Sanyas Ashram

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     You may think that an ashram environment is one of peace and tranquility and it certainly can be at times, but the truth of the matter is, wherever human beings gather, there can be drama.  This popular spiritual commune was no different.  Located near the foothills of the Himalayas, it is one of many scattered throughout India and is presided over by a prominent guru.  It is a retreat destination of many worldwide as well as home to several devotees.

     An issue facing many of the pilgrims that make their way to this spiritual haven is one of privacy.  The lack of private, individual lodging for the enormous influx of visitors make it futile for some to remain comfortable.  Much grumbling, sulking and complaining would ensue with sometimes inexcusable, heated arguments breaking out.

     Finally, this brought about a strict and decisive mandate.  Silence.  Within the walls of the compound, silence would be maintained at all times unless otherwise authorized.  Meals would be taken in silence.  All darshans and yoga classes would be held in silence by the attendees.  No more chit-chat or other conversation within the ashram would be tolerated.  Any questions needing to be asked of personnel would be done in private quarters.

     The change was immediate.  A rapport quickly could be felt between the visitors when they had only the use of inference and “sign language” to communicate with each other.  Now, the attendees could more easily absorb the discipline and teachings with their full attention and not with distracted bickering with their neighbors.  Ah, peace at last.


Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Random Creativity:

A Taste of India

Kohinoor is where we’re headed

For our preferred Indian meal.

We’ll commence our feast soon after we’re seated

With some mango and onion chutneys and crispy, fried papadam.

My beverage of choice is always a frothy, sweet lassi

Which helps soothe the heat of my spice-filled curry.

We’re ordering our favorite thali tonight that the two of us will share,

Offered with all the finest from appetizers to dessert.

We begin with pakoras those fritter-prepared vegetables

Followed by savory, delectable somosas–

Flaky, fried pastry stuffed with potatoes and peas.

The perfect mixture of spices assails my senses with glee.

Next comes the chana dal presented with fluffy basmati rice

Served alongside the aloo gobi and the palak paneer.

A yogurt cucumber raita also helps cool our palates.

Our favorite breads accompanies all this,

The onion kulcha and naan are both divine.

To finish it all up, but not the least

Is the creamy, sweet rice dish called kheer; a tasty

Pudding made with cardamom, raisins and nuts.

Oh, a taste of India, my soul’s earthly delight!

Poetry Potluck:  Food, Drink and Indulgence

Safety Precautions

When I lived in Boston, during my ashram days in the 70s, I started carrying a police whistle and a small billy club with me.  While walking alone from my house to the main ashram (which was about two blocks away and around the corner) for our morning yoga and meditation sadhana, I had had a frightening experience.

It was very early, before dawn, and the streetlights were still lit.  There had been several inches of snowfall recently which the snowplows had piled neatly on either side of the road.  Apparently, everyone else from my house had already walked over, so I was on my own that morning.  So I’m walking along in the cleared street and ahead of me to my left, lying in a snow bank, I see a figure–this figure is a man–this figure has his pants down around his ankles, this figure is naked!!!.  As I approached him, (now at a much quickened pace) he spotted me and began getting to his feet and muttered something unintelligible; I started running and as I passed him, he staggered toward me (very slowly) and as I continued to run, all the while looking over my left shoulder to keep an eye on him, he stood in the middle of the road and just stared after me as I disappeared around the corner.  Whew!

I never did have to blow my whistle or bop anyone with my club but I did feel safer having them with me just in case.

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