Nov.25th. 12 of us, met at the airport for our pilgrimage to meet Swami Kriyananda.
The flight was delayed by an hour and a half due to some technical snag in the aircraft. It is a miracle we all landed safely ....just for the sake of curiosity I checked with the aircraft steward whether the aircraft still needed to go for repair. He replied in affirmative and confirmed doubts of some of us who had heard little alarming sounds after the aircraft took off and was ready to land. We all, however, had continued our silent prayers and the result was safe landing.
Brahamchari Devendra and Heze, another Brahmachari from Uruguay, received us at the airport. Other party of 6 from Bangalore who had arrived earlier in the day had already gone to the Ashram with Brahmachari Jemal.
We reached the Ashram after driving through scenic village road. We were warmly welcomed by Nayaswami Dharmadas, Nayaswami Nirmala, Tyagi Biraj, Katyayini, monks and other residents at the Seva House.
The huge transformation of the virgin land was visible. It had nothing but trees and bushes when some of us last participated in the Bhumi puja in 2009.
As we entered the Ashram, Paramhansa Yogananda's picture greeted us under a covered structure open on 4 sides. Few plants were growing around this temple and a small green patch led to the Seva House where we all had our meals.
Master welcoming us at the entrance
Very competent Brahmachari Devendra, the kitchen incharge, won all our hearts with the joy he served us delicious food at every meal.
We were taken to the Retreat house which has comfortable rooms for the guests. We really appreciated that all our needs were very carefully being taken care of.
As we gathered for tea very gently the news was broken that since Swamiji had suddenly taken ill he was advised by his doctors to be admitted into the hospital. We felt sorry that we could not meet Swami ji but kept him in our prayers.
As is the tradition in Ananda communities from then on all of us were kept really busy,
We were handed over the programme schedule for the next two days after tea and snacks.
Immediately after tea we had to go for tour of the land. The whole group left and I for some reason could not join the group. Nirmala ji very kindly offered to take me around. In my heart I felt privileged to be given this very personalised tour of the land. The walk was exhilarating in the cool winter breeze. We went past the Meditation Centre which is at the moment in a tent. Our meditations in that tent, morning and evenings were the most beautiful experience with the sounds of the birds, the sky peeping in and cool breeze managing to escape in.
Lot of construction activity is going around the Ashram. Few houses including Swami ji's and Nirmala ji's are already complete. The contractor showed us the apartments under construction, which according to him would be ready by April, May 2012
Houses adjacent to Swami ji's house
Entrance to Swamiji's house
I loved the architectural plan of all the homes and the Retreat house. The Arched doors and windows and the undulating lines of the outer structure on different levels of the hilly land surrounded with greenery and hills all around, make the homes look most charming. There are also tents which house some of the monks till the Monastery is ready.
After the land tour we gathered in the Meditation Centre for chants and meditation and wound up the day with a delicious dinner at the Seva House.
Nov.26th. 6.45 AM after energisation and prayers we had a hearty breakfast in the traditional Ananda way. Then came the service hour - some of us stayed back and helped in the kitchen while others helped in the garden around Yogananda's temple at the entrance.
Afternoon meditation was followed by delicious lunch which was partly cooked by one Bangalore devotee. We now got a chance to exchange notes with other members of Pune community.
The Rose Garden
After lunch we met Biraj for the choir practice at the Meditation centre.
in the Heavens
We wanted to meditate in Swami ji's house to pray for his health and also imbibe his vibrations. It was exciting to know it was possible.
The experience of visiting Swamiji's house and meditating in his living room was intense. His vibrations are strong in there and one could feel the presence of other saints.
Swami's living room
Evening tea was with Nirmala ji and Dharamdas ji at their house. We all felt totally at home with our spiritual family.
With Dharmadas ji and Nirmala ji
Then followed dusk with chants and choir singing by both Pune and Bangalore groups in the Meditation Centre. Biraj, who led both the choirs, made it such a joyous evening.
Dinner as usual was light but tasty and perfect for all, since the next day was again starting at 6.45 a.m.
Nov.27th : After morning meditation we gathered for breakfast. Main dish of the breakfast was cooked by another Bangalore devotee. After breakfast Biraj asked us to fill a small questionnaire about our experiences at the Ashram since most of us were leaving after lunch for Shirdi. Everyone expressed their joy and the bliss for visiting the Ashram, though we missed Swami ji.
Two ladies who did not belong to Ananda were part of our group from Bangalore. They expressed their pleasant surprise at the warm welcome they had received by all. They belonged to other spiritual groups and never thought peaceful living in harmony with nature and human beings was ever possible. To them Ananda way of living was an eye opener.
With hearts full of joy and thanks for having been looked after so well by the host spiritual family we left for Shirdi which again turned out to be a blessed pilgrimage. I guess we carried with us very positive vibrations from our Kriya Yoga Ashram in Wathunde village.
Article by Kamini, Photos by Rajalakshmi.