Tag Archives: garden

You Gotta Dig Deeper by Swami Nirmalananda

Devaraja-stakeThere was a metal stake sticking out of the tree stump that we wanted to grind.  At the Ashram, we had removed a tree, but the metal stake inhibited the stump grinding plan.  Devaraja (Steve) Thoman tested the stake and, finding that it wiggled well, said he thought he could remove it, but needed some equipment. 

One morning at breakfast, I joked with him about one of the differences between men and women — that guys like to get dirty, even muddy.  Later in the morning, Devaraja decided to tackle the metal stake.  This was late fall, with very wet ground and a few patches of snow on the ground.

He pounded on the stake to loosen it, then grabbed and pulled.  It came up a few inches.  He repeated the task, each time getting a little more of the stake above ground. A passing neighbor saw him and stopped to offer help.  Devaraja thought he’d be fine and said, “No, thanks.” 

A few pulls later, he groaned with the effort as he pulled.  The neighbor was passing by again, with his young daughter on a small bike riding along with him.  This wonderful gentleman came running to help.  Devaraja warned, “You’ll probably get muddy.”  The neighbor laughed and said, “That’s why I’m outside!”  They both laughed, with Devaraja thinking of our breakfast conversation. 

They pounded on the stake, wiggled it and then pulled, repeating the task several times. Each time the stake came out a little more.  What started as 18” of metal stake grew to 4’, then 5’ and more.  They were shocked to discover, when they finally got it out of the ground, it was 8’ tall!

The neighbor and his daughter went on their way.  Devaraja, exhausted and panting from the exertion, lay on the ground with his head in a snow patch for 5 minutes.  He then came in to share his trophy, photographed here.

I completed the lesson for him, “The roots of your stuff are always deeper than you think.”  You think it’s a little problem but, when you dig into your own needs and reactions, you’ll find that they are rooted deeply in there, even rooted in lifetimes of self-repeating patterns.  You have to dig deep to get free.  Mantra does the digging for you.  Do more japa.

Seedling Seva by Antarajna (Deborah) Mandel

flower7A few years ago, when Suchi and Dean Cilley lived at the Ashram, they built raised beds to grow vegetables and herbs for the phenomenal chefs at the Ashram to use in preparing their meals. The garden has continued to evolve over the last few years. This year we have a wonderful new opportunity to deepen our roots in this endeavor. Instead of buying plants, Swamiji has personally chosen seeds for us to start vegetable plants. In late spring these will be transplanted to the vegetable beds. We will also be starting marigolds to be used as offerings on the puja.

We will be raising these seedlings both in our homes and at the Ashram.  Those growing seedlings at home have amazing seva opportunity — to be in service to the Ashram and the lineage, with the Shakti  surrounding us in our daily lives. It brings the food cycle full circle; we grow food from seed, nurture it, transplant it to Ashram soil, harvest it, and feed the Ashram residents with healthy morsels for months to come!

Especially after this long, snowy, cold winter, I heartedly endorse Kate Morton who said in The Forgotten Garden, “It [is] such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.” Starting the seedlings now is a step in that direction.

If anyone is interested in starting seedlings in their home, or helping with the seedlings at the Ashram please email me at debbielmandel@gmail.com.

With love and blessings, Antarajna