Do you believe in signs? I know I sure do. The start of my journey could not have played out any better than it has. When I was boarding my flight to Bogota from Miami, a Guru was in front of my and noticed my mala beads and said, "Namaste". I returned the blessing and we started talking. Turns out, the Ashram I was heading to was his! What are the odds!?
I was in total shock and at the same time reassured that the journey I was on was right. Guru Dave, or Swami B. A. Paramadvaiti, is such a humble, kind man that, when we arrived in Bogota ,I waited for him to walk through customs together. I was so interested in hearing more about him since our brief encounter before the flight had amazed me. While we waited for our bags, he invited me to lunch with him. I originally had a layover in Bogota for 5 hours until my flight to Pereira. I accepted his invitation and was amazed to see all who gathered for his arrival.
I had no idea just how important he was. But I soon learned that he was their spiritual master, and it was quite an honor to travel with him as I had. I was just being myself and excited for my adventure ahead! I gave the Swami my business card and even got a picture so I could show Krisna Siva, who was in charge of the Ashram I was heading to. Well, it turns out she was there waiting for the Guru's arrival and I instantly recognized her from the video. I felt so comfortable and at ease within moments of arriving in Colombia.
Before heading to lunch, Guru Dave had someone give me a flower necklace which was another big honor. He was driven to the restaurant and I went with Krisna Siva and a few others on the buses to the restaurant. We took 3 buses to get there, so I quickly learned the transit line. I couldn't believe how welcomed I was and how unexpectedly everything was happening. I thought I would be finding ways to entertain myself at the airport, but now I was adventuring around Bogota.
I was invited to join Guru Dave for lunch and ate across from him with Krisna Seva. It started sinking in how important he was when I noticed we were the only ones eating, and everyone else stood around to make sure there was nothing more the Swami could want or need. Guru Dave then explained his reason for his visit which was for an upcoming festival called 'Raices de la Tierra', and he invited me to join.
One of his Ashrams had been asked to host the event and provide the accommodation and food. The event was put on by Roots of Earth which had invited indigenous tribes from all over to come and meet for a closing ceremony. The purpose was to bridge together groups whose purpose was all the same in honoring and maintaining Mother Earth. I'm sure it was a shock for some of these tribes to see people from all over who were on the same mission to preserve the beauty of Mother Earth.
Accepting this invitation meant I was skipping my flight and completely changing my plans. I had no intention to stay in Bogota and wasn't 100% sure I wanted to lose the money I had spent on my flight, and then have to turn around and pay for a bus ticket to go to Pereira again. I first explained that I couldn't make it work and someone offered me a ride to the airport to catch my flight. On my way to the airport, I realized just how big of an honor it was for him to personally invite me, and I asked the driver to turn around because it would be silly not to stay.
Guru Dave was so gracious and happy I had changed my plans. That evening I went to a conference he was speaking at, and was again shocked by the turn-out of individuals or devotees who had come to see him. I had arrived on a holiday called 'Little Candles' day which is celebrated on Dec 7 & 8th in Colombia. After the conference, we marched the streets to Bogota town square. The streets where filled with people celebrating the holiday.
Once we arrived at Plaza De Bolivar, we began to light candles and sing Hare Krishina mantras. We sang and danced for a few hours. It was a blast and I felt so welcomed and included in the celebrations. I was pleased with my change of my mind to join in and excited for what the next few days had in store.
That night I ended up staying with Krisna Siva at her friend's apartment. The next day we attended another conference where Krisna Siva helped translate everything. Their mission aligned closely with mine which is to serve others and help make the world a better place. It felt good to change my plans and allow the journey to unfold as it should. I feel confident in what is to come because I know the universe will help me achieve it. Enjoy some pictures from the events described above.
Stay tuned, because I do plan on writing a post on all that I packed for my journey. I am not sure how often I will be blogging, but I am journaling, so when I get the chance I will update everyone as well. Thanks again for following along. Namaste!