Pondicherry holds a unique charm for people of different hues.
Some pop up over a weekend, merely, to soak in its spirited vibes. Some hang around a wee bit longer, to experience its spiritual vibrations. Many others keep coming back and even decide to settle in the city or its vicinity.
Spirituality and religion are an integral part of Pondicherry’s allure. Besides its many spiritual spots and historic temples, the city holds something to please not only the religious devotee, but the spiritual seeker too.
Meditating by the Sea
One can always meditate at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram or the Matri Mandir in Auroville. But one can experience that heady spiritual upliftment merely by sitting quietly at a secluded place on the beach– in communion with Mother Nature, aptly represented by the greenish blue waters of the Bay of Bengal.
Watching the relentless rolling in of waves, deeply inhaling the salty air, looking at the sun or the moon rise up in the sky, following the movements of seagulls flying by, and pouring out one’s heart to the endless sea- all these help one us attain a state of inner calm. Our batteries get charged up. We can get back to our materialistic pursuits with a renewed vigour!
But spiritual awakening comes about not only by adopting a static practice like meditation. It also has a dynamic dimension, which manifests itself through the mundane experiences of life.
Driving on Pondy Roads
Consider the unique experience of driving on the roads of Pondicherry! It teaches one the virtues of Humility and Courage. When a millennial on his racing bike overtakes one from the left, one’s Receptivity improves. Bovines squatting on the roads quietly assert their democratic rights over whatever little road space is on offer, teaching one the value of Equality.
When a bus driver who believes he is driving an auto-rickshaw, suddenly honks from the side, a sense of Generosity coupled with the fear of life and limb, helps one to offer him the right of way.
Finding a parking space on the main thoroughfares needs loads of Perseverance. Upon a hapless pedestrian avoiding being run over by a speeding car, a sense of Gratitude towards the Divine descends. Sincerity of purpose is required while crossing a narrow road where two-wheelers use a two-way as a four-way lane. When a traffic cop endowed with a stiff-upper-lip takes a lenient view of one’s inadvertent adventures on the road, vibrations of Goodness can be felt. When one has battled through the streets and reached one’s abode safely, a sense of Peace prevails. Overall, one makes Spiritual Progress. One’s level of Aspiration goes up a notch higher.
Even if one misses meditating at the twelve petals of Matri Mandir, each representing the qualities mentioned above, one need not worry too much!