Thursday, July 21, 2005

Travles and Home

Hari and I finished college in December of 2001. Having lived very frugally throughout college, we managed to have finished college without any debt and actually ahead. We both thought this is the time to travel. We had never left the United States except for a couple day trips to Canada. Once when we were 19 and in New York for Woodstock 99 and another time we crossed the border while attending our Aunt's wedding in Michigan. Until the travels of 2002 the biggest trip we had ever taken was our trip to New York.
In January 2002 Hari and I went to Mexico. We stayed there about a Month. We flew into D.F. (Mexico City) and we visited areas around there. We also went to Cuernavaca and nearby towns and then to Ciudad Oaxaca, Mazunte, San Cristobal, and Palenque. We got back to Española in February and took care of some business (taxes, applying to grad school, etc.) In March we left for Europe.
In Europe we landed in Amsterdam, then went through Belgium to France, then from France we went to Italy, from Italy to Greece, then back to Italy, then to Switzerland, then Germany, and then back to Amsterdam. We did this all in about a month. We were in a new country with a new language every few days. We had never done anything like this. I'm a bit of a country boy myself and Europe was a whole new experience.
These travels were pretty recent after September 11 2001, we wore our turbans every where we went and you can bet that in Europe we got harrassed. For the most part Europe lacks any kind of real diversity (like America) and there are so many people who are proud of their culture alone. In America, even the smallest town has people from Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. America may be dominantly European, but the diversity is expansive and present everywhere. In every country in Europe somebody shouted Taliban, or Bin Laden at Hari and I. In Mexico people did the same, but in Mexico people were doing it just for a laugh, and it didn't happen often. In America nobody has ever called me Bin Laden or Taliban.
Anyway, after we got back to Amsterdam Hari and I took our first trip to India. That trip was amazing. Imagine seeing pictures of the Hari Mandir Sahib since birth witnessing your sister go off and come home from school in India for 8 years, hearing about India your whole life from other Sikh children that went to school there and never seeing India. We arrived there in April and stayed 6 weeks into May. I'll never forget my first time at the Hari Mandir Sahib. It only rained once when we were in India, and it had just rained on our first day at the Hari Mandir Sahib, as a result the sky seemed clearer than it usually does and a rainbow was present for much of our visit. In India we went to Anandpur Sahib for Baisakhi, and we went to Goindwal for a weekend (to read japji on all 84 steps), other than that we stayed in Amritsar the whole time. It was incredible, no words can describe my experience there. I have been blessed so many times in my life. Even just to be alive seems like a miracle to me, and to have had the chance to go there was great.
Though I'm biased, very much so, I'll never be convinced that any place on Earth exists that is better than Española. For me the Hari Mandir Sahib is the only place that has more power than what I experience in Española. In Española, you cannot even step foot on the grounds of the Gurdwara without immediately feeling at peace. When you attend Gurdwara with the sangat, you cannot sit there without being uplifted. The fashion show, the gossip, and whatever else that goes on in many Gurdwaray cannot even disrupt the tranquility, the love, and the DEVOTION felt when in the sangat singing kirtan at the Gurdwara in Española.
Travelling is great, I really enjoy it, but I know where home is. I have everything here. We have an amazing Gurdwara, a sangat that cannot be found any where else, the most beautiful nature in the world (I love mountains, which we're surrounded by, and I love the high desert), and we have a commitment to the Guru and to the world to be here, standing as the Khalsa in the West and for all time.
WaheGuru Ji Ka Khalsa, WaheGuru Ji Ki Fateh!


xSHANTIx said...

SAT NAM! i just came on my pc after speaking to my mum about espanola and saw ur new blog..i have never been there but have been in love with the pictures on Gurmustuks looks such a spiritual place...i cannot begin to imagine the atmospehere where i live in scotland i dont feel safe at all to go for a simple walk or jog or even sit in the local park alone. Its seems that most of the people here are quite closed minded and if you dont drink and take drugs and mess around then ur simply not accepted..its really horrible it seems like the more u try to live a good life the more disrespect u get..i want to wear turban too i dread to think of the abuse id get...i really admire ur sangat in espy and i only hope by Gurus grace that someday i may be blessed with a visit(or even to live there ^_^)...ur blog is nice keep up the good work....time for rehras take care....your sister in Sikhi Carmen (shanti) Waheguru Ang Sang

Prabhu Singh said...

Thanks for your comments, I've also seen your weblog. Española is a wonderful place, though it is a lot like the rest of the world in that it has plenty of problems as well. The Sikh community is perfect and amazing, but the greater town has a lot of problems. The typical problems associated with poverty are present. There is a lot of drugs and crime. Mostly the crime is related to drugs. Until you know Española, it might not be safe either. You have to know the cultural sensitivies to know how not to get in trouble or how to get out of trouble.
I still love the local community, because they are the people I grew up with, but they are no where near to the lifestyle we live. I don't judge them and I appreciate where each person is at. I will be friendly with everybody, but generally I'm not that close to many non-Sikhs any more. This isn't because I'm exclusive or that we don't get along. It just doesn't make sense for somebody who doesn't do drugs, doesn't sleep around, and prefers to listen to religious music to hang around with those who do the opposite. To really practice the dharma, one of the best things is to surround yourself with good sangat.

xSHANTIx said...

thanks for the advice....i agree that u need to surround urself with a good sangat..ur lucky to have grown up within own family are great but dont share my thoughts on Sikhism :(