The story evolved- the brush with serendipity
Timeless wisdom, unconditional love, kindness in action and words, forgiveness in practice, this is the place where Maa Durga and Mahalaxmi speak in Spanish. This is Arunachala, the abode of seekers and teacher.
Finding the abode of my spiritual family in Costa Rica was serendipitous. We met through a common friend on the occasion of “Seed Exchange Festival” in Tinamaste, CR. The Ashram donated an impressive array of seeds to the exchange program. Some of the Ashram residents were seen even distributing some unique fruits from their farm. Their life was the core expression of their intention to be of service.
The experience was surreal, nothing that I experienced in India. I am sure in some parts of India similar practice would exist, I have yet to come across one there.
Where divinity abounds
If I could speak with time, I would have made huge demands. In this case my steps were predestined, the universe conspired to make it happen. We connected in numerous ways. I love the sense of community when we share our triumphs, our discoveries and our challenges. And the rest is the mutual feeling of respect and beautiful intention. Life is simple if we keep it that way.
The sanctuary of spirituality has many manifestations, not merely by siting idle but by creating a sustainable ecosystem in a difficult terrain marred by incessant rain, soil erosion and pest infestation. And of course meditation, discourses and teachings.
Nature is more powerful than humans, at the same time more beneficial if relationships are respected and cared for. This was evident in the Ashram’s garden at every step. From preventative soil erosion method, or restoring the regenerative forest, water harvesting and waste water treatment, spirituality was experienced in every walk of life. There are monks who are gardeners, apothecarist, building designers, kitchen chefs, or administrator. Everyone is assigned a meaningful vocation while pursuing their spiritual tasks and meditation. Unseen realm is as real if not more real than the three-dimensional reality.
The Sat yoga ashram community has gained priceless experience and skill from their own steep learning curve. It only got better with time as they shifted from vision into manifestation. They foster tribal living through inter-communal gathering. Transformation and deep experience were not esoteric, neither merely existed on the plank of isolated experience or induced hallucination. It was a way of life. Ans that appealed to me where larger interest jostled past the self- interest. This is the community of Sat yoga. A beacon of hope for many, am experience of impending celebration of living in harmony with nature, community and one self.
The day journey
We got lost on the way to the Ashram, as often the case with the seeker trying to find his teacher. But we knew that we would reach eventually. The ashram is set amidst majestic restored forest along the corridor of conserved forest of wild trees and seasonal brooks. The valley converges and directs the rivulet to feed the farm of water and essential minerals.
Though the strong wind and chill makes the farming difficult in major rainy season, summer season witnesses a flurry of farming activities, the toil and the cultivation start in mid-December turning the ashram into verdant landscape of rich vegetation.
The farm abounds in fruits, seasonal vegetable and greens, cruciferous and many wild and edible varieties of herbs, shrubs, flowers and weed. Though the fields are in the process of getting certified as organic, their practices are akin to best organic practices and conforms to the purest approach and intention.
Our arrival was a welcome relief from the daily grind of life. In true Indian tradition, we removed the shoes before entering the place for communal gathering. Even the names of all the permanent residents were Indian, Durga, Mahalaxmi, Saraswati, Jagdish, Yogiraj, Kalyan, Hanuman and many others. Few faces were familiar from one of the earlier meetings, many other became familiar as the warmth of friendship mellowed the distance between the hearts.
The journey began
We live in a time where the new and the old are in parallel existence. Both work side by side, and interact with each other, and ultimately evolve together to benefit the recipients.
The whole environment radiates a simple and natural beauty that will not fail to touch whoever comes to visit. In such unique and magical environment Arunachala aims to fulfill the integrative Vision of its Founders and teachers.
As it is said, “All limited or limitless spheres of existence which arise, whether gross or subtle, unhappy or happy, ordinary or sublime, depend on the five elements which are the basis of all pure and impure phenomena.” However, these elements are not simple building blocks of the physical world or of a spiritless physical body, but properties that make up all of existence and our experience thereof. One can experience the same in all totality while being at Arunachala.
The joined the resident yogis and yoginis to explore the farm and the various activities in foot. Set amidst almost 800 acres of pristine forest, almost 60% of land lay undisturbed.
The sacred space of the ashram supports may life forms, everyone found their place without the threat of someone’s encroaching their space. We came across several new plants. We talked about both the earthly or medicinal properties as well as the energetic or spiritual properties these plants have to offer.
The walk reinforced the belief in the unique gifts of Karma Yoga, or selfless service, the foundation of all yoga practice.
Inspiration for joyful living and nourishment
Few moments are more memorable than others, though mundane some leave indelible mark in the pages of life. Sitting down with the vivacious residents of the Ashram was one such moment, replete with joy of togetherness and wholesomeness. I could use words only and you will understand
Love, Natural, wholesome, organic, caring, sharing, communal dining, food prana, textural, flavorful, colorful, edible flower, homemade, love, food prayer and so on, even the words without the sentence will fill a page.
How can I forget the honey containing the delicate aroma and flavor of 1000 nectars, something I never tasted in my last 20 years of exploration? The sour dough bread was equally impressive and spoke volume of team trying to prepare healthy food.
After lunch and bonhomie, it was time to return to our base, bundle of beautiful memories parked forever. They reciprocated our visit a month later spending a day with as at our farm, we both felt kinship beyond words and formal gesture. I am sure our relationship will continue to grow stronger in coming days in several areas of mutual collaboration.
“Namaste” and happy reading.