My very serious and deeply spiritual guide in Bikaner

bikaner tour guide (2) (533x800).
Cow Sanctuary
We were talking about the sacred cows of Bikaner and the history behind it.  I told my guide what my friend said in Pune; that once the cows/buffalos got too old to be useful they were sold to Muslims for slaughter.

Maybe that happens in large cities like Pune and Mumbai where people have lost their faith, but that would never happen in Northern India.  Here we have veterinary hospitals and sanctuaries for them.  When they get too old they go to the sanctuaries so they won’t die alone.  Some are blind, deformed, sick, some are dying.  If they can walk, they walk the fields.  If they are blind, we put a male and female together so they can comfort each other.

Each morning I get up my wife makes chapati. The first one goes to a cow.  Every morning a large bull knocks on our door with his horns.  We open the door and give him his chapati. We give the second to a street dog.  Only then will we sit down to eat.  Almost everyone in Rajasthan is a vegetarian; we understand the value of life.

lifes end (800x477)

The small streets of Old Bikaner
An old woman is asking my guide for money. There is a brief spoken exchange then he takes money out of his wallet and gives it to her. I watch, conflicted.

I tell him all of my guides have told me not to give money to panhandlers, that most can work and are lazy.  A number of guides were annoyed at me for giving money to them, and told me I was feeding the cycle of laziness and poverty.

They told me how mothers make their children look especially pitiful and make them walk the streets to beg. By giving money, I was encouraging mothers to continue this practice. These children will never go to school and the cycle continues.

He looks very seriously into my eyes and tells me, “Here in Rajasthan, everyone works very hard. If you don’t, you cannot survive in the desert.  There are very few beggars here because of this. If they are begging here, it is because they have no other choice.”

street vendor bikaner (800x533)

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About EssentialYoga Studio

Roberta has been practicing yoga since 1988 and has been teaching yoga since 1994. She has trained under master yoga teachers Swami Padmananda, Patricia Walden, Manouso Manos, Father Joe Pereira, Zoë Stewart, Karin Stephan, Liz Owen and others. She continues to study with her Iyengar teachers, Patricia Walden and Peentz Dubble. Roberta has studied yoga at the Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Memorial Institute in Pune, India during June 2011, February 2014 and attended Abhijata's intensive in Pune, India December 2016. Roberta is currently enrolled in Peentz Dubble's two year Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training Program. Additionally, Roberta completed training and certification with Elise Browning Miller as 'Yoga for Scoliosis' instructor. She completed a 500 hour Hatha Yoga Certification program with AURA Wellness Center and is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500. She has been a Certified Meditation Teacher since June 2007 and has been an Usui Reiki Practitioner since 1989. Roberta's Personal Practice Philosophy: Health issues have changed and deepened my practice. You will see many photos of me using a variety of props. On days I don't feel well, instead of saying, "I can't practice today", Iyengar Yoga has taught me to say, "How can I practice today".
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3 Responses to My very serious and deeply spiritual guide in Bikaner

  1. Juleann says:

    I especially like the top photo and the one of the cow is very dear.

  2. Richard Hudak says:

    Reblogged this on The Considered Kula and commented:
    I know the people who will not give money to the homeless because they will just spend it on booze, or because they see it as prolonging this “lifestyle.” I have no time for absolutes, seeing everything as dependent on context. I think this story is instructive.

    Beyond that, I am impressed with the reverence for life even among the poorest people. We should be taught by this.

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