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Spiritual Unfoldment – A Gardener’s Work

January 28th, 2016

One of the moments which deeply impressed me during my last stay in India developed its impact only slowly. It was during the farewell ceremony at the end of the seminar. Sri Kumar mentioned that those coming to future seminars should acquaint themselves beforehand about what has been taught in previous Indian seminars. This way they would not get lost and have a better understanding of the teachings. And he explained that he won’t come anymore to the West for giving seminars. He would continue teachings via YouTube, according to American and European time zones. He remarked that he has given so many teachings and that it has become a habit to ask for more without applying what has already been given.

Before my mind’s eye I saw the great sublime structure woven by these teachings given over many years in a grand sequence, bringing to the denser planes of our minds most profound concepts about cosmic dimensions of manifestation, development and re-merging of creation, about their correspondences in us, about the laws of divine unfoldment. And that this knowledge is helping to unfold our inner dimension and speeds up the evolution.

At the same time I noticed how very undeveloped are the inner sense organs of us listeners and of those people over the globe trying to assimilate these teachings. With most there seemed to be a rudimentary inner perceptive system. Many feel attracted by Sri Kumar’s magnetism and by the ambiance of the seminars but not by the teachings. I heard from a number of members that they are not really interested in the teachings or maybe just some small aspects. Some said they feel more drawn to Buddhism and its practices because they are not so complicated. The attitude of mindfulness is very appealing and they don’t want to bother about the cosmological dimensions, which Buddhism leaves out of sight. I answered to a friend that for me the teachings are some kind of a training for our “mental and Buddhic muscles” and that like with other sport training you might feel pain when the muscles are tensed…

The last two days, I heard this from different sides. I thought of the tremendous work done by Sri Kumar and the difficulty of transmitting the sublime teachings. I was reminded of people using a smartphone. It is quite simple to operate, just some clicks – but is it easy under the surface? Who really understands in depth how it is functioning? And how comparatively few know how to build, how to write the software – and how many cooperate, adding specific sub-aspects to the whole, the “simple device”.

A friend said to me, she told Sri Kumar that she cannot understand much of his teachings but that she loves to be in his presence, and he smiled full of love. She added: “A gardener knows, when the seeds sprout and the plants develop.”

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A Bonsai Tree Nursery in India – trees grow slowly

The Last Day in India and the Journey back to Switzerland

January 23rd, 2016

Tuesday was the last day of our journey to India. Still tired from the previous day, I woke up, had a short look at the alarm clock, went into the bathroom for the morning wash. When I came out and switched the light on to tell Franz that the bathroom is now free I noticed that it was just 03:10 am – in my confusion I did not notice that the alarm clock was lying topside down and I had mistaken the time… So I went to bed again.

In the morning meditation I felt still a bit drowsy. Before and after breakfast I answered e-mails and tried to pin down the blogpost of two days ago so that the memories don’t fade away too quickly. Selecting photos, formatting, colour adjustments – and then I tried to upload. The internet connection was again very slow. I safeguarded the text in word and decided to publish it when I’m back in Switzerland.

Around 10 am we left the hotel with an auto-rickshaw: “To Sri Ramakrishna Mission”. The rickshaw driver repeated, Ramakrishna.I sat besides the driver on his bench, holding myself tight not to fall out, the other four were in the backside. Indian traffic around. When the driver turned into the first road I told the others, But that is not the right direction…. they replied, he probably knows a side-road. I was sceptical. We ended up in front of the Rajarani temple, where the driver stopped. Miquel explained to him that this is not the right place and explained to him again. He spoke with some other person and then started. A few minutes later we arrived at the Ramakrishna Mission – of course with disputes over the fare. But Miquel remained firm: It is not our fault…

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We spend some time in the serene ambiance of the Mission before we called another rickshaw: “To the Mukteswar Temple”. The driver said yes, and started. Again I remarked, That is not the right direction… He stopped in front of the Lingaraj temple to let us out. Miquel explained that foreigners are not allowed there, that we had already been there and repeated “Mukteswar Temple” – a very well known place in Bhubaneswar. We started again. Beggars along the road… I saw a blind man sitting at the street-side steering into the sun and asking for alms, one of many (next to the Mukteswar temple there was a beggar holding his one hand and talking to his mobile with the other). We stopped in front of the temple – and again Miquel cut short the discussions about the fare.

