As a choice, or let’s say obeying a dream I had, I have decide to make Babaji the priority in my life. As a chairperson of the French Samaj and also member of the Jai HO group, I was already quite involved for Babaji, but there was a call for more…! So now for the second time I am spending winter in Haidakhan: I really appreciate this special quiet time of the year.
With only 10 Westerners in the ashram, Christmas celebrations were attended mainly by Indians. We had a Christmas story puppet play, followed by a big yagya and bhandara on Gufa side the next day.
The New Year celebrations were much quieter with an intimate yagya in the Maha Shakti Dhuni; and two nights of singing, with the latter being under the full moon. For Makar Sankranti (14th January) three of us managed a full night’s singing … we made it… next day bath in the Gautama Ganga and a yagya in Fakirabad… Cold days, very cold days… many sick because of the cold. At times there were only four westerners in the ashram and Indians tourists were also very rare.
Everything feels a bit tougher this winter: bathing in the river is not so easy, last winter you could go without torch; there are several wooden bridges to cross, and few suitable places to bathe – not so attractive in the middle of the night ! But it is such a special way to start the day under the stars in the fresh healing waters of the Gautama Ganga. For me Haidakhan is like paradise: the beauty and holiness of the place; the very presence of Babaji all around. It’s easy here to focus on the Divine and the mantra. Being here is a blessing, and it so supports one’s sadhana that it would be a pity to miss the opportunity. Starting the day with this sacred bath followed by more or less 3 hours of ceremonies, meditation and singing (chandan, fire, and aarat), all prepare you well for the day. Then anything can happen – the peace and centering brought by the sadhana gives a feeling of an ocean, where events and leelas, sometimes very tough ones, appear like waves at the surface. Even when there seems to be a storm it gives you the strength to go through it.
Reading the Teachings here adds to their flavour, encouraging us for the day ahead. Then karma yoga grounds and aligns us between the material and the spiritual world; it feels as if by offering the fruits of the work to the Divine one receives even more. It’s all full of teachings if we can allow ourselves to really enter the process. My karma yoga is working in the office.
Every little extra effort here feels so rewarding, that it stimulates you to go on. I see this for myself and for the new people who sometimes struggle to get into the full programme: as soon as we make these extra efforts something changes, and leaves us with a feeling of being blessed. It’s time for lunch – even if the basic stays the same – rice, dhal, subjee (vegetables), salad, chapatti (and sometimes sweet rice or curd), we are so lucky here to enjoy very tasty meals here and every day different. Afternoon rest and bath, karma yoga, evening aarti and dinner finish the day…many are familiar with this, but performing the programme for a longer period is very special. It’s all about how much we are willing to dive into our sadhana and the daily programme !
Haidakhan is evolving and growing: and every day, we see the new building taking shape and coming nearer to completion. There are always leelas happening here but I need to withhold writing about them I think.
Babaji is so present here, giving a feeling of being nearby, just round the corner, ready to come… and one darshan of Him happened in the riverbed in the dark hours of early morning. It confirmed to me that He is ready to show up if we are ready in our hearts and minds for that.
Bhole Baba ki Jai!