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

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menosukhi [men-oh-sook-he]; the condition of sentimental momentary

What?  Menosukhi isn't reserved just for my animal moments!  I can get a bit nostalgic about all sorts of things.  Never in a way to trap me into the 'if only…' kind of cycle.  But enough to bring a smile or a shake of the head and a "Silly old buffer YAM, back into the now…"

In writing the deep and meaningful on Sunday, I became acutely conscious of the fact that the farewells from Mumbai are going to be among the more challenging I have ever faced.  A disparate crowd of folks huddled together in one environment, with only one aim in each day, tends to build a sense of belonging even in times of disagreement and disgruntlement.  It's family of a sort built out of need and a common Love.

The environment itself has much to commend it.  As does the city in which it sits.  I found myself looking out my window to the trees, the sky… and making a list of things I'll miss.

The Kites; their endless soaring on the thermals in just about any weather other than the heavy monsoon.  Their 'screeeeee screeeee scrreeeeeee', high and clear is a background sound which reaches deep into the being.  They have become a meditation for me.  As well as a photographic challenge!

The trees; the acacias which flower like flames for two brief months of Summer (mid-April to mid-June) fill the air with crimson and litter the paths with dropped blood-like petals.  For the rest of the year, how their leaves ripple in the slightest breeze looking for all the world like a green river in the air; the tiny leaves endlessly falling like confetti.  The mangoes with their luscious fruits.  The palms with their rustling and whispering.

The Fence; which (until denuded - but now recovering!) entertained all sorts of wildlife.

The Wildlife; the bees, the wasps, the butterflies and moths; the chameleons,  the squirrels and the different songbirds so flittery - warblers, sunbirds, bulbuls and flycatchers.

The Crows and the Koels; the day seems empty without their constant chatter; 'KaakaaaKAAAAAA' and 'kooooo-eeeeeeLLL!'  When they go quiet I look to see why.  Mostly they get excited and raucous - and I will look to see why.  It can mean 'snake!', or 'kite!' or 'dog!' or…

The Monkeys; the long and lanky Langurs who carry out raids on the fruit trees, running the 3inch-wide bar at the top of the fence as though it were a pavement in the Main Street.

The Dogs; Krishna and Kaneya, the 'kampus keepers', ever present, ever watchful, keeping us company without demand.

The autorickshaws; wish I could take one away with me!

The Mullahs; around about the ashram are three different mosques, which take it in turns to make the call to prayer.  There are many different ways to chant the Koran. Some are more melodious than others. All are haunting, when heard from a distance, marking the hours as they pass beneath us.  I love the spiritual focus in India and I think about how it is that in UK and OZ, the pealing of the church bells has somehow become a thing of the past, or for occasional use only.  A great shame.

The Shankar and Ghantha; our own mandir's (temple) call to prayer each evening with the conch and the large doorway bell.  Telling of the close of another fine day in pursuit of Truth.

Sandeepany Dawn...image copyright Yamini Ali MacLean
The ashram; a haven in the urban jungle.  A garden place which flows down the side of a hill, filled with vegetation.  Not only do the walls protect us from the mayhem of Mumbai, but these trees and plants seem to purify the atmosphere.  It is far from perfect, no doubt, but compared to outside the gate, this is a place of sanity, sanctity and safety. It has been home for two full years.  Here, everything that had been known, met with confirmation and affirmation.  Further, knowledge that was waiting, was discovered.  Skills many were used and honed, both active and latent.  New skills gained.  Silence reigned amidst the clamour.

Sandeepany is a place of Love and Light, reaching through the veils of ignorance and bringing out the Sun Deep In Me…


  1. Although it is a most unpleasant characteristic in a person (me), I must admit I envy you the two years of peace and learning.
    I enjoyed this post very much.
    Luv, K

  2. Hari OM
    Kay - thank you; it is enviable and it has not escaped me that this has been the greatest of privileges. That said, no question it has tried me in every way. It's not for the faint of heart or even physical weaklings. Overcoming that last bit has only been through His Grace!!!

    Mahal - Mubharak ho! sorry have not got round to sending individual greetings - you can only imagine how hectic it is round here.....

  3. I can imagine how it must be. With dead lines at this end, I am burning the candle at both ends. Taken a day off tomorrow, to have a wee sleep in and then more work. Will email.
    Love ya take care. Not long now

  4. Oh, I loved this, Yam. It's written with such love and gratitude for what you've learned and experienced there, and also has a breathtaking sense of place. This comes across very strongly to me who has never set foot in India and probably never will. You are going to miss Mumbai very much, I think.

  5. Hari OM
    Perpetua-ji, I am! It cannot be denied. However, as stated at top, I am not one to linger and dwell on 'loss' for have always seen that it comes from 'gain'... an I'll be back &*>>


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