Guidance: Ways to grow, On The Road, Philosophy, Road Journals
Comments 47

A Traveller’s lessons from ten years on the ँ Road

Who could have imagined, that our ever-running world could ever come to a halt?

A silence that our earth, rivers, the sky, birds, animal, us thought was never possible. Someone, an invisible one, invading our lives, to that point he made a mockery of our system, of our inventions, what ever we created, nothing came to our rescue but age old virtues like resilience, patience and may be prayer. Today we are afraid and vulnerable to even step out of our homes freely. For sometime at least, nothing is going to be like the world we had.

Whereas in a sweet turn of events for our co-habitants, we are the ones caged. And most other beings are doing much better rather enjoying our absence. Only leaving us to breathing and observing this unprecedented change. A Change that is commanding us to leave the environment on its own. With no interfering or intrusion needed.

No amount of money ever came close to clean our rivers and our skies. But it was the fear of disease and death that forced us to sit at one place for months. That same fear which makes all animals tremble the moment they learn of being trapped, caged for slaughter, for somebody’s pleasure.

From here onwards any certainty is far fetched. Of how the life post pandemic will be in the long run. Most probably it will take on with similar course it has always been. Forgetting it like any other storm life threw at mankind. Yet I am optimistic that there are people, who may well revisit their lives and its meaning. And how from here onwards it can be shaped for world’s good altogether.

In one way or the other every being that has acquired any space on this planet has a story and hence is a traveller; yet only a handful awaken the will and desire to see, to seek the beyond, the unknown. To take self-forward to the land of his forefathers, who once roamed to hunt, to gather and cultivate, at a time when there were no lines, no borders but earth as whole. Like how we say in India “World is one big family”.

Few years ago while swimming in the river Tungbhadra in Sringeri, I met an Indian data Scientist who had left his job in the US to work on the Indian River system. Only during that time he made me realize something very commonplace, yet the realization of its true meaning changed something in me right there. It could also be the sweet ancient water of tungbhadra I drank while talking with him; but to learn more of my past, of the forefathers who carried this civilization, the people who learnt and knew much of the ways without any technology or Science available to them. That every generation has become far less Indian than the previous ones and so goes for any civilization including the ones which are no more there.

Travellers of the ancient world were not merely travelling. They were people with much higher concentration and understanding. They were the seekers of the invincible absolute. They travelled sitting still, walking for years on land, the mountains and in the jungle, and sat for years doing tapa, that is examining fiery discipline in their meditation.

Today there is no doubt that our age is the most comfortable, connected generation of all the periods that us sapiens have seen. Yet as we are getting closer to each other, we are increasingly becoming disconcerting, discontented, anxious and unhealthy.

Life of a traveller is short, because he becomes intoxicated with the world, with practices and information in each passing breath. And so in this time of isolation I sat down and revisited my quiet life as traveller that grew me immensely and may even help you to find peace within. It is also that the founding idea of my travels is not of passing, but of becoming wherever you are; staying put, quietly seeing.

Here are few experiences that shaped me.
My ways of perceiving, an act, any happening, or as simple as breathing.

1. Humility

The first and the source of it all is in being humble and showing gratitude. There’s a beautiful saying that our forefathers wrote long ago in sanskrit श्रद्धावान् लभते ज्ञानम् that the knowledge comes to those who are humble. And it is one of the foremost things that you start earning slowly as you start trusting. Going closer within communities, people, learning, understanding and loving however and whatever way they are in; that no human is different from the other. All are one within.

2. To become all embracing, Listeners

The future enters through our ears, said an old man in the Himalayas. It is one of the hardest things to do but very conducive. An act of nothingness is what needs to be done the most. And it is not just like that when the great Iranian Filmmaker Abbas Kirostami said of Photography being the mother of Cinema. As it is the most observant of real time arts. See where the sound wants to lead you.

3. Learn a few sentences of the local language

This is my friends is the most respectful and instantly accomplishing thing that you would do. To learn a few preambles of their language. To start a conversation with anyone in a strange, new place. You never know it may be a start of a life long friendship.

4. Travel Alone

To some it may sound boring, but at some point of your lives it will go on to change your stories. Because first of all it is very addictive and second you may well already be on the road to the heaven waiting within.

5. Become friends with an old person

Well, personally it has been the most blessed thing to have found friendships in living books that are these elderly ones who are waiting to be asked, to be poked, to only turn into child like once again. But it is also true as much that one will find you, the one which you are searching for.

These friends don’t only carry stories, but discipline in varied ways. Experience of the land that can be found nowhere else. I bow to one such teacher who blessed me with a magic life saving skill. Let me talk about it in the next step.

6. Learn a skill

We all have something to share, to give. Long time travels become static many a times if the purpose is lost. Music, writing or something that the locals can get some benefit out of your skill work wonders in uplifting the environment and oneself.

7. Know, The Elements of life 

This being my favourite carries all capabilities to align you with your elements. The slow deep breathing long Walking times tunes your heart and lungs in its own right into meditation order. The purest form of seeing and keeping ourselves and nature in check and healthy.

