Imagining India: the ultimate spiritual pilgrimage

Most people I know who have been to India have done it to search for some kind of spiritual enlightenment. People may search for holidays to Goa, because it’s one of the most popular destinations, or choose to visit the Taj Mahal and Delhi.

Tour operators often offer yoga and meditation tours of India. Some people return with a fascination for Indian

My friend Kiki, living the dream at Taj Mahal

music and culture, and others come back transformed by the humbling experience of being in the presence of sheer poverty.

I only know India through the Indian people who worked on cruise ships, for example, scrubbing my toilet, as if the caste system was back in place; the people who cleaned toilets for my cruise ship company were mostly from India. I remember their dancing on Indian day, their friendliness and the harsh lives they lead, spending 9 months away from their spouses and children.

Another thing that comes to my mind when I think of India and the spiritual aspects of its culture is the falling out between the Beatles and the guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogui, whom they later identified as a sort of “false prophet.”

There is no denying that Indian spirituality can be good business, all over the world, but this shouldn’t overshadow the fact that here is a country with fabulous music, delicious food, breathtaking sights and monuments and fascinating people.

There is much more to discover in India than merely Bollywood, cheap labor and software development. There is beauty, tradition, history, contradiction, and, of course, spiritual enlightenment.


I’d seen them
in the galleys
under the dust
and bleach

cleaners, servants
lesser men
who made my bed
and made me feel ashamed

I saw them dance
on INDIAN night
after a fourteen hour day
under the rugs

I saw them frown and sweat
on elevators
and fear me
because I had more stripes
upon my vest

And just today
a picture
an Indian honeymoon

I recognized the faces
but they´d no uniforms

Princes, Kings
and colourful
jewels, women
the happiness
of being yourself

Kings they had been

KINGS with their turbans
their tunics, silk and threads of gold

with the same faces
of the galley boys
and their dead souls

I never thought
those small dark men
who learnt Yes sir, before they learnt their name
and scrub and dust
and dance like girls
on Indian day

Could have been KINGS
one day in INDIA
not long ago

And of me too,
a Wanderer
I thought perhaps
I´m nothing now
in Spain
or in America

and once perchance
I´ve been
a King
in Uruguay

and I forgot

the regal music
the regal dance
my soul
the thing I am

Related Posts with Thumbnails

One comment on “Imagining India: the ultimate spiritual pilgrimage

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge