I have just returned from seeing the Christ in Rio de Janeiro. It is a magnificent sight! He stands 38 meters tall, on a monument 38 m high which is on on a rock 710 meters tall. It is believed that Rio was created by God Himself and it is probably where the Garden of Eden was.
I had always wanted to see this Christ on the hill, and this trip, as I moved towards His outstretched arms I was once again reminded that He does call you, if your wanting to visit Him is sincere. Do believe me when I tell you that all obstacles melt away when He so wills. I am reminded of the last time I was faced with a million to one chance of seeing the Giridhar of Meerabai. One of the greatest devotees of Lord Krishna that have ever lived. Yes, I mean the Rajasthani Princess Saint Meerabai who lived a few centuries ago.
I had gone to Udaipur and from there to Chittor, famous for the forts and palaces of Rajput princes. There my main aim was to pay obeisance in Meerabai’s temple. Meerabai was married to a Shishodia Rajput Price. At Chittor garh, I kept imploring the guide to show me the temple first as I was afraid that it might close at noon. The tourist guide kept re-assuring me that the temple never closes. When we reached the temple, it was closed!!!!!! I mentally said to Krishna: “I refuse to believe that my desire to see the temple was not straight from my heart, so why is the temple closed?! The guide felt sorry for me. He tried to make me feel better, by telling me that the real Idol was not in this temple but in Udaipur Palace amongst the present Queen’s private collection! Needless to say, that bit of information did not make me feel an iota better. After all it was a long drive to Udaipur and from thence we were driving off for Ahmedabad the following morning. To top it all, the queen was NOT my personal friend, so how would I get access to her private collection to see Meera’s Giridhar!!!!
It seemed impossible.
Yet, to cut a very long story short, I did get to see Meera’s Giridhar the next day, and I even got flowers that had touched His feet. The priest gave it to me claiming that he did not know why he was so doing. I strewed the petals of Krishna into my 200 page Bhajan Book. (The note book that contained my favorite hymns & prayer songs). When later I opened my note book, wonder of wonders!! Most of the petals had fallen into the three songs penned by Meera! It was like Krishna had assured me that He was indeed Meera’s ‘Giridhar’, Her Beloved Krishna.
I am about to return to my home but I have had a wonderful trip. In the Mystic land of South America, I got to see the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, who stands 36 m tall and is visible throughout the whole city of Santiago in Chile. I got to see the chapel of SorTeresa, a nun, who died at the age of 19. I read her autobiography and she writes so naturally about her mystic experiences! I got to see the Basilica of the Aparecida in Brazil. It is the largest Marian shrine in the world. There the priest personally hugged me and blessed me for having come from so far away.
One of my wishes, before I flew to South America was that I visit the Land of the Sun Worshippers ‘The Incas’. Imagine my surprise when I was told that the place where I was putting up, was once a part of a farm belonging to the Incas’ Civilization!
I did a lot of fun things too. I met loved ones, friends and relatives. I swam in the beach of Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautiful ones in the world and danced the Samba. I was wined and dined, several times to celebrate my birthday. I savored the local delicacies and met my compatriots who affectionately welcomed me.
I saw the museum and home of Pablo Neruda, a Chilean Noble prize winner .
In Chile I met a charming American lady called ‘Harinaam’ who has embraced Sikhism. She is well versed and surrendered to the will of God.
In Nashville, I got to see the 24 K gold piano of Elvis Presley! I met an old friend who owns an exquisite collection of stones. Hence I got to hold amongst other marvels, a 600 million year old dinosaur tooth.
On Christmas day I had wanted to attend Mass. Instead I got to see Lord Ganesh in a beautiful Temple, lovingly constructed by His Hindu devotees of Nashville.
I wonder what it is that makes traveling so exciting? Is it exploring new countries and cultures or is it all about having fun? I think it is a lot lot more! I think it is about the joy of exploring, basking in the love of the dear ones that you meet, and to rejoice upon the knowledge that the Almighty has given you an opportunity to savor His creation!