To Viskrit by Rickshaw

I took a rickshaw up to the Viskrit Temple, entered into the compound and dipped my toes into the boiling baths where young Hindus swim easily. I went to the Temple of Ram, a major figure in Indian history and the Hindu religion, and stood silently for some time trying to understand this strange religion. These tiny temples where people kneel before Gods and angels, deities that seem so remote to me, and a religion which is so alien to me thanks in part to its polytheistic nature.

In the morning we visited the Temple to the local God of the surrounding Himalayan Valleys, Hadimba. We stood in a long queue, ducking below the heavily carved lintel and looked upon the gifts of money offered by pilgrims who probably had very little themselves. And they offered this up to this tiny God of theirs, tiny in so large a building. When it came to our turn we received the red dot of the pilgrim on our foreheads.

Afterwards as I stood before the Temple of Ram and myself knelt, I began to understand the pilgrim’s devotion and material offerings.

A passage from Siddhartha struck me later that day. One can spend so much time seeking that one does not see the things around oneself. I took a walk around the village. As I walked it felt as though I was always seeking but was engulfed by the ugly jumble of modern cheap concrete hotels, by the Western hippies, seemingly so out of place, by the dust and by the excitement on the road. I was so busy seeking that I could not see the beauty of God.