Spiritual Directors of Ananda Sangha
News from India
January 25, 2012
We send our love to all of you, and now after nine days in India, we finally have a moment to write you some news about our travels here. This trip has had many blessings and some unexpected adventures along the way.
We flew out of Sacramento on January 6 traveling to Portland, Amsterdam, and finally arriving in Mumbai on January 8 at 1:00 am. We were met at the Mumbai airport by a driver, who was hard to find amidst the dense crowd of other drivers waiting at the arrival exit gate. When we finally spotted him he was holding up a sign saying “Nayaswami Jyotish” with a spiritual eye on it.
We eventually (and very happily) were driven to the hotel, where Swamiji and a large group from Ananda were staying. Everyone was eagerly helping with the book launch of Swamiji’s new biography of Master taking place that night. On the one-hour drive from the airport to the hotel, we were surprised and delighted to see big billboards in Mumbai with Master and Swamiji’s picture announcing the event.
After a few hours sleep, we met Swamiji in the lobby of the hotel. Swamiji stepped out of the elevator looking radiant — what a joy it was to see him again.
The day was mainly spent in preparation for the book launch. Many of you watched Swamiji’s talk either live or recorded, so you were able to see what an inspiring and beautiful evening it was. The auditorium, which we were told was possibly the best in all of India, was designed by the same man who did Lincoln Center in New York. It was a perfect venue with great seating and acoustics, and was located directly across from our hotel.
Swamiji spoke for over an hour to a full house of 1200 people seated inside the auditorium and an overflow crowd of 350 standing in the lobby watching on TV monitors. The book launch was a great success with many copies of the biography sold.
The next morning, January 9, after breakfast we had planned to drive back to the Ananda Pune community while Swamiji, Dharmadas, Narayani, and Miriam were to visit a sacred pilgrimage spot. However, when we greeted Swamiji the next morning, he spontaneously invited Nirmala, David and Asha Praver (who had arrived the night before), and us to join them on the pilgrimage, and we happily accepted.
The pilgrimage was to a place called Kanya Kumari, located on the southernmost tip of India where three oceans meet: the Arabian Sea on the west, the Indian Ocean to the south, and the Bay of Bengal on the eastern shore.
There is a large rock (or small island) located a few hundred feet out to sea that was made sacred both by Swami Vivekananda and the Goddess Parvati. Vivekananda was the disciple of the great master Ramakrishna. After Ramakrishna’s passing, Vivekananda prayed for divine guidance as to how to carry on with his life. As penance, he undertook to walk the length of India, and finally reached the southernmost tip. He then spied the island and swam out to it. There he began to meditate and after some time achieved enlightenment alone on the island.
Years later a temple was built to commemorate the event. It was also believed that on this island the Goddess Parvati destroyed a terrible demon that was terrorizing India. A temple to Parvati was also constructed, and the Indian people consider Kanya Kumari to be one of the most sacred places in their country.
The journey was not easy involving planes, trains, cars, and boats, but we eventually got there. Next to the sacred island is another smaller island with a huge statue of a revered Indian poet who wrote an epic poem about Parvati’s destruction of the demon. The statue is 130 feet high to commemorate the 130 verses of his poem to Parvati.
We were able to meditate with Swamiji in several rooms of the Vivekananda and Parvati temples. Though it was crowded and noisy with many other pilgrims, there was still a vibration of great spiritual power there. We stayed in a nearby hotel, and the next morning Swamiji said that he felt a deep blessing from the shrine. We, too, felt greatly uplifted by the experience.
Next on January 12, Swamiji and all of us flew to Goa, on the West coast of India, where we were joined by Lila, Durga, Vidura, and Anand from Assisi, for a rest and vacation. We’re staying at a beautiful resort, the Taj Exotica, with one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever seen. It’s been a lovely visit with everyone enjoying the beautiful scenery, perfect weather, and the joy of each other’s company.
Swamiji is a bit tired from all the traveling, but still doing well. Everywhere he goes he touches the hearts of people here in India, who recognize what a great soul he is and naturally pour out their love to him.
We’ll leave here (too short a stay in Paradise) soon to go to the Pune Community for the remainder of our stay. There we’ll help with the training program they’re starting for new members who are moving into the community. Our departure from India is scheduled for January 30.
We send our loving thoughts to you and look forward to sharing more about our trip later. It has been a time of great blessings and joy in this holy land of India with Swamiji and our divine friends in God.
In Master’s love,
Jyotish and Devi