After Lalita and I left Amrita Herbal Gardens, we walked to the Vrindavan Tulasi Field, the farm I had originally planned to see that day. This property contains the gardens I have heard about most over the years. The devotees who have worked there have faced so many obstacles. Year after year it has been a process of trial and error. Amma teaches us to put in the effort and let go of the results. Those who have worked at this farm have done such a good job of doing that.
When I walked onto the property, I gasped at what I saw. The place had truly become paradise. The first plants that caught my eye were some that had beautiful flowers, different from any I had ever seen.
After leaving that area, Lalita and I walked from place to place, marveling at everything we saw. There were coconut trees of course, but so much else. We saw many banana circles, each with its own compost pile in the middle. We viewed many different types of plants, all looking healthy and luscious. (Click on the gallery to enlarge the pictures.)
This farm was first known as the Tulasi Field. (Tulasi is also called holy basil and is known for its medicinal and religious properties.) Several years later, they discovered that Rudraksha trees were growing there and throughout the ashram. The devotees started planting Rudraksha trees in all of the gardens. For a while the Tulasi Field became known as the Rudraksha Farm. This year I discovered it has been renamed Amma’s Vrindavan Tulasi Field.
Lalita noticed that the bottom portion of all of the Rudraksha trees had been painted white; I didn’t think to ask one of the workers why that was done. A worker told us that 10,000 rudraksha seeds had been harvested this year. Those were produced by a small number of trees, as the trees that had been planted in the last few years were not mature enough to produce fruit. One thousand seeds had been harvested from the tree in the picture on the right side of the gallery below. It was the most prolific tree on the property.
Rudraksha seeds are considered sacred in India. They symbolize the dissolution of desires and the awakening of truth. A rudraksha seed is divided into 1-21 segments. Those segments are also known as faces or mukhi. While all rudraksha seeds have healing properties, the properties change depending on the number of mukhi. The five mukhi rudraksha seed is the most common form. It can help with regulating blood pressure, heart problems, stress, mental disability, obesity, anger management, diabetes, piles, neurotic and behavioral problems.
Here are some pictures I took the first year they started harvesting the fruit of the rudraksha trees. After the fruit is picked, it is opened and the seed is taken out, soaked and then brushed until it is clean. To read an article I wrote about the rudraksha seeds two years ago go to: Rudraksha Farming at Amritapuri, pages 7-9. That document contains more information and many pictures.
There may have been tulasi plants growing throughout the property, but one of the last areas we came upon before we returned to Amritapuri was a field of tulasi. The plants were so big and so healthy. A woman who had recently come to the ashram was watering them. I had the feeling she didn’t understand why we were so astounded by what we were seeing. She probably didn’t know about all of the years and effort that had been spent trying to get anything to grow in the dry, barren ground.
I found myself teary as I wrote this post. The earth in so many of the pictures looks dark and rich; so different from how it used to be. This property is certainly proof that when you put in the effort and let go of the results, miracles can happen.