I traveled in India via Paris late 2004 and early 2005.
I was in Kerala at Amma's Ashram when the tsunami hit.
I wrote a blog for the entire 5 week trip and took 50 rolls of film. I posted a few of my favorite photos on flickr... ( yes, I do prefer a film camera... I guess I'm a purist in many disciplines!!!)
Anyway, I kept an online travel diary when I was there. Naturally, as you can imagine, it was life changing event.
I'll take two of the seminal pieces ( little poems and quotes from that experience: one that I posted on my website before the trip - a poem of Kabir
and the second, a little quote of Amma from a travel office wall. )
The first one is my favorite poem from the 12th century from a Kabir an Indian saint loved by Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists alike:
"ARE YOU LOOKING FOR ME?
I AM IN THE NEXT SEAT.
MY SHOULDER IS AGAINST YOURS.
YOU WILL NOT FIND ME IN STUPAS, NOT IN INDIAN SHRINE ROOMS, NOR IN SYNAGOGUES, NOR IN CATHEDRALS;
NOT IN MASSES, NOR KIRTANS, NOT IN LEGS WINDING AROUND YOUR OWN NECK,
NOR IN EATING NOTHING BUT VEGETABLES.
WHEN YOU REALLY LOOK FOR ME,
YOU WILL SEE ME
YOU WILL FIND ME IN THE TINIEST HOUSE OF TIME.
KABIR SAYS: STUDENT, TELL ME,
WHAT IS GOD?
HE IS THE BREATH INSIDE THE BREATH."
And the second quote is from the end of the trip. In Amma's ashram temple, there is a travel office in the second floor where they'll attend to all your travel needs... there was a quote in a little frame that was about relaxation.
I was in a delightfully relaxed mood one day in the ashram (I had spent the day with children in the relief camps. we mainly played and made paper airplanes while I also took pictures with them - what fun!!!)
Anyway, I looked on the wall while the Ashram volunteer was dealing with the indian version of th travel office for the airlines ( thank GOD that she was dealing with those people!)
Here's the quote:
"Children, learn to be relaxeed in all circumstances.
Whatever you do and wherever you are,
relax and you will see how powerful it is.
The art of relaxation brings out the power that exists within you;
through relaxation you can experience your infinite capacities.
It is the art of making your mind still , and focusing all your energy on the work you are doing, whatever it may be.
Thus you will be able to bring out all of your potential.
Once you learn this art, everything happens spontaneously and effortlessly."