Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Integral Wellness Retreat at Robertsbridge, Kent (UK)

 When I first thought of the trip to Europe, UK was not in my plans because of two factors. UK needs a separate visa and I thought that I don’t know anyone in UK. I now understand that the world is full of people touched by the Integral Yoga of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. There is already a network like the Indra’s net-of-jewels. Discovering this is another step in my journey of awareness.
UK  came into the picture when I got  a mail from John that he would like to attend the workshop in one of the places (like Germany), if it is going to be in English. I was more than happy to respond in the affirmative. I also said that I would be happy to go over to UK, if he could organize an event. There the matter rested till I met Martin and Dany in Auroville. They attended one of the Pranayama workshops and Martin came up to me and said that he is the Secretary of AVI, UK and mentioned that John sent me a mail. It was a pleasure meeting Martin and Dany and thanks to their large hearts, a warm friendship sprouted. Martin was instrumental in making this event happen.
 John received me very kindly at Heathrow and drove me to the venue, even though he was suffering from severe cough and cold. The venue was Sonia’s beautiful home in Robertsbridge, Hastings (Kent) an abbey that dates back to the 11th century. It was converted into an Oast House in 1832 and Sonia has remodeled it into a beautiful house. Sonia has an extraordinary aesthetic sense and it was wonderful to stay at her home and enjoy her warm hospitality. Sonia was the Chairperson of Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore for two decades before she relocated to UK. She is a scholar of Savitri and the writings and teachings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. She is so active and energetic – I would love to be like that when I am eighty. She invited Sara, her charming daughter to help her in providing an extraordinary hospitality with delicious food and great comfort to all of us. Dany was co-creator of some of the culinary delights we enjoyed.
Martin and Dany drove down in their caravan and picked up Vikas on the way. Vikas is the name given to him by the Mother and he lived in Auroville for a decade in the very early stages. Martin was initiated into Integral Yoga by his mother when he was quite young and had a pivotal role in the creation of AVI. I felt diffident and apprehensive about facilitating an “Integral Wellness” retreat for such jewels who have been walking the path of Integral Yoga for decades. I am grateful that they put me at ease and we had a wonderful event.
There are a couple of things that I would always remember from my stay in Sonia’s home. The first is the enlightening chat I had with her during which I received a very important message – “in the triangle of Fraternity, Equality and Freedom; Fraternity belongs in the base of the triangle.”The other unforgettable event is the long walk that we all went as a group and I enjoyed the charming scenery.
From Robertsbridge, Martin and Dany took me to their cozy home in Surlingham, where Martin was brought up as a youngster. They made me feel at home and one of the highlights of may stay was that we did Pranayama together for 4 days! That was really great for me. Martin and Robert took me around Surlingham and Norwich. The walk to the lake (called ‘broad’ along the river with idyllic scenery and pristine beauty was superb. I went for steam engine train ride after more than 30 years! I had a long discussion about ICITI project with Martin and the message I got was “Persevere”.

 Vikas also took a ride with Martin and Dany on the way back from Robertsbridge and kindly invited me to his home. I was more than happy to slightly alter my program and enjoyed  a day (after London –Btah-Chipping Campden on my way to Budapest) with Vikas and Sara. Their home is right on a river along which we enjoyed a walk for a couple of miles. Vikas took me to Cambridge and the visit to Kings College where Sri Aurobindo studied is something that I would always remember. The King’s college Chapel is a jewel of Gothic Architecture. It is somewhere in Cambridge that I got the message through Vikas that it is time to accelerate the manifestation of the Dream in Auroville.
I am grateful to Martin for making it all happen and help me to discover the Indra’s net-of-jewels and enjoy a wonderful trip to UK.
One of the things that occurred to me was that UK has a main contribution in the manifestation of Human Unity by making English the link language. This is in spite of the centuries of occupation by the Romans, Saxons and ….. ruling more than half of the world. It is a miracle that this country is in good terms with almost everyone in the world!

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