Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Spiritual Camaraderie

While I was in Bangalore India I met one of the most selfless persons walking the earth. Sharath is young lawyer and family man and a devout Hindu. He stopped eating meat because of his convictions that all life is sacred and God is One. He reads from the Bhagavadgita and offers puja everyday. He speaks Truth and lives upright.

On the sixth day of our stay, Sharath drove Calum and I, along with his friend Sathiya and Uncle Prakesh to Mysore, the cultural and spiritual capital of southern India. During the one hour plus (a very big plus) trip the five of us talked about a little of everything, from the goldmine that is Indian real estate to American politics, all heavily seasoned with uncle Prakesh's blatantly off colored jokes about goats hearders, sex workers, and Panjabis.

I forget most of the jokes and I'm not extremely interested in Indian real estate, but what I won't forget is the camaraderie that developed between Sharath and I as we talked theologically about India's rich spiritual landscape. He told me of the
gods' outrageous misadventures with adultery, child delivery, and warfare, not to mention incest, elephant heads, and universal goof ups. I've never met a person who knew so much about Hinduism and could communicate that knowledge so well.

As we visited various Hindu temples, Sharath would use the carvings to reveal his faith to me. When we visited an exiled Tibetan community and toured their temple I was able to share my knowledge of Buddhism with Sharath in return. We became spiritual brothers, though I'm certain I learned more from him than he learned from me.

I left India wanting to be a better person, not because of some moral code or fear of damnation; no. I wanted to be a person and improve my spiritual health because of Sharath's selfless example, which in a land obsessed with monetary profit and technological progress, soothes like fresh coconut juice.

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