On Tuesday last week I arrived back home to Sydney, Australia for a 1 month long visit to attend my brother’s wedding and for a general family reunion. I am very happy to be back enjoying the early Summer in Sydney after missing it for 7 years! Today, Sunday, I went with my Mum to the local Organic Farmers Market right near where we live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It was great to see the thousands of people flocking for the fresh food picked ripe for our enjoyment and nourishment.
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As the sign says this market is open every Sunday morning ’til they sellout by around 2pm. It has been going ever since I can remember and was a nice novelty for me to return to after a long fast.
I came across some veggies that I’d never heard of such as broccolini. It’s obviously related to broccoli but with smaller florets and longer stalks.
I was looking at these 2012 Australian calendars for gifts and for my room back in the US when this man came over and told me he was the photographer! So I asked if I could take a pic of him for my blog.
Tropical plants were available including orchids and frangipani’s (plumera) – my favourite.
More photos from Sydney to come shortly.
On Friday September 30th, I woke at 3:30am to get ready to drive to the airport with two friends Narayana and Joey. We decided to go to New York City for 6 days largely because I’d never been there and also because I had some frequent flyer miles to burn. Plus we have a good friend, Austin, who has a nice apartment we could crash in. There were no issues with the flight and I was surprised how short the journey was, only 1 hour and 40 minutes from Chicago. By the time we arrived at the West Village apartment it was definitely past lunch time so we called a friend Trevor and found a fantastic little Thai restaurant with exquisite food for $8.
Soon after the meal Joey went with Trevor to stay with him at his place in Brooklyn while Narayana and I spent the night in Manhattan. The next morning we caught a bus which was hours late to Connecticut to visit Austin and his family at their home. It was very pleasant to be amongst the amazingly fluoro green forests.
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That night we caught a bus back to New York City. The following day we met up with Trevor, Joe, Joey, Supriya, and Jeremy. Monday night (what you see in this pic) we went to Chinatown for some real authentic Chinese food.
The food was fantastic once again. That was really one of the highlights of New York City – the FOOD! We used the website Yelp to help us find restaurants that were affordable with good reviews and I can honestly say every meal was absolutely delicious.
We caught endless trains to get around Manhattan. I concluded they are like teleportation devices because you simply walk down some stairs and a few minutes later when you walk back up the stairs your in a different country or at least a completely different neighborhood with a distinctly different feeling.
We finished the night at Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker St that had the best cupcakes I had ever had. Austin got a free one because he stuck his hand out first… 🙂
On the Tuesday we had a touristy day where we had to check out Times Square.
Almost at the main strip of Times Square – it kind of reminded me of the street scenes of the movie Blade Runner.
A stretch limo pulls through the intersection probably transporting a celebrity. Which reminds me, I passed the pop star, Pink, in the West Village near Austin’s apartment on Monday. There were like 9 paparazzi shooting away like there was no tomorrow. And actually that was something I noticed in New York City – there are an unusually high proportion of extremely beautiful people there. I don’t know why but maybe because they are trying to make it big and New York is certainly is the place for that. Any thoughts?
More outrageously large flashing billboards. On these streets there were lots of dudes outside stores and clubs hustling to get us to go to some comedy show or something. We just kept walking and then their standard line was “where are you from?”. Jeremy said “have you heard of Russia?” while we kept walking. The guy then said, “is that where you’re from?” We didn’t answer and kept walking and then he said, “I’ll meet you on Jersey shore.” Quite funny.
Just north of Times Square is Central Park which is literally breath of fresh air and a God send that they’ve at least kept some nature.
As soon as I saw this hotel I thought of Home Alone 2 where he stays at this Hotel Plaza and racks up a huge bill on his dad’s credit card. It also made me think of the homeless lady who saved him from the bad guys. Quite a beautiful scene.
Our next destination on this day was the David Lynch Foundation New York City Headquarters. The elevator surprised me when I noticed there was no 13th floor! Crazy. I hate to break it to them but the 14th floor is actually the 13th floor. I found out that practically all buildings in the city are like this.
We came in when they were in the middle of conference calls. Here is Heather Hartnett, Supriya Vidic and Austin Ayer. Austin and Heather work for the foundation and Supriya is interning there.
