Monday, June 04, 2007

Gandhi: Prayers In The Garden

Delhi, India, January 6, 2007
This is a story from my recent Journey in India.
This our first day exploring Delhi; in fact it's our first day exploring India. Our Buddhist Nun Friend, Joanmarie got us a Taxi driver to show us around. There are a lot of unscrupulous people here so when you find a driver you can trust, you've found gold. As you can see, Arun knows how to make us feel at home, with his 'Canada' jacket. When he arrives at our 'Guest house I say: "Arun, we don't know which way is up. Just show us around". He decides that a tour of Delhi should start with one of the most sacred landmarks in India. He takes us to an enormous park in the north of the city and one of the most sacred locations in this whole country; 'Raj Ghat'. This is the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated on January 31st, 1948 after he was assassinated while preparing to lead prayers in the Biria House Garden. Gandhi is a hero of mine and it's my first chance to get close the the Spirit of this man. We take the stairs to a walkway that looks down into the memorial site. Millions of people come here from all over the World, like Pilgrims, to pay respect to this man who changed India. We go back down to the entrance and take our shoes off to walk barefoot with the others. This Black Marble memorial is where Gandhi's cremation took place. A continuous line of people walk in a right-handed circle around the Eternal flame on the marble slab. Walking clock-wise is very important in to Hindu culture. It's considered bad etiquette to walk the other way. As we stand here at this sacred Site, I find myself wondering what Gandhi would think of this Monument. There must have been such a temptation to build something exotic to express the respect and love the Indian people feel for the Father of their Country. But I keep wondering what his reaction would be to us giving so much attention to a man who lived with such humility. After some quiet reflection, Arun takes us to a magnificent Temple I never would have expected to find in India.

No comments: