Memory Trigger. 5 – TM, The Beginning.

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In my post Religion Vs Spirituality you will find a new commentator Sultan.  Please do read his comments.

Sultan is among my close friends. His family including his in laws and mine were very closely linked when we lived in Bombay at the same time. After that, both of us have lived in different places and he has retired to Mumbai as it is now known and I to Pune. His family home in Patna was my home whenever I went there and even during Ramzan, his mother who kept roza would cook meals for me so that I did not have to fast with them. I am family for them as are Sultan, his lovely wife Farida and daughter Shehla are to me.

Sultan has been an enigmatic atheist all his life. Enigmatic, because he is also an Al Haj. Al Haj is one who has performed the Haj more than once in his lifetime.  Sultan has done it so many times that he has forgotten how many. He has also performed the Umrah any number of times. Being an atheist and all this? The mystery is in his Indianness. He lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for decades before he returned to retire to India and all his family members and Muslim friends wanting to perform either Haj or Umrah would depend on his hospitality and escorting to do those. A remarkable fellow really, with so much patience and affection.

This atheist friend was a Consultant teaching Indian companies productivity in the seventies before he took off to the KSA. It was a time when I was burning the candle at both ends in Bombay and Sultan suggested that I try Transcendental Meditation to get my act together. He had attended some lectures given by a TM Instructor during the process of his consultancy work and felt that I would benefit. Off I went to learn and that was the beginning of my spiritual path. That nudge from this atheist friend took a trajectory of its own and while he continues to be an atheist, I have changed. It has had no effect on our friendship though.

His comments on my blog post for the first time ever, took me down memory lane to his family, Patna, and also my tryst with meditation and all that involved. And most importantly, the nostalgia took me to how Sultan and I met. That is another story waiting to be told at a different time.

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14 Responses to Memory Trigger. 5 – TM, The Beginning.

  1. tammy j says:

    a fascinating post rummy.
    i always appreciate your links in a post like this. it helps my education!
    i read them both fully. about the hajj and the umrah.
    when i look at the vast multitudes of the hajj and think that they each have to sacrifice an animal… if indeed they do that… i am devastated. that is not too strong a word i think. i could never kill an animal. i just couldn’t.
    so the lesser pilgrimage … the umrah… i could do. that almost sounds sacrilegious i guess to a muslim. to ‘pick and choose’ that way. but i know myself.
    i’ve never understood how KILLING something is an honor to God. or Allah. or whomever. it is not kindness in my way of thinking. killing people. OR animals.

    and another purely secular thought that i’m ashamed to admit but always do wonder about…
    in HUGE amounts of crowds like that… WHERE do all those myriads of people go to the bathroom???

    i do remember when TM became a mainstream practice here for many. and yes. all the celebrities that visited india and brought their ‘enlightenment’ back! LOL!
    and as in all things… america turned a lovely spiritual practice into a media-fraught FAD. and now you rarely hear of it anymore. sad really.
    and lastly. i like your friend sultan.
    tammy j recently posted..moving on old bean

    • Being a vegetarian, you can imagine my own thoughts on the animal sacrifice, but for those that believe, it is part of their very being and as long as they are comfortable with it, I let them have that faith. Yes, Sultan is a very likeable fellow.

  2. Hi Ramana:
    As each individual finds his or her own path to peace, I seem to find peace in the age old Sanskrit recitations with a mixture of deep meditation and fire rituals ( homams ). I am sure there are other ways to reach peace also.

  3. Another touching story. Thank you.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Headed South

  4. Big John says:

    This old atheist was educated at a Church of England school, and believe it or not, I have a General Certificate for Religious Education. So, at some time I must have taken religion seriously. Now, I have no idea why ! I guess living in the ‘real world’ for so long and seeing how, throughout history, so many of the faithful carried out the most appalling acts in the name of some deity or other, and how the masters of religious ‘mumbo-jumbo’ came to control the masses, made me turn away from what I believe to be superstitious nonsense. This is not to say that I do not uphold the right of everyone to believe whatever they feel happy with, so long as they do no harm to others and don’t come knocking on my door trying to ‘save’ me.
    Big John recently posted..A constitutional crisis or just another ‘cock-up’ ?

    • I am entirely with you. When I do get people wanting to save me visiting me, I invite them in with one condition; that they give me the same amount of time that they will take of mine to listen to them. When they ask why, I tell them that I need only that much time to convince them of their erroneous ways and to reconvert them to Hinduism. They inevitably scoot.

  5. Big John says:

    Oops ! … ‘they’ feel happy with.
    Big John recently posted..A constitutional crisis or just another ‘cock-up’ ?

  6. interesting viewpoints – thanks for the insights…

  7. Mother says:

    Interesting! TM was my was certainly not my introduction to the spiritual realm since I was raised in a very religious AND spiritual family (fundamentalist Christian in the early years). My parents each loosened their hold on fundamentalism as they grew older and still retained profound faith. I join them in the profound faith but veered off into the buffet of spiritual learning. TM was my first new course. My husband and I went through training along with our four children who were so young that they were trained in walking meditation. It certainly changed my life and gave me a great opening into the practices of meditation that I still enjoy.
    Mother recently posted..Chasing the Super Moon

    • I have come across many people who started off their meditation practices with TM and either stayed with it or moved on to different techniques. I eventually moved on to Vipassana which is what I practice now.

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