A Home away from Home

The place is in the middle of a jungle which is inhabited by elephants. It’s about 50 to 60km away from Coimbatore and more than an hour’s drive from the city. It’s a place which is completely cut off from from the outside world as mobile services do not work. A visitor is offered an exclusive cottage with amenities to stay where every meal is taken care of by the Ashram’s common dining hall. A bell would ring for each meal and one just has to walk across to have a simple sathvik meal. And in this amazing setting, the residents of the ashram are treated with spiritual discourses and satsangs by an octogenarian Swamiji who loves to discuss various topics in spite of his poor health. That is Swami Dayananda Saraswati’s Ashram Arsha Vidya Gurukulam.

The forest area is aptly named as Anaikatti. Loosely translated, it means an abode for elephants in Tamil. People in the Ashram tell stories about how wild elephants would barge into the Ashram without notice uprooting trees and how everybody would run for shelter. Barring such occasional intrusions by wild animals, the ashram offers a perfect setting for peaceful contemplation. Isn’t it an ideal weekend getaway to recharge your batteries? It’s a home away from home. No one owns Ashrams but everyone feels at home in an Ashram. Feeling at home without owning? Yes, this is the secret of spiritual life. All spiritual masters keep reminding us that we do not own anything after all – we’re only trustees or care-takers of whatever is given to us.

There were a couple of interesting satsangs during my spiritual retreat. Satsangs are basically question/answer sessions. A question that was discussed at length was this: How come an infallible Eswara or Narayana has given rise to a fallible human being?

This can be understood only if we truly understand what is Eswara. Eswara is not someone sitting somewhere and deciding on the fortunes or misfortunes of human beings. He is present in the form of Dharma and Niyati. Dharma is Eswara. Niyati is Eswara. The knowledge, the laws, the order that make up the universe is Eswara. The order also includes the laws of karma.

It’s the order that we find all around which sustains life. It also encompasses physical order consisting of laws of evolution, the knowledge constituting the laws by which the universe exists, the psychological order including the ego, subconscious and the Unconscious which form part of the human psyche. Eswara manifests Himself through the order that we see all around. In fact there is no order in the universe other than Eswara. To the extent we are in alignment with this order, we become less and less fallible. The fact that we’re fallible given our propensity to violate this order only confirms the operation of His order and His infallibility. Intelligent living consists in understanding this order and aligning ourselves with it.

During my brief stay I walked around a lot and took some pictures on my cell phone camera. Look at the serene beauty of the Ashram surroundings:

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Published in: on July 13, 2015 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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