Thursday, August 1, 2013

Integral being workshops at Budapest, Hungary

 Integral being is a set of three workshops – Good health, Freedom from Stress and Happiness & Beyond. It is fitting finale to offer all the three workshops, thank to Bogi, the AVIt coordinator of Hungary. It is  very inspiring to see Bogi balancing her many roles : Mother young Barnie, wife of Zsolti, Yoga instructor and workshop facilitator, translator and Coordinator of AVI, HU….. She does all these things with a sense of humor and nonchalantly; dividing her time between Auroville and Budapest. I was fortunate that she organized the workshops, filled as the translator and she and Zsolti took care of me in with such affection. Making friends with Barnie was one of the highlights of my visit to Budapest.
The events went very well and whatever trepidation I had  about translation turned out to be purely a figment of imagination, thanks to the extraordinary skills that Bogi has as translator.
I stayed in their charming community home in an eco-friendly collective on river Danube for the first couple of days and shifted to their flat in Budapest on the evening of Saturday as they were to leave to Serbia on Sunday afternoon (after the workshop) to conduct the first ever  AVI event in Serbia. On Saturday night, I lost my passport, along with some cash and credit & debit cards, while walking from the venue to the flat around 10 PM. This is one of those events that triggers stress, especially in a country where I don’t speak the native language. After the initial panic and letting it go, I experienced calmness and just being present in the moment. My doing and having were given by that being calm and collected. A bar-tender helped me by calling 112 to find out the address of the Police Station where I was to report the loss. One of his customers (who turned out to be a professor of mathematics) took me to the nearest metro station, bought my ticket and explained how to reach the Police Station. The Police Officer was very courteous and helpful and gave the address and phone numbers of the Indian Embassy and advised me to go back in a taxi from safety point of view.

  By the time I reached the flat, it was 1:30 PM and I rushed to a next door bar with Wi-Fi. But, they were closed. By the time I went to bed, it was 2PM and I slept almost immediately and slept well, thanks to one of the techniques that worked very well for me. I had to get up at 4AM to report the loss of the credit & debit cards and block them, apart from doing my morning Pranayama routine and preparation for the workshop. I handled all that, talked to my wife and walked to the venue in time to begin the workshop at the scheduled time of 9AM.  One of the reasons I love to do workshops is that it is like a game or performing art, with a heightened sense of presence. The experience was equally satisfying and fulfilling that day and my sense is that the workshop went just great!
 I thought I will go back to the flat, rest and organize myself. But, Bogi had other ideas. She gave me a nice lunch and drove me to the Indian Embassy, where we met Mr. Maji, the First Secretary. He was very courteous and helped me by giving the forms and told me what I need to bring for the issue of SVP (short validity passport). Then we went to the Immigration Department of Hungary and I was issued with temporary Identity card and was advised to come over the next day. Bogi also took me to the Kaleti Railway Station, where I was to take a train to Frankfurt the day after. Finally, she left me around 5PM to go to her family and leave to Serbia.

Like Bogi, everybody whom I met helped me and in a couple of days I was all set with a new passport, travel permit and a ticket to Bangalore directly from Budapest( I had to let go of my train ticket and Frankfurt-Bangalore flight ticket). The experience in the “Aliens” section of the Immigration Department was quite transformational for me. I was waiting in this small room along with illegal immigrants under detention. Some of them were apparently drunk and one of them was picking up quarrels. I did send a note to the officer requesting that I may be given an appropriate place to wait – for which I had no response.

Obviously, I was resisting what was and tried some of the acceptance processes, without much success. Then I remembered the Uttarapara speech of Sri Aurobindo. When he was in jail, he started seeing Vasudeva (God) in the jailer, the inmates of the jail and the iron rods of the gate of the jail. Just recollecting this inspirational story shifted something in my ‘being’ and I was calm and peaceful after that and could actually connect to the fellow occupants of the room as Human Beings. I could see the people behind the label “illegal immigrants´.  I had one day in Budapest for sightseeing and what beautiful city it is!  I was told that Hungarians were of Asian origin.  Soon after they settled down in this region, they were divested by Huns – killing more than 50% of the people, burning down whatever could be burnt and plundering the whole country. The king then invited Germans, Austrians and French to rebuild Hungary. This was perhaps the origin of why Hungarians look more European. Even after that Hungary had war torn past – conquered by Turks and liberated by Austrians who decided to stay, run over by Nazis and liberated by Soviets, who decided to make it into a communist country. The current Hungary is a fledgling nation of 20 years of freedom and is a testimony to the indomitable spirit of man and the burning light of freedom, equality and fraternity. I was very happy that Angie, a 25 year old young lady told me “we have no bitterness or animosity to any of them. In fact, I am grateful that the Turks gave us baths that led to tourism industry, the Austrians integrated us inot the Architecture and culture of Europe, The Germans gave us engineering capabilities and the Soviets helped to rebuild a war ravaged Hungary”. Wow, that is looking at the brighter side of things. It is source is the Divinity within us.
The experience in the Immigration Department and what Angie told me are the icing on the cake of my sojourn into the manifesting Human Unity. The icing was bitter at first bite but I am sure that there is a learning for me that helped me to grow.

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