8. How can you Contribute ?

Travelling and staying at one place for a longer periods start pushing you in more ways than one. People love people who step up to give, a part of sustainable travelling, It can be taking up teaching local children, visiting local NGO’s, primary schools, and other such places where you meet locals, and learn about a complete new way of knowing rural economy and society.


9.
Visit local writers, teachers and local artisans

One of my favorite things after I settle down at a place is to look out for people who are living intimately within themselves and are the bed rock of the society. You can walk around asking for such people if you are curious enough to know something deeper.

10. What if today is my last day

I wanted to include the most brutal truth as it is the easiest to look beyond. But when you carry the memories of a young friend died in college, a lover who died in an accident, the ones who were not called but forced to exit the world.

It is not really fair to think of it as a traveller but I talk myself into it now only to motivate myself. To become disciplined. To make myself believe in a larger life. What is important now? Many a times it has helped me in prioritizing my life right. And it is not me, yogis live by this rule, and so do many people who inspire the spirit in you to do right. To do your best.

.

I must tell you something, i did have to learn a few things the hard way but many things that I have mentioned here were received through a long time of seeing. Very slowly without me being aware of it. But I can tell you that the source of it all was only being respectful, first and foremost to yourself. That’s it! Respecting oneself.

I imagine that if you go through all the above ideas alongside cultivating your own true vision, with experience and research; I am certain that it will give you a good chance of having a memorable time not just while travelling any particular where but through this road we say life.

Also, It may not be the perfect philosophy for many of you as well. For you may be thinking this to be the most boring and dullest advices ever but however that may be, only these ones have served me through.

And if you just went through reading thinking this is so close to how you would like to have your own travel hustle, then let me tell you, you are going to like Road to Nara.

Regardless of what you may think, my only reason to be here writing is to become a bridge for anyone who is seeking. To believe following the path of ahimsa, to share ideas, resources, memories that even if you are not there, your mere thought can uplift somebody’s moment; and trust me you will feel that yourself, quietly. Because at the end of the day it is not about how many miles you flew, or your years you have spent on the road, or how many countries you checked in, it is but how many places you couldn’t leave because people didn’t let you go, that you changed, and with you your world.

Hope it made you smile.

For the deeper explorations, see you on the road to nara !

by

Hi, I am Narayan Kaudinya. And i welcome you on this journey, the Road to Nara ! I am an Ethnographer and a practicing Indologist. I did my masters in History and further learnt Sanskrit, Yoga and Nerve-therapy. At 24, pushing most academic sounding, office sitting works away, i felt compelled to know and understand the world and my country, Bharat/India. I travelled, and as it happened i took up teaching in Kashmir and further up in the remote villages of Baltistan in the foothills of Karakoram Ranges. For around three years and many states later there came a time when i felt that it was only while teaching i learnt how to laugh, to see, feel, breathe, love and cry -with children, and mostly resource-less parents in the harshest-freezing border conditions. I write, and work as a documentary photographer and Filmmaker, with numerous published, exhibited and some awarded stories. In my travels and life i have let nature lead me, the divine mother, and as a Yogin, my resolve here is to share my experiences and thoughts as honestly, and through them to blossom in everyone the power and possibility in pursuing your breath, that you seek your true nature with courage and curiosity. Here, on this road i will share my spirit, my love for nature, the elements of life that are us. And in doing so, i'll be happy to see you along.

47 Comments

  1. I really like your beautiful blog. A pleasure to come stroll on your pages. A great discovery and a very interesting blog. I will come back to visit you. Do not hesitate to visit my universe. See you soon. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Estou imensamente feliz por te ter conhecido, embora não pessoalmente (agradar-me-ia imenso) sou apaixonado por toda a Ásia, tentei de bicicleta e sozinho, fazer a rota da seda, mas as autoridades Chinesas prenderam-me e deportaram-me da China, antes de chegar a kashi, tenciono voltar e tentar continuar de Bishkek até Istambul numa nova oportunidade pois o Tibet ainda está vedado a viajantes solitários como eu , a nossa sede de aprender através da solidão é semelhante e é agradável encontrar alguém como tu, (semelhante a mim) sou barbeiro de profissão e tenho a poesia como refúgio contra espaços confinados como seja esta loja minuscula onde tenho de viver e ver a passagem do tempo, muito obrigado por existires talvez como o outro eu que eu não sei nem consigo ser nem sair de mim para incorporar o mundo na minha pele (amo o teu viver) Jorge Santos

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    • Dearest Jorge, I was trying a translator to understand this from Spanish to English, only learnt later the similarity and differences of it with Portuguese. Let me post it in English here for on some days when i come back here i can read and find your beautiful words sleeping here whenever.