We entered into the Kedara-Gouri temple precincts near the Mukteswar temple where we had been there before.Franz and I placed our glass bead necklaces we had received in the Yogini temple the day before at the statue of a goddess.

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Rosa wanted to talk to the owner of a handicraft shop there where she and Franz had bought some artwork a few days ago. The man, a Sai Baba devotee, was very kind, in a non-commercial way. He brought us betelnut leaves for a good digestion and then showed us the way to a nearby vegetarian restaurant. It was a very simple restaurant serving just “Thali” – plates with a selection of sauces, vegetables and rice. I had never been in such a restaurant and it was quite full. But the food was tasty. When we came out of the restaurant, our looks fell on a plate of the “Allen Homoeo Hall. German Quality Made in India.” We smiled.

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Another rickshaw brought us back to the hotel – this time without any extra excursion. But the backside of the bench I sat on had a sharp, rusty iron piece strong enough to cut my spine in case of a sudden stop. I thought of what I sometimes felt as over-regulation with traffic security in Europe…

The flight back, originally scheduled for 9 pm was re-scheduled to 9.30, then 10 and 10.30. It was a quarter to 11 when the plane took up from Bhubaneswar airport. I don’t know whether it was from the food served in the plane or from the samosas and paneer sandwich eaten near the departure gate. But when we stood in the long queues of Qatar airways for check-in, I felt an increasing acid reflux. During the flight to Doha I felt the first pangs of vomiting. At Doha airport it became worse. The inner guidance had changed in Delhi during check-in my place and given me a seat at the very last row of the plane. First I felt unhappy with it until I realised that this was my blessings – I ended up sitting alone with a free chair on both sides and the toilet was just around the corner. And the vomiting diarrhoea got very strong. In a matter of seconds the liquids were expelled up and down, together with the medicine they had given me. The stewardesses took great care of me and there was even a doctor sitting right in front of me inspecting my state: “Food poisoning”. An Indian good-bye souvenir.

I spend the flight sleeping and looking a very touching film “Pay it forward” (German: Das Glücksprinzip) about a little boy launching a goodwill movement – very inspiring. Shortly before landing I saw through the windows some fantastic snow panoramas of the Alps. The train journey to Berne then went quite well. A warm welcome of my wife, some words and then I fell into my bed to wake up half a day later.

Now, three days later, I am feeling quite well again, coming slowly back into the world I’m used to. On my arrival I found a letter from an old school friend with whom I had done bicycle tours through Germany end of the 60s/early 70s. He is now the director of Munich airport – and since 2 years I receive his Christmas letter sent to a circle of friends about what has been going on in his life. I like him, though we have not seen for a decade. He is a lot jetting around the world and living in quite different worlds. His words made me think of my path, of what I did experience the last weeks and what was the essence of it. I feel that under the multitude of impressions there is the fire of inner striving, which had been nourished by the journey. And that the gems in the fire will show up a bit clearer in the times to come.

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Sunrise over the Gulf of Bengal at Visakhapatnam, seen from the roof of the house of Sri Kumar

Temples and Caves, 64 Yoginis and Rajarani Music Festival

January 22nd, 2016

Monday morning after breakfast we saw a few temples in Bhubaneswar – “the city of 1000 temples”; I did not count but do not doubt :-) – and in one temple joined a small puja ritual. We also saw the famous Lingaraj Temple from the outside – again “for Hindus only”. (The name means “The King of Lingams“, the symbolic form of Lord Shiva). Here you see how they change the flags on top of the temple tower – see in the second image how the man climbs down along a rope…

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We afterwards drove through narrow streets, a long congestion at a railway crossing and various villages to the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, the abodes of Jain ascetics. There are about 35 caves in two hills, and on the top of one hill there is a Jain temple. They are partly natural and partly carved out from the rock.

