Seeking Moksha in a Ford Fiesta
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Seeking Moksha in a Ford Fiesta is about an amazing 3,000-mile road trip through the heartland of India. Operating at multiple levels, the book is both about 21st century India at a cross roads and its ancient spiritual roots. The road trip is also the setting to explore issues relating to spirituality, particularly the idea of liberation (moksha) and bondage.
In January of 2014, the author travels to India from New Zealand with his wife to visit his spiritual mentor. Rather unexpectedly, they are taken on a ten-day road trip by their spiritual mentor in a borrowed car with another couple from Malaysia. Starting from Chennai in South India, the group travels through Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha before returning to Chennai. They visit ancient cities and temples, meet interesting people and have mishaps on the way.
The group gets lost in jungles, endures multiple breakdowns, is touched by the nobility of common folk, and gets a first-hand experience of mysticism and the extraordinary spiritual heritage of India. The author describes the hotels, the food and the astonishing serenity and beauty of parts of India untouched by economic development that they experience along the way.
The group visits the ancient cities of Kashi, Gaya and Puri. The author has a mind-blowing mystical experience at the ancient Shiva Temple in Kashi (Benares) and discovers from first-hand experience why Kashi is so special and sacred for the Hindus. The group witnesses fiery-eyed devotees of Shiva in Kashi, watches Buddhist monks meditating under the Bodhi Tree in Gaya and encounters a horrible Hindu priest at the famous Jagannath Temple in Puri.
The author sees 21st century India at a cross roads. Poor governance, rampant corruption, poor roads, awful infrastructure, environmental pollution, extremes of wealth and poverty raise questions about India’s progress since it independence from British rule in 1947. There is widespread cynicism but also a clamour for change. There is optimism among the people as the country is poised for change in government.
The book is also about the challenges that a genuine spiritual mystic faces in 21st century India. At the start of the trip, the author’s spiritual mentor is disillusioned because there are few takers for what he genuinely wants to give – how to attain liberation from worldly life and be happy. People are more interested in material wealth, marriage partners, children, jobs, promotion, better health and a comfortable life. The author finds his practical philosophy refreshingly modern yet rooted in the ancient wisdom traditions of India.
The author discovers that God is not an entity or being that you are ever likely to meet face-to-face. It is just another name for the inherent goodness within each of us. Moksha or liberation is just getting in touch with the goodness or God within and cheerfully facing life with all its ups and downs. The key to happiness and contentment may not lie in material wealth, religious scriptures or relationships. It is acquiring freedom within. The wisdom traditions of India suggest a way to attain it.
The author concludes that life has no purpose other than just experiencing life. As the ancient Indians, including the Buddha, discovered long time back, our goals, aspirations, desires and expectations can entangle us in misery and sorrow. We are all wayfarers and the journey is our destination.

Publicado: Venkataraman Nilakant el