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; People Peeks 3

You've "met" a few of the support staff and some of my batchmates... today, some visitors. Ashrams are dynamic places, and there are lots of coming and going by not just staff but visiting students, who have taken permission to sit in on one particular discourse, a special event, or a set of lectures on a single text. Then there are those personal visits that happened on rare occasions. 

On the left, you see Dheepna and on the right is Radhika. Both these ladies were familiar to me from the Sydney centre of CM. Young Dheepna visited and attended some lectures but stayed and was employed in the legal department (she is a lawyer). Radhika was a devotee in Sydney, but she and her husband had set up a home in Mumbai in anticipation of his retirement and their repatriation to India. Sadly, Sunjeet passed away suddenly, so Radhika took the decision to return by herself. She became a frequent visitor to Sandheepany, and her hugs were always welcome. 

Manisha, in the next photo, is also a Sydney devotee who attended the ashram for Maha Shivratri in 2012. I had not known her particularly closely in OZ - but a familiar face from home takes on an extra shine when so far apart!

In this next picture, we find Asha. She lived in the Netherlands and had attended a few satsangs at the home of a long-term devotee of the mission in Amsterdam. She visited for a month and then requested to return for a full text at a later date. We were good buddies... her Dutch husband was perhaps not so keen. Sadly, contact was not maintained beyond this time we had, but that does not reduce the importance of the company we shared.

Similarly, this young lady known as Elise visited from Spain. She was a traveller who simply paid for accommodation at Sandeepany (one can do this around India - a bit like Youth Hosteling). I taught her to tie sari and introduced a little of the teachings and recommended books, as she took a good interest. Again, beyond that, our connection was short. But I valued having outside interest and discovering in myself the ability to convey the philosophy without getting tongue-tied or confused. In other words, through contact with such as Elise (and there were others), I had mirrors to show how much I had grown in my own knowledge and confidence. This was valuable, and I am grateful for those opportunities.

In a related way, I also learned of the honour given to those who tread the path of spirit in Indian society through the friendship and respect received from Jitendra and his family. (Jit is on the right, then his daughter, wife and son.) It is common for devotees to take the care and welfare of a brahmachari/ni or swami/ni as part of their personal seva and sadhana (service and practice). So they often brought me fruit and had me to their home for a bhiksha (alms) meal on a couple of occasions. To them, I am also most grateful.

Then there was Subo-uncle. Sri Subramanian Iyer, a retired engineer, had a kind of 'keys to the ashram' sort of status. He attended whichever lectures and events he wished without challenge. This was because he was an ardent devotee of Gurudev during his time and was equally devoted to the current heads of mission and, more importantly, a diligent practitioner of Advaitic philosophy. He was a wonderful foil for the students, engaging us in high discussions and bringing out some left of field questions to tweak our brains further.  We all became very fond of him.

Then there was my actual 'family' from Sydney. My honourary nephew, Shalindra, dropped by, having attended a youth leadership course run by CM at a different centre. He spent a couple of nights at Sandeepany before heading back to OZ. It was joy beyond joy to see him and receive his hugs. Long-term readers may recall that my last trip down under was mainly to attend his wedding... although I covered a great deal of territory in that two months. That seems a lifetime ago now!!! 

I cannot linger on that thought - it brings such homesickness, and there's a strange waterfall on my face...

During my time at Sandeepany, Shali's mother, my soul-sister "Emm" also visited. More than once and on a couple of occasions also brought our mutual pal, "Gee".

For newbies - that's Emm on the left of the image, Gee to the right.

Sadly, "Gee" passed away recently. She had defied the odds against her disease for quite some years. We were blessed to have had her in our lives for as long as we did. A lady of ultimate Loving Kindness, for whom nothing was any trouble and whose awareness was on a level far beyond most who walk this earth. She is much missed.

It was Emm and Gee who came to gather me up and bring me home to OZ when time at Sandeepany had completed... but more on that when we reach it.

Once more, you see how it is that people added texture and provided the opportunity to live life according to the philosophical principles that were being inculcated. Those already devotees who visited and stayed. Those who visited, reflecting one back to oneself - and became devotees, crediting their time on the ashram for the change in their own lives. Then those who knew one before and after and with whom the changes and growth had to be ... negotiated...


  1. I like the word texture to explain a friend ship.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

  2. Friends and folks that helped you along the way. Namaste, janice xx

  3. love the photos and I think there is a friendship and a friendship... one is suggested by facebook and just a word and one grows like yours with this people and what lasts forever

  4. YAM thank you for this beautiful post about your friends. I so much enjoyed all the genuine hugs and closeness and love you all had for one another. What a privilege to meet friends that instantly become family.
    Hugs cecilia

  5. Voice meeting all of your friends and I especially love the photos that include you with your friends. Each one of these are so distinctive and look so happy and I very much enjoy the diversity here and I do remember that colorful wedding that you attended

  6. A beautiful heartfelt walk down memory lane can be therapeutic.

  7. How nice to remember all the people that touched your life during your time studying. It sounds like you have very fond memories of all of them.

  8. Hi Yam - so interesting to see your tapestry of friends here ... with fascinating tidbits of salient information. Life is built on relationships of all kinds isn't it ... lots of memories here for you - all the best - Hilary

  9. It must be great to be part of something some place that attracts enquiring minds and encourages open minds rather than blinded devotees. It's a rare experience in the scheme of things, borne out to some extent by the family you describe who provide support, care for the welfare of the followers. xxx F

  10. It's great to have people around you with whom you can relate and bond. They bring so much joy and a strange feeling of contentment to us.

  11. How wonderful to be introduced to friends who played a role in your journey...both for short term and long. Thank you for sharing them.

  12. You have quite the collection of wonderful friends who have given you wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing.

  13. What a great collection of beautiful people. Thank you for sharing them with us.


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