The destination this time was ITALY or “little Italy“. We wanted to sample some authentic Italian food and had some sublime fresh homemade pasta – bellissimo!
We went to the fashion district SoHo and stopped by the newish brand UniQlo. I was impressed by the quality and the prices.
I bought an ultra light down jacket for $79. It only weighs 7 ounces or 200 grams and is super warm. Plus it folds into a little pouch that you can fit in your pocket! Score.
I was perplexed to see this Chinese man carrying two huge trash bags in the Asian style. Quite a sight and symbolic of the diversity of culture in the city. Did you know there are as many as 800 languages spoken in New York City?!
It turned out that Gene Hackman had nothing to do with the show but that was a way to get us to come. Joe, Joey and Narayana were called on the stage to impersonate lines from different movies. They each got a crappy gift. It was an okay show with some really hilarious acts but mostly it was mediocre.
Last but not least, we had a great a time and started wearing fancy clothes and didn’t want to leave. If you haven’t been to New York City I highly recommend it. It seems like this city is really a world city with so much influence on fashion, media, finance and education etc it can be totally mind boggling and addictive. I will go back there for sure.
I welcome your comments.
Recently I came across this new website called Visual.ly that helps you create visualizations and infographics from raw data. Their “labs” for making the graphics are “coming soon” but they already have this awesome Twitter application that visualizes your Twitter profile. It pulled data from my @AsherFergusson account and then created this rather accurate infographic about me and my miniscule Twitter usage!
It also has a fun way to compare yourself to another Twitter user so I compared myself to my friend @EricCarterNow. HILARIOUS!
You can try it for yourself here – “Discover Your Twitter Character on Visual.ly“
Whenever I have had some time over the past few months I have been taking some fun self portraits in the evening around twilight. I have always had a fascination with time lapse photography and have been doing it on and off since I was 14. I love how in a single frame you can capture multiple moments in time and how it creates something more than the sum of the parts. All photos below were taken with a Pentax DSLR on the “bulb” setting with the shutter opened for about 2 to 5 minutes and the light used was an LED bike headlight. I did not do any editing with Photoshop – these are taken straight from the camera’s SD card… Click the images to enlarge.
^This one was taken a few days ago with B street behind me. Notice how I’m not wearing warm clothes anymore – finally it’s Summer! There are more interesting colors from the flowers and fireflies etc. It was quite lucky how the car headlights behind me went almost exactly through the center of the image…
Hope you enjoyed!
On an afternoon in August 2004, I boarded a jumbo jet in Sydney, Australia bound for the United States. After a long and arduous 30 hour journey, I arrived in Maharishi Vedic City – a few miles to the north-west of Fairfield, home to Maharishi University of Management (MUM).
I enjoyed a delicious dinner at the friends house that I was staying and was in bed by about 9pm. I awoke the next morning at 7am feeling great and as if I had always lived in this strange new land. The thing that I found remarkable was that I proceeded to not have any form of jet lag despite my extended journey.
The only explanation I could give for this phenomenon was that my friends’ house was built according to the principles of Maharishi Vastu Architecture. This style of architecture follows the guidelines as prescribed in the ancient Vedic texts of India and revived by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The most salient aspects include orientation or direction of the building, proportion, placement of rooms and sustainably built using local and natural materials.
Click on the images to enlarge.
Since my initial taste of living in Maharishi Vastu Architecture I have traveled all over the world and tasted some of the finest Vastu houses and buildings around.
^ In 2005 I was lucky to move into a brand new residence hall building on the MUM campus just outside the large meditation hall (dome.)
My experience of Maharishi Vastu Architecture is more or less the same regardless of the location in the world. I am always struck by the deafening Silence that pervade the walls of these buildings. I generally sleep extremely well, like a baby, and always feel expansion of the heart and mind while occupying a Vastu building.
In 2006 I had the opportunity to visit Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in Vlodrop, The Netherlands for about 2 months. This place is the international headquarters of the Transcendental Meditation movement run by Maharishi himself. Then in 2008 after graduating from MUM I moved to MERU to be the assistant to Dr. Harris Kaplan and Dr. Bevan Morris (President of MUM). For the first time I experienced Maharishi’s Vastu house from the inside and was utterly impressed by the galactic Silence permeating the building. The other noticeable quality is bubbling bliss and simply a magical feeling regardless of the day or night.
