“Jack of all trades and master of none,”is the phrase that sprung to my mind several times throughout the days I spent attending the World Sacred Spirit Festival in Nagaur.
I made me realize that, even after 20 years, I really do know only very little about quite a lot. I dash around India, month in, month out, doing my own (non spiritual and far less talented) impersonation of a whirling dervish in my attempt to get to know it in order to showcase and share it to anyone who may be interested or may have been foolish enough to mention even a vague interest to me at some point. In doing so, I meet people who truly have a passion and phenomenal knowledge for certain aspects of it.
I know a little about the food.
I know a little about the heritage.
I understand a little about her cultire.
I know a little about her history.
I know a little about the wildlife, a little less about the birds.
I know a little about her religions.
I know a little about her gods.
I know a little about the weaving and textiles and a little about her art.
I know less about her architecture.
I am constantly learning about her people.
I can profess to knowing a bit more about the states in overview.
I guess I am reasonably knowledgeable about hotels.
Now after two days at the Sufi fest I can add a little bit of Sufism and it’s music to my limited repertoire.
As with everything in India, this festival was full of surprises, talent and extraordinary variety. A spectacular restoration project as the venue, a visit to the Sufi shrine was included to discover why Sufism is the focus of this event in Nagaur and an incredible variety of talented acts were included to showcase its scope and global diversity. However, I think the main take away from the experience was summed up by Bapji, (Maharaja Gaj Singh 11 of Jodhpur to you and me) when he reiterated something another festival attendee said to him, which is that the festival has “changed them and everyone who has attended it for the better.”
Bapji’s response to us all was that he hopes that if nothing else, that the people who have attended the festival have, in addition to enjoying an extraordinary event, discovered that the message of Sufism is one of peace, harmony, love and interaction.
That we have, and had an incredible time to boot. Amazing.