Travelers Stories! What draws travelers to India in search of something...?

#1 May 7th, 2007, 09:46
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  • backpackinglaura is offline
#1
I recently returned from 3 months of studying and volunteering in South India. After returning and constantly hearing the rather cliche question of " have you become enlightened?" I decided to change my senior thesis topic to Hinduism as a culture in India, the Universal principles to live by found in Hinduism, and how this affects/draws travelers to India in search of something... Spirituality? Peace of mind? Awareness? I am currently doing research on travelers voyages to India, why they go, what they intend on finding, seeking spiritual paths? I am looking for people's stories, opinions, stances, and would LOVE any input to make this a well-rounded and informative piece.
Last edited by machadinha; Jun 6th, 2007 at 08:00.. Reason: adjusted title
#2 May 12th, 2007, 04:18
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#2
I go to get away from the wife. She hates heat. (We can only travel during the hot monsoon months).

She's not hip on the pollution, the noise, the heavy population or the grinding poverty. All the stuff she can't stand are what I go to India for. Maybe as a form of penance. Sure there are cool, quiet areas to go in India, but I prefer the BIG cities in the north. The spiritualism there seems crushed under the weight of the hoardes of people and the frenetic activity: debilitatingly chaotic and confusing, mostly centered on materialism. A real overload to one's senses, kinda takes you out of yourself having so much going on about you. Isn't losing oneself what religion or at least spirituality is about? to become one with the universe, especially a universe that is dense, impersonal and alien? The realization of one's insignificance is an intense, existential experience that one practically bows down to.

Amen
#3 May 12th, 2007, 04:55
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#3
Nothing too deep about why I travel anywhere - I generally try to go to destinations where my money will go further than in Europe, and I really enjoy places where you can find ways of life, ceremonies, etc., that have changed little in centuries. That's about it - it beats working!
#4 May 12th, 2007, 05:41
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#4
For everything but spirtuality and the obligatory murdering of mosquitoes. Higgling in the bazaars is a major attraction ..... seeking out the ultimate cup of kawa chai and of course inhaling the rare combination of naga champa and diesel exhaust on any given street corner.
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#5 May 12th, 2007, 06:02
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#5
Well, I guess I fit the cliche - I'm going to India in July for 9 months with the intention of deepening my spiritual practise. I DO have a plan though, which tentatively includes several 4 week yoga intensives, a month of seva service, maybe a couple short duration ashram stays and if I can build up the courage.....a 10 day Vipassana course. (A bit over ambitious, I realize!) I'd also like to spend some time in Auroville, learning a bit about Sri Aurobindo's spiritual philosophy, and in the process, pick up a thing or two about sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. This will most likely be supplemented by some time wwoofing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), and doing some light volunteer work in Ladakh. I guess I can say that I'm traveling to India with a purpose But to balance it all out, I'd like to spend some time just hopping around in the mountains, meeting other travelers, and just trying to take things as they come.

Chances are, this is all going to change! I'm sure India requires a bit of flexibility.

-Dave
Last edited by davidp80; May 12th, 2007 at 07:16..
#6 May 12th, 2007, 11:12
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#6
Quote:
I am looking for people's stories, opinions, stances,
But that's what this whole site is about! You'll find the stories of many of the 10,000 once and present members of IndiMike here!

Have to admit that, the longer I stay here (and that's most of the past two years) the more I wonder why people come here for spirituality! This country is as mad and crazy and unspiritual as any other (seems to me). Just its a slightly different flavour of madness --- and tends to get religious labels stuck on it.
#7 May 12th, 2007, 11:24
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#7
Frankly, I've never understood this spirituality and India thing.. there are enough charlatans in India as anywhere else selling this (Rasam for the soul, anybody? ).

Often sounds like the Chuang Tzu fable about the man and his shadow.

To me, spirituality, and the answers, if any, are within.

Religion requires geography. Spirituality does not.

My two bits, with the statutory disclaimer, Do not try this at home
#8 May 12th, 2007, 11:48
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#8
Was in benares some days, and was wondering after seeing the filth at ghats .. is this the place where people seek peace an sprituality? stayed there for some time.. had boat ride through all the ghats and slowly after while whole lots thoughts started comming to my mind may be seeing Manikarnika ghat, Naga sadhus.. lots of devotees.. There is something in this place.. May be it would need one more longer duration trip to understand this place and think beyond the filth around..
#9 May 12th, 2007, 18:33
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#9

Thoughts for a day....

