During our last Babaji Autumn week-end in Auvergne, where we discussed the sensitive topic of an ashram in France, it became clear that most of us needed first to come together for longer time periods to test ourselves in a common living experience of this kind of life. So we spent seven days together in July this year, again in Auvergne, where Michel (the vice-president of the Samaj) generously offered his holiday guesthouse for our programme. Several people were willing to help in the organization like Manjula. We also decided to have an ‘elder’ presence during this time, so Martin Baba from Holland and Turkantam from France came for three days. We had a programme with havan, padukas pujas, aaratis, satsang and of course karma yoga. It was a great time – very inspiring.
The one week programme allowed everyone to participate quietly in the rhythm and without pressure, which was very necessary for those of us who felt quite tired from our working lives. One example of this was that we had installed the temple in a living-room and at the beginning many new people were sitting far away on the sofa, but with the daily practice, slowly-slowly, people came closer spontaneously, sitting on the ground nearer to the altar. It was good to see how it came from an inside feeling rather than from an outside injunction. The simple and quiet presence of Martin Baba was very precious during both the ceremonies and satsangs. It was also great to have Turkantam with us, with his touching singing and music, playing aarti with Purnananda or giving us a nice bhajans recital. We were also happy to have a dhrupad recital from Dilip.
We had a strong and inspired cooking team with Gina, Miclo, and Arlette. We started to build a dhuni structure in the garden, and it was nice to see it grow during the week. Nature was also participating with the donkeys doing the conch sound during the puja to the fire… Some people came for part and others for the entire of programme. Even though we were a small crowd, there was a unique quality of being, celebrating, singing and working together with enthusiasm and joy. We were all happy to enter deeply into this ‘Baba bath’ as Yashvir called it. It opened up a new and promising perspective for the future…..
Some comments from those who attended:
“It was a first for me. This retreat in Auvergne, reminded me of my Catholic retreat before my Communion. A beautiful moment of sharing. At first, I wondered a little what I was doing there, and then I started to enter in the spiritual and friendly atmosphere. And despite my complete ignorance of the songs and rituals, I was accepted and treated like all those presents. This allowed me to regain awareness of my divinity.”
“Back home ! Yes, it was a very beautiful and a real retreat : profound, joyful , authentic which despite my small pains made me feel deeply rested and gave me a lot of energy and strength. I really liked the presence of Martin Baba, Turkantam and all; this group was very supporting and supported. I liked their sharing of the experiences they had near Babaji and about their sadhana. Thank you Mukundi and Purnananda for your service to Babaji