A Place For Me!

asrham-07This morning when I read the Writing 101 challenge for Day #2,If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?” my response was immediate. I burst into tears! I wanted to go to Amritapuri, India, the location of Amma’s main ashram.  (Amma, a humanitarian and spiritual leader, is often called the Hugging Saint since she has embraced more than 34 million people worldwide.) It didn’t matter to me in the slightest that Amma is in the United States now, I wanted to go to her ashram in India.

For some time, I have been pondering whether I want to stay living in Seattle or move to India when I retire. I even wrote a post about it in March, I Will Know When I Know.

When I visited Amritapuri for the first time in 1989, it was very small. There were a few buildings, some of which were thatched huts. The temple was under construction. We started meeting there soon after I arrived, but the top floors weren’t finished for a couple of years.

At first, I wondered why Amma had built such a big temple. In the early days, when we came for evening bhajans (devotional singing), it was only half full. The answer to that question was revealed quite soon as it was filled to overflowing within a year or two. In the time that I have been visiting the ashram, it has changed from a small compound into a  town, one that sometimes has 4000 people staying there, and another 2,000-20,000 visiting for the day!

When I visited that first time, Amma had just taken responsibility for an orphanage because the previous caretakers had been severely neglecting the children. This became the first of her humanitarian programs. Now there are orphanages, hospitals, clinics, schools, colleges, vocational training programs, disaster relief programs and on and on. They are collectively known as Embracing the World.

So, why did I have so many tears this morning? Why do I want to be in Amritapuri?  Let me count the ways!

  • It seems like Amritapuri is my soul’s home. Even when Amma isn’t there I feel so peaceful. It is like every grain of sand is imbued with her energy. (She was born on that land.)
  • I feel joy much more frequently in Amritapuri than anywhere else.
  • My adult children live there and I love being with them.
  • When the plane lands at the Trivandrum, India airport I know I am home. I love the sweet, familiar smells.  I feel like kissing the ground.
  • The sound of the drums and horns during festivals.
  • Elephants at the ashram, and on the streets whenever you drive in India.
  • The divine light in the Indians’ eyes.
  • The simplicity of living.
  • Lack of the trappings of Western civilization.
  • Being at the ashram can be an emotional roller coaster, because life’s lessons seem to come at a faster rate there than normal, but working through them usually happens faster too!
  • I sleep at a level that is so much deeper there than anywhere else. It is like my soul is at rest.
  • Music every day, most of the day.
  • Amma’s smile. Amma’s hug.
  • Feeling seen, known and loved.
  • Being able to share my experiences through the emails I send back to Seattle (starting this year I will post them on my blog instead!)
  • Because I have been going to the ashram since 1989, I know so many people. They are a major part of my family.
  • Worms! (I love working in the worm composting area.)
  • Spectacular beauty. The ashram is in Kerala and is very tropical.
  • Incredible, and abundant, fruit
  • Frequent new and often profound, experiences.
  • Sounds of the birds, especially early in the morning and at dusk.
  • Sounds of music from nearby temples.
  • Helping to support Amma’s humanitarian projects in one way or another.
  • Being close to the water- 3 minute walk to the Arabian Sea, 2 minute walk to the backwaters
  • Plays and dances, especially the Christmas play.
  • Life is always an adventure!

I could go on and on but I will share some pictures instead!


Will I ever live in Amritapuri? As I get closer to retirement, I will make that decision. But the instantaneous flood of tears when I read the Writing 101 Day 2 Assignment today certainly showed me the likely answer!


25 thoughts on “A Place For Me!

  1. Amritapuri sounds like such a lovely place. As they say, home is where the heart is and it seems that your heart is definitely there. I hope you will be able to follow your heart one day.


    1. I will do that for sure, either by moving there after I retire or by spending a lot more time there. At this point I go for about 6 weeks a year. Thanks for reading my post and commenting!


  2. “When the plane lands at the Trivandrum, India airport I know I am home.”

    Sounds to me like you already made your decision…! Go for it. 🙂


  3. I know what you mean when you say it is like your soul is at rest there. I hope you will get to live there when you retire. There are sometimes places that live in our hearts and minds so completely that no matter how much distance in time and space lie between us-our souls will always reside there. Great Post!


  4. From what you’ve written, I want to go there, too!! Oh my, it sounds wonderful. Go where your heart leads you, Karuna. And I’m thinking the path is becoming clear 😉


    1. Thanks Oliana.

      I wish I could stay longer and still have my psychotherapy practice here. But for now I think the six weeks is the limit that is reasonable. We can talk more about it when we meet in person in a month!!!


      1. I realize mine has to be renewed this year…my ex called yesterday and mentioned he was renewing his…I just checked mine, expired in April. Have to get that sorted out now too but not urgent like you. Sending you more St.Anthony vibes…he is getting a bit lazy lately.


  5. Isn’t it wonderful to find “hone”! Even if it is not a definitive place, to find that feeling in the heart is a wonderful gift that many never receive.

    I am a little behind on your posts. We have been in TN for most of the last three weeks. Stewart and Kari’s baby came 3 weeks early and they needed our help. We left today and I miss them so much already. The baby is perfect! Kari is doing well as is all the other kids and Stewart. Leaving in the morning on a business trip, but I should get caught up during the next week. I love you.


    1. That’s the nice thing about having a blog. You can take all the time you need. They will always be there!

      Three weeks early. Wow….. what a surprise. Congratulations Grandma!

      I look forward to “talking” to you more in the new year.


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