by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley Hogue

In 2009, thirteen companions and I traveled to India on a life-changing spiritual journey. We stayed in Varanasi for five nights, then headed off to Agra for our visit to the spectacular Taj Mahal, one of the modern seven wonders of the world.

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Rev. Elizabeth Rowley is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at

We arrived at the train station early to catch our 10 PM train. It’s usually sweltering hot in India. I remember standing there doing nothing but breathing and dripping with sweat. It was about 100 degrees outside and 80 percent humidity, so it felt like 800 degrees.


The train stations are different from those in California. I remember seeing giant rats the size of my head, big flying insects and beetles the size of my hand crawling around. And let’s remember the thin cows roaming around. They looked hungry and might be standing next to you as if waiting for the next train. It began to get dark out, and I seemed to get hotter by the minute. It felt like I was melting. We heard over the loudspeaker that our train would be delayed by two hours.

Yes, we were waiting on the midnight train to Agra. My traveling companions and I formed a circle in the middle of the station with our mountain of luggage in the center. I felt sticky, thirsty, and weary from the sweltering heat. I slumped down, sat on the edge of my suitcase, and thought, “I just want to go home. What was I doing here in India, anyway?” I chose to move into prayer, affirming, knowing, and believing that a breeze would come my way any second.

I watched our leader reach into the mountain of luggage, dig out her harmonium, peel away the protective case, and begin to play. Everything became holy and sacred as she chanted, “Hara Hara Mahadeva Shambo Kashi Vishwanath Gange.”

Everyone began singing along. Our circle grew to three more circles around it, with everyone chanting, smiling, clapping, and happy. All of my traveling companions were joyfully singing. An energetic shift occurred, and I forgot about my upset. Spirit lifted me from that suitcase, and I joyously chanted with them.

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, I was handed a little battery-operated fan with LED lights flashing at me-red-blue-green-yellow-red-blue-green-yellow. Feeling the gentle breeze I had just prayed for a few moments prior, immense gratitude washed over me. My heart was full and overflowing with so much love and appreciation.

At that moment, I experienced affluence, as Deepak Chopra describes in his book Creating Affluence (1993): “Affluence is the experience in which our needs are easily met, and our desires spontaneously fulfilled. We feel joy, health, happiness, and vitality in every moment of our existence.”

I went from being totally focused on my lack and limitations, feeling hot, miserable, and doubting myself, to aligning with the Source of all Abundance through singing with my fellow travelers and experiencing affluence with that delightful little fan.

And so it is.

Rev. Elizabeth Rowley Hogue is an independent columnist for the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at