Into the Night

Photo by johnpaulsimpson on Foter.com

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They left into the night, like thieves, far from the crowd and the taxis. The old Delhi airport was still human-sized for them to be able to get away from it so easily. Peter had no idea what was going on. Where was he going, riding on the determined, almost fiery steps of his two guides? What madness had he gotten himself into?

The little group stopped in front of a garage door. By accepting the hotel proposal from his flatterer, Peter had set in motion a chain of events of which he was not yet aware. Barely off the plane for his first trip to India, he chided himself for being so malleable, for not being more resistant. But the abandonment to which he had now succumbed had the full-bodied taste of the tropical Indian night that enveloped him. A shiver of excitement appeared and mingled with his general apprehension. He became more attentive to the scene unfolding before his eyes.

[…]

A very short story that narrates Peter’s entry to sacred India… (READ MORE…)

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A Furnace of Love

‘Sunset over a forest lake’ – Peder Mønsted, 1895 – Wikimedia

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Birgitta was sitting by the window, considering once again the recent chain of events that led to her present day situation. Twenty years ago, she came on this small Danish island for the first time, to never leave again. Lolland! What a beautifully telling name! She loved the place immediately. It is called by some the ‘pancake island’, for it is the flattest place here in the kingdom of Denmark. Its highest point: twenty five meters! But the skies were tall and wide with majestic clouds and the land imbued with a quiet remoteness that she loved on first sight. She had often smiled and still smiles on at the incongruous nature of her new home. For she was born in the heart of the French Alps, the daughter of a mountainous landscape where peaks are soaring high above deep valleys. 

Birgitta was a Catholic nun here, in a small monastery on the outskirts of the charming town of Maribo. Her actual name was Brigitte, but the sisters around her had quickly, and laughingly at first, re-baptised her Birgitta, which was the name of the fourteenth century Swedish saint and founder of their religious Order. She liked her new name for its Nordic and melodic quality. She had fit well here, in this quiet building amongst the trees, close to a little lake that she could see from her bedroom window. She came from a very religious family, and had always felt an attraction for all things spiritual. The trigger to espouse a religious life came rather abruptly, after her first dashed expectations in life. So she embarked on the preparatory journey, a few years of education in France and trips to the mother house in Rome.

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A short story that narrates Birgitta’s journey of love… (READ MORE…)

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The Departure

It’s that dream that we carry with us
that something wonderful will happen,
that it has to happen,
that time will open,
that the heart will open,
that doors will open,
that the mountains will open,
that wells will leap up,
that the dream will open,
that one morning we’ll slip in
to a harbor that we’ve never known
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~ Olav Hauge (translated by Robert Bly)

 

His two bags were lying at his feet in the bedroom, wonderfully clean, square, tied up. Slowly, he had dressed with the clothes he had carefully chosen for the trip, had slipped his black leather belt on, in which slept a few bundles of neat traveler’s cheques, had put on his brand new, too new sneakers. Already, he imagined them, old and wrinkled, worn out, tanned, alive with six months of wandering in the land of gods and poverty. He was afraid of this journey, afraid of having to face, one by one, patiently, the thousand problems, the thousand worries, but also the joys, the discoveries, the surprises that would inevitably mark his path. He had prepared as thoroughly as his character allowed him and, at the time of departure, he looked like a bourgeois and shy little son who was about to fight the battle of his life. Nothing will ever be the same now, the die was cast, he would tread the foothills of the Himalayas, the Ganges plain, the Rajasthan desert, he would get drunk on wondrous visions, he would taste the smell of spices, he would marvel at beautiful faces. …

Continue reading about Pierre’s departure to India (READ MORE…)

 

The Meeting

I come as an orphan to you, moist with love.
I come without refuge to you, giver of sacred rest.
I come a fallen man to you, uplifter of all.
I come undone by disease to you, the perfect physician.
I come, my heart dry with thirst, to you, ocean of sweet wine.
Do with me whatever you will
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~ Jagannātha (Ganga Lahari)

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FDB86CAA-FA77-4C31-8866-289AB1AC3D00enares – a strange and beautiful city, the most religious city of all, so entrancing, so mysterious. Pierre had often heard of this town, and now he was already treading its soil. Many people had advised him that it’s not a place to linger in. “You will be assailed by the rickshaws, the hoteliers, the merchants…”, said the tourist guides. So he was on his guard that morning, on leaving the station, and was preparing to fight hard with the hawkers and profiteers of all kinds. It was six o’clock in the morning and a beautiful day beckoned.

His anxiety was soon dispelled. Everything seemed strangely calm and serene. There wasn’t here this traditional turmoil of Indian cities, nor the famous dust that envelops every city with a gray and dirty halo. An incredible clarity illumined the landscape. Oh! Of course! One had to endure, as everywhere else in this country, the innumerable calls of the rickshaw drivers, or the greedy shopkeepers. Gazes were as intense as everywhere else in India, students as curious, children as mischievous, cows as nonchalant, dogs wandering everywhere. Everything was so marvelously the same as the rest of India, and yet Benares was not a place like any other.

A short story, that tells of an unexpected meeting (READ MORE…)

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The Truth Seeker

9DF6C27B-1BF6-4BED-949F-40F4B6360333long time ago, in India, lived a man named Admita. All his life had been spent in a harsh and hostile desert, surrounded by sand and dry, swirling winds. He led a life of wandering without help or hope on this desolate land. He had well heard of stories that described places of lush greenery and great beauty, where valleys, forests, meadows, rushing streams and great rivers were home for countless animals, where mountains stood above deep blue seas, where the sun was warm and friendly and the air ever filled with a cool and gentle breeze. He did not believe that such places really existed, but in front of so much loneliness, sorrow, and adversity, he could not help thinking about it and hoping to discover this wonderful land.

One day, one hot, scorching, blazing day, when winds were competing to torment the atmosphere, he thought that truly his last hour had come, for there was no hope of ending the killer storm. Suddenly, in the midst of swirling sand grains, he realised that he was standing right on the edge of a vast, profound precipice. He saw that there was a green carpet on the floor down below; he sniffed the air that was sweet and he could hear thousands of sounds, whispers, and cries of great beauty. “Surely,” he thought, “it must be that marvelous land that the stories mention.”

A short fairy story, a spiritual parable (READ MORE…)