3 April 2018

This blog was written in 2018, so I do not wish to change the write-up … I have grown as a person and my writing too. (lol)

The best thing about the ashram is that everyone is treated equally and all behave in the best way possible.
My Journey with Swamiji ( Om Swami) started ever since I read his best seller “a monk’s memoir”. I have been reading his blogs, listening to his videos and almost finished reading all of his books. Attending his retreat in Bangalore was the icing on the cake.
All gurus and swamis are enlightened and elevated souls, it’s a matter of connecting with a particular soul, I have felt a strong connection with Om Swamiji somehow.

There are 2 big occasions in the ashram every year namely Sri Hari’s Birthday celebration in April and Swamiji’s birthday on 30th Nov. It’s Swamiji’s grace that I got a chance to ask him a question about His date of time as rest of the information is there in the memoir. I was delighted to know that we share the same year of birth and also spiritual no 3 is common to us.
Booking for the event was to be made in advance as the celebration was meant only for a selected few devotees, In spite of making the bookings, I was finding it difficult to reach the ashram on celebration day, but somehow things fell in place and we could board the train to Chandigarh on 3rd April, we were picked up at Ambala station by the cab arranged by a dear friend.

On the way to Solan valley, most of the food joints were closed but we could find timber trail(moksha spa) open, after having our fill of aloo and paneer paratha and freshening up, we moved towards the trickier part of the drive, there is lots of construction activity happening after Darampur town, the road at many places is not even tarred, we decided to rely on google map to reach the ashram, there are 2 ways to go to the ashram, one is from the backside, and another from which takes you directly to ashram gates,
Mr. Google took us towards the river route, we were perplexed to reach the mountaintop and hit a dead-end, we could see the ashram down in the valley, we backtracked on a stone-filled mountain trail and hit another dead-end, this time we took a call to cross the river and reach the ashram on foot. The trek was steep, it was midday, and we were not prepared for it, I put my t-shirt on my head as a makeshift cap,

I had about 100 ml of water left with me, still, we marched on. We found an old shepherd lady in the jungle tending to her herd of cows and goats, I asked her if we have a chance to meet lions, tigers and other predators, and her response to my query was a hearty laugh and complete denial. She pointed towards a narrow steep trail and asked us to follow the trail to the river, alas it was too steep, and our city-bred and maintained bodies found it tough to negotiate, the old lady, an angel was at hand, she held my hand and guided me all way down to the river, after thanking her and clicking some pictures with this beautiful mountain maiden, we found ourselves at the river bank, the river was not in full bloom during April, and villagers have made a makeshift bridge of boulders for travellers to cross, nonetheless the river water was sparkling and calming, we dipped our tired limbs in the river and felt an instant surge of energy and calmness upon our body.
After crossing the river, we had to climb a hillock to reach the ashram, with the ashram within sight, we had it quickly to the ashram, tired but victorious. It is said Sri Hari tests his devotees, and the ones who take up the challenge are the ones who are blessed with the divine blessings of Sri Hari.
At the reception, we were greeted by smiling volunteers of the ashram, they helped us with water and cooler confines of the office, the ashram right now (April 2018) can accommodate about 200 visitors, they already had 250 stayings, still, Mr Lalit and his team at ashram accommodated us in shared dorms.
Afternoon lunch was served at the dining hall, all were to sit on the floor, and were served lovingly by smiling volunteers, by the time lunch was over, it was about 1430 hours, and after quick rest and bath, we joined the start of celebrations at ashram temple, at 16:30, Lalita Sahasranama, after that musical performance by volunteers, the performances were soulful and refined.

After enjoying soulful performances, the moment came when we would see Om Swamiji, and in He walked majestic and grand, just his presence set our hearts thumping, I have seen many gurus, but the most important part is the presence, indeed it was a grand entry.
The discourse or the talk rendered by Om Swamiji was full of practicality and spirituality. He talked so much about the soul as he talked about being successful, we could feel an instant connection with Him, and the audience was spellbound, Now was the time for music and dance, Swamiji did a wonderful take on Hari aarti, it was soulful and deep, the aarti is sung by Swamiji Himself, by the way, Swamiji plays the piano very well .. the aarti can be heard here…Sri Hari Aarti By OM Swami Ji
 I have never seen anyone so immersed at the moment as I saw Swamiji, he was in a trance, such passion is reserved for higher souls, the scene there was illuminating, so much energy is not meant to be exposed, Swamiji retired, and we were left to pick up the pieces, in all honesty, it was a most powerful moment I ever felt,  we retired finally with a promise of one to one with our guide next day.

Discounting my tiredness, I was up much before sunrise the next morning, as I walked into twilight up to the edge of the valley, I could feel strange vibes, I sat at the edge of the valley and meditated, every pore of my heart and soul opened, I felt the divine presence, it was extreme bliss, I felt the universe merging into me and me into the universe, how I wished the moment stopped there. After all, we live for moments like this, as the morning sun bathed me in its energy I felt blessed and energized.

A Sage’s Life

After breakfast, we got the happy news that we can have a personal meeting with Guruji Himself, my personal discourse with Swamiji is something which is divine, and although it was just for 300 seconds, it was the best moment of my life …