…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menory Lane - Again Part 3

Further review of the pre-blog news…

ANL16 - 28th August 2012 - was a rather lengthy piece… here are some highlights!

It is exactly one year ago this week that we all arrived here full of the joy of spirit and keen as mustard to hit the spiritual study trail.  Twelve months in, the majority who enrolled are still here. This is apparently some kind of record. We are the biggest batch ever to have gathered anyway (starting with 75 – which happens to be my roll number) and reduced by only 8. Word is that by now the majority of batches are down to something more like 45-50 and the drop continues to between 35-40 by end of course. All sorts of reasons are bandied about as to why; but clearly Bhagwan’s blessings are upon us.

However, the intensity of the subjects matter has increased significantly of late, all the ground work having been completed, and now we are into the high-level scriptures where we are expected to have fully integrated the concepts of Vedānta, to be applying it in our daily sādhana (practice) and be eating, breathing, talking and eliminating vedānt. This is where the steepening climb becomes mountainous. It is fascinating to me to look back over the year and see how much this introverted, head-based scientific philosophy can have so much effect upon the body. The healer in me has always understood the body-mind connection, but now the full impact of how spirit - (which, folks, regardless of your outlook, is present in ALL of us remember)- can inform physical reaction, is truly becoming clear.

Has there been worthwhile purification for Yamini? Of course! It is firstly gratifying to find that the process begun with Sādhana Chatușțaya four years ago has paid off; a fair number of the young ones here were only introduced to this right here itself.  It is this which holds one together in times of strife; one becomes acutely aware of the ‘triggers’ for desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride and jealousy (the 6 evils of life: kāma, kroda, lobha, moha, macha, matsarya). Generally, one may not display any of these, or at least rarely; but it is when one is focused on the task of purification that the time-bombs called vāsanas come to bite. When one is walking the talk, the road becomes rocky.

This is the point of being in an ashram situation. It is a magnifying glass on the personality, the very core of one’s drive in life and the sorter-out of all the dross.

At times there have been tears, but mostly there have been smiles.  It’s hard work ‘getting real’. However, there is only joy at being where I am; there is only hope that further improvement is on the way; there is relief at what has been dropped; and if all I walk away with from here is that I am a better human being, it will still have been worth it.

That’s enough of the introspection – what else is news?  Well since this has become a kind of a 'year that was' how  about;

Our days are structured to maximise the number of waking hours and therefore study and contemplation. 4am the first bell goes; your’s truly backs this up with an alarm clock, for invariably I don’t hear the first! Even though am not going up to mandir, still rise and perform morning prayers, chanting, japa, meditation.

First Vedānta class is at 7am. Brekky is at 8am. Then Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, at 10:30am (unless festivals or other matters interfere) we have Sanskrit class until midday, when there is Baghavad Gita chanting for the half hour leading up to lunch. After lunch is our own time then second Vedānta class at 4:00pm. A break then 6:30pm aarti at mandir followed at 7pm by Bhajans and Bhagavatam satsang.

There are often interruptions to the schedule though; India is festival-prone and we have to acknowledge all of them. Then if Guru-ji comes, things are generally adapted around his itinerary. It is interesting to find that even many of the resident Indians among the students are finding the number of festivals and the incredible pomp that goes with the pujas rather exhausting; the path of knowledge (jňāna) does not require such show, but people are brought here through the path of devotion (bhakti) and so the two go hand in hand. We have to remind ourselves that this is not simply a course in spiritual study, but also in Hindu Culture. 

Anyway, it’s all a spectacle.

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