My Bro Vishal in Mumbai

I arrived in Mumbai yesterday.  Unbelievable how far India is from home.  I was exhausted upon arrival, but got in a good night sleep.  Then this morning, I invited the only other two friends who arrived here early, Tone and Karin, to join me in a day out with Vishal Gupta.  We had a fantastic day!

In Vishal's car, on the way to the Shiva Temple with Karin and Tone.

In Vishal’s car, on the way to the Shiva Temple with Karin and Tone.

I met Vishal a few years ago at the Maha Kumbha Mela.  At that time Vishal told me he firmly believed it was no coincidence that we met one another.  We spent a lot of time talking about spirituality and have kept in touch since that time.  Interesting conversations continued today in Mumbai.

Vishal is a criminal attorney, but he also has two other degrees, one of them in engineering.  In addition, he has 4 diplomas (one of them in IT).  He is a member of Mensa International.  What I will write here, as briefly as I can while my roommate tries to get some sleep!, is that, at one point in his life, Vishal had reached a crisis after 6 years of depression.  Things were not looking good for Vishal, so he dug deeply into a spiritual life. That is how he survived.  Not only has he found happiness, but he has spent the last 17 years writing a book on happiness.  The book is due out Autumn 2016.

Vishal is a deeply spiritual man, extremely generous, knowledgeable and kind!

Here are some Vishal-isms from today that are still swimming in my jet-lagged brain:

God will take care of the criminals.  (To which Karin said, “I’d really like to see you in trial!)

The mind is like a monkey who is drunk, bitten by a scorpion, and possessed by a ghost!

No, you can’t control your busy mind, but you can transcend it.

If you keep thinking about malaria, you will get it!

Unhappiness arises out of discontent.

Vishal generously took us to many places today and really took care of us!

Prasad (offering) to be given to various dieties at the Shiva Temple

Prasad (offering) to be given to various deities at the Shiva Temple. 

We had an incredible experience at the Shiva Temple.  We got to go in and meditate at this ancient place of surging power.  Instantly, the mind went into infinity mode!  That is the only way I can explain how it felt to be there.  We got to pour milk and water over the Shiva Lingam, symbol of creation and creative force, and showered it with flowers.  A priest blessed us and Karin’s broken wrist stopped hurting while we were there.  Definitely hard to put to words.

Can't believe I caught this photo of Sleeping Man near the temple

Sleeping Man near the Shiva Temple. He reminds me of Vishnu in repose, lying over Ananta, dreaming up the world.

Vishal poses with Karin and Tone at the Shiva Temple

Vishal poses with Karin and Tone at the Shiva Temple

The Shiva Temple is one of the oldest temples in Mumbai.  The scaffolding made me kind of nervous.  Yes, workers climb up on this bamboo scaffolding for renovations!

The Shiva Temple is one of the oldest temples in Mumbai. The scaffolding made me kind of nervous. Yes, workers climb up on this bamboo scaffolding for renovations!

Ganesha

Ganesha, remover of obstacles

Largest Spiritual Bookstore in Mumbai.  One day soon Vishal's book on the Happiness will be sold here!

Largest Spiritual Bookstore in Mumbai. One day soon Vishal’s book on the Happiness will be sold here! Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, founded in 1938.

Market: Leaf paintings

Market: Leaf paintings

After the bookstore and market, we had lunch at Soam, a beautiful restaurant where food is served on plates set upon banana leaf place mats.  We had foods I have never had before:

Dahi Batata (potato and chick pea balls served with cream)

Channa

Panki (something cooked in a banana leaf, green and meaty though everything was vegetarian)

Puri (puffed bread)

Khichudi (a type of pulse or lentil bean porridge)

Really, I can’t begin to explain what the food tasted like.  It was fresh and delicious and unlike anything I have ever had before.  All was vegetarian.

We also shopped at FabIndia!  Wow is all I can say.  Gorgeous fabrics and designs and I will have to take a photo of me in my new outfit.  It is beautiful!

Museum

Prince of Wales Museum..Now here was a museum I could have spent hours in.  Two hours was NOT enough time!  The modern name for the museum is Shatrapati Shiva Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya!

Outside of the museum

Outside of the museum

Taj Hotel

View looking down from the second story of the museum.

Fabulous Stairway at the Taj Hotel

Fabulous Stairway at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and Tower.  This is taken looking up the stairway. Just sitting here in the lobby felt like sheer luxury!

Taj Hotel

Taj Hotel

Below, the Arabian Sea.  We sat looking at this, drinking fresh pressed pineapple juice and watermelon juice, from the Radio Club.  The Radio Club is a private club where Vishal has a membership and where he swims and plays badminton regularly:

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