What You See Is What You Get. This is a journal blog, an explore-blog, a bit of this and that blog. Sharing where the mood takes me. Perhaps it will take you too.

Menoculayshunal; Central Hours

Following Sanskrit class, we had half an hour to return to rooms, refresh and then return to the hall for midday chanting. Mostly this was the Vishnusahasranama (1000 names of Vishnu), but occasionally something different, such as this Sri Ramaraksha Stotram...

At 12:30, the bell would ring for lunch. This was always the fullest meal of the day. Before eating, the entirety of chapter 15 of the Bhagavad Gita is chanted and then the food prayer. Annakshetra would echo and reverberate with the positive vibes created from the chanting. There developed a cheeky but cheerful competition among the brahmacharis as to who could be first to lead off the chant. The chapter is not actually to do with food - but is essentially a message of realisation and boils down to 'why worry, be happy!'

After eating, everyone goes to the sinks and is responsible for the cleansing of their eating utensils (remember we all carried our own plate, gilass and chammach) and wiping down tables. Then by an hour later, the ashram would develop a sense of stillness as all would return to rooms for at least a couple of hours. 

There were practical reasons for the timing. The early rising (Brahma muhurta - 90 minutes prior to sunrise) is considered the best for meditative contemplation and deeds (think of the English saying, "early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise." It is universally recognised!), but is also the coolest part of any day. Then, during the hottest part, and following a full meal, the mind is at its dullest and the body weaker. Thus, the afternoon period was for rest, recreation - and also for cleaning and laundry!

If a 'siesta' was taken, it was best to not extend beyond forty minutes - otherwise true deep sleep enters and rising becomes very difficult. Trust me. I learned this! Only twice did I ever get late for the 4:30 pm class as a result of sleeping. There's no way to keep this to oneself when in an enclosed community...

There was prayaschitta to be performed for any such 'misdemeanour' or indiscipline. That's penance, in case you were wondering. Mostly it took the form of writing out a quote or aphorism, in that rather quaint, Dickensian, line after line manner. Other times it was to learn a shloka as yet unstudied and translate it. Occasionally - and mostly for the young lads who may have strayed a bit more than the girls - there was physical work applied as well. There was always a parental sense of disapproval - with the same little smile and forgiveness to follow.

Chai was generally served in Annakshetra (for those without kettles) at three and then the hour and a half till the next Vedanta class was generally spent doing 'homework'; but there were also times when we would be called upon to perform tasks for a specific function or community seva.


  1. That is a sweet old photo of Yam, with a camera.

  2. I love how the day is organized... maybe if we adopt such plans, some things would be easier for us & for others...

  3. I have never liked sleeping in the middle of the day as it will keep me awake at night. Plus, for some reason it always made me drool. It doesn't happen at night, only during the day.

    But it is nice to have a set partition of the day. It may sound boring, but bodies are designed more for regularity than irregularity as my head keeps finding out.

    Have a good week,

  4. I loved the smiling lady, that smiled into the camera. the chanting is not for me, so stopped there. but the early rising I do ever day, 120 minutes before sunrise and i know from expereicne that you are correct about sleeping in mid day. i try to doze for about 20 minutes half in half out of sleep. a couple ot times i went to deep and could not wake up

  5. Worry robs today of your happy...so as I have aged I try to remember worry solves noting.
    Hugs cecilia

  6. We are thoroughly enjoying reading your posts. As another has said, discipline seems to be a critical factor of the life style.


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