Jeevan Dhara Sadhana Kuttir
In 1974 we, Ishpriyaji and Vandanaji, left the Christ-Prem Seva Ashram in
Pune to explore the possibility of opening an Ashram in the north of India, in a
source of spiritual Hinduism,- Rishikesh. For many reasons it soon became obvious that
this would be neither possible nor wise.
In 1978 due entirely to the intervention and blessing of Sri Swami Chidanandaji, President of the Divine Life Society, we were able to buid the Sadhana Kuttirs in Tapovan, Laxman Jhula. Throughout the six years we lived there (1978-1984), we continued to search tirelessly for a site in the North India, but outside the main Hindu holy places, in wich to open an Ashram. In 1984 the decision was taken by our Province to accept the offer of a property in Jaiharikhal, which Bishop Gratian was making for the second time.
Throughout our 12 years in the Ashram in Jaiharikhal, the Ashram community continued to use these Sadhana Kuttirs for some months every year. In april 1997 the Ashram in Jaiharikhal will revert finally to the Bishop and we have already begun to move back permanently to the Sadhana Kuttirs in Tapovan, Rishikesh.
The life-style in the Sadhana kuttirs now will differ in several ways
from the life-style in the Ashram at Jaiharikhal.
-Those who live here permanently will have their personal spiritual sadhana, as their main focus and so will the short-term visiting sadhakas.
-The atmosphere will be conductive to their personal spiritual practices of: silence, seva, study (with a very good library), and the support of the community (sangha). Our main sadhana will be Meditation, personal and communitarian, (one hour) four times a day -drawing from His Heart- like the Samaritan woman of Jyoti Sahi's painting (original) hanging in our little Mandir, herself becoming the Living Waters -and passing it on to others.
-There will be no official teaching (pravachans) any more, nor group Sadhana Saptahs, but there will be:
-individual marga darshan (spiritual guidance), and one or twice a week evening Satsanga, extending to people in the locality, and for our own on-going spiritual formation.
-visiting others Ashrams and sitting on the feet of Mahatmas (great souls).
-this will also provide interfaith dialogue wich is a natural part of Ashram life. Dialogue not through organised means, but by our lives and being, and the daily ordinary contacts with people - the poor in the village and the recently arrived educated rich, alike the way Jesus did.
The kuttirs will offer place for a maximum of four visiting sadhakas - and three - when there are already three permanent ashramvasis. For this reason it is imperative that those who wish to come and seek God by Gangamata's unceasing flow, should let us know well in advance.
The Himalayan snows are not visible here, the foothills of the great mountains, encircling both the river and us, remind us constantly that God is both our " sheltering rock and walled fortress " as well as our " river of pleasure and fountain of life " (Ps.31 and Ps.36).
Another constant aid to our practice of the Presence of God are the ceaseless " Mindfulness Bells " of the temples and the Ashrams surroundind us. From very early morning until late in the evening, they beckon people to the Presence making that " unceasing flow of God consciousness " possible.They also sing out to all; " Stop, Breathe, and Smile " - in the Buddhist practice familiar to many of our Sahyogis, Visiting Sadhakas and Retreatants of various countries." Listen, Listen, to this wonderful sound. It calls me back home to my true Self." ( Thich Nhat Hanh ). Thus essentially, our spiritual life does not differ from the Ashram life of Jaiharikhal.
Also here, as there (in Jaiharikhal), we offer all that we do, and particularly Meditation, for the one aim we encourage all our Sahyogis, Retreatants and Devotees to viz: " For the Peace of the world ".
The Sadhanas Kuttirs were made possible originally by the Blessing of Sri Swami Chidananda and the financial Blessing and encouragement of our French friend of C.P.S. Ashram days - Janine DE LACLOS, - a great devotee who wished to live and die in India, ( and the Lord did hear her prayer ! ).
We received the Kuttirs as a Blessing and see them now and for the future, as a Blessing for us individually and for serious Sadhakas, who have already begun to come here ( and more will come as God sends them ), but also for the local environment and the new phase of the Church's development in North India, in the century to come.
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