From Jesus to Krishna

Day 42

I peddled along the highway through stunning scenery to the home of brother Moses, an evangelist and family man living in a village near Krishnagiri coconut palms and a scattering of giant rock monoliths. He had only been in this home for two months to begin his missionary work with the local Hindu villagers. They were a lowly educated family living in a nice but featureless house, giving the impression that perhaps they were a tribal people suddenly plucked up and placed into comfort but unsure how to use it. All a family of 5 really need is a kitchen, bathroom and one room with a bare floor on which together they can eat, pray and sleep. The other rooms are symbols of wealth or spaces assigned to the mysterious activities of the rich or western. I taught crab tiggy to his children on the open rooftop then watched as his wife prepare dinner. The 5 year old son was adamant to operate the kitchen blender. This resulted in the room and all of its inhabitants being showered in samba. The mother accepted this mistake without anger or humour, but inate motherly Indian patience and sent us away to clean ourselves without any scolding. After dinner together on the floor we took turns to read through a chapter of proverbs and each share which one was our favourite.

Day 43

I had a beautiful hilly ride through yellow flower plantations used for the act of puja when the Hindus decorate their shrines. I spent the night with brother Joseph in Hosur in his small rented flat. His wife and children were living elsewhere. Despite his diploma in mechanical engineering he said his wage was still barely enough to support his family. He would not accept my payment in return for his hosting me. He was keen to show me his nicely published wedding album filled with happy colourful graphics around somber fearful faced photos of the bride and groom. We then had a tender conversation about western Christians drinking alcohol which Indian Christians did not agree with. He said Jesus did not drink and we are called to be like him. I'm not sure if Jesus drank or not but I believe anything we do for pleasure should be done in a way that's sustainable and does not lead to immorality. I feel perhaps he had a more text book approach to religion and found him to be a kind hearted yet frustrated man of faith.

Day 44

I spent the morning with Josephs Hindu land lord enjoying a a philosophical and theological conversation. It was my first opportunity to question a Hindu about details of their faith  and the reason for so many rituals. We came to the conclusion that rituals such as lighting an oil lamp in a shrine to gain enlightenment were not necessary but helpful as tools to engage the mind in prayer and meditation and promote discipline in striving to communicate with god. These rituals must be done with a conscious mind and heart or else they are like a mother feeding her baby but without nurturing or compassion. This was his analogy. The physical action took place but the spiritual or emotional potential was lost. We went on to speak of what is life. I shared my latest hypothesis or perspective of life being "click of the fingers" now. Unconscious of the movement of time but entangled in the current activity, thought or conversation. I was unable to get his definition as conversation turned to an awkward yet ego inflating expression him and his mother calling me great and seeing me as some kind of enlightened guru. "An Indian man your age would never think of these things" they said. Really I think most people just don't need so much space to think. Loaded with fruit and hugs I set off for Bangalore where 40kms and 48 hours from now I would be reuniting with my father who I had not seen in 18 months. The last 500kms would be done together. I am excited to share the journey with him yet wonder are the roads of India big enough for the two of us.

After a long crawl through bus wedging traffic I reached the home of Sharda and Krishnari, a Hindu man married to a christian women. I was relieved that they remembered me from 3 weeks ago when we met in a hotel in Trichy where they gave me their address and an invite to stay with them once I reached Bangalore.


Rachel said...

Your blog entries are always such a great example of what travelling should be like - meeting people you would not normally meet, random conversations, beautiful places, different cultures. Hope your Dad enjoys it too!

Anonymous said...

I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog Shasa. It is such a unique adventure you're on. There are very few people I would enjoy travelling with but I think you are one of them! I look forward to catching up with you when you're back in NZ. Take care and God Bless. Alan Collins