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A very special moment I'd like to share
- Romi Chopra, Delhi

April 12, 2008

For three days in March, a privileged few of us were invited to attend the Dalai Lama's meditation course in Delhi. It was so special because being in his presence is so special. He exudes a calm that is majestic, a strength that is serene, a faith that transcends all doubt. And his humanity compels attention even from the inquisitive outsider.

Of course, His Holiness's scholarship is amazing, his exposition of the subtleties of Buddhist theological argument so refined - and sometimes as obscure as the greatest theoreticians who ever lived - Adi Shankaracharya, St Paul, the Greek philosophers. But beyond all this was the being in the presence of a man who is so manifestly pure of intention, so straightforward in confronting the truth. He is not only a great religious figure, but a man of towering moral grandeur. And this was so movingly evident during our days with him. He was going through the rigours of the Tibetan crisis at that very time. But he did not shirk his commitment to us. He referred to the troubles just once - by saying that this was the most difficult time for him since the week he fled Tibet in 1959. But, he said, then there was physical danger. Now he felt safe in India. But while his mind was in turmoil he said his heart was calm and he could get a full night's sleep. He laughed as he said that if nothing else this was the benefit of meditation and of faith. Amazing.

At the end of the three days, during which we were given the divine benedictions of the Medicine Buddha, His Holiness greeted each one of us in person. We exchanged ritual scarves as an offering to him. I felt so specially favoured because we touched foreheads and exchanged a few words. The warmth of the clasp of his hands and the softness of his smile were magical. His blessing will always remain.

Romi Chopra is an aesthete - a man of many talents. A philosophy graduate from Cambridge and a close friend of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Chopra has made significant contributions in the area of textiles, architecture and urban planning. He has conceived and directed many large scale outdoor events to celebrate India's history.

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