Summit University Comes to Darjeeling, Part 3

By Revs. Jaspal Soni and Lois Drake

This is the third and final installment of the ongoing coverage of the India pilgrimage and the Summit University in Darjeeling. The three-week long trip began on September 9 and consisted of three consecutive travel legs—one leg for each week: Leg 1 for Darjeeling; Leg 2 for the tri-cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur; and Leg 3 for Varanasi and Bodh Gaya.

Leg 1 included spending the first week (September 10-15) in Darjeeling and attending the Summit University seminar, The Path of the Eastern Adept, and visiting neighborhood sight-seeing locations. The second Leg (September 16-24) involved visiting several historical monuments in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and making calls for the transmutation of ancient records.

The last two issues of the El Morya’s Garden highlighted major points of Legs 1 and 2. During the third and final Leg, which spanned from September 25-October 1, the pilgrims visited the holy city of Varanasi located on the banks of the River Ganges.

Varanasi sightseeing
Varanasi sightseeing

Varanasi, on the Ganges RiverWe arrived by the riverside just before the sunset and rode in two boats in time for the Hindu priests to begin the ritual of worshiping Ganges by singing Vedic hymns and using lighted candles. The ritual is called Aarti. The devotional sounds of chanting mantras and ringing bells along with the burning incense filled the atmosphere with an indescribable energy of peace and holiness. Early in the morning of the next day, we visited the Ganges River to watch the sunrise. It was nice to see people doing yoga, praying and taking baths in the Ganges.

We also paid homage to beloved Gautama by visiting the adjoining city of Sarnath where he gave his first sermon following the enlightenment.

Pilgrims at Bodh Gaya, India
Pilgrims assembled at Bodh Gaya, India

The final stop of the pilgrimage was in the city of Bodh Gaya where Gautama received the enlightenment. We visited the Bodhi Tree (a sibling of the original Bodhi Tree planted from Sri Lanka) and the beautiful temple with a golden dome which was built in front of the Tree. One could feel the radiation coming from the golden statue of beloved Gautama inside.

Buddha statue

We also saw the place where the Brahmin girl, Sujata, offered rice pudding to Gautama. Not too far from that place is the mountain where Siddhartha meditated for several years before mastering the path of the Middle Way.

Linda's birthdayWe also visited the Vulture Hill, the place where Buddha lived in a cave after being enlightened, and the Nalanda University ruins (located nearby), historical site of a huge library where beloved Padma Sambhava taught. We celebrated Linda Worobec’s birthday in Bodh Gaya. Happy birthday Linda!

In summary, it was a truly a pilgrimage of great import. Many pilgrims said so because they experienced spiritual transformations. And it was a life–changing experience for many. Below are a few testimonials from them:

I also have some special memories that will always stay with me. The Mother Flame was so vibrant and noticeable with all your preparations. Haven’t stopped talking how harmonious your group was and your plans are unfolding by the grace of God. (TP)

No word will be enough to express my gratitude. Once again, thank you for everything. Thanks and gratitude for having planted the flame of Mother India in my heart! (SB)

Thank you for the wonderful pictures and again for the Herculean job you did together with the other organizers to make this an unforgettable Summit University and journey. May God give you strength and inspiration to keep the Flame for the Masters burning in India. (MD)

Congratulations for a successful Summit University in India! I am using the Taj Mahal group photo as my desktop screen saver. More blessings and victories for Mother India! (SA)

Group India with Jaspal

We are highly grateful for all the prayers and decrees our readers have given on behalf of India. The angels have truly paved the way for this trip. You can see more pictures and read about our trip here:

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