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One cave looked like a tiger mouth, other structures resembled huge serpents. When we met in the biggest cave for a short meditation, a lady with her daughter asked us if we were meditating and presented herself to be a yoga teacher from the Bihar School of Yoga. Rosa asked her if she would like to lead the meditation. The lady several times asked if we really wanted her to do it, and we said, yes. Then she guided us through a process of visualisation and mantra exercises – a nice experience. After a coconut drink we set out to climb the second hill. On the way up there was a Hindu temple in one of the caves, where the swami performed a ritual and explained about the high age of the encarvings down there, much older than in the other caves or in the Jain sanctuary at the top.

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Washing the feet for one rupee before entering the compound of the temple – a boy was spraying water on our feet, and one of our group said, that’s a good business model – very cheap but if all the many visitors have to pay – and can pay – it sums up….

The Jains are completely vegetarian and they also exclude onions, potatoes, eggplants and garlic. So Miquel said at the entrance of the temple, that we also don’t eat onions and garlic – to be allowed to enter – but no photos allowed in and around the temple. There were statues of Mahavira and other Tirthankaras – omniscient teachers.

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After returning into the valley we went to the Chausathi Yogini Temple located in a small village on the countryside near a pond. It is an open circular temple with 27.4 m circumference and a wall of 2.4 m – with 64 statuettes of yoginis and Shaivaite goddesses, like Ganeshini, a female form of Ganesha:

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Of course, the Brahmin priests which arrived when we came performed a puja, and of course they wanted again rupees. Miquel, the “guardian” of the group cash, remained hard when their demands exceeded what was considered to be “normal”.

After a lunch in a vegetarian restaurant the group wanted to visit more temples in Bhubaneswar. I, however, felt an “overkill” of temple impressions and stayed out during the visit of the Mukteswar temple and other sanctuaries in the surroundings. I said I preferred to be in a meditative place and not go from one place to the other. However, I very much enjoyed when we visited the Shirdi Baba temple in Bhubaneswar – I feel deeply linked to this energy and the short meditation there recharged my system.

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The Mukteswar temple, where we had seen a beautiful dance presentation three days before.

Afterwards we went to the site of the Rajarani Temple. It was just the time for the start of the free 3 days “Rajarani Music Festival” with great performances of Indian classical music, again organised by Odisha Tourism.

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There were two concerts, one of an Odissi vocal singer, Smt Mohapatra Minati Bhanja, and one of two Hindustani vocal singers, the Wadali Brothers in Sufi tradition. The site was again marvellously decorated, though there was not the magic of the light and movements of the dance performances at the Mukteswar temple.

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The first concert was more elegiac, the musical voice of Minati accompanied by a violin, tablas, and string instruments. The second concert rose from yearning vocal patterns to ecstatic rhythms which got the entire audience clapping their hands to the sounds of the two elderly brothers and their group of singers. The sounds rose up into the night-blue sky, from where the moon in his tenth ascending phase shed down his mild light. And the fading of the battery of my camera saved me from taking more pictures of the event…

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Aquarius – The Aquarian Passage

January 21st, 2016

The Eastern Scriptures describe in poetical form the birth of matter and the passage of its formation from the space as a river flowing through all the planes. The apparent creation comes from seeming nothingness and the bridge between these states is called the Aquarian passage: on one side there is the creation and on the other side there is the seeming vacuum which in reality is everything. The point of the emergence of existence expresses as the deep blue of space. From out of the deep blue all other manifestations happen. Blue is but pure white in its depth. To the spiritual eye all colours exist in blue.

The point of the Aquarian passage in us is the Eye of Shiva, the Divine Will. This eye is on the top of the forehead and is far superior to our third eye. Through this centre energies can flow from supra-cosmic spheres to all the planes of creation. This passage is used to absorb all that exists or to let new energies pour in for a new creation. The Scriptures say, “When Shiva opens his eye, all can be destroyed.”

