Traveller's Tales


The Base Chakra

In the old days when I was a child, about twelve years of age, if I remember correctly, we were going on a journey, my father, mother, my brother and myself. This was quite an unusual occurrence for my family. We were going to see my father’s brother, my old uncle. He was unwell and not likely to live much longer. A messenger had come to bring us news of him. Father decided we should all go and ‘Raja’, my horse, could do the carrying. The journey would take two days and we had to take food and water to last us. We would stop overnight in one of the villages along the route and stay with my aunt when we arrived.

When at last everything had been gathered and packed, and then repacked by my mother, who said father had no idea how to pack belongings, especially his own, we set off. It was before dawn. We had to travel in the cooler part of the day and rest when it became too hot. As we walked along, smelling the air and listening to the waking sounds of the birds, my father told us about a journey he made as a boy. He said that thieves had set upon the travelling party. He calmed our anxious looks by saying that life had been much harder in those days and that many poor people had been obliged to rob and steal for their survival. These times were better, robbers had not been heard of for at least thirty years in these parts.

He told us how thieves had taken everything, the mules, the horses, the food, and even the water. It had been a very dangerous situation to find oneself in. My father, just a lad of ten had cried bitterly. His mother had comforted him saying:

“This is bad, it is true, but do not fear. We always try to do our best for each other and for the Lord Krishna. Let us pray to him and surely he will look after us. Let us ask him for water and food since that is all we truly need to survive. At least our lives have not been prematurely taken away from us.”

“So we all stood facing the sun and asked God for his help and succour in our time of trouble. Then we continued our journey. A lone horseman who was a water carrier passed us after an hour or so and gave us enough water to last until the next settlement. There we made contact with some people who knew my uncle and who held him in very high regard. They furnished us with all we needed for the rest of the journey. We were very glad to be of assistance to their family later on in the year when their daughter needed to stay in our village. So we all survived with God’s grace, but it’s a strange feeling to have your life apparently in danger. You realise how strongly you want to cling to it and how much you love the earth and all that dwells on it.”

My father entertained us with several more stories on our thankfully uneventful journey. I was relieved to arrive at my uncle’s village safely, nevertheless, and I was even more relieved to get back home at the end of our little adventure.