Friday, May 14, 2010

An Ashram Experience - Sri Santosh Puri

Sri Santosh Puri Ashram

Arti - It kind of resembles friday night services with prayers, only here, the Arti is done every morning and evening. There is singing and chanting songs all in Hindi and Sanskrit, as well has praying to the many Gods as well as the Babaji. This photo is taken from above the Arti ceremony so as to not disturb the prayer sessions. Once the chanting is finished, everyone goes upon the "alter" and offers additional prayers to Babaji.

The story of Babaji is quite interesting. It is said, that 9 years ago, Babaji "Left" his body during meditation. He performed Samadi, which is pure enlightenment. It is believed that we are not who we think we are. We think we are that which is called the Ego, but it is all bullshit, and only temporary. We are not even our own bodies, but we are the essence of our bodies, the inner us, or, in Hindi, it is called the Atma, the divine within each of us. Babaji became detached of everything - The outside world, the ego, as well as his body, and became who we truly are - pure consciousness.

His body is buried here, and every day, the people of the ashram chant and pray in his honor.

There are many little ity bity frogs hopping around the ashram, that I was wondering how many survive the stampede of everyday human life.
This is a birthday celebration. Many flowers are put together on the floor of the dining hall, candles are placed within the flowers, and everyone in the room offers prayers and best wishes by dropping flowers upon the head of the birthday girl/boy. It's quite a beautiful ceremony. Then everyone sings happy birthday to them in their native language. There was Hindi, English, Hebrew, German, Dutch, Spanish, and French.

This is a Sadhu or Guru, basically a Hindi Monk. He sleeps outside by this tree along the Ganges River. I was on my way back to the ashram from a dip in the river, when I heard this Sadhu playing the flute. I sat along the Ganges and listened to him for some time. The Ganges River is said to be the holiest river in the world, and many people live just by it and take daily baths in it. My guess is that this Sadhu is either poor and had no choice but to live this way, or he made the choice to be detached from the outside world, and live a life devoted to God, the Ganges, and meditation. Either way, the music was a delight to listen to with some really incredible scenery. This place is just one minute walk from the ashram. The backyard to the ashram is the woods and the Ganges.

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