It’s always a joy to share with you our adventures as we travel. In many ways, this trip has been different from other times in India, in that we’ve done less traveling and teaching in Ananda centers here, but it has been equally rewarding.
Our main focus for the first six weeks has been developing the “Living the Gita” course, working with the incredible team that is helping to refine and improve it, and helping to conceptualize the use of the property in Delhi where our “Institute” will be sited. (The name keeps changing, so we’re not referring to it as the “Institute” any more, but we’ve yet to settle on exactly what it should be called.)
The development on all fronts has moved forward dynamically. The course has evolved into a very magnetic and engaging three-day program. We plan to return to India from March 9-April 6 to teach the program on two weekends, and at that time to launch it as an offering to the public. (The two we’ve done here this fall were attended by invitation as pilot projects.)
Panduranga is also here now in Delhi working with the gifted Kriyaban architect, Ambrish, and nationally-known landscape designer, Saveeta, who are heading up the project. We’ll meet with the team all day on Thursday to go over their ideas.
Then on Friday, Oct. 25th we’ll begin the last leg of our trip with three weeks of teachings in Pune, Bangalore, and Mumbai. We’ll end with an all-India Retreat at a beautiful center in Khandala between Mumbai and Pune where we had a program last year. We’ll return to Delhi on Nov. 18th for a few days of wrap-up meetings before we fly back to the US on Nov. 22nd.
So, those are all the outer details of what lies behind and ahead, but what we really want to share with you is our recent spiritual journey. On Oct. 15th we traveled with Pia and Dhyana to Abbott Mount, a private guest house in the foothills of the Himalayas near Lohaghat.
It’s a serene, pristine setting with magnificent views of Nanda Devi and other mountains. We rose while it was still dark to have long morning sadhanas in the meditation temple. When we were finished, the morning light on the Himalayas greeted us. During the day, we would often go for long walks along mountain roads or through forest paths.
The hills are filled with beautiful birds and packs of monkeys swinging from the trees (and even leopards, though we never saw one.) At the end of the day, we’d again meditate, and then come out to find a roaring fire built in a big pit. In the evenings we’d have dinners outside around the fire. Everything became very simple, very inward, and very close to God.
There is also an old temple (no one knows exactly when it was built) on the Abbott Mount property. It has worn murtis of Nandi, Shiva, Parvati, Krishna, and Rama, as well as a newly installed statue of Babaji.
After five wonderful days there, we traveled to Rishikesh to stay for one night in a beautiful private home right on the banks of the Ganges. This property had originally belonged to the Maharaja of Garhwal, who was a direct disciple of Ananda Moyee Ma. Ma stayed there many times over the years, and, in fact, the little cottage where we stayed had been hers. (It’s been modernized recently, but still has her blessings.)
There is also a small temple there built around a black granite shiva lingum that arose miraculously out of the ground two hundred years ago. Again we got up early and meditated on a stone slab right on the bank of the river. The Ganges is marvelous, powerful, timeless, and wipes away petty, egoic concerns.
Before heading back to airport, we meditated at Vasishta Guha, a cave blessed by an India saint, where Swamiji had lived for one month while he was in India in the 1950’s. It was very powerful spiritually.
We arrived back in Delhi late in the evening of Oct. 20th. In the next few days, we’re pulling together any loose ends before our departure for the south on Friday. It was a glorious break from the busy activities with which we’re involved. We’re very grateful for all of it.
We send our love and prayers that each of you feel God’s joy and freedom ever-more fully within.
With blessings in God and Guru,
Jyotish and Devi
View our recent spiritual journey in our full Facebook photo album here.