Dada Bhagwan

During my last stay in India I visited “Adalaj Trimandir“, a temple complex located 20 km away from Ahmedabad (Gujarat), near the village of Adalaj. It as temple with idols of many gods like Jainism, Shaivism or Vaishnavism. At the center you can find the biggest idol , 155 inches pure marble, the idol of Lord Shree Simandhar Swami.

20160416_103144 (Small)The temple has been founded by Gnani Purush Dada Bhagwan, who had been born as Ambalal Muljibhai Patel in 1908. The temple contains a little museum about him as well. I went there as a tourist, I wanted to understand India and the people within that country. What drives them, what motivates them, what makes them so different compared to my own culture. Hence visiting a temple appeared to me as a good chance to learn more about this country.  I expected to learn something about the architecture, history or religion, but then something happened I did not expect. I learned something about myself.

20160416_103829 (Small)But first things first, this experience started painful, probably because I am too soft 😉
As it is the case for most of the temples worldwide, you are not allowed to enter them with shoes. So there is usually a huge pile of shoes at the entry. And while adding your shoes to that pile, you are hoping that you will find them again when you come back later. At the same time some other thoughts are crossing my head, generating a huge smile. Hey, how about mixing the shoes here up a little, or let’s band them together, or lets exchange some of the shoes with the shoe pile at the other staircase. But then I remembered myself, that this is a religious place and I am a guest here. So I behaved 😉

20160416_103702 (Small)But now the challenge starts. I am not used to walk barefoot on hot surfaces. The 42 degrees Celsius had warmed up the stones a little. Actually a little too much for me. So the best strategy for me to deal with this was jumping, trying to reduce the contact time with the stone. Looked very funny probably. After some jumps I found out the darker stones are hotter than the whiter stones. Whoa, physics in practice, amazing! So the new plan was to hit the whiter stones while jumping. Looked even funnier. And on top comes, as a middle-European after winter time, I have kind of white and pale feet. Comparably pale to all other feet around. Another thing what is very funny for Indians. Well, it looks even funny to me, so this kind of discrimination is okay 😉
20160416_114711 (Small)Within the temple it was okay then and the little museum about Dada Bhagwan was really interesting. I had a longer discussion with one of the supporters of Dada’s theory. Interesting for me, they call this theory science and it is actually independent from any religion. This is something I did not expect there. I liked some of the ideas, e.g. never force or hurt anybody, not by mind, not by word, not by actions. I like that approach, but I am afraid it does not work as I know humankind. If all humans behave like that, the world will become a peaceful place. But unfortunately the planet is full of violent or selfish people, which will use the good people merciless. And even if they are okay with that, due to their belief, it creates a group of passive victims, if they see it like that or not.

20160416_113923 (Small)But don’t get me wrong. I am not judging. Actually I admire the calmness, the complete satisfaction and the happiness within those people. And this is based on one aspect of their belief. This is the lesson I learned in this temple. They believe that nobody nor nothing can make you sad or happy, no human being or situation. All problems and all solution are within yourself. Your happiness and your sadness are within yourself. Hence you are responsible for your own happiness, you alone. You are the only one who can change that, nobody else.

This is what I believe too. And during my visit of Adalay Trimandir it became clearer, very clear. How easy is it to blame others for your current situation. The guy in the car in front of you is too slow, you fail an exam because somebody kept you from learning, you are angry because your spouse does not behave as you expect, you are sad because somebody bad-mouths you, you are unhappy about your over-weight. There are so many examples, and all of them are wrong. It is an active decision how to react on something or somebody. If you react angry, sad or lazy on something, it is your unconscious decision to do so. But you could decide otherwise, you could decide to let it go, to stay calm, to be happy with yourself instead. The responsibility for your happiness is with you, your happiness is within you. It can be so easy 😉

Airport Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It is an impressive city and I have been so many times there already. But unfortunately  I never have got the chance to see the city itself, only the airport. Well, when going to or coming from Abu Dhabi, you can see the city from above, more or less, depending on your vision. So this does not count. But you can see there is water. Abu Dhabi touches the Persian Gulf, at least at the north-west end. All other three ends of Abu Dhabi are sand, desert. So no wonder it is usually warm there.

As a consequence, I do not know much from the city. But I do know the airport. Abu Dhabi airport is the home base of the airline Etihad, which connects the western with the eastern world. The airline operates more than 1,000 flights per week, with more than 120 aircrafts. But there is one thing about Etihad I really like, the boarding music. The song you can hear when you enter the plane. This song is kind of exotic, cheerful, epic and touching at the same time, just awesome. I love it. Here is the link.

20160225_225205 (Small)But I wanted to write about the airport. Actually there is nothing special about that airport. It is an airport like many other too. It is more about the people. The variety of different people is vast. So many different cultures at one and the same place, more I have seen in other airports. The picture of many other airports is shaped by business men and tourists, in a funny mix. But not here. Of course you can find many business men and tourists here too, but there are also many other people which do not fall into this category. Many people on the way to visit family members, widespread on this planet. Hence you see many people in traditional outfits of their respective culture. There is the Japanese student, studying in Switzerland. There is the Indian grandma, visiting the grandson in US, sitting next to that fancy Thai girl with pink hair and the huge smartphone. Two seats to the right the Arabic looking grandpa with woolen hat and warm winter jacket. Behind him a hippie-like European, looking like a flower child from the 70’s. A man passes, with t-shirt and towel. What?! wait! I need a second look. Yes, this man has a towel around his hip, instead of trousers. At least the flip-flops fit color-wise. Then the Arabs, in their long white robes. I do not know till today, how they manage to keep them white and dry in the restrooms, which are usually flooded with (hopefully) water.

Abu Dhabi airport is one of the big hubs connecting both sides of this world. Once my flight from India to Abu Dhabi had a bigger delay. I had only 20 minutes to reach my connection flight. Luckily I knew where to go, but without a sprint across the airport, from one end to the other, I wouldn’t have made it in time. Of course exactly in such situations the airport is crowded like an oriental street market. And everybody seems to have plenty of time to walk around slowly, very slowly. And of course in clusters, blocking all the bottlenecks. But I made it, the door closed right behind me. And actually I was faster than my suitcase, which did not make it. But hey, otherwise I never would have learned the lesson to pack the jacket into the hand luggage instead into the suitcase, if you travel from summer to winter. Brrrrrrrr 😉

20160225_225208 (Small)Another time while boarding, we have been loaded into a bus, to be  transferred to the aircraft. The bus doors close, but the bus does not start, not after 10, not after 20, not after 30 minutes. People start to complain and ask why the bus isn’t moving. “Somebody is still missing” was the answer from the ground crew. 40 minutes and the crowd becomes impatient. People requesting loudly to leave the missing person behind. The answer from the bus driver. “Unfortunately this is not possible.” Some impatient, grumpy guy asks “Why?!” Then the bus driver answered: “Well, the missing person is the pilot.” And suddenly everybo dy was okay to wait a few more minutes. Luckily they found the pilot little later and we could board the plane.

Abu Dhabi airport, a place to meet new friends. The Indian couple who told me the life story of their son, who became a doctor in US and they are on their way to see him. They offered me Indian food they brought. Or the Pakistani student, who just finished his PhD in psychology in California. He was on his way to India to open a practice. We talked a while and he told me from the difficulties of having a Pakistani dad and an Indian mom. Or the young German sales guy, who traveled for two months through the outback of India to sell little tractors to the farmers. There are so many stories and destinies. Full of life. You just have to listen.  Listen with ear and heart.