And in true “authenticity”, the police pulled me aside to question my motives behind my sign as soon as this photo was snapped.
This Jain monk welcomed us for Preksha meditation. The masks serve as protection against the inhalation of smog, which is violent for the body, as well as inhaling any bugs which would be violent towards them. In addition to non-violence, non possession is also key to Jainism, hence the white garb draped across them.
Along with Mr.Shugan Jain (all those who are strictly adopt the Jainist religion adopt the last name Jain), our group payed a visit to a Jain monk. These monks constantly travel offering their wisdom, but during the monsoon, they stay at specific Jain ashrams to avoid the rains.
Though I have been piecing together the aspects of this religion from our lectures etc. I still did not feel prepared for our encounter with those who follow strictly the religious protocols.
The women and men were sitting at opposite sides of the room and we were asked to sit gathered at the front of a windowed veranda. The Jain monk and his attendants (4 young boys) chanted with us and guided us through Preksha meditation.
From what I understood, the young boys who were just as bald as the monk and dressed in white garb were responsible for sweeping the floor before the monk as to ensure that no insects would be harmed by his feet! Many followers also wore face masks to avoid breathing in any insects (which would be violent towards the insects) or breathing in smog (which would be violent to one’s body).
On this note, I’d also like to mention that pickles are a violent “food” as they are fermented and therefor there is bacteria and this is violent towards the body. As you can imagine, the only thing that actually happened during the lecture on “violent foods” was my stomach craving pickles.
In any case, our group awkwardly sat in front of this monk. I specify “awkwardly” as we had no idea what he was saying to us…Understanding a man with a deep indian accent with a mask covering his mouth and muffling any sound he makes is practically impossible. I wish I could translate some of his wisdom here, but quite frankly I did not understand anything… I attempted to follow his meditation with cows mooing in the background from the side street and the honking of the tuck tucks. Perhaps individuals here meditate with ease in our eyes as they have so much practice with centring themselves in the midst of unbelievable chaos!
Taking a rest from the demanding job of escorting a group of 30 North American teachers through the streets of Delhi.
Visit to all girls government aided school today… I finally found where all the girls in this country were hiding!