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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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:
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.
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. 🙂
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/