This is part 2. For it to make more sense, I would recommend reading part 1 first, here. And if you are still not bored enough after that, read this one below.

I took a flight from Mumbai and landed at Chandigarh Airport around noon. It was quite sunny and peaceful outside. There I met another kind devotee with whom I would be sharing the cab to the ashram. The taxi driver was taking time to get us and I was hungry so we decided to eat something. Found a decent restaurant in the city and I ordered a pizza for myself. After having the pizza, we headed outside to wait for the cab driver. It was 3ish in the afternoon and quite hot. But maybe a normal summer day for northern India. The roads were radiating heat along with the sun. I noticed an old lady standing on the road. She was quite skinny and selling packets of pens, along with her husband I assume. I wondered about the play of the universe where on one hand, I and some other younger folks could escape this unbearable heat by catching a lavish meal inside an air-conditioned restaurant. On the other hand, someone older and weaker than me had to roam in this heat on purpose to earn a square meal. I was not sure of the quality of the pens she was selling at that time (later I enjoyed writing with them:) I also felt they were a bit overpriced but I wanted to help so I got them and paid her twice what she quoted. She was happy and suddenly she went away and pointed me to her husband. He also came offering a similar packet. I thought about what would I do with so many pens, but I couldn’t say no so I also bought from him. But only gave him what he was asking for, nothing extra.

After a long ride, we finally reached the ashram around 1:00 am in morning. Everyone was sleeping. Someone did some inquiries and we were directed to the male dormitory. It was a big hall covered with a matrix of beddings and quilts. The lights were already off and everyone was sleeping there. We used our cell phone lights to avoid stepping on someone and carefully took our spots. We quickly lied down to sleep. I feel the nights in the ashram are extraordinarily peaceful. After my multiple visits to the ashram later, I have noticed a pattern in the interactions and the emotions of the visiting devotees. It is an amalgamation of joy, awe, expectations, hope, faith, and sometimes an illusion of I know it all. And here is the beautiful part. During the night, everyone sleeps around so peacefully that none of these emotions are in the air. As if all the cousin kids gathered for some big family gathering are now sleeping together unaware of the chaos they were creating the whole day. Unaware of their toys and pesterings they were clinging to throughout the day. In this silence of the night and the sleeping minds, one could feel the presence of the Mother Divine walking silently with absolute awareness in the ashram. And it is not just Her who is awake. It feels like in one corner of the ashram an oil lamp is lit and an ancient yogi is silently working on something. Other than these two, everyone else is sleeping peacefully.

The next morning I woke up early to avoid the rush. I think I woke up around 3:30 am. Very carefully using my cellphone light I reached the attached washroom. By 4:15 am I was done with my shower and was ready to visit the temple. Reaching there I noticed someone was already inside the temple. Since I had already read “The book of faith” by that time, I was aware of the fact that non-sanyasis are not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum. I was not sure about the other rules, so I waited outside the entrance door. When Raghu Swami came out, I bowed down to touch his feet. I asked him if I could sit outside the temple so as to not break any rules I am unaware of. He said, “Why outside, you can go and sit inside?”. I was happy to hear that and went inside the temple. In there, my eyes gleamed as I entered and saw Sri Hari in real for the first time. I sat in front of Him and tried reciting a mantra of Sri Hari that I used to chant those days. The third time I recited the mantra I broke into tears. I said, “O Lord, I don’t have the words for the grace You have bestowed upon me. I don’t know what deed of mine pleased You that You have graced me this way. You brought me home, my Lord. It is rightly said that You are the merciful one”. By this time my sobbing was noticeably louder. But I heard some footsteps approaching the entrance door so I controlled myself. Another devotee entered. I sat there smilingly looking at His smiling face. After some time more devotees started coming. I went back to the dormitory to get ready for the morning discourse which was about to start in some time.

I remembered the instruction of Swamiji to bring out a printout of His reply to my initiation request. By this time, I was completely devoted to Swamiji. I wanted to tell Him that I am OK with whatever He decides for me. And irrespective of His decision I will always see Him as my guru. And the over-smart me thought that I may forget to say all these things, so better write it down. So I carefully wrote two or three sentences on the same printout beneath His reply, expressing my devotion for Him.

 

हरि अनंत हरि कथा अनंता, कहहिं सुनहिं बहुबिधि सब संता॥

रामचंद्र के चरित सुहाए, कलप कोटि लगि जाहिं न गाए॥

 

Hence the rest in the future post/s:)

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