Pranaamam to Shri Hari and Swamiji 🙏😊
Humbled by the kind comments of many of you for my first blog, a thought came in my mind – to write a blog giving a list of what all a person must bring along with, when they get the opportunity to visit Ashram.
When I travelled for the first time, I remember how anxious I was, but I knew somone who could answer my queries. So here I am trying to help those who might need this.
Once you get the confirmation email from the Ashram, plz know u have been blessed by Shri Hari and Swamiji 😊🙏
Follow these steps to prepare for ur visit to Ashram :-
1) Take a print out of the confirmation email from Ashram
2) If u have applied for a personal meeting with Swamiji, u will receive meeting confirmation thru e-mail, mostly within 3 days of ur date of meeting. As soon as u get that e-mail, take a print out of that. If u haven’t received, don’t panic, u will be put in a group meeting or might get a personal meeting, once u reach ashram as per the slots
U might receive a call from Ashram days before ur ashram visit. If u have any doubts, keep ur questions ready before this call.
3) Vaccination certificate ( I had taken them but I was not asked to show, however, do feel free to carry a print out)
4) Items u can bring to Ashram:
a) Warm clothes to cover from head to toe, hand gloves – bring thick ones, as temperature in Ashram drops sharply (for winter season)
b) Hair dryer is a must for women, bcoz it dries ur hair quickly, u can save time n reach temple on time, plus u won’t catch cold (personal experience) (again winter season)
c) Flashlight, or a torch – it’s pitch dark early in the morning, u will need it to reach temple for Vishnu Sahastranamam which is at 6 a.m.
d) Carry ur own toiletries, like soap, body lotion, sunscreen, etc.
e) Bring ur own towel which can dry quickly
f) Bring atleast two pair of footwear, one for wearing inside ur room and one for wearing outside the room. U can carry bathroom slippers too for bathroom (3rd pair)
g) Flask for warm drinking water. Can be filled from water outlets in the Ashram. There is a Coffee shop in the Ashram premises if u want to buy water bottles or want snacks.
5) Carry cash if u r travelling from Chandigarh airport to Ashram using Cab, as they prefer cash, however, ATM is available in the Ashram so no need to carry cash for Ashram needs.
6) As soon as u reach Ashram, go to the Front Office and get urself registered. While booking stay at Ashram online, u must have already chosen personal room or shared room. Dormitory is also available. They have different rates, choose as per ur convenience. Cost for heater is charged extra (winter season)
7) Plz take a photo of the Ashram schedule and food schedule from the Notice Board in the Front Office. It will help u with ur stay.
8) Once all payments are done, u will be guided to ur room
9) Please remember u have to turn the switch outside the room ON for the geyser to work. It wud be better, if u ask the person who guided u to ur room, to show u how to switch it on. In winters, hot water is a necessity. U will kno once u touch the cold water 😁
9) U have to clean the room by urself, broom and mop are provided. Wastebins are also provided
10) Ashram follows strict time table or schedule mentioned earlier, so be on time for puja, personal meeting or food.
11) If u want to buy a book and get it signed by Swamiji, u can tell in the Book shop, they will ask u for sure. Carry cash for buying things from Book shop. Plz make sure u collect the signed books from the book shop that day itself. Check the timings for Book shop and collect ur things.
U can buy:-
– Swamiji’s books, Sadhvi Vrinda ji’s books
– Rudraksh mala
– Rudraksh bracelet
– Aasan for meditation
12) Wish Jai Shri Hari to evryone, as that is the custom in the Ashram
13) Do check the Gaushala and the Library
14) Check out Giriganga, the sacred river.. sit and relax there. The way to Giriganga is marked with a board in the Ashram
15) To enter in the temple, there is a specific door from which we r supposed to enter. Main door is for Swamiji to enter in the evening. There is a hand wash near the door, so leave ur shoes in the shoe-rack, wash ur hands and enter from the specific door.
