What Others Are Reading

Oct 22, 2010

My Conversation With Mr.Daniel...

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama,for those who do not know yet, is the head of state and a spiritual Buddhist leader of Tibet.But what attracts me more towards him is his message of peace.He is an advent activist of human rights,the environment and universal brotherhood.His work has not only won him 84 awards and countless appreciation but also the Nobel prize in the year 1989.His never ending fight for the protection of Human rights won my respect, love and support for him.And I was instilled with the dream to meet His Holiness and work with him someday!
The Bylakuppe sera temple campus
    As if to answer my prayers the Dalai Lama scheduled his visit to Bylakuppe(a tibetan refugee camp near Mysore my home town).I took no time to plan my visit to Bylakuppe in hopes of at least catching a glimpse of him if not meeting him personally(which is totally out of question for a common-man like myself!).After finally convincing my over-protective mom that going without her with only a friend of mine is very much safe for a teenage girl,I set out on my quest for enlightenment from His Holiness.
    For a person who is of the habit of waking up as late as possible in the morning, waking up at 4 a.m in order to reach our destination was hard!Finally managing to wake up and getting ready,my friend and I,after waiting for half an hour at the bus stop,saw a typical government bus coming towards us.We thought that enquiring the bus conductor only about the destination would be enough,which we did and "bylakuppe" came the answer.With a sense of satisfaction we boarded our bus but to our dismay the bus was jam-packed!We had to journey standing up in a bus at 6 in the morning for almost half the journey with empty stomachs.In spite of all this I still got down at Bylakuppe with a smile because I knew I would be meeting with the Dalai Lama very soon.
    After searching around the 3,000 acres camp we finally found the monastery where the Dalai Lama was making his public speech.When I reached there I was utterly disappointed.The monastery had reached its maximum seating capacity and hence I had to stand out, from where the dalai lama looked as small as an ant!And to add to my disappointment His Holiness was speaking in complete Tibetan, whose head or tail I can not make out!After a few minutes standing out in the scorching sun and listening to a speech we could barely understand, I and my friend decided to leave from that place and go around to the monasteries.
Inside the beautiful sera temples holding the 80 feet statues
    No matter how sad, angry, irritated and in this case disappointed I am, when I enter a Buddhist monastery(called gumpa) I forget everything and experience true serenity.During my attempt to attain inner peace I noticed an interesting looking foreigner seated on the mats with folded legs and eyes closed and a peaceful look on his face.After a second's glance I looked away and went about my spiritual business.
    After staying inside the silent environment amongst the 80 feet golden Buddha statues to my heart's content, I stepped out only to find that foreigner outside with a few students with him.A kind smile and a small gesture ended up in a conversation with him.I, a teenager from India and Mr.Daniel(the name of the foreigner), a veteran drummer from Switzerland had quiet a lot in common than one could imagine.
Inside another temple in sera, bylakyppe
    We spoke about spirituality, French, switzerland, travel and what not!But what I take away the most from my conversation with Mr.Daniel is our discussion about human rights in India.It started off when we were talking about the prevailing attitude of Indians towards the Indian constitution.A highly impressed Mr.Daniel spoke of how beautifully thought and planned the constitution was but how Indians failed to realise its value.To this I illustrated how my "Constitution of India" teacher herself didn't respect our national anthem in my college.While I was expecting my fellow companion would nod in agreement and perhaps appreciate my patriotism, I was taken aback by his discord with my love for the national anthem.
    He went on to say how the national anthem was trivial as compared to the magnitude of human rights violation occurring in the country.Female foeticide, human trafficking and unlawful detention are only a tip of the huge iceberg he explained.I was pleasantly surprised by his argument, a side that I always knew but had never thought of.He spoke about these issues as if it were his own country,it was then that I realised humanity knows no bounds!
    With over 100 crore population and the World Health Organization coming out with facts such as  900,000 Indians dying each year from drinking contaminated water and breathing in polluted air,presence of only about 60 physicians per 100,000 people in India, it is of urgent importance that Indians start becoming sensitive towards human rights issues.Speaking with Mr.Daniel my mind was awoken to these issues.
    I do not remember for exactly how long we spoke to each other, maybe an hour or so, but I must say the amount of knowledge I gained from him in this time span was way greater than my "constitution of india" classes at college.It was not just knowledge but it was an enlightenment in a way that I attained.That evening I returned home with a smile on my face, as I knew even though I missed out on the Dalai lama's speech that I had waited so long for, my trip had proven to be worth all the pain I had been through to reach 'bylakuppe'.