^ Maharishi’s house, Vlodrop, The Netherlands
^ The local newspaper did a story on us at Vlodrop. In the background is Harris and Arlene Kaplan’s beautiful house.
In 2009 I traveled to India with Dr. Morris and experienced a wide array of Maharishi Vastu buildings in different parts of the sub-continent. We were first in Allahabad, then later moved to the Brahmasthan (central point) and then went North to Uttar Kashi in the Himalayas.
I had already been to the Brahmasthan in 2008 for a couple of months after Maharishi’s funeral cremation in Allahabad. It definitely has the strongest quality of dynamism (or sound) in the silence. In fact, one morning I was actually woken by the sound of Vedic chanting but then I realized it was the sound of silence!
^ Here is the main campus at the Brahmasthan. There are literally hundreds of buildings already built and under construction spread over three campuses.
During my travels throughout Northern India I went through many towns and noticed buildings that looked like they built according to the principles of Maharishi Vastu and then realized that it was another Maharishi Vidya Mandir School. There are over one hundred of these schools across India with more than one hundred thousand students!
^ Gajoli ashram, Uttar Kashi, Himalayas, India
^ Kunsi ashram, Uttar Kashi, Himalayas, India
^ View down to Uttar Kashi “Valley of the Saints” from the Kunsi ashram
After this India trip I returned to Holland and also made some visits to Fairfield, IA and India again. In India I had a very nice and long stay in Bhopal at a fantastic campus built according to the principles of Maharishi Vastu.
^ Here is one of the buildings at the Bhopal campus where I stayed for three months in ’09 – ’10.
Then just a few months ago I attended a conference in Rendlesham, 2 hours to the Northeast of London in England. I was thoroughly impressed by the countless Vastu homes that have been built in this Village.
After a long, all day drive from Holland, through Belgium, France on a ferry and up to Rendlesham I was welcomed to a nice couples home. Upon entering the house and after meditating I was completely refreshed from the tiring journey. The deep well of silence enclosed within the building as if nourished my soul.
The three day visit to Rendlesham made me think of all the dozens of Vastu buildings I have visited around the world and how they all have this divine quality of subtle light and positive energy. I am truly a believer of the value of Vastu architecture and have realized that if done right it will be the same regardless of the country it is built in. I believe that by building a Maharishi Vastu home you are creating a little oasis of coherence and peace in your life. Maharishi coined the tag line for Maharishi Vastu as “fortune creating” and I think this it is true on every level.
So I guess you’re wondering if I’m living in Vastu now?…
In fact, over the past 7 years since I left Australia I have lived in different Maharishi Vastu buildings for about 5.5 of those years. And if I have my way I will never have to spend another day in a building that isn’t following these simple yet deeply profound principles.
Now I have a big goal of creating a Vastu village in Queensland, Australia.
If you have any questions about my specific experiences at any of the photographed places above please feel free to leave it in the comments sections below.
Also for more information about this style of architecture then visit MaharishiVastu.org
Lastly, here is a video slideshow showing many of the Vastu homes in Maharishi Vedic City, USA.
Last year I went home to Australia and was lucky to be able to go down to Melbourne and visit my Grandparents on my Dad’s side of the family. They built their house during the 1950’s and it’s in a nice neighborhood near the beach in a town called Parkdale. I have stayed with them at different times over the past 25 years and not much has changed in their house during that time. One table near the entry has this incredible picture (below) of five of generations in one photo taken in Victoria, Australia in 1929. Although I had seen this photo many times, the significance of it finally struck me and has motivated me to share it with you.
The oldest lady in the front left of the picture, named Mrs. Reade is my Great, Great, Great, Great Grandmother and was aged around 90 at the time of this photograph. The next lady in the front right is Mrs. Baker and she is my Great, Great, Great Grandmother aged around 70 here. The lady in the back left is Mrs. Clara Maud Fisher and is my Great, Great Grandmother aged around 50. My Grandfather’s mother is in the back right and her name was Mrs. Gladys Fergusson and she was around 30 at this time. Lastly, the young boy in the front center of the picture is my Grandfather, Jack Fergusson. Jack (I call him Pop) is still alive today and recently turned 85.
