The Mind and Driving in India

“Yoga citta vrtti nirodhah” is the Golden Rule of yoga. Basically, it’s saying the turbulent mind must be restrained for us to grasp reality and achieve happiness. It is the main thing I’m working on at yoga school.
Just hours after I arrived after about 20 hours of flying, over 7,000 miles from Chicago, I caught a cab at Indira Gandhi Airport in Delhi Next, I would take a taxi from Delhi to Rishikesh. The 230-kilometer (142-mile) ride took approximately 5 ½ hours to complete. The mode of driving reminded me of those chase scenes in American cinema, with cars weaving in and out traffic, pedestrians barely escaping with their lives, and every other mile coming this close to head-collisions. Cows, monkeys, dogs, camels and horses—most them freely moving about—also played into the mix.

Honking horns is the rule, not the exception. Honking the horn is not belligerent as it sometimes is the United States, but is a reminder to Other Drivers of my existence of the road. With the virtual non-existence of speed enforcement and clearly defined lanes, beeping the horn is the major mode of communication. (The lack of enforcing rules is the libertarian dream of no regulation playing out in front of me).

Up to three people fit on rather small motorcycles. Sometimes children will sit on the handlebars or like a piece of cheese between her two parents. Most women passengers don’t straddle the bike; instead they ride sidesaddle with an arm around the driver’s waist. Women look comfortable and relaxed, like they’re sitting on a veranda somewhere. In addition to not wearing helmets for the most part, Indian motorcyclists have also picked up the horrible habit of texting while they’re driving. I also observed several them piling up loads of merchandise on top of them so much so I could not see the driver beneath it all. Not surprisingly, each day approximately 377 people die in road incidents in India, which is the world’s highest mortality rate, so the laissez-faire is not effective.

The drive from Delhi to Rishikesh is just like my mind: turbulent. Now that I’ve reached Rishikesh, it’s time to realize that the turbulent inner life, like the turbulent outer life, can end up in calamity unless restrained. I hope before long that I finally learn how to navigate my mind by regulating it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *