Around The World Tour-2
Pravin Vaghani - Photo by Unusha Vaghani
Our World Tour
14 June 2006 to 30 September 2006
USA, Uk, Germany, India, Singapore
Pravin & Manjula Vaghani
(This is a 32 part travel-diary, originaly written in Gujarati)
As per the rule written in Purana, the idol or holy place you are circumambulating has to be on your right side as you walk. Then only will you get the Punya (Merit points) for doing it. But how do you keep the round earth on your right side when you are actually travelling on it and mot around it ? So there is a answer for this also. The sun rises in the East. It is a religious custom to worship the rising sun. So it was decided, I believe, to go towards east to circumambulate the earth.
Around The World In Eighty Days
Now here is the fascinating story at its tangent. If you have read the novel ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ by Jule Verne or seen the movies, you will notice that the hero travelled around the world going east. In Bhagvad Gita, Shri Lord Krishna says that, ‘knowingly or unknowingly, believing or not believing, voluntarily or involuntarily, whatever deed you perform or are made to perform, the resultant award will be gifted to you.’ The hero of this novel had performed a true circumambulation of the earth, travelling eastward, thus acquiring great merit and so The Universal Life Force had rewarded him by an extra day which was not included in his calculation and he won the race.
Travel in Comfort and Style
Today, circumnavigation of the earth does not need a feathered peacock nor does it impose the hardship suffered by the hero of ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’. Today, one does not need to carry the special milk-chapati (‘Thepla’ in Gujarati), the long-life dry purees and young-mango pickles; one does not need to carry one’s own bedding in the form of a roll-on mattress and sheet(Those who have carried such bedding with them will recall the bitter-sweet memories; but I may write about it another time.) and stay in free accommodation called Dharmashala (Charity House – like YMCA). We can now hire a seat in a winged chariot, can stay in luxury hotels with all mod cons and can eat in restaurants. Of course, doing it this way may not contribute as much to accumulation of merit as a walking tour ! But we have now stopped counting this since the aim of a world tour is no longer the accumulation of merit. The store of merit is for the hereafter and for the joy and comfort in the next life.
We want to see it (the world), know it and make merry in this life and through it fill our minds with enjoyment and rejoice in the pleasure and joy (of travel). Our world tours now include a lot to see: temples, churches, mosques, monuments, ruins, rivers, canals, bridges, mountains, waterfalls, old and new buildings, small and tall buildings, functional and non-functional buildings, shopping centers, clubs, casinos, restaurants, cafes, statues, museums, theatres, gardens, woods, deserts, beaches, magic shows, dance performances, plays, comedies etc. etc. We see things worth seeing and things not worth seeing to ascertain that they are not worth seeing. After learning something, we say ‘I knew that’ and sometimes decide that something was essential knowledge but forget it later anyway. After experiencing something, we are filled with joy while sometimes we feel disgusted. And all such memories – sweet or bitter – become an inseparable part of our life and our passage through life. The more someone travels, the richer their life becomes; their ability to think, their understanding, their tolerance, their generosity and their intelligence grows and develops. One can say that this is a journey towards becoming a true and whole human being. Travel, tour, pilgrimage and picnic are all like nectar of life. They give us superb health.
We had been thinking of going on a world tour for three years. Twice we had got as far as the planning and booking stage when we had to postpone it for some reason. This year, 2006, while we were in Dubai in March-April, we started planning our tour. We sent an email to our travel agent in Melbourne. We were informed that the cheapest round-the-world tour allows five stops and is restricted to certain airlines. Added stop-over adds to costs.
Something like if you hire a priest, the more he chants, the more you have to pay.