A Second Letter from India

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Dear ones,

We just got some photos from Daya of our visit to the Delhi ashram on Friday. You can see where we had lunch out in the garden with the beautiful murtis in the background.

Delhi lunch in the garden with friends Delhi lunch in the gardenThe next day, Saturday, we attended a wonderful satsang with Jyotish and Devi at the Gurgaon center. One of the beautiful things Jyotish said was that if we all at Ananda don’t strive to bring light into the world, then who will?!

We are so lucky to have these teachings, and to follow this path; it’s important that we take responsibility to shine God’s light.

Devi spoke beautifully, too, and related that a friend of hers told her recently that she adds three simple words to any judgmental thought that she might have. For example, if she thinks, “So and so is never on time; she is always late…” she will then add the words, “JUST LIKE ME.”

What a great practice!

Here are some photos of the event: the sparkling Gurgaon center just outside the temple; us helping to light the ceremonial lamp; singing in the choir with our friend, Baraquiel, a monk from Pune directing; receiving flowers and speaking, and greeting friends after the program. It was such a blessing to be there and see so many old friends.

Gurgaon center

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Sunday we left very early to drive to Noida to give a satsang at the Ananda center there. For two hours we chanted, meditated, and spoke of God. What a joy to share with these dear souls! Many of them we have known since our first days in India.

All afternoon and evening plans were cancelled as we all, as a family, struggled with tummy upset, all part of the tapasya of God’s hidden blessings of India… Monday we flew to Bhubaneshwar in the morning, then drove to Puri to visit a home set up for widows, abused women, and their children. All ages of women, about 100 of them, live together in this shelter started by the aunt of our friend, Rony Acharya. The widows had been eking out a modest living selling wicks for oil lamps in the Jaganath temple grounds, but then officials decided they should not be there. Overnight, their livelihood disappeared and they were on the street.

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This lady found a place for them to live, devised ways they could support themselves by making foodstuffs to sell, and has been keeping this tenuous shelter going for years….

Our arrival was met with “ululation” from scores of women, which is an unusual sound produced by rolling the tongue rapidly in the mouth. This sound is practiced widely during Hindu festivals, weddings, and other celebrations. Quite a reception for my two dear sisters-in-law! Not something you get very often in Chicago! The ladies of the shelter also threw marigold petals at us as we entered, another new experience for Beth and Ann.

We met with Mrs. Mahapatra, the founder, and I hope to post a short video of her, soon, talking about the work they are doing there. We were given a full tour of the facility, which included seeing the kitchen, the training areas, sleeping quarters, and workspace. 7 – 10 wooden cots shoulder to shoulder in each small bedroom forms the sleeping areas.  2 – 3 garments hung from a bit of twine above each bed is the sum of each person’s personal belongings.

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At one point the ladies were smiling and doing the “namaskar” gesture to us (“my soul bows to your soul.”) We said, through a translator, that we would pray for them, and they replied, “We will pray for you, too!”

Whatever happens in life, keep the flow of prayer going. This world is truly a dream…

Aum, Nirmala and Dharmadas

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