Living and Learning in Amritapuri, India: August 28-31, 2017

Ganesh Celebrations

I have continued to attend the Ganesh bhajans in the Kalari from 9 to 10 each evening. I love, love, love the high intensity, ecstatic music. The only reason I’m not sad that it will end on Sunday is that Onam and Krishna’s birthday are coming soon.

I love participating in the procession that goes to a nearby temple on Krishna’s birthday. The college students and brahmacharis do the same style of singing on that occasion that I’m hearing during Ganesh’s celebration, so I have that to look forward to. However, I’m also keeping in mind that the last time I was in Amritapuri on Krishna’s birthday, my back went out a few days before the big day and I couldn’t participate. I frequently remind myself that tomorrow’s not promised and do the best to make the most of today.

Onam

A few days ago, I heard someone say that Onam is like a combination of New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving. I liked that way of thinking about it. Daily pukkallams are still being created near Amma’s house in honor of Onam. During my last “Living and Learning” post, I shared photos of the first three. Here are photos of the four newer ones. (The artwork is all made from flower petals.)

Healing

The skin near my eye is completely healed and I’m off of all medication for that. I am able to take my wrist splint off part of the time I’m in my room. There is too much chance I will get bumped when I go outside so I almost always leave the splint on when I leave the flat.

I am focusing on using my right hand more. When I do anything with my left hand, I’m making a point of having my right hand participate whenever possible. The strength and flexibility in my injured hand is no where near “normal” but I think my recovery is progressing well.

Rain

It has been raining several times a day for the last week. The rain makes everything so much cooler. I have no doubt that people in Seattle would like to have some of this rain.

Temple

The public program on Wednesday was held in the temple rather than the auditorium since the crowd was smaller than normal. When we are in the temple, it brings back so many memories of my early visits to Amritapuri. Here are some temple photos from 1990. (Click any of the galleries to enlarge the pictures.)

Darshan was held in a small hut in those days. Everyone didn’t fit inside so there was a line of people waiting outside to get in. It wasn’t a long line though. This is a picture of the darshan hut.

Most visitors lived in a small guest house above a print shop or in rooms in the temple. The residents lived in thatched huts.

For many years, we took a taxi from the airport to Vallikavu, the town across the backwaters from the ashram. We then boarded a canoe to get to the ashram. This was the view we saw as we got close.

The construction of the first four floors of the temple was completed just before I arrived in 1990. I remember sitting in the temple on days when there was no public darshan and noticing that we all fit into the first third of the room. I wondered why Amma built a temple so big. It didn’t take long for me to realize Amma knew what she was doing. This is what the crowd looked like by the mid-90’s.

Eventually, Amma built an auditorium and flats to accommodate the growing number of people coming to Amritapuri. Here are a few views of what the ashram looks like today.

Current Events

I am looking at CNN as much here as I do at home, or at least close to it. I sense it is important for me to stay aware of events that are happening in the world. I was at the ashram during the 2004 tsunami and during Katrina in 2005. The flooding in Texas is bringing back those memories.

I feel so sad about the loss that people in Houston and other areas in my country and the world are experiencing due to Harvey and other natural disasters. I feel many emotions around the fact that so many people in power in the U.S. can see the magnitude of these storms and still deny the existence of climate change.

Tai Chi

Thursday was my last day of Tai Chi as the teacher was returning to Barcelona. I am sorry that it ended, but feel very grateful that I had the opportunity to take 12 classes with him.

Quote and Photo from North American Summer Tour 2017

The circumstances of life will always keep changing. Change is nature’s unchanging law. However, it is we who make experiences bitter or sweet — our mind and our attitude. As long as we are unable to bring our mind under our control, sorrow will continue to hunt us down. However, once the mind comes under our control, then no problem or tragedy can devastate or paralyze us. In reality, the foundation of happiness is gratitude. When the mind becomes filled with gratitude, we will spontaneously become happy.” -Amma in New Jersey, June 29, 2017.

 

To view the previous posts in this series click here.

5 thoughts on “Living and Learning in Amritapuri, India: August 28-31, 2017

  1. Thanks for the wonderful pictures, Karuna. I love the flower picture of Amma in Krishna Bhava. And the old pictures. Do you by any chance have a picture of the old dining hall, with half walls of palms and if I recall correctly, dirt floors where we sat and ate.

    Yes, we’re all thinking of Houston….Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I don’t have a photo of that. Most of these photos came from an album I purchased at the shop the first year. That included a photo of the western food from that year but at that time it was on the fourth floor balcony on normal days and on the unfinished stairs to the 6th floor on Devi Bhava days.

      I was present on the first day that food option was available. There was only one western meal, at dinner. I think there was only food option, soup. I wonder if that photo shows what was served. I will look for it when I go back to Seattle!

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on Tournesol dans un jardin and commented:
    The circumstances of life will always keep changing. Change is nature’s unchanging law. However, it is we who make experiences bitter or sweet — our mind and our attitude. As long as we are unable to bring our mind under our control, sorrow will continue to hunt us down. However, once the mind comes under our control, then no problem or tragedy can devastate or paralyze us. In reality, the foundation of happiness is gratitude. When the mind becomes filled with gratitude, we will spontaneously become happy.” -Amma in New Jersey, June 29, 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

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