In another place of my Grandparents house is this amazing picture of my Grandma and Pop’s wedding in 1950. I really find it fascinating to see my ancestors faces and to think that I am related to all of these people.
On the left are my Grandfather’s parents Jack and Gladys Fergusson. On the right are my Grandmother’s parents. And in the middle are my Grandparents, Jack and Joan Fergusson.
I got thinking about all these ancestors and I realized that the “5 generations in one photo” picture is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, Mrs. Reade is one of sixty four men and women who are the parents and grandparents of all generations between me and her! It is mind boggling to think that there were sixty four people just like her all living around the same time who are all related to me. Every generation that goes back, the number doubles. This means that if you go back only ten generations there will be 1024 ancestors responsible for you, one individual. Isn’t it INCREDIBLE!?
And here are my dear Grandparents today. It is always so nice to see them and to spend time chatting about life and adventures.
I hope you enjoyed these photos.
In December last year I ventured over to Europe for a meeting in Brussels and then soon after went to South India. I traveled with David Jung (my work colleague) to some very beautiful places in India during a 20 day period. After this little adventure we returned to Europe for some more meetings and business talks. We ended up changing our return ticket to Fairfield, Iowa three times and the trip turned into 10 weeks instead of 3.5 weeks.
Below is a photo blog of these winter adventures in South India, Belgium, Holland and England.
One of the first things to do once in India is to get RUPEES! I find that the best way is to either withdraw from an ATM or do an exchange with a forex company such as this one www.vkcforex.com. My other recommendation is to get a lot of 10 rupee notes because otherwise you’ll be dishing out 100 rupee notes which is more than $2 and this quickly adds up.
Here is a view of a typical Indian street with mainly motor bikes and auto rickshaws like the one I’m sitting in to take the picture. The streets are very noisy and usually quite polluted. So I normally use ear plugs and definitely cover my nose with cloth!
Another street view from a little local restaurant in Tirupati, South India.
This is the road up to Tirumala, the home of Venkateshwar or Balaji. The temple town of Tirumala is located on the top of beautiful hills surrounded by lush forest. It is one of the most well known temples in India with around 60,000 people a day visiting it! The other interesting fact is that approximately 100 million dollars per year is collected in Dakshina (donations).
The atmosphere on the top of the Tirumala hills is really quite amazing and very well kept. To give you an idea of the scope of this place there are about 12,000 employees for the temple grounds alone!
These foot prints are where Venkateshwar once stood. This spot had a great view of the temple in the distance to the East.
Here is the view of the main temple. In the center you can see the solid gold ornately decorating the roof of the temple. The darshan queues can also be seen in a circular shape surround the main temple grounds of Venkateshwar. Sometimes people wait for days to get a 10 second view of the deity. I was lucky to get 3 minutes viewing this time.
This is a closeup of the solid golden temple roof. It is rather impressive…
This the statue of Venkateshwar or Balaji who is an incarnation of Vishnu. Notice how the eyes are covered? It is said that if they didn’t put the covering the whole Earth would be scorched from intense darshan or light. The other cool thing about this temple is that any wish you have while standing in front of the statue will be granted. I made some very big wishes and they already started coming true.
We met a nice family with cute kids who showed as around the 7 hills of Tirumala. David is receiving a Tilak (or dot) on his forehead.
These hills are covered with large untouched jungles where saints have walked and meditated for millenia. The atmosphere up there was really special and much less polluted than down the hill at the bustling town of Tirupati.
I stumbled upon a great little outdoor shop with all kinds of different Indian art.
Our next destination was the small town near the Southern tip of India called Rameshwaram. This town is home to one of the 12 Jyotir Linga’s. It was the tail end of the monsoon so there was quite a lot of water everywhere. The food and accommodation was very basic here so we had to be very careful…
This temple was very powerful with the qualities of Shiva – silence, peace and bliss. There are 22 wells here that they dunk a bucket in and then poor it over your head. It was a very pleasant experience with each well having a different feeling or flavour.
The next day we took a four wheel drive out to Danushkodi which is the start of Ram’s bridge to Sri Lanka. I bathed in the confluence of two seas here and it was very nice.