To visualise the Aquarian passage I placed a dark blue field at the very top followed by a field of brilliant white. Below I shaped the third eye of Shiva and two closed eyes – symbolising the focus within -with the help of the image of a wooden statue of Shiva, which I worked out in golden yellow. From the third eye there is a downpour of white light to Earth. It is received on top of the White Mountain, the Mont Blanc. I took the picture of this highest mountain of the Alps during a flight back from Spain. In the background I fused another photo of the blue sky with an image of a torrent of the Iguazu Falls located between Brazil and Argentina. It is emblematic of the waters of space containing all potentials of creation.

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Nandankanan Zoological Park, Rajarani Temple and Sun Temple in Konark

January 21st, 2016

Sunday, 17 January, we went to the zoological park of Nandankanan about 18 km outside Bhuvaneswar. Our guide took us first to the bear and tiger sections – and it was impressive to see leopards, tigers – even some white ones – and bears in zoo environment quite near to their natural living conditions. At the elephants’ section our guide called one of the zookeepers to come with an elephant. He mounted one of the animals and came directly to our place – a very impressive view. Later we went on a short safari-tour to 4 sections outside the zoo where we could see some tigers, lions, bears and deers outside the zoo walls – a crash-tour without good impressions.

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After the tour to the zoo we went to the Rajarani temple in Bhuvaneswar from the 11th century, where preparations for 3 days of Music Festival were going on (we visited it on the 18th). On the walls of the temple there are so-called “erotic” carvings of women and couples – today’s advertisements are much more sexualised than these statues. Though there are no images of Gods inside the temple it is associated with Shiva due to its form.

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The archaeological sites look nice but there is no active spiritual activity going on and they seemed to me like the outer shells, where the spirit has gone away.

The same was the case with the Sun Temple in Konark, where we went in the afternoon. It is a Unesco World Heritage site – and surrounded by a huge amounts of souvenir shops waiting for some tourists to stop. After lunch in the village we had a coconut drink on the way to the temple. Before we could enter a self-styled guide had cramped to our group and followed us insistently. Rosa finally took him as her guide, and while he explained the intricacies of the architecture and the place, I kept away to align with the place and to take some photos. (I had read a bit about the temple before…) We were the only “white skins” I could remark. It was interesting to observe the Indians flocking everywhere to take selfies or group pictures with the temple – particularly on lawns with the sign “Do not enter”.

There were some huge old banyan and neem trees near the temple. For a while I touched a banyan tree to connect to its energy – a feeling of something very stable and grounded, silently spreading into the surroundings. Again, you could feel that there are no active spiritual activities going on at the temple – a beautiful messenger of times gone by. The temple and the scaffolding around the tower shone in a golden evening light, a true sun temple.

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Next to the temple there was a Navagraha-Temple, devoted to the 9 planets, where some “ritual quickies” were going on. When none of the priests looked, I quickly deposited my flower from the Dhauli Shanti Stupa at one of the planetary spirit statues…

Afterwards we went to the sea where the glowing Sun God was shedding his red gold over the water and slowly faded into the mist, while people were enjoying the view of the ocean.

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On the way home we stopped at a small ashram on the wayside. We went in for our evening meditation – and yes, in this simple building with the images of their line of gurus you could feel the vibrant purity of continuous spiritual aspiration.

 

Visit to Dhauli, a Painting School, Puri Jagannath and the Mahasamadhi of Sri Yukteswar

January 19th, 2016

Saturday, 16 January, our taxi driver picked us up in the morning and we drove into the direction of Puri. On the way we stopped at the Shanti Stupa at Dhauli. A battle had been fought there by Emperor Ashoka Maurya (304-2232 BCA) and he felt afterwards that he should do something after the war for the welfare of the world. So he saw that a Buddhist centre was developed there, and stupas etc. were erected at Dhauli. In the 70s of last century, the Japanese constructed a beautiful Peace Pagoda there overlooking the countryside.

