Well, I am finally ready to come out of the closet about my visits to India! My first visit to India was 1990 as the guest of the Brahma Kumaris’s “Peace of Mind” Retreat, and I had a very tough time emotionally, seeing the poverty, the dirt, the garbage, the crowds, and the sickness in Mumbai, I couldn’t handle it at all!!
When I arrived in Mt Abu, which is in the North-West of India about 150 miles south of the Pakistan Border
and a 4-hour drive from closest airport, with the last hour straight up the mountain. It’s a beautiful drive with monkeys at side of the road.
It’s not an easy drive however; Indian drivers on a whole are very good. The BK headquarters is very large and the part where I am, on top of the mountain, can house 1500 people. It is beautiful complex, very clean, no dirt anywhere, white buildings, gardens, it has many kitchens, and even toli, (candy kitchen), Meditation halls,
swings, a lovely room called History Hall, and numerous dining rooms. Literature, media, transport departments, plus a Hospital that has been very special to me for number of years. This place runs like clockwork, any top CEO could not run it any better. The accommodations are very simple, but has everything you need; a bed, a closet, a desk and a bathroom with a shower, etc. and hot water all the time (which even in the best hotels can be difficult). My room has an outside sitting space with wicker chairs and a table, all in all very comfortable.
What do I do here? Mediate, classes are given on various topics of dealing with life, meet with friends from all over the world, the BK’S are in about 140 countries around the world, and most try to come here at least once a year for 2 or 3 weeks (we from the west are called double foreigners). I am also very fortunate, because I know a number of people in the town of Mt Abu, (because of my work in hospital), a population of 25,000 people, and is a tourist town (lots of hotels) because of its location and weather, it is November, the days are sunny, and warm, and the evenings are cool, perfect for me. I seem to be very busy, lunches, dinner’s, tea’s and on back of motorbike touring around. This Community or Family, as it is called, was founded by Jeweler, in 1936, that had a calling and he appointed 5 women in charge. This Family has grown tremendously and is well respected within India Political and Social circles and the World. Dadi Janki, who is the head of this Community is 98 years old, very frail body, but mind is sharp as a tack and has been very special to me for 25 years, I have learnt so much from this friend (she calls me her Canadian Friend), and believe it or not Dadi speaks Hindi, so whenever we meet we have a translator.
I speak about the BK’s if you are here, at least you are trying to figure out life, with all of the ups and downs and as I travel the world knowing the BK’S make it much easier because of the various connections and contacts. Now a far as dress goes here, most of the Sisters here, as they are called, wear white sari’s or combination of white outfits,
I am rebel, as usual, and don’t always wear white, certainly not a sari, I would never know how to put one on, years ago I wore one at event with my late Indian friend and had to be dressed by a helper.
This is visit is number 19 to India for one reason or another. I have met some of the brightest and thinking people I know (all professions and ages are here). I feel very fortunate to be part of this Global Family!
Post Script. 1
Religion has always been difficult for me and people ask me my definition of Spirituality, for me it means values, e.g. trust, loyalty, respect, love, giving back to community, friendship and honesty to name a few, which brings me to the total freedom I feel now in my life.
Post Script 2
On way to airport from Mt Abu, there was a big traffic jam on a 4-lane highway, didn’t understand why, so, a Elephant was walking down the highway taking up 2 lanes! (Only in India)