News from Ananda Pune
October 20, 2014
So much has happened since we last wrote you that it will be a challenge not to let this letter get too long. We arrived in our Pune Community a week ago on Oct. 13. Prior to that we were based in our Indian home in the Gurgaon ashram, but traveling often to and from Delhi in northeast and Noida (further to the east) to do many satsangs and classes in both centers. We’ve enjoyed deepening friendships with many devotees here, and also have had the joy of small gatherings for lunch or dinner with them.
For Dhyana’s birthday on Sept. 30, some dear friends treated all three of us to two nights at a beautiful hotel in Delhi, the Leela Palace. It was truly the most elegant place we’ve ever seen, with every chair, lamp, or wall decoration a work of art—as close to Lahiri’s golden palace as we’ll ever get.
Swamiji had stayed there for a few nights in 2012 and 2013 before leaving India for the last time, and many of the staff remembered and asked about him. It was very touching.
One of the highlights while in Gurgaon was a wonderful visit and lunch with two of Swamiji’s dear old friends, Indu Bhan and Krishan, who helped him when he was working on the Delhi Project in the late 1950’s. Indu and his mother, Rani, were like family to Swamiji, who stayed with them for many months during those years. Indu and Krishan, though no longer young, both look wonderful and are filled with joy. We gave Indu one of the memorial books about Swamiji that we’d brought over from the US, and he loved it.
They shared many wonderful stories with us about how they discovered Babaji’s cave (they were the first to find it), and times with Swamiji. Cecilia, Vivek, and Vijay are in the process of videoing Indu and Krishan to capture the stories about Swamiji’s early years in India.
Now in the Pune community, we find the land and plant life beautiful after the monsoons, but the heavy rains take their toll on the buildings every year. No matter how hard we try to prevent it, the structures are subject to water damage and mold. Still the dedicated crew here—Surendra, Tushti, Shurjo, Narayani, Shamini, Bara, Jemal, Dharana, and others—have nobly kept things operational and now are ready to begin a more active Retreat season.
After mid-week satsangs here and in the Pune City Center on Wednesday and Thursday, the pilgrimage from America led by Krishnadas and Mantradevi arrived on Friday for a weekend at the Retreat. We had inspiring meditations, kirtans, satsangs, and sharing with them.
Jyotish and I left early on Sunday to drive to Pune city, where we had a scheduled discourse that evening at a large auditorium seating 350. The topic was “Free Will, Karma, and Destiny,” and many people in the Pune City Center and at the Retreat worked hard to make it a magnetic event. We were a little nervous that we’d have small attendance after all their work, but happily we had almost 300 attentive, interested people who kept us late with questions.
The guests of honor at the event (this is a custom in India) were a saintly man and wife, Ashok Baba, who are direct disciples of Anandamayi Ma. We had the opportunity after the event to meet with them in a small room off the main auditorium. They told us inspiring stories about their experiences with Ma that we’ll share with you after we return.
At the end of the event, two new books were also released: the Indian edition of Finding Happiness Day by Day, and Jyotish’s Lessons in Meditation translated into Marathi, the main language of this region.
We’ll be in Pune for two more weeks before returning to Gurgaon on Nov. 3 and joining the Indian pilgrims on Nov. 7 on their trip to Babaji’s cave.
We’ll write more of our adventures later as we try diligently to keep in touch.
With love in God and Guru,
Jyotish and Devi