16) Maintain silence inside the temple, just sit and embrace the Grace of Shri Hari ❤️😊
U can take blessings from the paduka of Swamiji in the temple 🙏
17) Morning 6 a.m. is Vishnu sahastranamam, after that arti of Shri Hari at 7 a.m. and then prasadam is given. Activities and timings change as per the need, however arti time stays the same, so do check the schedule
18) 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. is breakfast time. Plz don’t miss it bcoz next food will be available at 12 p.m. only. Food shud be eaten in the dining hall, it’s buffet system. Take ur shoes off in the shoe-rack near dining hall. Plz remember, food is prepared by the initiates of Swamiji, so food is made with lot of love and devotion, it’s prasadam of Shri Hari and Ma, so keep that in mind while eating. Avoid complaining about the taste, is what I am hinting towards. Everyday menu will be different. Once u r done with ur breakfast, lunch or dinner, wear ur shoes and wash ur plates and spoons. Space is provided outside dining hall for washing dishes.
19) After breakfast, u r free to explore the Ashram. There r some places where we r not allowed to go, they have placed boards so u will know
20) Lunchtime is 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. At 4:30 p.m. it’s time for Lalita sahasranamam in the temple. After that maybe meditation. Then 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. is dinner time. Plz check these as it might change. Have dinner then go and sit in the temple bcoz at 6:30 p.m. sharp Swamiji will enter from the main door. It’s an experience that no one shud miss 😊
21) Maintain absolute silence during Swamiji’s presence. Try to listen to his words of wisdom. I tried but all I cud do was look at Swamiji like a child. It was all surreal to me..
22) Coming back to the temple, if u have a child, try to keep ur child calm. Bcoz Swamiji will ask u to leave if child makes sounds during his discourse. This is bcoz everyone’s time is to be valued, plus the recordings get disturbed which is meant for hundreds of ppl around the world. So plz understand this, Swamiji doesn’t mean to hurt anyone.
23) U can ask questions, but don’t ask questions for the sake of asking it. Ask precise questions, keep the question short to save the time of others. After discourse, arti will follow. Stand at ur place and follow Swamiji singing arti. Swamiji will leave after arti, for attending personal meetings and group meetings.
23) Take prasadam and blessings from Sadhvi jis and other Swamiji too. Their surrender n devotion is something we all shud learn from..
24) If u have a personal meeting, be ready with ur question. And reach the meeting room which is near the book shop, on time. U will be guided, no need to worry about anything. Write down ur question, trust me, u need to bcoz as soon as u enter Swamiji’s room, u will forget many things 😁
25) Keep ur question short, choose any one question if possible. Swamiji’s formula – ask question in first 30 seconds and let Swamiji answer for the rest of the time. So we get answer to our satisfaction. If our question is vague, Swamiji’s answer will also be vague bcoz if we r not clear wat we want to ask, we won’t know wat is the answer we have received. So write it down, write it down! Phew! If u don’t have questions, it’s fine. U can ask for Swamiji’s blessings 😊
26) Keep ur interaction with Swamiji for three minutes, plz don’t ask for more time as others also will be waiting for their turn. Swamiji is very particular about time and he treats everyone equally, so respect everyone’s time 🙏
27) After personal meeting, take sometime and be with urself at a secluded place. Collect ur thoughts and the instructions given by Swamiji. Let it sink in, don’t talk or tell others yet. It will help u.
28) If u did something wrong, just apologise and forgive urself too.
29) Stay in ashram is the time, when we can reflect on our life and wat we want in our life. So use the time effectively. Meet Sadhvi ji and speak to them too. Everyone is very kind in the Ashram, take help and give help. U will find a new friend or family in the Ashram.
30) U can volunteer and do ashram seva as well. U will be so happy to do this. Make use of the precious moments u have been blessed with in the Ashram. U can volunteer to make rangoli, or clean temple, or cut vegetables. Ask and u will know what is to be done.
31) Treat everyone kindly and lovingly. Treat ashram lovingly too, when u walk or talk. As Swamiji said, Devi walks there, so be mindful of wat u say and how u behave 🙏
32) When it’s time to leave, u can take some soil from the ashram as it’s sacred.
Go to the front office and finish the leaving/exiting formalities. The toughest part is leaving Ashram.
Be grateful and thankful for everything Shri Hari blessed us with, and know that Shri Hari and Swamiji live in us now, smile and leave.. only to come back to our spiritual abode 🙏😊🥰
Plz feel free to make editions and additions wherever necessary. I have written this as per my experience in the Ashram.
Wishing u all a spiritual stay in the Ashram. May u all get what u need 🌹🙏🙏🙏🌹
With lots of love,