His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has touched many a hearts and changed the lives of numerous people across the world with his kind words of wisdom and blessings. One such heart was mine.
It was an early Sunday morning when most of the world was still in bed, I hurriedly woke up for a very important meeting. My 15-year-old son, Rahim, with whom we usually struggle every morning, was up and ready even earlier than me on this special day.
I had no idea what my morning was going to be like and went entirely without any preparation. Normally, as a media person, I would have to seek special permissions, but here I was by invitation to the National Police Academy where His Holiness was residing during his short stay in Hyderabad.
I had just heard that there were many events organised the day before within the Academy and I was wondering what my meeting would be like.
The long car journey from home pushed me into deep thoughts like I’ve seldom had. The road wound up to a small hill top inside the academy, leading us into the Rajasthani style house. It was an astonishing site. I truly thank all those, including the security personnel, who made us comfortable in the lawns overlooking the nearby lake.
As I sat waiting, I thought to myself, what was I going to say to His Holiness when I see him. What would the meeting be all about? I was constantly questioning myself but at the same time knew that all the answers would fall into place when I met him. The call had come, I walked up the few steps and His Holiness came out of his chambers. It almost felt like he was coming to receive us. There was a soft ray of sunshine falling on him, and I distinctly remember the aura surrounding him. As I walked up to him, I was introduced by name and what I do. His Holiness held my hand at that very first moment in the front porch. I was speechless, the smile on his face had me mesmerised.
I don’t know what happened to me. I introduced my son, Rahim, to him. His energy reverberating through his touch. It was like I was stuck to a magnet.
He turned back, gently taking me to the chambers, gesturing to his secretary and all the others to turn on the lights, fan, and air-conditioner. I was seated right next to His Holiness, his hand still holding mine. I realised he knew that I needed this more than anything in the world.
He gradually made me relax and comfortable as he began to share a few things about himself. I am writing here, sharing just a few of the words that I recall, during the half hour that he spoke. He told me that his given name was Mongolian and somehow that brought a smile on my face. He also mentioned about his childhood and education together with his brother, whose son is the present personal secretary of the office of His Holiness. He also spoke about the gruelling task of 20 years of reading and educating himself to be a monk, and the further 10 years in climbing the ladder of spirituality.
One of the dignitaries present in this impromptu meeting praised him as being a living God, which he refuted, pleasantly explaining that he was as normal as you and I, just a living Buddha. He also shared his views about his predecessors, taking a few prompts from his nephew. He indicated that his favourite Dalai Lama’s were the first three, Gendün Druppa, Gendun Gyatso, and Sonam Gyatso, whose works and teaching he considered to be his motivation.
There was then a little saddening in his voice, as he mentioned being a refugee in our country. When he arrived in India, he cherished meeting with the then President Radhakrishnan, whose intellectual abilities astonished India’s newly arrived guest. He truly liked and respected both him and the Vice President and enjoyed having light hearted conversations with them too. He indicated that his 20 to 30 years of education as a monk with its various traditions, helped him. As he sees it now, it was President Radhakrishnan who was the most influential person to keep the hopes and dreams of every Tibetan alive.
There was a time, he said, when he was given plenty of butter and milk as adjuvants in Tibetan medicine. At one point, however he came to a stage where his body turned yellow. He jokingly said that he was like a yellow Buddha for a while. He praised Tibetan medicine of which he was an ardent supporter. However, unfortunately the problem could not be treated with Tibetan medicine and he had to undergo gall bladder removal surgery two years ago. He then laughed at being a living Buddha without a gall bladder.
His Highness, though 81, said his age may show in his body, but his mind was getting sharper by the day. He reiterated that his mind was getting sharper, and stressed on faith with logic. His eyes on the clock, with gestures from his nephew, he chose to wrap up the meeting. Time for me had stood still. He invited the photographer and there I was still magnetised. I stepped out to the veranda, where he clasped my hand again and stressed his last words to me – “A purpose to serve, a purpose to love and share.”
With this he released my hand and I felt a renewed purpose in my life.
His Holiness has probably influenced millions of lives with his words of peace and love. I took back with me, like everyone who has met him and spent time with him, not just the blessings from a monk preaching peace, love, and harmony, but a tremendous energy, purpose, and caring for all of those around me. - Huma Latif