In this NASA satellite image you can see the remnants of Ram’s bridge. It is believed that this bridge was built by Ram’s army around 1 million years ago in order to walk across to Sri Lanka to save Sita (Ram’s wife) from Ravana (a demon). It really was an amazing experience to visit this place and also to see the place where Maharishi first came to after his years of Silence in the Himalayas.
The temple grounds here were very beautiful. There was this great elephant at the entrance to the temple who was very good at posing for the camera! I find elephants to be really incredible animals. Some people have told me that an elephant never forgets anything and this was felt when I looked into it’s big, glossy eyes.
Here is another view of the amazingly ornate carvings on the temple pillars.
Most of our travels were done on buses. The gigantic bus stands all through India are very well organized and transport lakhs of people every day. You can literally just turn up here and find a bus that is going exactly where you want and the cost is unbelievable. For example a 7 hour journey on a luxury bus cost us $2.50.
On my birthday we arrived at the Southern tip of India, Kanyakumari. This place is home to a goddess and has a very special feeling. We were lucky to stay in a lodge just meters from the temple grounds.
The streets surrounding temples are always laden with souvenirs and handicrafts such as shell covered mirrors.
We drank coconut water everyday – it is sooo good and refreshing!
Ambitious salesmen tried to sell us plastic pearls for 200 rupees. He proved they were real by putting a flame on it. There are a lot scams like this throughout India which definitely keeps you on your toes :).
Thousands of pilgrims visit Kanyakumari everyday. It was very interesting to watch all the different types of people and to see the fantastic array of colours.
Just outside the Kanyakumari temple is the confluence of three oceans – Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. The water here was so nice to bathe in, it was like warm silk.
South India is filled with palm trees, rice paddies, banana plantations and sugar cane fields.
There are never ending amazing sights to be had while traveling India. Here you can see a baby fast asleep on the back of a speeding motorbike with it’s mother balancing precariously.
South India, particularly Kerala, has a lot of influence from Christian missionaries. As a result there were Santa Claus’s everywhere! Some of them are really scary with skeletons and all kinds of weird things…
Our next stop was a beachside town in Kerala called Kovalam. The food in Kerala is incredibly fresh and delicious. I heard that most of the spices come from this state and this contributes to the exquisite tastes.
We found many wonderful artists here.
Lal the tailor made us some very cheap custom yoga pants.
This is Lighthouse beach at Kovalam. I was able to go surfing here a few times. It was paradise with much less pollution than other places in India.
Another amazing artist. I bought an wonderful artwork here for one of my brothers.
A nice place to have a meal! The pond was filled with fish and there were kingfisher birds all around feeding on the fish while we ate our Indian breakfast.
I was able to visit my friend Harshal at his university in Chennai. I hadn’t seen him for 9 years! His university is called the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the campus was really impressive. Recruiters come here every year to pick up the cream of the crop for companies like Google, Facebook and different investment banks. It is ranked amongst the 10 best schools in India.
The view from the back seat of a rickshaw in Chennai on a rainy evening. They all have metres but no one uses them. I recommend always agreeing on the price of the ride before getting in. If you’re not happy with their proposed price the best thing to do is to walk away and they’ll usually come down closer to your price.
This is the view from the top of our cheap hotel in Chennai. The pollution in this town is fantastically asphyxiating!
Brussels train station – back to civilization.
Sampling some local Belgian fries. They are made completely fresh including cutting the potatoes only moments before frying them.
Me outside the Atomium in Brussels. This structure was built for the 1958 world fair in Brussels. Everyone loved the design so much that they left it there.
One of the balls of the Atomium. The lights were moving around like electrons in an atom.
Here is the view from inside the lift that goes up to the top of the Atomium in Brussels. At one point it was the fastest lift in the world.
We ate dinner inside the top most ball of the Atomium structure in Brussels. It was an unusual but cool experience.
Our bed and breakfast just outside of Brussels.
Working hard on some really cool, “secret” Internet projects.
The road up to MERU (Maharishi European Research University) in Vlodrop, Holland was very slippery so this truck had some trouble.
Buildings at MERU, Vlodrop.
