Mysticism in an Indian Bazaar

by Brandon Edward on April 6, 2011

I’ve avoided speaking much on matters of faith here at freewheelings.  You might expect my views to be somewhat unconventional and I imagine that they are.  It’s hard to tell what another individual truly believes and how those beliefs manifest themselves in their experiences.  I’m about to give it a whirl.  To underscore the importance of the story that I’m about to tell I feel as though it is time to delve gently into some aspects of my personal beliefs.  Hold on to your hat.

I believe that religion, like all aspects of the universe, is cyclical.  We started out an animistic race, moved then to polytheism and on to monotheism.  I have little doubt that the next evolution will be a scientific one.  A religion where we use technology to explain the world.   As that and perhaps other incarnations run their course we will find our way back to where we started, animism in some refined form.


I believe in the collective unconscious, a part of the mind that, while not directly available to us, holds the interconnected totality of experience.  My beliefs on the concept diverge from those of Jungian psychology in that I believe that both humans and animals as well as inanimate objects contribute to, and are affected by the collective unconscious.  I believe, like the animists did millennia ago, that the rivers and the rocks have a soul.   Their souls are intrinsically tied to my own and their experiences are available to me should I become wise enough to access them.  That collective experience, to me, is the fundamental truth of the universe.  God, if you must.

That’s my sermon for the day.  How does this all relate to an Indian Bazaar you ask?  Let me tell you.

I had one of the most enlightening experiences of my life sitting on a chia stand bench in the middle of a New Delhi bazaar.  It was almost as if for a split second I could see through time.  I could see generations.  I could see every foot that had pounded the ground into dust and the origin of every item being haggled for.  It was something in that particular crossroads of time that opened the door for me.  To this day I wish I could pinpoint it.  I could see the spice wallah’s great grandfather weaving through the city at dawn, making his way to the bazaar.  I could smell his saffron and turmeric, curry powder and cayenne peppers.  I could see the bazaar sprout from the plains and grow up in an instant.  I could hear the land telling its story of the people and the people telling their story of the land.  The hardships of drought, the bountiful crops and the celebrations of the monsoon all whispered their stories in my ear.

spice_walla Photo Credit Creative Commons Meanest Indian

All the noise of the contemporary bazaar for that moment stopped, all the movement.  It was just me and that bench amidst a sea of uninterpreted perception, a procession of thought imagery.  I had, for that moment, no question to pose to the universe and no quarrel.  For that split second I had tapped into what I believe to be the collective unconscious.

As quickly as it happened, the commotion of the bazaar returned like a freight train.  I sat there for some time in complete awe.  My life, my philosophy, my faith and my view of the world would be forever changed.  I’ve spent years and will probably spend the rest of my life chasing the undeniable truth I was shown in that split second of my existence.

This post is for Lonely Planet Blogsherpa Carnival #23 on Indian Bazaars



{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 epark430 April 7, 2011 at 10:16 pm

“Something magical has happened to me: like a dream when one feels frightened and creepy, and suddenly wakes up to the knowledge that no such terrors exist. I have wakened up.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
epark430 recently posted..pushbuttonkitty- @pseudopseudo that shit is pimp!

2 Claire April 8, 2011 at 5:11 am

You described your profound experience beautifully. Although I can’t say I have experienced anything like it, your sensory description helped me to imagine what you felt. It also reminded me of the timelessness that bazaars in India often emanate – Varanasi in particular, where you get a distinct sense that the tiny stall that has become moulded into the architecture over centuries was run by an ancient relative of the current owner, from the same sub-caste of people who have been selling corked bottles of perfume forever.
Claire recently posted..Rickshaw Art in a City Settled by God

3 Christy @ Technosyncratic April 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I really enjoyed reading about your spiritual views. I’m more or less agnostic/atheist, but certain (usually more earth-based) spiritual ideas resonate.

Your experience at the bazaar is beautifully described here – it was a pleasure reading! :)
Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Photo of the Week- Southwestern Mountain Range

4 Brandon April 9, 2011 at 10:54 am

Hey Claire, yes Varanasi is a very good place for dabbling in this kind of idea. There’s something there that is intrinsically timeless. I think it helps a lot when people are consciously directing their minds towards a spiritual awareness as they have been in Varanasi for thousands of years. I think that sort of collective energy builds up in a place over time and that abundance facilitates contact. We are capable of so much more than we realize.

Christy, I’m glad my story did resonate with you. Personally, I had to head out on a pretty big limb for this one. It’s tough to delve into aspects of one’s beliefs in a public forum like this. It means a lot to me that I was able to approach the subject in a manner that was interesting even for those with different opinions.

Thank you guys for stopping.


5 David @ Quillcards April 28, 2011 at 9:48 am

Well that is how it is – but then we get hungry and it is time to eat.

David @ Quillcards recently posted..Right Royal Ecards To Celebrate The Royal Wedding

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