Wednesday morning, February 17th, Dharmadas and I flew to Pune to give a satsang at the beautiful new center in Pune city run by Bramachari Aditya. We spent two nights there, while the others in the family flew back to Delhi to prepare for a day trip to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on Thursday. They loved this adventure! The satsang in Pune was full of old friends and new ones, and we chanted, meditated, sang a song with Baraquiel (a monk from Uruguay,) heard the choir sing, and told stories of our time with Swami.
It was lovely to re-connect with many dear souls we knew from years ago, and to meet new, sincere devotees who are serving Master’s work with all their hearts. We also got to see two of our helpers, Gopal and Hari, who have been with Ananda Sangha for many years ~ from our days in Gurgaon. Gopal started as one of the house guards, while Hari (shown here with his son) was a workman for people living in the ashram. Both of these dear souls have stayed with Ananda through the years, even moving with us to the Pune community, and have been a tremendous help to Ananda. Their responsibilities have continued to grow. More importantly, they have embraced these teachings and are now gurubais.
Ananda India has been training many new meditation teachers who are able to give instruction is Hindi and other Indian languages, vastly expanding Master’s work so that people can learn and practice these teachings in their own language to make it their own.
Friday morning early we went back to the airport to fly to Delhi to rejoin the family. Being a military base, sometimes the Pune airport needs to be closed to civilian air traffic, and so we spent nearly 3 hours on the tarmac waiting to take off. We were so grateful to have good books to read!!
When we finally reached Delhi, we reunited with the family, and embarked on an overnight trip to Neemrana: a fort palace on the road to Jaipur that has been turned into a hotel. Built on a steep hillside, it is full of hidden chambers, courtyards, and passageways, with innumerable very steep stairways. As Beth said, it is ‘a-maze-ing!’
We had planned to spend the whole day on Saturday at Neemrana, driving back to the airport late Saturday night for our 1:50am flight Sunday morning back to Chicago, but we got word that there was a political protest happening on the road to Gurgaon that could potentially block traffic for hours…so, we packed up quickly and left the fort after breakfast, missing out on the camel rides we had been anticipating…
We were in two cars to accommodate all the people and luggage. One car made it throug
h the protest without incident, the second car, just minutes behind the first, got caught in the blockade, but escaped with only a half hour delay…
With some hours to spare before our flight, Beth, Ann, and I decided to “do the needful,” and went shopping!! We found a good store in Gurgaon that sells kurtas (ladies tunics) and we’ll have some in the boutique for your perusal. We might even have a trunk show after our India satsang after service next Sunday. I am ever “amazed” and delighted at the fabrics and colors, and artistic embroidery of Indian textiles. A feast for the eyes!
Speaking of feasts, our “last supper” in India was delightful, with one of our friends appearing with a chocolate cake decorated with a picture of Beth and Ann at the Taj Mahall! This is the first time we’ve seen a photographic image transferred into edible frosting! So much fun!
Below is a photo of the traveler’s getting ready to say goodbye to India…
I wish you could hear the giggles from these schoolchildren riding a bicycle rickshaw home from school.
Love and blessings to all of you!
Aum, Nirmala and Dharmadas