This is the old, abandoned building at Vlodrop that they want to knock down. I am guilty of smashing some windows with snowballs. 😛
These are the elephants that welcome you to MERU and the new master plan for the campus is seen behind.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi‘s magical house where he took Mahasamadhi in 2008. It still has such a sublime feeling of peace and bubbling bliss, especially upstairs. Here is a blog I wrote about my experience of Maharishi’s funeral ->
In one day we drove through Holland, Belgium, France and then caught a ferry across the English channel to the UK. The ferries are huge and quite luxurious inside.
We attended a conference at Rendlesham which is about 1.5 hours drive northeast of London. It was a fun weekend and nice to see Maharishi Vastu architecture in action. The main feature of these buildings is that they face East to receive the nourishment from the first rays of the sun every day.
A typical scene in London.
Catching the underground in London back to our car.
Next we caught the ferry back to France and then drove back to Holland. It was a killer day with 17 hours of travel!
Then we flew from Dusseldorf, Germany to Dublin, Ireland and on to Chicago, USA. Now back in snowy Fairfield, IA at Maharishi University and very happy to see all my friends again! 🙂
So that’s a quick recap of my Winter Adventures in India and Europe. I hope you enjoyed the pics and if you have any questions please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.
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Using Mobile (Cell) Phones in India
Handling, Exchanging & Sending Money to India
Travel on Indian Trains, Planes, Buses, Cars, Auto & Bike Rickshaws
7 Tips for Eating in India as a Tourist Who Avoids Getting Sick
6 Tips for Safe Drinking Water in India
Indian Hotels – 9 Tips To Have The Best Experience As a Tourist
How to Stay Healthy in India as a Western Tourist
Shopping in India – How to Bargain Like an Indian
Indian Temples – 11 Tips to Enjoy Your Visit to an Indian Temple
Communication in India
Pictures of India & 6 Tips to Become a Better Photographer
Pollution in India
108 Faces of the Maha Kumbha Mela – Allahabad, India 2013
My Experience of Maharishi’s Funeral Cremation, Allahabad, India, 2008
Below are some of my most recent favourite photos from my travels over the past 2 years. I have now been to India every year for the past 3 years in a row with the first time being for Maharishi’s funeral. I have also spent a lot of time in Holland and now I am back in Fairfield, USA. I have only been home to Australia twice in 6 years!…
Man with his goats – Brahmasthan (Central Point) of India
Lotus – Delft, Holland. Check out the wildflowers photography by my friend Reny.
Shoreline wave – Sydney, Australia
Dhuandhar Falls – Jabalpur, India
Maharishi’s house, Vlodrop, Holland
Early morning light – Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
Beautiful scenery – Seelisberg, Switzerland
Rainbow Lorikeets – Sydney, Australia
Maharishi Vedic Pandits, Brahmasthan (Central), Madhya Pradesh, India
Yesterday I went surfing with Joss Paling who thankfully lent me his spare surfboard. It was my first surf in 2 years! Really it was the first in 6 years because the surfing I did 2 years ago was only for about a week. I am happy that I still know how to do it – I suppose it’s bit like riding a bike… I grew up by the beach and went surfing almost everyday from the age of 12 to 17 so I’ve probably done about 1000 hours of practice…
The beach I surf at is called Narrabeen and is on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It’s just down the road from where my parents live. I can even check the wave conditions from my balcony with a pair of binoculars. The water is quite cold since it is winter but not as cold as last time I was here. Below is a video my Dad made yesterday. He is really good at landscape photography and has a website called Utopia Images Online.
I am only in Sydney for another 10 days so I am going to try and surf as much as possible before I return to the US where I am land locked! I feel surfing is a very spiritual sport. When I am out surfing there is nothing on my mind except the ocean and where to position myself in order to catch a wave. Sometimes it is like I become the ocean and it makes me feel so good.
I highly recommend surfing to anyone but warn that it takes a lot of practice and is a very physical sport. After 6 years I am quite out of shape and so it is difficult to even paddle when I’ve been out there for more than 1 hour.
On the 5th of February, 2008 at about 2pm I got the news that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had dropped his body and moved on. For years I had listened to his amazing talks about enlightenment, world peace and Transcendental Meditation. I even had the opportunity to tell him my spiritual experiences while meditating on which he gave a beautiful commentary that lasted for half an hour.
