleviate the persistent and alarming pain all over the abdomen.

An old man came out listening to my forced sighs to whom I could explain in English what was happening to me. He asked me if I wanted him to phone the ambulance of the Yatra, at that moment, after three hours of anguish I told him I thought I should go to the hospital and that I’d love him inform Mahendra Kumar Baid. Happily Mahendra who owns a chemist gave me a couple of pills: one, I suppose, a sleeping pill, and the other a pain killer. Half an hour later I could experience I was feeling better and going to bed I fell asleep. The following morning I could not believe I had been so ill as I had practically no pain at all.

I have to take care of both my bodies: The luminous one, which is the subtle one, the one that is sensitive to emotions and the physical one, taking care of everything I drink and eat. The truth is that I have been swallowing subtle and no so subtle aggressions but acknowledgedly putting my power of tolerance to a test. My mind was stronger but the reaction manifested itself in the body.
On the brink of leaving Ratangarh I was introduced to say goodbye to Mahendra’s grand mother and upon entering on a big deemed light ample room I was impressed by the tremendous feminine congregated presence there in.

This division of sexes even in joint families is something I struggle with. The big grand mother was going to ask me a question; she was sitting on a high cot surrounded by younger women who, I think, were taking care of the older ones in the warmth of the family atmosphere. She wanted me to sit on a chair and not on the floor and with a loud voice questioned me in Hindi:
“Could you tell us what has impressed you most from the monks?”, and I answered: “The monks have no possessions, the monks sleep on the floor, the monks carry an insect broom wherever they go, they show simplicity and an extraordinary discipline. But they are learned people who do not cease to learn more and more any time. Their asceticism attracts me a lot.”

When I had the chance I glanced at each of the various women, taking advantage I was told the oldest one was doing ok in spite of her old age. Only the old ones looked at me with composure, the attractive young ones only with the corner of their eyes. This is India with a culture that would take me years to fully understand.

Mahendra was coming with Arpit and I in the front of the car. I did not know why. Hindi is spoken about me with little translation; this has been part of my forbearance. At last I came to know that Mahendra wanted me to see his wonderful plot of land. He even invited me to live there if I return back to India when I retire from my job, a proposal that one keeps in one’s heart. It was peaceful to be there and could see he was preparing the earth with fruit trees and some other arrangements. I observed the lady and two children who were living there but did not communicate verbally at all with us. I smiled to the children but no smile came back from them. How could those little children have already in their minds the feeling that we belonged to another sphere of society with which they will never be able to mingle? Why to smile to the powerful one? No comment!

In Ratangarh I also visited two schools. The fist one was a Vedic one, where I saw the young Brahmins with their threads hanging from their right shoulder and a small plait from the crown of their heads. But what touched my emotion was the way they sang the Vedas. I recorded them and I will listen to them meanwhile I prepare my thesis on Vedanta Advaita to inspire me.

The other school was Mahendra’s daughter Shikha. She was so shy when she saw us there with her Principal. Arpit helped in the translation with the Headmaster and teachers as he has been helping in so many other ways. We were shown a good number of classes and a most funny way of multiplying invented by a considered Einstein of India. Arpit was very happy as he was a student of the same type of school years back. I liked the silence and wonderful behavior of the students which at the same time did not show tenseness on their faces. They give much importance to everything that Indians did in the past and you could see that in each class there were real and imagined pictures of their famous scholars and scientists along the millennia of years from this India’s civilization. At a given moment the Principal asked me to give him a suggestion for the school.

What was I going to say where I found all the pupils’ shoes perfectly aligned outside their classrooms, and all the computers, keyboards and even mouse perfectly covered to prevent them getting damaged by the overwhelming sandy dust in Rajasthan?
I just said I needed suggestions from him to implement in my schools in Spain but half an hour later while I was invited to perform a mathematical operation on a blackboard I realized that I could hardly write with the chalk on the cemented wall, telling him I should send him a pattern of the material we are lately using in our boards which in fact has changed the color from black to green.

Since I was at Rajaldesar I knew that in Fatehpur, our next destination, was a place to visit for their Havelis and the painting of frescoes on them. Upon arrival at night I was fascinated by the architecture surrounding me and looking up I saw a slab on a third floor tilting down towards the street and commented the fact to a young lady who was near by and had come to his old house on the occasion of Acharya Mahapragya’s visit to her place. She told me that some people in India are careless and that nothing could be done. The fact is that if that slab slipped down could easily kill three people marching together. While we were talking on that, we saw that what was falling from the very same house was water from a metal pipe coming out of a room to the street. I cannot tell you the composition of the water dropping onto the street and I leave it to your imagination.

As I said at the beginning of this report it was from Fatehpur from where I last walked in the Yatra. I was supposed to accompany Muni Abhijeet and meet him at 6, 20 sharp. I was there by that time and got darshan (to be in the presence of) with His Holiness, observed the ladies’ group moving like a swarm of bees with some very active members worried to offer food to the saints and samanijis. I was even offered a cup of tea. While ready to move a very elegant man came to me and said that it was a pity he did not meet me before, and that he could have offered me a better accommodation. My God! it seems he knew about me but “all of them” had been observing my power of acceptance. Not even Arpit was able to have a shower at Fatehpur, as one had to enter into that bathroom with a broom and clean all the cobwebs and the sandy floor before being able to squat and get some water from the tap on top of you. But I did, I was tougher than my Indian companion.

