In 1986, Vijali traveled to 12 sites around the world creating earth sculptures and performance ceremonies with the local communities. Below is a description of one of the 12 sites from the first World Wheel circle. For more information about the first World Wheel project, see About World Wheel page.
Creating A Mandala House For A Village
Falling In Love with a Village
West Bengal, India
In West Bengal, India, I fell in love with a group of destitute Baul folk musicians who were singing for money on the train. I kept giving them coins to stay in my compartment and eventually they invited me to their village.
They were as generous as they were poor. When the villagers heard that a guest had arrived, they spread a mat under a tree for me. Women brought spiced tea, and the children of the village put jasmine garlands around my neck and danced and sang. A full moon appeared and the night sky shimmered with stars. It was one of the most beautiful evenings of my life.
I asked them the three questions I ask in every country. They answered, “We come from the womb of our mother. We really come from the mother who is the Earth. We are part of the Great Goddess. Our essence is the Great Kali.” I asked, “What is the imbalance in your lives and in your village?” They replied: “We are exhausted and under strain all the time because we have to go out and wander so we can make money. When we come back, we don’t always have enough money and food for our families.” And my third question, what could heal their problem? They answered, “To really love our singing and not worry about the future. Just to keep on doing what we are doing, but give up anxiety and be God conscious every moment of our day.”
They found a hut for me and I moved into the village. I became aware that the tribal village was made up of mixed casts. I kept imagining them all sitting down in one circle. Finally I saw what was needed; a communal house, a commons where they could come together, practice and perform their music, have their own pujas (ceremonies), and hold school for their children. This is how I came to build the Mandala House in the village.
At first the Bauls just watched. According to the caste system they only sing, they don’t do any physical work. But as I, their honored guest, worked with the low castes in the mud, someone came to help. Then his brother came, then the father, and pretty soon someone else in the village would stop and say, “Oh, my goodness, you don’t do it that way; here, let me show you.” And they would help. That’s how it happened.
NOTES AND PHOTO CREDITS
Photo by Sacha Burger — Spirit Within Matter II in Santa Monica Mountains
Photo by Vijali Hamiton — Woman of Space (detail) in China
Photo by Vijali Hamilton — Baul Kurtir created with community – World Wheel site 8