Thursday, May 20, 2010

Integral Wellness Retreat 1 at Madhuban, Uttaranchal

Madhuban is a charming Ashram in an orchard, looking down into a valley. The mountains in front cover 180 degree view and you feel that you are at the focal point of giant parabola formed by nature. I came here amidst rain at 11am and the rain intensified through the afternoon. It was an awesome spectacle to witness the symphony of nature form the vantage pint of Madhuban. The rain abated around 5:30pm and the Sun peeped out of the western sky to shower golden light on the pristine, just bathed, green beauty of the valley.
When I woke up in the morning, the first thing I saw was the picture of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. I felt some movement to my left and when I turned my head, I saw a beautiful monkey eating fruit on the tree closest to my window. There was a simple serenity that I cant describe – a sight to behold and experience.

I started the new workshop on the 8th of May and the retreat went very well. The participation of one of the Ashramites, Sadhana, was very special for me. I am touched, moved and inspired by her journey and I am sure she is a lady with a mission and would make huge contribution to life in this country.

This si the first time I am staying in an orchard and I am enjoying the long walks and plums, peaches and berries.

On the alst day, I trekked for two hours up the mountain to meet Asterji. The view form her house was spectacular and you can see who is who of the holy peaks of Uttaranchal. She told me the very interesting history of the setting up of Tapogiri, Madhuban and Mountain Paradise.

What a great experience to be in Uttaranchal, the craddle of spirituality.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Integral Wellness Retreat at Van Nivas, Nainital

Ah, Himalayas! A dream come true.

The abundance of the Himalayas unfolded in the taxi drive from Kathgodam to Nainital. The driver added a new dimension by turning the hair pin bends into hair rising experiences. I think he missed his vocation in Formula1 racing. The Van Nivas ashram is perched on a hillock with a beautiful view of the valley below. The ambience was so peaceful and verdant that we held most of the sessions outdoors – a first for me. The ashram is managed by the saintly Naliniji, who sahred with me his very interesting anecdotes and stimulating views on a wide variety of topics. The long walk to Land’s End under the able guidance of Niranakarji was one of the highlights. Nirankarji knows the terrain like the back of his hand. The view was breath taking and the air was exhilarating.

The ashram was full of exotic flowers and a band of langoors (a type of mountain monkey) that were very much at home and had first claim on any of the fruit that was growing in the premises. Nalinji’s Himalayan sheep dog is magnificent beast and though I have not met it, there is a leopard that drops in occasionally at the ashram.

I was very happy that three Aurovilians traveled all the way to participate in the retreat and their presence was encouraging and reassuring. I suffered from severe diarrhea on the first two days that put a lot of demand on my energies and equanimity and it is miracle that I could hold all the sessions as scheduled. However, on one accession, I went off the track in practicing what I teach and I leant that I need to do more inner work when I am unwell to really restore my inner harmony and top up on equanimity.

Thanks to Mr. Jayanto, I had the bonus of offering three sessions in the evenings to a large, mixed group of children form schools of Auroville, Bangalore and Baroda.
I packed my bags and set off to Madhuban (near Talla Ramgarh) on a cloudy, misty and chilly morning of 7th May.