I was very happy to walk again. Never knowing how the body was going to react, especially as I was convalescent from my tummy. I did not know I had to cross Fatehpur almost completely which was a gift to my eyes seeing so many Havelis and other architecture of olden and unknown times. It seems as if one life, there were no time to see all that man has created in so many different ways. Temperature was not hot yet, the monks were quick and I decided I had to walk fast after them if I did not want to loose my way through the winding streets. There was a wonderful feeling of energy coming inside myself. Yes it was a feeling of liberty, of strength of purity. In this Yatra a young monk, I would say 14 years old asked me if I wanted to become a monk, and that was the second time I was asked that question. No doubt my stay with them was starting to be a bit long. But what really impacted me from the young monk was his saying:

“Lord Mahavir had no rage.”

When only a few hours later I lost my temper with my trip companion Arpit, allowing a hidden rage inside me come out, I remembered those words: “Lord Mahavir had no rage.”
“Before the singing of the rooster you will have denied me already three times.” (Christian gospels)

The Yatra is a bit like life. Each one has its own rhythm. For some time you meet someone and you exchange some words with him. You may be attracted by some thing, like the graded swimming pools, probably also used for irrigation and some others overtake you. You may be looking downwards to see where you put your feet and others may be looking at the beauty of nature. In this last yatra I saw a prison, but as it looked so different from those I have seen in Spain I did not know it was one. So, it all depends on the eyes of the beholder.

Arriving at the final destination I approached a group of students all sitting together in their blue uniforms and on the floor in an open classroom just with a wall on the side of the square elevated piece where to hang up the blackboard. While calmly watching the people one lady teacher approached and talked in English to me as she was an English teacher. I told her I was walking with the monks and that I myself was also a teacher of English. I was introduced to the Principal of the Government Senior Secondary School: Om Prakash Chalka at Harsawa Bada. For a good long time The Principal and I talked on many subjects with increasing interest from both sides. From time to time I was introduced to new persons most of them authorities of the neighboring places who had come to be present for the talk of His Holiness.

I asked the Principal to allow me to wash my face but I was offered more than that, namely two fresh buckets of water to have a good bath and then later a cot to rest my limbs. A couple of hours later a phone call was inviting me to visit Laxmangarh through a lift given to me by the Physical Training teacher’s motorbike. We traversed 15 kilometers through the arid desert to the Principal’s cybercafé where I helped him to open his first e-mail account. After that we continued talking on the top of a second unfinished building under construction in which I slept that night. It was not easy to get to sleep due to the many mosquitoes that enjoyed themselves biting me.

The most curious thing of all was that at 4 o’clock I started listening to bumping noises inside my first floor apartment with an open door leaning onto the street. I heard to several of those strange noises and my sleepy mind started imagining what it could be. I thought it could be a blind bird bumping onto the glasses of the room or a frightened squirrel... I was a bit scared as I saw something moving at a tremendous speed on the floor. Slowly I got up and looked on to the street to see there a young man talking to me in Hindi, the one who had been throwing sandstones to ask for help. I understood he wanted to come in and opened the door for him. He got some bedding and searched for a place to sleep inside that building. The principal was quietly at his other home.

It was a strange night, even stranger than that one in which I saw the cockroach before going to bed on one of those enormous cotton mattresses they extend on the floor for several people to sleep on. Later at night the cockroach was first walking over me and then in Arpit’s trousers making him jump and shout it was a spider.

“In the same way as a man looking in the dark at a rope on the floor and thinks it is a snake, he may think his body is real and independent from God” (I quote by heart from the Vedas).

The following day after returning to the new Yatra’s camp I followed the example of the Yatra’s workers whom I often saw taking bath in the open and washing their clothes on a metal plank. It is quite common all over India to see the lorry drivers stop at a “Hotel” (nothing of the kind of what westerners understand by the word Hotel), and have a good soapy bath meanwhile they wear their colored undergarment. So I did the same to my great double satisfaction. One because my body was needing a good clean up and second because I overcame the possible shame of my fatty exposure to the lean workers who were happily encouraging me to do as they were doing. A couple of hours later meanwhile I was talking to people sitting on the floor and waiting for their eyes inspection with a doctor, Arpit came with a journalist to mediate as a translator and to answer a few questions for the Patricka Rajasthan Newspaper. They made a great selection from the long interview, but people who read it showed satisfaction.
A couple of days later when I phoned some SERVAS people I had at my house in Spain 5 years ago, they knew I was in India thanks to the article on the Newspaper, and they were trying to meet me knowing I was with the monks.

I had made up my mind that my time was over in the Yatra and as I have not finished my translation work I demanded Munishri Kumar Shramanji to look for a place for me in Jaipur to finish my translation as fast as possible. He told me I may have to wait for a couple of days and I was ready to accept although not very willingly. Happily things turned on satisfactorily and that very same day arrangements were made so that I was placed in Jaipur in a tremendously hot room but in a lively quarter, that of Johari Bazar. Here I am, and at the time of finishing this report, 16th of April, my translation work could be finished in five days.

I hope to be leaving Jaipur the 22nd towards Ajmer and Mount Abu, to continue to Ahmedabad to visit another old Servas friend and form there to the south to stay at Bangalore for some time for my studies and I also hope to visit Auroville, and Ramanashram, if this body resists as the will is strong.

From now on there will be a link between me and this wonderful people many of which I contacted briefly but intensely, like the old scholar monk who helped me in understanding some aspects of my translation; like the flexible yoga monk who performed a most astonishing Shirshasana and bending as an exchange for my gymnastics exercises; and so many others who smiled and gesticulated enthusiastically at seeing me with them in the Yatra.

My last day with the monks, I moved towards His Holiness to be in his presence for almost 20 minutes which I did in order to receive from him the energy of his aura. He was in a festive mood reading his poetry to four samanijis. The poem had to do with water and love. From time to time the young monk who talked to me about “No rage” would take a most beautiful silvery handle fan made of peacock feathers to invite the loving flies to fly somewhere else and leave His Holiness enjoy the reading.

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