India had a pull on me way before I ever went there. Once I went, the fascination just increased. India is so vibrant, with so much life pulsing everywhere and an intoxicating spirituality deeply integrated into the culture. I noticed something decidedly different in the eyes of her people that I don’t see in the eyes of Westerners. I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted to keep seeing it.
After two amazing trips there, a long period passed. I had a persistent longing to go back. It seemed crazy to say so, but I missed India with an ache. It felt like home to me in ways I couldn’t describe. This was all before discovering Svaroopa® yoga. When I learned that Svaroopa® yoga was deeply rooted in India, it came as no surprise.
Several years ago, I had a mysterious and debilitating illness. After doctoring with nearly every form of traditional and alternative health care, I consulted a Vedic astrologer. He confirmed that I was going through a very difficult passage and recommended that I donate a cow. Swamiji suggested instead that I ask Prasad, a priest at the Nityananda temple in Ganeshpuri, to do a fire ceremony on my behalf. It took several phone conversations over a period of weeks to make arrangements for what was recommended — a three-day fire ceremony to be held at a place called Fire Mountain Ashram. When the day arrived, I called Prasad at a pre-arranged time and listened to the chanting of the priests across the continents and oceans. It was electrifying. And I spoke to the man and woman that ran the Ashram and who were standing in for me and my husband during the ceremony. Little did I know then that I would be staying at Fire Mountain Ashram and enjoying meals with Jeanetta and Dahvee a few years later on the India 2013 trip. During the phone conversations with Prasad, he told me several times that I should come to Ganeshpuri. It felt like a personal invitation, and my longing to go increased in intensity.
When the India 2013 trip was announced, I knew that I had to go. There were layers of longing. It wasn’t only the persistent pull of India and that connection I established a few years earlier with Prasad. The real heart of it was the incredibly amazing opportunity to go with Swami Nirmalananda to the sacred place where she, her Guru and her Guru’s Guru lived, served and carried the lineage forward. There were all those stories Swamiji tells us about sitting with her Baba in his Ashram, serving him for years and hearing the teachings at his feet. On top of that, I had read Muktananda’s Play of Consciousness, and his many stories about Nityananda and Ganeshpuri and serving his Guru. To be able to go to those places with Swamiji, to chant the Guru Gita with her in Ganeshpuri and to sit at her feet and hear the teachings — it was indescribably compelling.
The trip exceeded all hopes and expectations. Of course there were things to sort out beforehand with my husband and two teenage boys, but I mostly remember the trip coming together with great ease. Though I was a lot stronger, one of my concerns was the long flight. The remedy was simple. I put every single one of Swamiji’s chanting CD’s on our iPad and listened to the Guru Gita and various chants the whole way over and back, sometimes falling asleep to a chant. Swamiji’s voice and the chanting was a river of Grace carrying me through.
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