and a reflection on time spent in India
When coming to India a big goal of mine was to get back into reading, for me. This is something that I really struggle with back home. In a normal semester, reading for class is never-ending and whenever I finish a reading assignment there is always another and another and another. So reading novels and creative non-fiction is among one of the things that has been put on the backburner for the past couple of years. I purchased The Journey Home a couple months ago, knowing that this would be a very special and revealing novel about India.
The Journey Home is the first book in a sequel; the second being The Journey Within. The Journey Home is written by and about Rhadanath Swami’s spiritual journey from the United States to India. On little to no money, he backpacked through Europe, Turkey, the Middle-East, and finally into India and the Himalayas. He talks about his experiences and lessons he learned on the way. He meets many famous yogis and studies under a variety of different people. On his journey through India he meets the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, and very prominent swamis and mystics who founded different yoga or meditation institutions throughout India. To me the most impactful and humbling aspect is that he managed to get by traveling with almost zero possessions, let alone money. Not only could he get by, but he consistently expressed gratitude for everything going on, even in the most dismal of times.
This book has been a wonderful escape and helped me to continue to reflect on my own personal experiences throughout my first few weeks in this new country. It continues to remind me to be grateful for what I have and to remember that there are very sacred things and experiences in this region waiting to be uncovered. In the spirit of expressing gratitude, a few simple things that I have really appreciated during my stay so far: incredible food, the colorful flowers, and kind strangers.