I have been yearning to experience a silent retreat. Not a structured one but a personal one. Being somewhat of a recluse, I just cannot see myself in a structured environment. It goes against my very core.
However, it has been challenging to convince the family that I need to go into silence. “You are already so quiet,” they would say, and I have been bowing to their wishes for the past fifteen years or so.
But this summer, the urge to go into silence was so strong that I found a place, registered and then told the family. I was pleasantly surprised to hear them say, “You need it. Go and enjoy your silence.”
So, off I went.
A scenic drive took me through rolling hills and quaint towns to Wisdom House, Litchfield, Connecticut. My home for the next three days.
My sister asked, “What are you seeking?”
“Nothing,” I replied.
“Have you chalked out your days? What is going to be your routine? The mind wanders easily.”
“Nope. No routine. It will be what it will be,” I replied.
My husband said, “Make sure you check your messages every three hours or so.”
“The telephone is going into silence as well,” I replied.
“You are far too addicted. You won’t be able to resist checking your messages.”
“It will be what it will be,” I replied.
I packed two books and a legal pad to take with me.
There was no desire to write, only a desire to be.
However, within the first hour of being there, I was compelled to write.
“It is the Hand of Nature.
Where is your trust?
The parched land;
will bloom again.
Await the Rain.”
The answer that I did not know I was seeking was staring before me.
I knew I was going to be okay.
The next three days, I walked and read,
and walked some more and read some more.
It was lovely, just lovely.
When my tresses were jet black and when my gait was swaying recklessly, I had asked myself, “What is this world all about? Where am I going? What is the purpose of my life?” For, life, as I knew it at that time made no sense. There was nothing convincing me that I needed to live it.
I now see these questions as manifestations of a quest, a yearning that arises from deep within – from a being that looked at the emptiness of her world.
I am no longer empty. Life is joy. Life is abundance. Life is a gift. Life is life. And I am grateful to experience all its ebbs and flows.
I penned a few…
“When you realize your own divinity even for a moment, you will learn that your body contains all the principles that constitute the universe in a condensed form. You will also experience yourself as the origin and center of everything that has been created. “The drop is in the Ocean; the Ocean is in the drop.” Realize the Ocean in the drop.”
“Consciousness is all-pervading; pervading equally in all directions. Each place is the center of everything. All places are sacred. Everything is in its place. Nothing is not of order. When the Light radiates within, know that you are within the Home-Heart. Everything is within. Look within. Search not elsewhere.”
“When you are new to a forest, the terrain can be confusing, especially when there is no landmark to help you determine which of the many paths you need to take to reach your destination.
However, for someone who lives in the forest, every tree is a marker, every rock carries its own message.
Have you ever placed your hand on a rock and heard its message?”
“Become absorbed with the landscape within. The ambiguous becomes clear.”
“Purity and impurity; moral or otherwise are perceptions of individuals. Conscious beings experience oneness with all they perceive. Conscious beings sway to a unique tune. So, sway!”
“Sabad (Infinite-Wisdom) is not meant to be understood easily. Sabad is meant to stop the mind, inspire contemplation, and transform. Struggle not.”
“Learn to accept everything – the low and the high experiences. When you begin to see that everything is for your own growth and for you to experience the vastness, then you won’t feel the tightness. Let go!”
“As long as you are obligated, you cannot know the Truth. You cannot experience joy, nor can you manifest your own divinity. You need to rise. You need to be free to fly and enter the many glorious realms.”
“The cave of the heart is your innermost sanctum. It is a place where you need to go to experience your innermost self. Go within.”
The retreat ended.
The drive back was serene.
My silence continued for another twelve hours and so did my telephone.
It was uplifting to realize that I experienced no anguish, nor did I feel that I was missing anything from being “disconnected.” The telephone was by my side the entire time and there was not even an inkling to switch it on. What a gift; to experience this freedom! While I am grateful for the connections that the telephone brings, I know that I am not a slave to it.
“Mother, will you go for another personal silent retreat?”
I walked with my Heart.
I read with my Heart.
I was with my Heart.
Who could ask for anything more?”
Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839 left a big void in the rule of the Sikh kingdom, which led to the annexation of Panjab by the British. His throne was inherited by multiple claimant heirs, none of whom could survive the intrigues and the schemings of the succession war in the royal court. Maharani Jind Kaur’s story is the narrative of a brave woman, who through all the trials and tribulations of the succession war, with all her faults, proved her mettle as a regent to the young Maharaja Duleep Singh, while also maneuvering through the diplomatic chicaneries of the British to the extent that even the British were wary of her.
Sexuality is a confusing and often avoided topic. It is generally relegated to being a "private" matter, and therefore not openly discussed or engaged with, even within close circles and small communities. Due to the taboo of discussing sexuality, many people struggle individually, often turning to religion for guidance or, more concretely, moral pronouncements.