“What is in breakfast? Maggi?” A young girl asked me while I was putting my belongings in my bag after returning from outside.
Maggi!?Maggi in Ashram? Simple meals like khichadi, dal bhaat (rice), ghiya ki sabji (bottle gourd veg) roti were served in ashram. This was definitely a unique ashram, which satisfied their young devotees’ taste buds with noddles!
“Sorry, I do not know. I did not go in the dining hall for breakfast. I went out to do some charity work.” I clarified.
“Why are you reading Tinkle?” A middle-aged woman inquired when she saw me reading a comic book.
Because it did not contain any prohibited content for adults! “I enjoy reading it.” I replied and immersed myself more deep in my book to avoid such useless conversation.
“How can you come all alone so far to the ashram?” An elderly woman with black dyed hair asked. She asked many personal questions, which I found difficult to answer or was not interested to share with a stranger. Moreover, the environment in the hall was as if there was a wedding reception of some distant relative because everyone was busy in chitchatting and making contacts rather than maintaining silence, calmness and serenity in the ashram. Feeling uncomfortable, I went out in the nature to enjoy my own company.
I spent almost whole day chanting mantras, meditating and relishing serenity by the riverside. Simultaneously, I was enjoying the coolness of water on my feet and the warmth of sun on my face. Soothing breeze bringing fragrance of nearby blooming shrubs, murmuring water between different sized and shaped rocks, bright orange ball playing peek-a-boo amidst clouds was all what I needed. I minutely observed fast moving lizards in or on water, insects vibrating on salsa beats near algae bloom, a crested kingfisher taking a steep dip in river to catch baby fish, an eagle on a huge tree and then flying somewhere in the far off mountains, a pair of bulbuls singing the glory of nature.
Before sunset, I came back to the ashram hall. A teenager person announced my name and asked me to reach near the bookshop after 20 minutes. He showed the exact location as it was visible from the hall. As the time was less, I hurriedly get ready for Diwali celebrations, reached there before time, and bought a book ‘The Ancient Science of Mantras’ authored by Om Swamiji.
As Swamiji was signing the book, I told him my name. (And you all can see He gave His blessings with my name written on it!) In hurry to meet him, I forgot to ask any cooperative hall member what one had to do in this meeting. I never had any personal meeting with any saint before. From my previous experience of living in an ashram, I knew that the saints liked to answer questions and loved to answer difficult questions. I was not sure whether in this meeting I could ask.
“Can I ask a question?” I asked Him in a confused tone while He was signing with a luxurious pen.
“Yes, only one that is most important!” He replied softly.
My mind was full of spiritual questions. Now, I had to pick one cautiously, of which I could not find the answer anywhere on net or in books. I framed a question regarding the doubt that I had about my spiritual journey. I wished that haze would get clear and I would be able to see the path clearly.
After discourse, when He sang the aarti, my eyes became moist.
I totally ignored it, as it must be an effect of some chemical incense because woman like me did not cry.
Back home, while watching His one of the YouTube videos my eyes again turned moist. Then, my mind accepted it as a spiritual experience.
I practiced the point told by Him and found it beneficial. It accelerated my spiritual progress. Months later, I realized that it was a super special Diwali of my life as Swamiji removed the darkness of ignorance by lighting up a diya of knowledge in me. Now, the responsibility was on my shoulders to protect it from the negative gust of thoughts as well as by adding the oil of positivity, compassion and kindness to it so that it remained illuminating for forever.
You all must have heard this ‘Tubelight to thode der mein jalti hai!’(Tubelight lights after some time!) 😉