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Peace Pagoda at Dhauli

At a statue of the lying Buddha an Indian – as I discovered later – asked me in a friendly way and started doing a puja, where he and a colleague asked for the names of a friend and mine and of our families, since he wanted to bless us. Then he asked for 500 Rupees, for the maintenance of the site and the ritual to their God Buddha. I thought that the priests had “pocketed” the Buddha for their purposes. Since we did not want to start bargaining in the beautiful ambiance of the Stupa, we paid the money but afterwards felt being tricked by the priests’ marketing strategy. We did not want to keep the flowers he had given us – to carry them home and receive the abundant blessings – but offered them the next day at a small temple of the 9 planets near the Sun Temple in Konark.

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The Priest

A little further we visited an archaeological site where you could see engravings of the famous rock edicts of Ashoka  surrounded by a little park.

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The Rock Edicts of Ashoka at Dhauli

A little later, some kilometres before Puri, the driver brought us to a small village. An artist aged 85 years, Shilpi Guru Ananta Maharana from an old lineage of artists was the head of a school (Gurukula Ashram) in a traditional way of painting with stone-colours. They have many students living there for a while to learn this kind of painting. One senior disciples showed us a number of highly meticulous paintings and the way how they are done. For some of these paintings it took several years to finish. We were very much impressed seeing the great quality of their work, the humbleness in which the work is being done. Stone colours do not fade away – he showed up paintings aged several centuries still looking well. We stayed there for nearly 2 hours. There was no commercial attitude at all, just one simple proposal if we would like to support the work with a donation – and we did. Meini bought a beautiful Ganesha painting done by the Guru 30 years ago. When showing a painting about the life of Sri Chaintaya, the great Bhakti Yogi of the 15th /16th century, the disciple explained that Chaitanya had come through this village via the way directly in front of the house. The house itself was several centuries old.

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The octogenarian artist sitting at the front door of his ashram

We finally reached Puri in the early afternoon. The sun was burning down when we set out to walk to the Puri Jagannath. temple.

Great amounts of people were pouring to and fro the temple, and bicycle rickshaw drivers tried to convince us to take a ride – in vain. It is forbidden for foreigners to visit the temple –the orthodoxy keeps non-Hindus out from seeing the shrine.

The taxi stopped about 1.5 km from the temple – after a certain point only rickshaws and motorbikes are allowed. We decided to walk in the hot sunshine. Everywhere beggars or street-vendors tried to get some money. In the mid of the road some cows and a bull were “meditating” in stoic silence. A serpent of humans pressed towards the temple entrance control. For some money we were allowed to go up to the roof of a house to have a look at the temple and the masses below. We did a short prayer and descended again.

Sri Kumar had told us to get a poster of the temple tower and focus on the wheel at the top as the centre of the energy, also at home. This proved to be a special “key”: Rosa asked at the temple administration where we could get that picture. They said, at a kiosk at the entrance of the temple. The kiosk was inside and some policemen were guarding the entrance. With her charming smile and a sari Rosa asked if we could enter. The first policeman said no, the other, irritated, said yes, and so we slipped to get just in front of the temple gate, a place which is normally not accessible for foreigners. While Rosa bought the posters we stood there and aligned to the energy inside – it was a vibrant, magnetic radiation, much stronger than outside the precinct. Rosa said: “It is a blessing of the Master to ask us to get these pictures and thus coming here, a bit inside.”

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Puri Jagannath temple

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“Only Hindus are allowed…”

