Chirag: May all the beings of all the worlds be happy

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Cue chirps and hoops of bird calls. I frantically awoke to nature’s
alarm clock in Dewaldar in search of my watch to see if I had woken up
in time to catch a glimpse of the much sought after Himalayas. The
view is perfect during clear winter skies, but with built up forest
fire smoke and monsoon rain clouds, the chance for snow-capped
mountain tops in June was slim. This morning at 5:03am, I stepped
outside to see another layer of mountains, unsure of whether it was
the real thing. I climbed onto the rooftop and waited for the sun to
rise. Within a few minutes, right before my eyes was the glorious
glistening snow peaks; the tallest was Nandadevi at 7,816m. My trip
was complete.
Cue temple bells. I was soon joined by Shobi, a doctor from the United
Kingdom who was here conducting a short research project on antenatal
care. Originally from Chennai, a city of South India, Shobi was able
to impart on me some of the spirituality with which she grew up. She
explained that the Himalayas are said to be very auspicious because
they are thought of as the window to spirits and ghosts. One second
the window opens and the next, it is gone, a concept known as
“darshan” among believers. And much like that, within a few minutes,
we had to squint just to see the snowcaps. If we had not known that
the mountains were out there, we probably would have missed it
entirely. My camera certainly had trouble capturing the scene.
Cue “oooohhmmms.” Shobi led us in meditation with a mantra in Sanskrit
while sitting on the rooftop facing the Himalayas. It was not
difficult to imagine how two great world religions emerged from this
region, Hinduism and Buddhism, both of which I hope to further
explore. Shobi explained afterward that the mantra she recited was
meant to increase one’s intelligence and to help one choose the right
path at the right time. This mantra is from one of the four Vedas and
is called “Gayatri mantra” should anyone want to search more about
this. She finished the meditation with “loka samastha sukhinu
bhavanthu aum shanti shanti shanih…” “may all the beings of all the
worlds be happy. With peace peace peace…”

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About Lucia Xiong

Current medical student at University of New Mexico. Former science teacher at Tse Yi Gai High School on Navajo Nation. Studied International Relations with a concentration in Global Health and Penn Class of 2013 graduate. CASI Chirag Intern summer of 2012.