Given how fractious the India-Australia has been, it seems fitting that a place which exudes serenity like Dharamsala will play host to the series-deciding final Test.
Almost everyone from both camps, be it the cricketers, former players and even journalists, have indulged in verbal jousting with the rival team.
Under such circumstances, the Australian cricket team met the Dalai Lama at his temple in McLeod Ganj, seeking ‘peace of mind’ and ‘tips on meditation.’
Ahead of the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which starts on Saturday, Australian cricketers like Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, David Warner and Nathan Lyon were granted an audience by His Holiness.
In a video of the interaction which has been put up on the Dalai Lama’s Facebook page, he can be seen asking the Australians, “Has the Test match started? and “Who will win this match?”
The Dalai Lama can been seen having a hearty chuckle when an Australian cricketer replies by saying that they will win the Dharamsala Test.
Throwing the floor open for questions after his talk on compassion, the Dalai Lama had one request: “Don’t ask anything about cricket! My knowledge is less than zero.”
Having had a dismal series so far, with scores of 38, 10, 33, 17, 19 and 14 adding up to a series tally of 131 runs at 21.83, Warner expectedly asked: “How important is it to have peace of mind?”
To this, the Dalai Lama replied: “You yourself (should) experiment. The day you meet some of your trusted friends and spend some moments for lunch or a few drinks, I think that day you feel happier.
“And then on days you meet someone you feel uncomfortable with, the whole day you will feel not very happy. Physically nothing has changed, but mentally it makes differences. On an unhappy day. You may drink more, and quarrel with your wife. So peace of mind is very, very important.”
Following Warner’s question was Australia skipper Smith, who wanted to know if the Dalai Lama had any good meditation techniques to fall asleep.
“That I don’t know. I think indirectly when your mind is at peace, then sleep automatically or naturally comes. If your mind is too disturbed and anxious and stressed and angry… of course these are very bad for sleep. So relax your mind and go there. Usually, I spend nine hours sleeping. (It’s very peaceful). Then (I spend) at least four hours for some meditation.”
During the interaction, the Dalai Lama also said that he was grateful to cricketers for the joy they provided so many people.
“India has been my home for the last 57 years, so on account of that I want to welcome you. I have no experience playing cricket, so (I have) no interest. But since a large number of people enjoy the sport a lot and it gives them happiness and joyfulness, I appreciate your profession. Thank you. As a young child myself, I used to play table tennis.”