After a lunch in a nearby “pure-veg” restaurant (vegetarian without onions and garlic”) we set out to find the place of the Mahasamadhi of Sri Yukteshwar, the teacher of Yogananda. Miquel had found on Google some description of the place but not any precise address. It was supposed to be near the beach of Puri. We didn’t find anything. Finally Miquel and the driver asked at a hotel. They gave a vague description. We drove along a side road. Suddenly Miquel said, There is a sign of a Kriya Yoga. We stopped and found an old signpost. We went by foot through a small sand-road. Finally we found a house where a sign “Kriya Yoga Ashram” was painted. The house seemed to be closed. Miquel tried to speak with the neighbours, without success. We wanted to return. Then Rosa came. She started speaking with the neighbours, asked if someone is living in the ashram and if the door is closed or can be opened. The neighbours started shouting, and after a while a young swami appeared at the door. He made us enter and we mounted up to the second floor, where there was an assembly hall with the images of the Masters of the Kriya Yoga lineage. There was a beautiful ambiance. With the few words of English he knew he said that this was not the Mahasamadhi of Sri Yukteswar, at another ashram. With the help of mobile connection to our driver as a translator we got the right address – in a side-lane not far from the beach road. We had a short meditation at the ashram and some exchange with the swami, then set out to find the other ashram.

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At the Kriya Yoga Ashram

From the busy beach road we entered by feet into a small lane and then a smaller lane until we finally saw the sign: “Karar Ashram. Sri Yukteswar Kriyayoga Centre.”

It was closed at 5 pm but we had informed them that we would come a short time afterwards. After some ringing we finally were allowed to enter – but “no photography!”

We entered the inner court of the beautiful and simple old ashram. While the man was searching for someone I took a hidden shot – and one of our group then took a picture also at the Mahasamadhi, the place of the final rest of Sri Yukteswar.

We first saw the prayer hall and then met the head of the Ashram, Swami Yogeswarananda. He told us that he is often travelling to the west to teach Kriya Yoga, and comes twice a year to Germany and Switzerland. He was very warm-hearted and smiling. We exchanged about our pilgrimage and our teachers and he proposed several places in the surroundings of Puri which we should visit – and we visited them the next days.

After a short meditation at the Mahasamadhi we finally set out to return to Bhubaneswar – after a very rich day full of surprises.

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At the Mahasamadhi of Sri Yukteswar

A Series of Unexpected Blessings in Bhuvaneswar

January 16th, 2016

Friday, 15 January early morning after a short morning meditation with Sri Kumar, a bus brought a group of us to the airport. While most of them set out to their journey home, we were a group of 5 persons who flew to Bhubaneswar, the capital of the Indian state of Odisha (Orissa), starting a small pilgrimage for 4 days.

A driver from the hotel came to pick us up but his car was too small for our luggage. So he organised some colleague and soon we were driving through the city to our hotel, our stay for the next 4 days. The breakfast was also our lunch and pre-dinner. Around four o’clock, when the temperature came down, we started our tour walking along a busy road and entered a nearby temple. They were just opening again and we got the blessing of the deities there, being decorated by the priests with red and orange colours on our forehead – it was quite difficult in the evening to wash the colours away, not only the towel became a witness of it.

After a chai at a street coffee shop – boiled with glowing coals – we took an auto rickshaw to bring us to the Sri Ramakrishna Mission. The buildings were surrounded by a beautiful old garden, where the dusk slowly took away the colours. It was quite a contrast to come into this silent, serene ambiance from the noise of the city with the continuous noise of motors and horns. We had a beautiful meditation in the prayer hall and then continued to a nearby temple area.

We came into a road fantastically decorated with beautiful cotton lanterns. And there we saw in front of the Mukteswar temple that the second day of the 3 days Music and Dance Festival was to start in a quarter of an hour at the temple compound, free entry, organised by Odisha Tourism. We were thrilled when we entered the huge compound of the Shiva-temple: Around the temple a big stage was set up. A huge lighting system stood there, cameras to air the show to All India TV – and fantastic light decorations in the trees and bushes. The air was filled with incense to chase away the mosquitoes. We got places in the VIP section not far away from the stage. And soon a huge choir (Dheeraj Mohapatra & Group) in beautiful costumes started with an invocation to Shiva, the Lord of Dance. If was followed by Odissi solo, duet and group dances – outstanding performances with sublime artists of dance and music – we were very deeply touched to be at this presentation in such an incredibly beautiful surrounding of the over thousand years old temple. The dance celebrations were at Makara Sankranti, the traditional lunar winter solstice celebrated from 14 to 16 January.

