My experience at the ICCS conference this year was deep and profound. It was a great honour to be able to be part of this.
Written By: Divya Prabha
My experience at the ICCS conference this year was deep and profound. It was a great honour to be able to be part of this. Gathering of elders from indigenous communities from around the world is probably one of the greatest things that can be done in the present time for not just bringing people together but for seeing and realising that unity in diversity. This unique event held in India every few years where everyone has the time and space, in both an academic, ceremonial and literally celebratory environment to come together with the depth of their traditions and share without any discrimination is indeed a divine gift.
Apart from the Community of Sanatana Dharma in India we see indigenous and ancient spiritual communities around the world discriminated against where ancient traditions for the majority have been replaced by modern religions or even an absence of any tradition except for individuality. There is an urgent need in the world for this cultural heritage and these traditions which are the ultimate way to restore sustainability, a sense of well being and purpose as well as peace to a troubled world. These ancient traditions which all hold common threads are the answer to be able to lead a better life which is content, in tune with the divine and serving higher purpose that which is limited by individuality. Everybody has thousands of years of tradition behind their philosophy and practice traceable to ancient times.
In particular at this gathering the timing for discussions on the Divine feminine could not be better starting with a standing up of feminine energy around the world with the #metoo campaigns but also the mystical and spiritual evocative form of the divine mother for healing the differences around the world and the necessary healing of the world itself. All the elders irrespective of their origin spoke of earth as their mother and the divinity and holiness of that divine feminine energy. It was incredible to go from one room where we would be hearing the ancient tradition of storytelling from Native American Indian tribes to another where the female divine form as described in the form of rivers in the Vedas would be discussed. The three days were filled numerous moving events from different cultures. From short films to round circle story telling, from cultural programs to academic paper presentations. There was a great balance of organised presentations but also a chance to discuss with people on an individual and group level.
The attempted destruction of the Yezidis by ISIS is incredulous for this day and age and touched the souls of all. The rousing calls of the Maori women through their songs left one feeling awakened. The traditions of the medicine men from Colombia, Guatemala and North American Indians left us with the sense of perfectness of nature and the sense of care and wonder by Mother Earth for her children through these plants that have for thousands years healed and given a sense of well being to millions of people through the ages. The gentleness of prayer and song from Latvia and Lithuania was astounding as were the incredible similarities with the Sanskrit language.
Indeed the Sanskrit roots were evident in many of the traditions. The Tibetan Buddhist’s beautiful mandala and chanting which was then taken back to the form of dust at the conclusion of the programme served as a reminder of the transitory nature of this individual life which yet can leave a lasting impact both good and bad. From Hungary we experienced their tradition where they simulated crossing the ocean of consciousness. From Germany we met the elders that could trace their roots to Rajasthan and to this day celebrate and worship Kali. Whichever tradition we listened to and shared, the self responsibility role in this world could not have been emphasised more. Pat McCabe from beginning to end brought all the elders together guiding and inspiring us. Many gave inspired and moving messages perhaps the most notable of all was from the medicine men of Colombia where awareness and unity was urged as the real need of the moment to protect the earth and the divine. From the traditions of Africa we were blessed with divine visions reminding us the importance of this time and the responsibility we have towards healing this earth and be part of the peace.
The whole experience was literally universal. In sharing our traditions with each other it brings a unity to our communities where we can have a shared vision based on divinity.
I particularly enjoyed the morning gathering for ceremony where we got to experience the spiritual upliftment through different traditions with deep reverence. A sense of brother and sisterhood exists in gatherings like this where there are no boundaries and division but simply a shared goal for a better world based on ultimate truth. Understanding that ultimate truth, that we are simply all one is all that is needed and this coming together is an essential and leading part of the movement gathering momentum to awaken people’s consciousness to bring about much needed change in the world.