Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Integral Wellness Retreat #2 at Madhuban

The third (and last) retreat in the Himalayas went very well. I could bring forth improvements based on the two eralier retreats. I am grateful to Tara Didi and Ram for the opportunity to offer the retreats in the cradle of Human Spirituality. The third retreat was also the best, thanks to the great participation of the group.

A very interesting aspect of this retreat is the participation of Dr. Das. He is a cardiologist and is 81 years young. He has been working on preventing heart diseases with Yoga and Naturopathy (based on Dr. Dean Ornish’s work, which was also a corner stone of my own recovery). He is more than 100% fit, full of energy and jest for life. I learnt a lot from him and he is a source of inspiration for me. The participation of Ms.Shivani, Mr & Mrs. Duggal and Mr. Bhatia made the retreat very satisfying, fulfilling and a rich sharing and learning experience for me.

Sadhana (who is an Ashramite and participated in my earlier retreat) enrolled me to go on a day trip to Ranikhet on 24th. I was concerned about a 12 hour outing on public transport with a lady who is still recovering from a spine injury. She was not only ‘bin das’ but was also full of zeal and enthusiasm. This was a breakthrough for me in my prejudice and aversion to use public transport. Ranikhet is very beautiful and the pine trees are very tall, dense and beautiful. I enjoyed the trip and am now free to go anywhere in India on public transport!

On our way back, we got stranded at Bhowali, about 20 km from Madhuban. Viru, an amiable taxi driver gave us a ride late in the evening and took us to the house of his father-in-law. He had an urgent task of his own and picked up his bike and left. His father-in-law asked us to stay the night as it would be quite a walk to Madhuban. It was around 7pm and there was a half moon. We decided to walk to Madhuban over a trail that was superb, thrilling and scary in parts. We reached Madhuban at 9pm, exhausted but happy and joyous. If I had known everything that was in store, I would not have undertaken this risky, moon-light trek. Ignorance is bliss!

I am amazed at Sadahana’s demonstration of the inner resources we all possess and seldom tap into. I am grateful to witness a miracle and pray for her (and at times) success in her new found purpose of life to serve India. Definitely we need such people in public life.

I went on a pleasant 3 km trek to Tapogiri and met Manish. Tapogiri looks rather unkempt at fist glance but there is a natural beauty that grows on you. Manish is a naturalist and he is transforming the orchard from monoculture to multi-culture. He showed me also the results of an experiment he is conducting to avoid using pesticides and promotes the natural resistance of the trees to fight pests. I was pleasantly surprised to see a abundantly fruit laden pear tree! It appeared to be carrying fruit beyond its capacity. When we were eating a simple but delicious lunch in the shade of a make-shift awning, a couple of sparrows came near us. Manish extended his had with a few grains of rice in it and the sparrows actually sat on his wrist, picked up the grains and flew away. Manish told me that it took several years to befriend the sparrows as they are birds that love to be free. It appears that they die if you put them in a cage.

Manish is also interested in snakes. I learnt from him that King Cobra is the only reptile that makes a nest and lays eggs. It protects and defends with everything it has (which is of the order of 15-20 feet). They located two such nests in the Kumaon mountain region (amongst about 20 such nests located worldwide!).

I planned a trip to Mountain Paradise but it did not materialize. Keep for the next time.

Well, on to Almora by a bus. I am looking forward to enjoy the bus ride in the new found freedom to use public transport.