      “I am immensely happy to have met you, although not personally (I would be very pleased) I am in love with all of Asia, I tried cycling and alone, making the silk route, but the Chinese authorities arrested me and deported me from China, before arriving in kashi, I intend to go back and try to continue from Bishkek to Istanbul at a new opportunity because Tibet is still forbidden to lonely travelers like me, our thirst for learning through solitude is similar and it is nice to meet someone like you, (similar to me) I am a barber by profession and I have poetry as a refuge against confined spaces such as this tiny shop where I have to live and watch the passage of time, thank you very much for existing perhaps like the other me that I neither know nor can be nor leave me to incorporate the world in my skin (I love your life) Jorge Santos.”

      Look at that life dearest Jorge, It is so beautiful to read you. You are courageous and filled with hope and adventure. This life of yours that is expanding like that with every word you wrote here above. I hope when all this is over and when we see a fresher world, you come down to India and we meet somewhere here. Asia, i am certain loves you as much. till then i will be around reading your words. Lots of love and strength, Nara x.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So beautiful …and you are so fortunate that you are not just a traveler but a traveler who embraces awakening in every moment.

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    • Puja, I can’t say if i have that power to embrace something like an awakening. I hope it soon blesses me, and more. Lovely to read you here and your blog is beautiful too.

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  4. Ahhhhh! Narayan! This is absolutely beautiful!!! How eloquent You are. As I was reading there were so many sentences that touched my heart deeply and I was going to write them here and let You know how wonderful they are…but there were SOOOO many that it would basically have meant pasting Your entire post here and telling You how very much I LOVE it! Thank You for sharing Your heart/world/Spirit so beautifully! The part about us being one family….that we are all exactly the same inside becomes clearer and clearer with each passing day of my life. When I was young that was a kindof metaphorical statement to me. In my older years I’ve come to see it really, quite literally, is TRUE. Sending You much Love and Huge Hugs! Thank You again and Rock On!!! 🤗🙏🏼❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • You must be knowing that, merely the arrival of your name takes me to forests; and in these times its no mean feat 🙂 I can’t express likewise how light it makes me feel.
      As well, World is one family is India’s oldest cultural virtue, and i am only blessed to let it work through me. Understanding this cannot be more peaceful for us beings than any other thing in the world.
      It was humbling when i had read it a day ago. It means a lot dear Forrester. You are beautiful. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s absolutely, completely my pleasure!!! And You are so right, “Understanding this cannot be more peaceful for us beings than any other thing in the world.” And Thank You, my friend! You are beautiful and share it wonderfully!!! Huge hugs and Cheers! 😊🙏🏼❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a lovely post. that is full of wisdom. We should all think about living each day to the best of our ability just in case it may be our last.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post. This is well written. I’ve been a solo traveler, too, but for a short time only. I’ve tried trekking a not so high hill. When I reached the top and a few photo taking, I felt dizzy and pain in my chest. I was rushed downhill in a hospital. Luckily, the doctor said it’s a mild stroke. With that episode I am nervous now to travel alone, notwithstanding I have all the medicines with me whenever and wherever I travel. ….This post of yours reminded me of the hazards of travelling alone if you have some kind of illness.Thanks for posting this. I love reading your stories. Be safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bacardi, I hope and kind of feel you are healthy and doing absolutely fine. Thanks for coming over and for your words here.
      You know i feel at times nature has her own way of giving us signals. Even though to an extent solo travelling may look exciting but in reason it is quiet a complex journey.
      Moreover it made you learn to prepare better, and is a learning for all of us.

      Nara.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this post and I wholly agree with every word. The paragraph about listening reminded me of our saying here: ‘You have two ears but only one mouth, so listen more and speak less.’
    You write profound truth and I thank you for your thoughts. Very inspiring.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanna, morning from the banks of Ganga. You know this out of all the essays i have written remains close favourite for me too. As i realised and understood some never known aspects about my understanding about the world and its cycle, the movement, cause and effect.
      A perfect saying, nothing more truer than that 🙂 Love every impression of your words Joanna.

      I will write more soon. Nara.

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  8. I read and re-read your words, so full of wisdom and expressed in such a unique way that your hand must had been guided by angels. I can only bow to your power of brining people alive with your words.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish it is 🙂 because unless it is you, i won’t believe it to be true.

      You know, this post/essay, is so close to me, because it was the first ever post i thought i should share with everyone because they will know where i belong to or where am i coming from. And also i had to delve so much to learn from my walks for years when i started asking from them the truth of this. Because to come and think of it, travelling is not travelling at all, it is few drops of nectar, coming out from the ocean of poison.

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  9. Every time I re-read your exceptional, sage treaty on how to live our lives well, I discover more to think about and adopt. It provides a convincing argument about the ultimate goal of organized human life on earth, moral, intellectual, and spiritual. And following that goal will affect for the better our lives. This essay, Narayan, with an exception of the phenomenal, magnificent post about Gandhi, is the most influential of your, writing. Thank you.
    You are the chosen one.

    Joanna

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  10. Naryan, I don’t always take time to read such lengthy posts, but this was well worth the time…so well-organized, concise and filled with wisdom. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts. All the best! Cheryl

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    • I know Cheryl, and to tell you this one was actually shorter by my story length standards ha ha .. but appreciate it so much that you did read it through.

      ❤ to you
      Narayan

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