This is my most intimate post and has been kept as a draft for long, as my intention with this blog is to do my best to defend Dharma, and my personal life is not important at all. I only want to be a vehicle of Him. But somehow, I felt that it could be good to post it.
When I was fourteen years old, spirituality had already come to be my most important quest to solve, though I didn´t know to name it. Some time later, when my friends used to start skipping the sunday´s mass of the church because they were finding it boring, I started skipping it because what they were telling in the church was not resonating inside of me. I was finding a sort of imbalance between what I was feeling inside and all my catholic atmosphere. Still I didn´t know what exactly was going wrong. So I started having queries and asking all sorts of priests, including of cults but nobody was able to respond. No matter the religion, they systematically sorted out all my unresponded questions saying “it is a matter of faith”. So I starting craving myself for an experience of God. Faith in Him by what I had been told by others, was not enough for me.
Later on, I started practicing yoga and meditation, but I discontinued attending the classes. Although I was with one of the most knowledgeable teachers of Yoga in Spain, and he gives classes in a relatively authentic way, there was a ceiling in his classes that I wanted to go through: as he wanted to satisfy everybody, atheists and christians, there was no mention of things that were dormant in me waiting to be awaken. I was literally craving for God.
At that time, I had already started the study of Hinduism and Buddhism. India was awaking for me, and inside of me, and I had to manage in myself the strange sensation of somebody who had never been to India in this life, with an increasing attraction towards it that was becoming an obssession. In short: I was not understanding myself at all!.
For certain reasons and with all my respects, what I could understand from Buddhism was not fully convincing to me. And I would be satisfied only with something that convinced me 100%. By that time I started thinking of Lord Shiva as if He was calling me…I was near madness….why all of this is happening to me? I started needing to know daily about India, looking for the indian news, reading books related to India and Hinduism. The theory of reincarnation became the only possible response for my obsession. “I must have been Indian, and not very long time ago”. So I consulted an Indian astrologer: for if there was something he could say about me that explained what was happening to me: my strong spiritual pull had a reason, as these were his words: My inner mind does say that you have lived one of your earlier lives in India and that too in a place by the side of the Holy Ganges. The exact place I am not able to say, but the image of a pious Indian lady performing spiritual practices by the banks of the Ganges flashes across when I tried to regress and find your past life (of course, we all have had many previous lives and I do not know which birth of yours you lived in India; but you lived in India once in an previous incarnation…that is for sure).
This was my first satisfying explanation for my attraction for India and for Ma Ganga, though still pending to discover what is there for me in the continuous beckoning that I feel from Varanasi.
In the meantime, my love for Lord Shiva kept increasing and He naturally became my Ishta Devata, gifting me with fulfilling experiences regarding Him: I owe Him my life, and my now absolute certainty of “the existence of God”, as our inner nature and the permeating nature of the whole existence. I quote here the words of a Guru, Shri J.P.Vaswani in his book “Why do good people suffer?” because it fully tallies with my own experience:
“The question remains – What is God? Can God be seen and contacted and talked to? – Those very questions haunted the mind of young Narendra (Swami Vivekananda), and he asked Shri Ramakrishna – “Have you seen God?” Quick came the reply from the Saint – “Yes, I have seen God. I see Him more clearly than I see you!”
Narendra was not yet convinced. He asked – “Can I see God?”
“Yes”, replied the Saint. “Everyone can see God”. Then, after a minute´s silence, the Saint said – “But where are they who are eager to see God? Men weep for women and women weep for men. Boys shed jugful of tears for girls and girls shed tears for boys. Where are they who shed tears in love and longing for the Lord? Verily, this I say to you, if you will but weep for the Lord with deep yearning in your heart, God will surely reveal Himself to you!”.
We shed tears for the things which the world gives and the world takes away. We weep for our dear and near ones who belong to a world of transience. In this world nothing abides! Everything, -every form, – is as a bubble floating on the surface of water. One moment it is: another moment has vanished! Alone God is! Blessed is the person whose heart is filled with pure love and longing for the Eternal Lord. A mark of this love is tears. When your eyes shed tears for the love of God, He is not from you afar. Just as the reddening of the skies at dawn is a sure sign that the sun is about to rise, even so the reddening of the eyes by tears of pure love and longing for His vision is a sure sign that the Lord will soon appear to you. Tears cleanse the stained mirror of the heart and enable you to behold the Beauteous Face of the Beloved therein!”
Truly, if one craves for Bhagavan, Bhagavan listens. When we walk one step towards Him, he walks seven steps towards us. And I can testify that this is true. I would said that even the feeling of craving for Him is He Himself showing how to tear up the veils of ignorance and reach Him, who is the tiniest and the greatest, the closest and at the same time everywhere.
I just waited for an opportunity to visit India, but I wanted an spiritual journey, not a tourist one. How could it happen?. But it happened: Lord Shiva provided the right circumstances and I first visited Tamil Nadu, when I had a beautiful humble experience with a couple of sadhus in the premises of a wonderful temple: we didn´t share any communication tool, but the eyes and the smile. So pulled by an strange and daring force, I stopped in front of them, did pranams to them, smiled at them, and was gifted with the purest of the smiles from them that talked to me of shared Divine joy.
Some time later, I traveled to West Bengal. In both the places I felt at home. I mentioned in the first posts that when I have been in India, I felt something that I had never felt before anywhere else: a perfect osmosis and balance between what it is “inside” this skin, and the outside. Invisible sparks in the air. The opportunity to go to West Bengal arose several times, including pilgrimages to spiritual spots, known like Darkshineswhar, the sacred place of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, where I had a fabulous spiritual experience, and other places not so known that were equally satisfying for my thirsty aspirations. Here I found the second explanation to my “Indian feelings”: a reliable tantrik studied my case and came to the following conclusion, more or less he told me these words: “I had to work on your case for one week, such is the overwhelming information I am getting from you and your connections with India, and especially with this place, in West Bengal: you have been living in this area just your previous incarnation: you were a lady living in a village, loved by your neighbours, a staunch devotee of Shiva who used to worship Him in one of the temples of the village. You made a promise to Shiva, that could not fulfill because you died before. This is the reason why Shiva is so important for you in this life”.
Now everything started to make sense to me. I am an Indian deep inside of me, a Hindu Indian, disguised in western garments. And that is exactly how I feel in this very life: more indian than spanish…though I am far in several fields to fit the indian in me, as long as the influences of growing up in a western atmosphere are too powerful. But I don´t identify myself neither with westerners, nor even with hindu westerners, but obviously cannot consider myself an indian, though it is how I feel. My personal spiritual path has had much to do with unveiling my western influences, letting it be the indian in me, for finally trascending any human identification in search of the One and Only Real Identification: that with the Brahman.
So to respond to the question of the title, “Why did I become Hindu?” I would say: because I already was a Hindu before, and my beloved Shiva brought it back to my memory. Hindu, a modern name for a Sanatan Dharmi, or a Vaidik, is someone who realises and acknowledges that the Universe functions according to certain Universal Laws, and tries to comply with them as much as possible by being Dharmic (pls see the posts numbers 3. and 4.). Sanathan Dharma is the Eternal Path, this scientific way in which the Universe functions. It has responded all my vital questions and erased my distressing doubt about the existence of the Divine, because remembering my true spiritual nature (which is the same spiritual nature in all), has brought back harmony to my life: the harmony of tracking the path of Truth towards the Divine in all, this means flowing with the current of the Universe. And I feel extremely blessed and grateful.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!