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My Journey to India

Article Submitted By: BriceBowman
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 Time: 1:47 PM

In the summer of 1967, I was leaving Ibiza on the boat to Barcelona with Penelope Truex, she and I planned to go to India.  I wanted to find my friend Neil, who was already there.  As it happened, she did not continue on with me after we arrived on the Spanish mainland, but on the train north to Paris, I found $100 that she had put in my bag.   It was a beautiful thought on her part to help me continue on the journey.   I gave the money to Ellson and Ziska, when I arrived in Paris and later they returned the favor by sending it to me in care of American Express office in New Delhi.    Ellson and Ziska were going to London.  They arranged for me to travel along with their ride.  We visited Stonehenge and did a photo shoot wearing fashions they had made from their dyed silks.  When I went to the Embassy of India in London for the visa, a force seemed to be pulling me.   It was so powerful that I knew I was on the path.

I took a flight to Kabul on the Afghan Airlines, chain smoking black tobacco cigarettes, after a short lay-over to re-fuel the same plane departed for the flight to Amritsar, India.  Then in the morning a train ride to Delhi station.  I was wandering in Connaught Circus, New Delhi not knowing where to find Neil , when by chance I stopped someone and introduced myself and that’s how I met Arthur Mandelbaum, who told me where everyone was staying at the YMCA.  A few days later Neil took a flight back to London using my ticket after we had exchanged clothes like a remake of the Prince and the Pauper. 

Neil told me to go up north of New Delhi to pilgrimage sites located in the lower elevations of the Himalayan Mountains.  I went to Hardwar on the Ganges River and further up to Rishikesh, which is located on the other bank of the river.   This is the place that one year later because famous because the BEATLES visited Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who had his ashram there.

I went wearing his drawstring pants and carrying his straw basket with a leather strap to hold my few possessions.  I was a mendicant on the way except with guitar.   I stayed in a hostel when I met Ganesh Hazra, an office worker on vacation from his job in Calcutta, who had introduced himself and invited me to travel on pilgrimage with him and his wife.  We went across the Ganges in an open boat rowed by a few strong guys pulling across the current. I couldn’t help but notice the people who were hanging onto logs floating in the river and hoping they could kick hard enough to float to the other side. We visited secret shrines and made offerings in the holy places, but I incurred the wrath of priests, who realized I did not know the proper forms. Finally in Rishikesh, I was taken into a temple by Ganesh, who explained to me about a gathering of Sadhu’s, who wanted to hear me speak about ‘my purpose’.  I entered a large room to address the assembly while sitting on a carpeted floor cross legged in the yogi style to express what I imagine sounded like an ecumenical message.  Later Ganesh told me that the Sadhu’s had said, that I should return to the west to share the experiences I had in India.  I have never forgotten the parting words to me from Ganesh Hazra, when he said, young sir, you should find a wife and then together, we would be like the god with multiple arms working to achieve our purpose in this life.  And, those words of wisdom are the great teaching that I received in India.

About the Author

Brice Bowman 2011


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Comments

Mon, 24 Feb 2014 at 5:57 PM, by Paul Fraser
I got the same message from a saddhu and a guru . . . . go back to where you come from and take what you have learned in India with you . . . . the saddhu told me we are born in a certain place for a reason .

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Submitted: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 Time: 1:47 PM