By 10pm that night a friend knocked on my door and said, “do you want to go to India?” I jumped out of bed put on a coat, walked through a snowstorm and went to my friends place to start applying for the Indian visa. 11 hours later I was in downtown Chicago running to the consulate after a 9 hour, all night drive through a blizzard.
Miraculously I got my visa (they at first told me I would have to go back to Australia to get it!) and was on the next flight to New Delhi. It was wonderful to land in India, even though it was my first time it felt like home. We took an all day train to Allahabad and arrived there at about 6pm.
By that time I was soooo tired but some kind of energy returned to me upon throwing my bags off the train that only stopped for 60 seconds. We took an auto rickshaw to the school/ Ashram where Maharishi’s body was being displayed. As we got closer and closer I felt more and more energy and happiness inside.
My friend and I stepped out of the vehicle and headed straight for the epicenter of this Vedic chanting that blasted from loud speakers. We neared a small shed that many people lined up to enter. We picked up a hand full of flowers at the door and walked in.
Galactic Silence, Unbounded Bliss, Light, Expansion of the Heart and Tears of Joy.
I was 2 meter’s away from Maharishi! It was absolutely like nothing I had ever experienced before – beyond words, beyond thoughts only a feeling of deep love and appreciation. Even though Maharishi had left his body days earlier I was feeling as if he was still there. The power and light that emanated from his body was incredible. I thought to myself, “now I know for certain he is the real deal, he is a fully enlightened master“.
All kinds of people from all over the world came to this cosmic party. You may have heard of the filmmaker David Lynch who loves Maharishi and promotes Transcendental Meditation all over the world. In fact his foundation has already provided scholarships for more than 100,000 at risk children to meditate!
The next day was the funeral and cremation. I was sitting at the cremation ground while a huge procession of people carried Maharishi’s body from the room where he was displayed the night before. It was like a gigantic power of energy and bliss was moving towards us. There were drums, whistles and cheering. As they got closer and closer the energy and excitement grew immensely. I strongly believe that Maharishi had an enormous aura of power, bliss and peace that extended for miles.
Maharishi’s family had the honor of preparing the funeral pyre with large blocks of sandalwood. Apparently it is auspicious to touch the wood that burns the body of the enlightened. I was lucky to give some incense that was put on the pyre.
Dr Girish Varma and Dr Prakash Srivastava, two of Maharishi’s nephews are picture here. They were the main people who performed the ceremony and lit the fire.
I had my eyes shut most of the time and was experiencing so many emotions – sadness, happiness, joy, bliss, anger, peace and fulfillment. I had many very spiritual experiences during the 3-5 hour ceremony. It was like Maharishi was giving me more of his unbounded reality as the elements in his divine body were being liberated back to the Earth.
After the cremation we were able to walk around the pyre three times. For some reason I sat down beside the coals where the wind was blowing. The hot ashes hit my face as I meditated very deeply. I was being fried on every level both spiritually and physically.
Afterwards I was so burnt that my face began pealing almost instantly. By that evening I was so tired that I slept very deeply. During the night I had further spiritual revelations and darshan of Maharishi.
The next day after the fire had burnt down, Maharishi’s family picked up all the ashes into large urns. These were later distributed all over India to the holiest rivers.
On that same day we went out to the “sangam” which is the confluence of three rivers – the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. This is one of the holiest places in India and really has a divine, celestial feeling especially at dusk.
There were hundreds of people who gathered in the boats to witness the release of Maharishi’s ashes. These are two friends Kevin and Justin.
Following the 10 days that I was at Allahabad I went to the central point of India known as the Brahmasthan. In this place Maharishi has constructed an entire city for Vedic Priests to perform group meditation and traditional ceremonies that involve chanting the Vedas. I was there at the Brahmasthan doing my own long meditation for 6 weeks. It was a sublime experience that gave me deep rest and rejuvenation.
I want to thank all the people who helped me go to India because without you I wouldn’t have fulfilled my life long wish of seeing Maharishi in person.
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As Maharishi always used to say, “Jai Guru Dev.” Which means I give thanks to the divine teacher.
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