“How I discovered myself in Varanasi”

Based on the words of an anonymous traveller who came to India, specifically Banaras for self discovery.

“I never imagined even in my dreams that I would go to India someday. I always read and heard about India, but didn’t have slightest notion to travel to this land of culturally rich heritage.

Later in my life, in a materialistic world, I found myself lost. I began to lose life inside my biologically alive self. It was two weeks before the day of my arrival in India when, after rigid persuasion of the friends, I was commanded by the destiny to go to India.. to discover myself. To the city of Banaras or Varanasi.. the cultural capital if India. My heart was stranded in darkness in a forever shining western-world metropolis. My mind was hesitant about journey to the part of the world so unknown to me.

Varanasi

I remember the day when I arrived. Initial feelings were diverse. Through the narrow and crowded roads, I was taken to the heart of the city. I saw crowd everywhere in the city. And although excited, there was sense of negative sentiment in my mind. I took my room and immediately locked myself for rest of the afternoon with mixed feelings in my heart.

I spent my afternoon in the room questioning myself if the decision of coming to India was a wise decision. I was in India to find myself, but initial impression was not what I had expected. The fatigue of long travel soon drew me into sleepiness.

I slept for hours and woke up to find red and orange coloured rays of evening Sun finding their way into the room through the windows, while a faint sound of classical Indian music came from somewhere distant. The sound of the Indian flute and the soft breeze accompanying the rays of light from the windows were enchanting. Was the darkness in my heart afraid of this enchantment? Yes, it was.

Varanasi

Then I walked to the iconic ‘Ghats’ at the bank of the river Ganges for the first time. I wish I were a writer good enough to narrate how magical that atmosphere was. Redness of the setting sun covered the land. The breeze touched my face softly and flayed with my hair. Pink in evening light, otherwise white birds flew up and down the riverbed. Red and yellow flags flapped on the peaks of temples. Boats of various sizes sailed over the calm surface of the holy river.

There was a warmth in air. Warmth, a form of energy that aided the forces that were fighting the darkness within me. There was life thriving everywhere. By that time I had begun to prefer the word ‘life’ over the word ‘crowd’.

I sat at the stone staircases facing the river. And there began my new journey within the journey. Then I walked through narrow and mysterous alleys of the city. Narrow if you talk about physical width, but very wide when you can see their spiritual and intellectual forte. I learned lessons from the ancient city of wisdom what I never expected to learn from this rusted place. This city told me significance of privileges in our lives that we take for granted. I learned how there can be happiness inside you when you have so little in your purse. I learned why happiness and materialism are unrelated to each other. I learned why happiness and money were not related to each other. And I learned simplicity and precision from people of this land.

Varanasi

I spent many weeks walking around in the mysterious land. Far from my world, my family, my friends, I was able to get rid of distraction and disturbance dwelling in my mind. I meditated and dived into the ocean of deep concentration. I observed the local life closely. I studied where my western world was wrong and where it was right. After the intense study, I was able to learn how I could achieve satisfaction from life. I learned the origin of all mistakes I had made in the past.

After few weeks when I stood at the gate of the airport, I was leaving with victory. I had a victorious heart that had defeated the darkness within me. Difficult battles were won and I was to finish the war back at home.

Thank you India.. thank you Banaras for showing me the way to enlightenment.
And I thank the special friend from Banaras, without whom I wouldn’t have made it.”

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