I went to Andaman Nicobar islands with my 02 frdns in Nov 06. The first evening there we went for the Sound & light show at the Cellular jail. After the show I was deep in discussion with my friends as to what our freedom fighters went through so that we the new generation of INDIA could live freely in this democratic country. Suddenly from no where a guy approached me (we later found out that he was a local guide) and said ' come tomorrow morning and meet me..i'l show u something u havent read about in any history book'. I was taken aback but still went the next day with my frnds. he took us around the jail (we spent almost 04 hrs there) & the gallery, told us all about the prisoners, the torture they faced and in the end asked me ..what are u doing for your country? are you not just blaming the corrupt politicians (I was talking to my frnds about our NETAs).. I was dumbfounded...

that evening we all three were very quiet and kept thinking what do we want from our lives, we have good jobs, money, family, youth, health everything a normal person would want to be happy...yet why are we running...what is it we want..what is it that we are doing for our society, out nation....and hey thts what I feel is spiritualism... that day made me a better person I feel coz now i try not to be materialistic...to do something for people around me (who are not related to me by blood neither are my frnds) but who I feel bonded to by something unknown yet very much known...

hope i am making sense..pardon me if i dont
#10 May 22nd, 2007, 23:17
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#10
Hi Barkha, thanks for sharing your story
#11 May 23rd, 2007, 05:39
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#11
What's interesting is the OP must be so fascinated by her senior thesis, she never returned after May 7th.
#12 May 23rd, 2007, 07:11
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#12
On sprituality.

I realize religion and spritualism are differentm but growing up in places like Rishikesh and in a relatively religious household, I determined that atheism is the course for me. And, the abundance of religion and divergence between talk and action just made it too clear to me at the age of sixteen. I continue to believe that two of the most destructive forces across human history are religion and nationalism. I guess that was enlightenment for me.

There is a lot that is right in most religions, but people often focus on the wrong stuff. Despite my anti-religious bent, I am heavily influenced by sayings of sufi poets like Kabir and still recall some of the panch tantra tales as formative. So, I suppose at core - I am influenced by it. But I am also as negatively influenced and disillusioned by the modern day practice.

Not sure if this helps your thesis or if this was the kind of input you were looking for, but I hope you look deeper at the essence and not the form.
#13 May 26th, 2007, 07:35
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#13
hey everyone!
thanks for your input! it has been very helpful and i have been checking in frequently!!! a week to go- hitting 6-70 pages..
any last quotes/stories/thoughts/experiences/ideas on this topic are totally welcome.. and if i use your story then i will message you if you want a draft
thanks!!
-laura
#14 May 26th, 2007, 09:49
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  • shashank.aggarwal is offline
#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_mahajan View Post Frankly, I've never understood this spirituality and India thing.. there are enough charlatans in India as anywhere else selling this (Rasam for the soul, anybody? ).

Often sounds like the Chuang Tzu fable about the man and his shadow.

To me, spirituality, and the answers, if any, are within.

Religion requires geography. Spirituality does not.

My two bits, with the statutory disclaimer, Do not try this at home
I agree with you captain...spirituality is something not bound by region, religion, caste or creed...

its something thats comes with inner satisfaction..and if you are satisfied with whatever you have and are able to leave a happy life..thats enlightment..
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#15 May 28th, 2007, 10:13
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkha View Post I went to Andaman Nicobar islands with my 02 frdns in Nov 06. The first evening there we went for the Sound & light show at the Cellular jail. After the show I was deep in discussion with my friends as to what our freedom fighters went through so that we the new generation of INDIA could live freely in this democratic country. Suddenly from no where a guy approached me (we later found out that he was a local guide) and said ' come tomorrow morning and meet me..i'l show u something u havent read about in any history book'. I was taken aback but still went the next day with my frnds. he took us around the jail (we spent almost 04 hrs there) & the gallery, told us all about the prisoners, the torture they faced and in the end asked me ..what are u doing for your country? are you not just blaming the corrupt politicians (I was talking to my frnds about our NETAs).. I was dumbfounded...

that evening we all three were very quiet and kept thinking what do we want from our lives, we have good jobs, money, family, youth, health everything a normal person would want to be happy...yet why are we running...what is it we want..what is it that we are doing for our society, out nation....and hey thts what I feel is spiritualism... that day made me a better person I feel coz now i try not to be materialistic...to do something for people around me (who are not related to me by blood neither are my frnds) but who I feel bonded to by something unknown yet very much known...

hope i am making sense..pardon me if i dont
Hi Barkha, we the youth of the country can do the wonders for the society we are part of, our great forefathers did a lot for us that is why we are able to survive today as an independent society and country. The best way to tribute our forefathers is to give away the society to the best of our capabilities so that we may add some smiling faces around us. In case you have any plans to materialize this dream, please get back.
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