Afterwards we went to see some other smaller temples in the surroundings. And also there the trees were filled with lampions. Then we were invited to receive a beautiful free Thali dinner sitting on carpets under the trees of a temple – a family had sponsored it on the occasion of a celebration for their young son, which is being done when the child is 4 months and 4 days old.

Then we came into a craft shop where exquisite handicraft was being sold. We saw palm leaf writings, very well done statues and very subtle artwork on a kind of cloth on tamarind backing. Two friends of mine hand a long talk with the owner, a Sai Baba devotee, and finally bought two images.

When we returned to the hotel, we felt overwhelmingly blessed by the sequence of unexpected blessings we experienced during the day.

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Guru Puja Celebration at Simhachalam

January 14th, 2016

Sunday morning, the bus brought us to the temple of Simhachalam. The temple compound is located on a hill above the village. It is a temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha, the avatar of Lord Vishnu as the Man-Lion. It is a temple of Vishnu with in its centre a lingam, symbol of Lord Shiva, a unique combination of the energies of the 1st and 2nd ray.

Every year before the beginning of the Guru Puja, we go to this temple to be in the presence of the vibrating energies. Together with many other pilgrims, we crossed the outer and inner part of the temple before entering into the innermost part, where the lingam is installed. We chanted the mantra OM Namoh Narayanaya, connecting to the energies of the place. As a blessing, the priests gave us some water and Tulsi leaves.

In the inner compound I spoke some words to the group about the symbolism of the temple. Then we gathered again our belongings which we had to leave outside the temple. While some of the group took the bus to go downhill, I preferred to descend with a friend via the steep stairs through the forest – a most lovely pathway into the valley. It was quite hot and so we were happy to drink some coconut water downhill.

There the Indian brotherhood had again set up a little kitchen for us Westerners in a nearby court, where we had our lunch and relaxed for a while. I then had a look at the ongoing work of setting up the big hall for the Guru Puja celebrations – tents, a stage, and the altar with the pictures of the Masters – a tremendous logistic and organisational work with a great number of volunteer workers who have prepared for this occasion over several months. I walked on to the village lake to see how the area has recovered from the hurricane of autumn 2014. Though there still were palm tree trunks and trees with dead branches, life had returned. Also the nearby little palm forest where we usually go for “siesta” looked nice again, though there were still traces of the huge devastations.

At half past five the Master Kumar opened the Guru Puja with a small ritual to Lord Ganesha, accompanied by chanting of Vedic hymns by pundits. Then there was the evening prayer followed by the first discourse, in Telugu. It was translated into English, and then to Spanish, French and German. I listened to the German translation and re-translated it to English for my notes. taking notes is a good exercise for staying aligned with the flow of the Energy.

The content of the 7 discourses was an old Indian scripture describing in symbolic form the incarnations of a soul through several births, how it got stuck there and how it slowly found the way out of the bondages of the body. A fascinating story but too complex for telling here.

There were again three ritual highlights – Monday the water ritual in honour of the first Logos Shiva; Tuesday, the Lalitha Puja in honour of the divine Mother; and Wednesday the fire ritual in honour of the Second Logos, Vishnu. There were various book presentations and other smaller contributions. Of course it was again a good occasion of exchanging with Indian friends. And I also enjoyed the daily “siestas” in the nearby palm forest – it had quite completely recovered after the big hurricane of 2014.

Late in the nights we were happily falling into our beds only to get up again very early in the mornings. Now is a day of relaxing. Most group members will go back tomorrow, to Europa or the Americas. Together with 4 friends, I will do a small pilgrimage to Bhuvaneshvar and Puri in Orissa (Odisha) and return a little later.

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A Visit to Ramadri

January 13th, 2016

Last Friday in the afternoon the group went to Ramadri, a beautiful temple compound at a hill slope overlooking the Gulf of Bengal. This site has been given to the WTT end of the 90s and had been slowly developed to a vibrant spiritual centre. There is a small school run by the WTT where children from the surrounding villages receive free education, food and clothing as well as spiritual education besides the normal curriculum. There are also a number of small temples and shrines and a cow-shed where by now 72 cows are held in a very good condition. The milk is used for the children, worship activities and free distribution. Above all, for many years the place has been charged with a special ritual related to the sound of cosmic fire, RAM. This has magnetised not only the compound but created a strong influence in the surroundings.

