Posted by: bobroth | December 12, 2009

JABALPUR, INDIA (Second day in the city)

DECEMBER 12 • JABALPUR, INDIA (Second day in the city)

It is 5:15 am and I am awake after the unwelcome ring of a brutally intrusive wake-up call…

… I want my nervous system back!

We are off to the airport early to begin a long day of air travel — Jabalpur-Delhi-Bangalore-Madurai.

That will set us up for the final three stops of our tour of India.

Yesterday included a deeply moving visit to a Maharishi School (K-12), similar to the school in Fairfield, Iowa.

Such bright students, who win loads of state and national academic awards but who are not stressed out of their minds.

(You don’t think Indian kids are under INCREDIBLE pressure to succeed in school? Yeah, right.)

We were treated to a beautiful traditional dance performance by several of the high school girls.

David said the light in their faces and the naturalness of their movements reminded him of a theatrical performance…

… he saw by meditating students at the Maharishi School in Iowa a few years back (Yay, Geoff Boothby!).

That Iowa performance inspired David to start his foundation to offer meditation to any student who wanted to learn.

After many heartfelt thank-you’s and a quick tour of the school, we were off in a 6-car caravan to the middle of India.

Harrowing. Two hours of pure harrowing. A narrow 2-lane road (with no lines) that morphed into a three-lane highway.

I couldn’t look but could not stop looking–somehow thinking if I looked that would prevent a dozen head-on collisions.

Silver lining: We drove through a rural India of 100 or even 1000 years ago…

The land and farm fields and cows wandering everywhere and ox carts and women in colorful, dusty saris

… carrying loads of sticks or baskets of grains on the heads …

… with their children trotting alongside them… the picture defied a date or an age …

Then, somehow, miraculously, by the grace of God alone, we arrived unscathed at our destination…

According to Vedic architecture, the Brahmasthan of a country (literally the geographical center of the nation)…

… is the most powerful point of the land. From there the influence of group meditations on the whole population is maximum.

I was here a few years ago and there was not much to see. Now an entire campus is coming up…

… with classrooms and housing for many thousands.

David was honored grandly with garlands and speeches …

… and the recitation by 1000 students of ancient Vedic sounds used to promote enlightenment and peace.

I have heard these recitations before, but never by 1000 students. It was like the most sublime meditation–but from the outside in.

Then a delicious lunch with Girish Varma, the chair of the campus.

Then David interviewed Girish for the film.

Then we headed out for a quick tour of the 2000-acre property.

Beautifully envisioned and carefully executed, the university is designed to turn India into a lighthouse of peace.

For the world.

Okay. Change of tone here.

I have no words to describe the 2-hour drive back to Jabalpur on that same treacherous treacherous road–in the dark.

Other than the scariest video game you can ever imagine–with a relentless barrage of lights from oncoming cars and trucks…

… careening towards you that could (easily) kill you in a second…

… with narrow miss and after narrow miss (really and truly, i am not a wimp here).

And our driver for some reason made the decision that any car in front of him NEEDED to be passed at any cost…

I would have kissed the ground back at our hotel in Jabalpur but that would have been harrowing as well.

We finished the day with a successful (but surreal) outdoor news conference at the hotel…

… with a wedding party around the corner…

(Hint: wedding parties in India are so loud they wake up the people in Nepal.)

What to say: Each day has been so exhilarating, so illuminating, so intense, so exhausting …

That when i get into bed i am literally asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow…

Then the alarm (I HATE ALARMS) and I am off for another day of totally unimaginable adventures.

Love to you all, Bobby

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