A Spiritual Retreat

A great getaway during Diwali – away from noise and pollution of crackers! I took a brief spiritual retreat in Coimbatore at Swamy Dayananda Saraswathi’s Ashram for 5 days.The Ashram is located in the midst of a picturesque forest surrounding in a village called Anaikatti. Yes, as the name suggests the place is famous for elephants among other animals like peacocks, deers, wild pigs etc. I stayed in a cottage as a guest of the Ashram in the midst of several other ascetics – swamis and swaminis. The cottage was quite comfortable and had an amazing view of the wild forest and mountains on all sides. With a dining hall providing simple and tasty food, one has everything necessary for a peaceful and carefree living. The Ashram is being run as a GURUKUL where the Swamiji as the chief Acharya imparts several courses including a 3-year course on vedanta. The guests are free to attend classes and take part in the debates. Swamiji keeps travelling to various other ashrams of his around the world and I was lucky that he was available in the Ashram during my stay.
My routine during the day was simple – get up early in the morning, do my yoga & meditation in the company of animals and chirping birds, have breakfast, take part in ‘satsang’ and engage in conversation with Swamiji in person when he is free. The Ashram also has a rich collection of books in a library and an audio room where one can listen to Swamiji’s public talks. There was no fixed time-table for the day,however. Take each day as it comes and enjoy whatever comes your way. What a refreshing change from the routine in Mumbai!

I must mention that contrary to one’s expectations, Ashrams also have their own share of problems. One will see the very same people related problems as in the world outside. One is quite likely to find some weirdos too living there. Fortunately, people forget their differences and are united by the great spiritual presence of the revered Swamiji.

I had a few unforgettable ‘satsangs’ and one-to-one interactions with Swamiji, which provided a lot of clarity on several issues of spiritual significance.

Swami Dayananda Sarawathy is a great teacher who talks with great conviction and clarity. Some of his interpretations of our scriptures are simply superb. He is great at resolving seemingly confusing or conflicting lines in our spiritual texts. For instance, we had a lovely discussion on a couple of slokas from Bhagavadgita chapter2 where two different definitions of Yoga were given. Verse #50 says Yoga is skill in action(YOGAH KARMASU KAUSALAM). In another verse(no.48)in the same chapter, Yoga is defined as something that imparts even mindedness(Samatvam Yoga uchyate). The definitions, taken separately, can cause quite a confusion. For instance, skill in action can imply that even a skilled pickpocket can claim to be performing a yoga. Therefore, one has to read this definition along with the other definition which says the action should result in even-mindedness and cause no mental agitation to anyone.

I have tried to capture the serene atmosphere of the Ashram in the photographs below (taken on my Cell phone):

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Published in: on November 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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