Unintentionally, I am sort of living life like the main character in the book Eat Pray Love.
Ten years ago I spent 6 months studying in Italy. Earlier this year I lived 4 months in Bali and Lombok (Indonesia) and now I am travelling through India for 3 months. (Between my time in Italy and Indonesia I also had a 3 year stint living in London, so the comparison is not totally true. Nevertheless, my friends insist on calling me “Julia” since I decided to come to India).
After my yoga teacher training course I went to visit a friend in Gobind Sadan, an ashram just outside of Delhi. An ashram is a sort of monastery. Many offer yoga or meditation while others are more religiously oriented. Some offer a combination of this. In most ashrams a guru, a spiritual leader, is worshipped. Prayer, offerings, mantra singing and seva or “duties” are part of daily life. Duties can be anything: sweeping floors, kitchen duty, guarding the sacred fire. I spent some time teaching English to a local boy and teaching yoga to local children in Sunday school.
Gobind Sadan promotes solidarity with and understanding of different religions. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs,… everyone has a place of worship on the grounds of the ashram. Most importantly, at least once a day everyone prays together in the temple of all religions, the Peace Havan.
You don’t have to be particularly religious to enjoy life in an ashram. But maybe through the structure in your day, volunteer service to the community, prayer and meditation you may find you feel a spark of the divine.
From the belief that there is only one God and all the different prophets we know have come to the earth to give us this message, the ashram has grown into a magic place, a holy place. Preaching against violence and for understanding and compassion between people, helping people in poverty, helping to educate local kids to have a better life. If there is something this world needs so much right now, it is solidarity, compassion and kindness between people and religions. ‘The right thing to do’ doesn’t depend on religion at all. We all have this conscience inside us.
More info on Gobind Sadan ashram: click here.
Next: completing the “Golden Triangle”: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.