SSY Retreat : Love your Life
This blog was dormant for a long time and now that I am back, what a wonderful thing I have to share. It all started with my friend Hema, who had done a program with Siddha Samadhi Yoga(SSY) three years back. She told me that SSY has another program called Silence camp planned in coming week. It didn’t took me long to say yes.
We started from Worli by bus and destination was Rishi Gurukulam at Katarkhadak, Pune. With us were couples, friends and families, families with young kids. We had our introduction in the bus, played antakshari, sang along. I didn’t knew what the program schedule was but I knew that it would be fun with all these people. The start was good.
And it got better when we stopped after crossing main Pune city. It was a surprise when Chiragji & Chandanji (our mentor/Guruji) told us to get ready for a bath in river. I looked at Hema with an expression, Are they kidding? I'd never stepped in water above knee. And from a long time, I had this big wish in my mind to swim in water. It was scorching hot. We were shy to enter water with the men around. We looked at each other for some time, pondering, and then with unanimous expression, nodded, Let’s go. I was exited. We went deep into the water. Never before I had felt such a satisfaction. At that time I knew it would be fun.
Shri Manoj Lekhi
After we reached Rishi Gurukulam, we said the prayers and Chandanji asked us to gather at the workshop area. We had lime juice. As I drank it, I watched the dog Rani (of breed Alsatian) mischievously moving between people's legs. She and another puppy played around. As I watched them, my eyes went to the person who was approaching our group. Something was different about him. I could see a divine contentment on his face. Chandanji introduced him as Manojji. I watched Rani just skip playing and running to greet him. She kept bouncing and circling him. It was a beautiful to watch their magical bond.
Manojji then introduced us to a bunch of five kids. He encouraged them to play host to us and take us around. While they explained us, he ensured that they didn't miss anything and if they did, he would complete it part and remind them to note it. It was another magical relation I witnessed. He was hard to miss and hard to forget.
The kids and Manojji took us around the Gurukulam. They introduced us to the revolutionary system of schooling invented by Guruji Shri Rishi Prabhakarji. There are no closed classrooms. Students are taught in open air under trees, with nature. The curriculum they follow is CBSE. The children stay in Gurukul for the entire year and return home during vacation. Minimum age for admission is 8 years. Otherwise for children from 4 years to 8 years, one of the parents have to stay at the ashram.
The study pattern is such that they manage to learn the entire curriculum of one subject in one to two months. So they are free to revise in rest of year. More than revising, they spend time in doing more creative. They have their hands trained on Masonry, painting, Carpeting, Music, sports, computers etc.
Manojji explained to us that all this is possible due to the study pattern they follow. For e.g. when they have to learn about a subject, like some factory. They would be taken to the factory and then they would be divided into groups. Each group would be assigned a task, like one would note the process details, one would take photographs, one would do the video shooting, one would create the PowerPoint slides and one would put all the resources together and present a skit to the students.
And while they do all this they not only learn about the subject but also learn many other things that are always underrated or forgotten to cultivate in students in early age, like self confidence, photo shooting, photography, computers etc. Definitely this way of teaching helps them in completing the syllabus so fast. No wonder they look smart and confident.
Not only this, the ashram has vegetable farm. Tricks and tips to cultivate plants is taught directly. They have many plans on cards and many of them are on verge of completion. Biogas plants and solar heaters are under construction. There would be Cricket ground, Tennis court, Malakhamb etc. that would soon be started soon. There are wooden seats/shelters created in between the woods around. One can spend some solitary time there.
They have small kutirs for 2 persons and are planning to have houses of 500 to 600 sq.ft. as weekend home. The main mantra behind all this is sharing. More we share, less we spend, less we are worried.
Yoga. Food. Fun
Yoga. After a good trip around the ashram, we were back at the hall where we had to stay for the next 2 days. We did a few yoga exercises and then meditated. Yoga & meditation has to be done before meals only. Initially while doing the Yoga exercises, with it’s unconventional positions and noises that are created during the execution, made me little shy. But then when I saw everyone enjoying it, I just shook off the shyness and went along.
Food. Hema had already warned me about the food so what came later in my food plate was not a shock. It was always fruits, salads and herbal tea. However little we ate it, somehow our body accepted it (otherwise I would have fainted with empty stomach). I made faces while eating it, most of the time passing half of the contents to Hema. But then I realized it was worth eating the raw food when on the last day Hema told me that she can see difference in my acne and when my sisters repeated the same after returning home.
My mom had always urged me to have less non-vegetarian food. But being helpless slave of the tongue, I never paid attention. But I could see how much truth lies in it. But Eating less non-vegitarian food is not enough, we also have to make sure that we intake more raw food. Today before leaving for office I had black tea and fruit plate in office for breakfast. I hope I maintain the same control.
Fun. There were activities like trekking, games, skit etc. After cleansing of body by exercises and right food, we went through another most important aspect, the soul cleansing.
Manojji always says, Why do we get so serious about life?
He says that Life is celebration, I agree with him. We agree but we forget. We can be free and happy the most when we free ourselves from the imaginary shackles that we bind ourselves to the negative thoughts. The fear to express ourselves. What will people say? and so many other negative thoughts.
There were activities to come out of this inhibition, to let ourselves free, to be like a child. I will not share the details as they have to be experienced first hand. But I affirm you that, how ever you think you know yourself well, this program will show you the hidden you, your suppressed emotions & the child in you.
My Realization & Satsang
It was a transformation for many of us. We cried, played, danced like a child. I realized that we need not wait for special occasions to celebrate. There’s no shame in crying, laughing like a mad man. Just be what you feel like. No need to hide any emotions.
I learnt that God is one and is present in each one of us. I have to trust the God in everyone. Whoever is in front of us, be it our mom, friend or boss, we have to acknowledge the God in the person. Give love and you’ll receive love.
And all this I realized not by some preachy sessions but the activities that we participate in. They just connected me to my inner self.
I know that I am not done. I still know nothing. There’s lots and lots for me to learn. And I have to return to SSY again and again.
We returned from Pune to Mumbai on Sunday. The satsang was on Monday. And I am not exaggerating when I say that there was an invisible force that pulled me to it. I know that I would’ve never attended it if I hadn’t attended the Retreat program. I felt like I have found a family. There was so much positive energy that it naturally pulled me to it.
I want to thank Manojji, Chandanji & Chiragji for all the love. SSY is the best thing that has happened to me!! I hope I meet Guruji soon!!
Whom is this program for?
This program is for anyone. Young or old. Housewife or Salaried or businessmen. Contented or troubled. Anyone can join.
Most of the time we are so proud of our achievements that we think we are smart enough. If you feel anything like this, then it’s just right program for you. Or Sometimes we are so buried in loss and sadness that we are in urgent need of a positive force to pull us out of the ditch. If you feel anything like this, then yes, it’s just the right program for you.
I assure you will never find any session preachy. It’s about learning the fun way, effortlessly. If you anytime feel to go for any program or if you want to attend the satsang, you can go through the website given below or just send me a mail through the Contact me page. I will be more than happy to help.
On behalf of SSY, I want to invite you all to be part of this wonderful and loving family.