Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ashram - I realized that i prepared this post but never published it, this is in the south at Amma's ashram

The ashram was even more relaxing than Fort Cochi. I think at the time there were about 700 people there, mostly from all over the world.
- no pressure to become an Amma devotee or participate in anything other than seva.  I 'mediated' on the beach with my book alot; walked to the village; walked down the beach road
- food was great - several options - the chow line that was free with accommodation served rice (or rice soup) with two or three side things; combo indian/western chow line that you had to pay for but most I paid for a meal was Rs 40 - Rasputin's long lost relative was in this line - reminded me of the soup nazi - he would get upset if you didnt' have a bowl on a plate (just a bowl or just a plate was no good), slopped it in, then wish you a nice evening; Western Cafe - on my last day had the best ever grilled cheese and fries!
Meditating on the rocks (I was sitting outside ashram property).  Rocks were put here by the government; waves so strong were eroding the peninsula.  Although this is the east side, tsumani still left them 5 feet under water.

John and I went 6 km down the beach road to an old concrete and rocks boat jetty to see the dolphins at sunset; eagles snatching fish out of the water.

View from the 11th floor; ashram is on a peninsula (5 min walk from one side to the other). The boat cruise that brought us here was 4 hours along this causeway.

Beach road

Kanyakumari - walked through little pathways between the houses to get to this boat jetty.
- at sunset, several hundred cranes would come nest in 5-6 trees; always 4-5 eagles flying around that apparently will snatch your toast off your plate (not huge, wingspan maybe 2.5 - 3 feet)
- very basic (again, somewhat like prison) but we were here voluntary and for Rs 200 per day, no one complains - rooms with 2 bunk beds, fan, 4 metal lockers and a washroom; all metal dishes, everyone washed their own using really fine sand; ashramites (yes, that's what their called) where plain white, no shorts; I was on the 11th floor with an elevator so small and so slow I walked up and down most of the time
- for seva I was dishes (the ones used to prepare the food), helped move books - the human chain thing and cut up vegetables
- for the 'hug' from Amma it's  all very organized, remove glasses and hair pins, wipe your face, leave your bags. She presses your face into her breast at the same time she talking to her entourage of about 10 people who are always with her, no idea what she's talking about, puts her hands on your back under your neck.  I was there for what seemed like an eternity, wondering if she forgot I was there, there she said something in my ear, couldn't understand it (funny, they asked what language I spoke), they pulled me up and away I go. Didn't do anything for me but others were crying (perhaps they needed a hug).

 John (the guy I travelled here with) and I had some good laughs, it was really nice to have another person who didn't think Amma was a god.  On my last night we walked down the beach road to see the dolphins swimming by an old pier as the sun went down, it was very beautiful.  We then took a bus back - loud music, incense - it was a nice way to spend the last night there.

Went to Kanyakumari by train, nice little place, saw everything I needed to see and took the buse to Madurai.  Flying to Mumbai on Thurs 10 then train to Aurangabad on the 11th.

Love you

1 comment:

  1. Barb,

    Really enjoying your trip - and commentary along the way!
    Looking forward to your next posting. Everything back in TO is good.

    Bruce & Carolyn
    Feb 18