Please click here for part twenty-one

Dorm room, my sweet home for next 12 days. I have stayed in dorms when I was at Bhonsala Military school in 12th grade for a month, I was 16 then, and now I am not 16 for sure! Gosh! Even my kids are no more 16.

I am more like a five-start spa resort kinda gal. Private bathroom with jacuzzi and Egyptian Cotton (1000 thread count min) bed sheet, are the basic necessities. How do people sleep without memory foam mattress anyways? Don’t even ask for a list, of my bare minimum requirements otherwise. The above statements don’t prove that I am snob (never mind, it does)! I think anyone would agree with me here, regarding the necessities of life (not really). And, just because I am all spiritual now, that doesn’t mean I don’t require memory foam mattress!

At ashram’s dorm room, I think there were more than 30 bunk beds frames, so around 40–60 women here? Believe it or not, Shockingly, I loved my little cozy space. I nicely arranged my water bottles at the window. My bags were right In front of my bed. The best part was I can connect my phone and computer charger without any hassle of any adaptors or convertor, and it was right next to my bed. This was a blessing!

After my so needed one-hour quick nap, I went for seva at the temple on time, then got ready for Guruji’s discourse. How lucky was I, to be at the Divine’s grace, the day I arrive at the ashram? Seeing the Divine after three months, was the best part of my day. It was all worth it. The day went by very quickly, and I was ready for the Nav Durga Sadhana next day morning. I am going to meet my Divine Ma, face to face! Boy, was I delusional!

Around 3:30 am, one by one, girls started getting up, by 4:30 am everyone was up and ready. While I was in my bed. thinking what is this rush? Aarti is not till 7 am, why everyone is getting ready? As it is well known, peer pressure works like a magic, I was out of my bed, and ready with shower and all. Using common bathroom was not a problem, or maybe I was so sleepy that time, it didn’t occur to me at all. Plus, who wants to judge and criticize the bathroom situation at 4 am in the morning? Everyone was heading to the temple. I asked Ria, the girl with glasses and few girls around, about the morning ritual for puja. She immediately sent me the link, info and showed me what I need to do. Talk about the efficiency, world needs a lot more girls like Ria. I definitely needed her that time.

The girl on the right-hand side of my bed, sent me a link immediately. They all must be worried about my ignorance. I saved her number on my phone. She said her name is Gunngun. Her name reminded me of my favorite song “Gun Guna Rahe Hain Bhavar”. That was the day I met my soul sister. Anyways, that story for next chapter.

Wow! I was not prepared for any of this. I just thought, Guruji will perform yajna every day, and we will all watch. This was my first time attending any Sadhana or Yajna. There was more to do than that! It took me good 10 minutes to get my marbles together but finally, I got it.

Everyone was performing the puja and japa, in the temple but I chose a different place. I sat on the swing facing Guruji, I started my sadhana there. I couldn’t come up with the better spot than that in the whole world! It was a peaceful time; the little water drops on the grass everywhere, were catching the reflection of the sky. Vast universe compacted safely, in those tiny drops. They had their own world inside shining happily. Mountains all around me, were ready to welcome today’s first ray of the sun. Down at the valley, playful river Giri ma, must be dancing gracefully, like silver ribbon in the air. All the tender flowers and perfectly manicured bushes, were standing tall and looking their best. At the temple, Bhagwan Sir Hari Ji himself, must be waking up gently, to get ready for the big day. He must be surprised, to see so many loved ones at the temple, early in the morning. Yes indeed, today is the first day of Nav Durga Puja. Everyone was ready to welcome our Divine Ma.

That afternoon, first time I was blessed to meet Mata Rani in person. She is the most loving and kindest mother to us all. I lost my birth mother 18 years ago, today for the first time, when I bowed down to Mata Rani’s feet for blessings, I felt like my birth mother is here. I felt like, Mata Rani was no stranger to me; I always knew her in my heart. Moms are the best!

Time runs faster in the Ashram; I wish I could just bend time, or make it go little slower, so I will get a chance to absorb and understand the magic around me. There is so much wealth of spirituality everywhere, like a field of dandelions, let me collect some and fill my tiny heart pockets. I feel like a little girl running around in the field. I can easily drop my I-ness by rising my consciousness a bit higher here, so I can get to soak in the bliss of the Divine. I just need to stretch time, please, oh please, time just go bit slower for me?

Every single day, all 9 days, evenings use to come so fast, and everyone use to rush, to get ready for the yajna. To everyone’s surprise, Guruji has managed to build a magnificent Yajna Shala close to the river in a month. There is an elegant downward winding walkway, to the yajna Shala from Ashram. Stylish red roof on top, bordered with while walls from inside, this structure of Yajna Shala stands proudly like a Yogini. Every day, she was getting decorated with many elegant yellow flower garlands. Inside, all the way at the end, there was a large black background, with Druga ma’s picture. Below was the vibrant red carpeted stage, with Yajna Kunda in the middle, for Guruji to perform his Yajna. As you step down, there was beautiful rangoli of Devi Durga Ma, which use the change every day.

And, then there were around 40–50 plus Yajna Kunda spread in four rows. Each Yajna Kunda, had a sitting of 3 devotees arranged in such a way, that no one will have their back on Guruji. Next section was a cozy sitting area for remaining devotees, who were not participating in performing the Yajna. I was one of them. Every day, I would struggle to find, a perfect seat at a particular angle so I can see Guruji. Every day I would rush down, at the Yajna Shala around 5 pm, so I can get the best seat, but was never succeeded. I use to miss my dinner time occasionally, but I didn’t mind it at all. What I didn’t realize, that once the Yajna would start, I would close my eyes, and perform the rituals till the end. Guruji was always close to my heart, I don’t know what my fuss and rush was all about? But getting a seat at the side of the carpet, to pay my obeisance to Guruji’s feet was priceless. No matter how tiring and exhausting the day was, it would all melt away with his one glance.

Please click here for part twenty-three