India Spirit Of Change

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

“Our greatest ability as humans is not to change the world; but to change ourselves.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

In many places we visited on our Southern India tour, I noticed a deep reverence for the enduring legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. At the city of Madurai’s Gandhi Memorial Museum, I particularly observed how he successfully united the diverse masses of India’s people to non- violently resist British colonial rule in India. Ultimately his humble leadership ideals to promote universal non- violence and self-sufficiency of human action positively impacted India’s road to independence as a country. If our government agencies do not adequately deal with our current concerns about the Corona Virus, how might we similarly use Gandhi’s example as exemplified in the following video to foster togetherness to do it ourselves?

My India Spiritual Evolution

“The search for wisdom is a great challenge; to act on wisdom is an even greater challenge.” (Siddhaswarupananda)

Ruth and I have completed an arduous yet exhilarating tour of Kerala and Tamil Nadu regions in South India. During the 20+ hour flights home to Miami, I read an article stating that it’s best for tourists these days to travel conservatively. Following such reasoning, one should be wary of traveling to new places on their own and also limit their visits to well established tourist sites home and abroad. In this era of virus pandemics,religious extremism, and nationalistic fervor, such an argument to minimize travel risk today certainly seems very enticing.

Yet we have no regrets for following our free wandering instincts in South India. For by embracing those “off the “beaten track” moments of unfamiliar culture, food, and religion during the past sixteen days in this strangely sublime country, ten spiritual essentials described below seem clearer to me now.

1. Try meditation for myself not to please others.

2. Embrace the temporary moment of everything that surrounds me. For all must pass.

3.Displaying greater compassion for others will inspire me to find authentic spiritual moments.

4. I cannot seek spirituality. It will find me!

5. Spirituality cannot be bought or sold with my money or physical possessions.

6. Say it, sing it, dance it, or be silent with a spiritual idea. It’s all good.

7. An iPhone or WiFi connection can be a serious impediment to my sustained inner reflection.

8. Divide or unite. I must make that spiritual choice.

9. Be kind to animals to enhance my own soul.

10.Be creative in setting up my own spiritual shrine. I don’t always need a church, mosque, or temple to feed my inner soul.

I want to give special thanks to our Gate 1 tour guide Raj, who encouraged us to be free and daring on our 16 day, South India tour. I invite you to check into more blogging snippets of our South India adventure in the coming days.

How might the following photographs from our South India tour inspire you spiritually?

Breathing Soul Into My World

“Your soul is your ultimate guidance system. You can think of your soul as the compass, map, and destination all in one.” (Aletheia Luna)

As I glanced at the latest “Gate One Travel” brochure advertising a tour called “Spiritual Southern India”, it immediately seemed obvious that a second visit to India seemed very compelling. Understand that Ruth and I had enjoyed a fast paced tour of Northern India a few years ago. Yet we both felt a strong need to obtain a greater connection to this country’s spiritual aura that existed seemingly everywhere on this prior visit. Although we knew very little about the southern part of India, the prospect of booking a small group, “Gate One” Company tour at a reasonable price (including airfare) attracted our India revisit interest as well. With our established yoga practice in full gear now, how exciting it would be to also experience for ourselves, the soulfully uplifting practice of yogic maneuvers, South Indian style.

So what exactly have I been doing to prepare for the unknown travel challenges of South India? Given my love of reading, our latest vacation certainly provides me with an ideal opportunity for “brushing up on my India knowledge through a variety of reading materials. For research reference, I am thus consulting the “Lonely Planet” Guide of South India to obtain a strictly factual perspective of this region. For firsthand opinion observations from actual South India travelers, I have turned to Sheldon Smith’s “ A River Of Life: Travels Through Modern India”and Murzban F. Schroff’s “Breathless in Bombay.” Anticipating sporadic Internet availability for the bulk of our trip, I’ve also downloaded the offline version of Southern India’s maps/tourist information on my I phone travel apps “Triposo” and “” The following map might provide my readers with a suitable overview of the cities/towns in the South India region.

The matter of maintaining physical wellness in South India has also preoccupied my attention during the months preceding our upcoming trip. By “upping” my yin-yoga practice to 4-5 days per week , I now feel primed for a more energizing meditative revival there. Adding probiotics to my daily vitamin regimen in the past month for stomach precautions has in addition better prepared me for the spicy Indian cuisine that I will likely encounter. Carrying a load of energy bars as well will come in handy on those rare dining occasions of extreme food intolerance. Desiring to sample a pre-taste of Indian foods prior to our departure, I have also indulged on a few occasions at Indian lunch buffets nearest my South Florida home in the last few weeks. To avoid any exposure to the feared Corona Virus and other respiratory spread ailments, I’ve resolved to pack a face mask and carry an ample supply of hand sanitizers as well.

With our suitcases/knapsacks compactly packed, our tourist visas in order, and our ground transportation to/from the airport successfully arranged, we are now ready to embark on our sixteen day tour of South India. Along the way, we look forward to experiencing authentic cultural encounters and sacred Hindu ways at stunning historic temples. We also look forward to meditating in the spirit of global unity and soul- filled “Shiva” with a living Indian yogi as well. Furthermore, how exciting it might be to slow down our busy minds as we float along tranquil rivers/ lagoons by houseboat or hike in protected wildlife sanctuaries in search of rare birdlife/animal species. The remarkable life of Mahatma Gandhi should also come vividly alive for us as we search for deeper meanings in the prevailing “caste system” that pervades the everyday life of this region’s bustling cities. In spite of our challenging daytime schedule, at night, we might even find time to nourish ourselves in a soothing massage or a refreshing swim at our accommodating hotels as needed.

So perhaps I can whet your spiritual interest in our latest adventure. What “inner” thoughts do you thus feel from each of the twelve photographs below taken during our previous tour of India in the spring of 2017? Namaste.

Additional References: – “ Thirty Reasons To Love Indian Travel

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