Texas Ashram, Part 3

Continued from Texas Ashram Part 2 and Part 1 before that.

Continuing our walk through the Ashram grounds, we come to the treehouse in the making. A tornado felled this large tree but did not kill it. What you see in the pic below is the starting point of the treehouse being built around the tree. It should be great fun when it’s finished, for kids and adults alike.

Treehouse

Then we come to another quite important area, the kitchen and dining hall. It’s in the same building as Saraswati, but the entrance to the kitchen and dining is from the opposite side of the building. It is aptly named Annapoorna.

Annapoorna

Ashram Dining

Sale

In May 2006 Guruji visited the Ashram. That was my fourth time meeting Him. He stayed at the Ashram over most of the weekend. He arrived on Friday evening, but not many people knew that schedule. That evening there was a very small and intimate satsang with Him and only 25 to 30 of us fortunate souls. It was in the meditation hall of the building now called Saraswati, and the mood was quiet and relaxed. We sang a few bhajans slowly and softly by candle-light, and in between songs we would sit and just enjoy the silence in His presence. There was no Q&A or any other talking. After a few songs Guruji told Vishaal to play his Chitravina, and we were treated to a divine recital. That was probably the most divine satsang I’ve attended.

There’s another story I can tell from Saturday evening of Guruji wading in the river near the Ashram, but that merits its own post… some other time. 🙂

On Sunday morning (it was the 7th of May I remember) Guruji took a walk on the Ashram grounds, and several of us followed Him. We came to this tennis court…

Tennis

The court is nice and long, and it’s covered with a roof of sorts. Guruji had said that as the Ashram grows, we will eventually enclose this court with walls, redo the floor and the roof, and convert it into a large meditation hall! It’s large enough to host 400 to 500 people for yoga.

The Bangalore Ashram is full of stories where He had foreseen the uses of spaces for specific buildings years before their time…

Here are some pics of the interiors. Note the detail on the wall on the right on the first picture below.

Welcoming room

Nook

The above pics are in fact from the interior of Shakti, which is where Guruji will stay whenever He visits. Here are some pics of Shakti.

Shakti Signage

Shakti Exterior

Shakti at Dusk

Shakti Living

Shakti Meeting Room

Below are some pictures from the Navaratri celebrations this year, where we had a 9-day retreat with silence led by our dear Rajshree didi:

Satsang with Rajshree

Devotion

Drum

Celebration

Kolu

All this has been built on the work of many hardworking volunteers, starting with Dean and Shirley who worked to purchase and bring up the ashram in the early days (I don’t have a picture of them to post). Now Vinod and Neelam Patel (Vinod uncle and Neelam aunty as they are fondly known) stay at the ashram much of the time and coordinate the work, and do a lot of the work themselves. Selva and Yamuna (my dear neighbors in Austin) drive to the ashram almost every weekend to put in their volunteer labor and take other people along with them. Here’s a picture of the team that’s currently active (L to R): Jose, Maria, Prakash, Vinod uncle, Selva, Neelam aunty, Yamuna.

The Team

Some pics of the Chellams, Selva and Yamuna, that belong here just for the dedication and all the work they’ve put in into the ashram. 🙂

Painter

Painter and Chaiwali

Chellams

Check out the ashram website at http://www.srisriashram.org/. Hope you enjoyed this three-part series, and if you have any specific feedback for me or for the ashram, leave a comment or two. 🙂

Meanwhile there are two other exciting updates, both related to Art of Living centers… We now have our own center in Austin! A post on that will follow with pictures. And we are also getting a large center in LA that’s a historic landmark… Check out http://artoflivingwest.org/

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7 Responses to Texas Ashram, Part 3

  1. Lakshmi says:

    Lovely pictures, Anoop! I remember the time in May 2006 when Guruji visited. It felt so relaxed that evening – no hurry, no rush, no crowds of clamoring devotees. Then there was that huge cake He cut – then I remember seeing Shraddha and Preeti dancing in the shadows… and when Guruji stepped into the river, there was only one person prepared to go in with Him – Spencer! Years of experience with Guruji had taught him to always have a pair of swimming trunks handy… 🙂

  2. Milind says:

    Anoopi, wow! so much has changed. The ashram looks so beautiful….thank you so much for the photo essays. I sooo want to visit the ashram again sometime! Really, a lot — a LOT — of hardwork. Jai Guru Deva!

  3. Sriram says:

    Lovely photo essay Anoop. I am really inspired by the work that the Chellams and Patels have put in to bring the Ashram up to where it is today and they continue to put in more sweat equity to bring it up even more.

    One thing I should definitely point out here – that silence course that I attended in the Ashram was probably the most silence I have experienced in all the silence courses that I have attended. Its definitely a beautiful place and I am honored to have had the acquaintance of the wonderful people (including you) from TX – especially Austin.

  4. Rahul says:

    Ashram has really changed…Jai Guru Dev

  5. Shveta says:

    lovely lovely..great work Anoop !

  6. Tanbir says:

    Fantastic !! 🙂 So happy to see the latest pics of the US Ashram and all the volunteers that made it all happen.
    🙂

  7. Dhanashri says:

    Superb photos Anoop. I loved the photo essay – the ashram is on its way to becoming a 5-star resort – you guys have done such a wonderful job!

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