After visiting the various small temples and shrines as well as the cow-shed the school children gathered to recite various Vedic hymns and later received new clothes and school material. While dusk set in and flocks of birds crossed the place we had beautiful meditation before returning to Visakhapatnam.

The next day the seminar closed with a closing ceremony and a beautiful dinner offered by Sri Kumar to the group.

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An Excursion to Rajahmundry

January 10th, 2016

It was quite hot when we left by bus to Rajahmundry last Tuesday afternoon. An Indian friend told me that it is about 7 degrees above the average temperature in January – and we felt it.

I enjoy these bus rides – a good occasion for some in-depth talk to a friend or just looking out to the countryside.The only interruption was a short coffee break somewhere at a palm forest. When dusk set in I saw that quite a number of the “youngsters” in the other bus, which was driving before us had started dancing – I smiled and thought of “Bollywood”…

It took about 5.5 hs – the bus was old and there was quite some traffic on the roads. I asked myself whether in India they drive on the left or the right side – no way to discover…

The WTT brotherhood gave us a warm welcome and a delicious dinner – and we quickly fell to sleep – “camping” in a big hall.

Early next morning I went to the nearby Godavari River to have an early morning “holy bath” in one of the most holy rivers of India. Sri Kumar explained that it is charged with leonine energies and that every 12 years there is a huge Kumbha Mela in the month of Leo. Luckily it was dark when we went into the river – during daylight the water turned out to be more dirty than in the previous years. Nevertheless, the etheric purity and radiance does not depend much on the physical. I hope that soon some people get the idea that it might be good to clear the plastic bottles. In the water I stumbled upon a net and some clothes…

After morning meditation we welcomed the Sun on the roof of the WTT centre before we set out to a journey to Amalavaram. We drove through a lush nature with a lot of plant and tree nurseries. There is an extensive irrigation system and the area is very rich and fertile.

After over 2 hs drive we arrived at the town of Amalavaram, where some old members of the WTT had invited the group. Mr Murti Ganti, a retired professor of nuclear physics and his big family gave Sri Kumar and us a warm welcome with coffee and some sweets. We then set out to a tour by walk through the village. First we walked to the temple of Rajalakshmi, the village goddess. Sri Kumar explained that all town there have a protective deity looking over the well-being of the people and newcomers greeting first this deity.

Then we proceeded to an old Shiva and a Vishnu temple, where small ceremonies were conducted. There was a vibrant energy around. I just stood for a while in a stream of light, thrilled. Afterward we visited the central family house of the Murti’s – a house built over 100 years ago according tot he ancient science of Vastu. Mr. Murti explained the principles of this house and how it protects against the high temperatures – with a covering of dried coconuts, among others. There was no iron used in these houses, iron having the energy of Kali, the dark Iron Age.

After a sumptuous lunch at the family house and some coconuts in a huge coconut plantation we returned to Rajahmundry.

Next morning, after another bath in the river, meditation and breakfast we made a small tour through the temple quarter along the river. Sri Kumar explained us how the whole area had developed over the last 40 years, with the central impulsion coming from the WTT and the substantial services rendered by the local group.

We first visited a Dattatreya temple of the Dattapeetam movement, where a smal ritual was conducted, then proceeded to the Hare Krishna temple, a beautiful construction, a Kartikeya (Mars) temple with very martian energies, the bath place at teh river and anotehr temple dedicated to Gayatri, the World Mother. Then we set out to a 2 hs boatride with some members of the India brotherhood. They made a kind of lotto with us and wanted us to dance. I felt a bit reminded of my disco times in the 70s – though I would have preferred just to enjoy the river ambiance I decided to participate…

After lunch we again started our return journey, arriving quite tired around 7.30 pm.

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