Sadhana Camp 2022
A Sadhana Camp on ‘Meditation Techniques’ was conducted on the banks of River Narmada at Karnali, Vadodara (Gujarat, India) by Chinmaya Mission Mangaluru from November 7 to November 12, 2022. One of the campers, Sri Krishna Dāsa has shared his experiences during the camp in the form of this blog.
|| Hari Om ||
Nectar-like moments and learnings bestowed by the
at Narmada Sādhanā Camp – Winter of 2022
It was about ten years ago that I started my journey with Chinmaya Mission. My father was an ardent follower of the Mission and I had heard some nuggets of wisdom from him. But I started actively following the teachings of the Mission only after he passed away.
Though I realised this only later – much like everything else that I describe here – I was a highly ignorant, insensitive and reluctant sādhaka before the camp! I was also a part-time devotee – thinking about God only very few times a day, engaging in bhajans only on festive occasions, attending Jñāna Yajñas once in a while and rarely doing seva activity outside my family. However, by Bhagavān’s abundant grace on this insignificant and ordinary devotee of His, I had remembered Brahmāji’s (Pūjya Swami Brahmananda) advice of doing Karma Yoga and to offer all actions done during the day at the feet of Bhagavān just before retiring for the night, which I followed regularly. I had briefly heard about some Sādhanā camps organized by the Mission at holy places, but never knew when they would happen, or how to register for the same.
My pūjya Guru is Swami Aparajitananda. His very first talk that I had heard on Bhaja Govindam (on a CD), several years back, had been a wake-up call for me and had captivated my mind like nothing else! His unique mix of Bhakti and Vedānta, coupled with practical wisdom pearls, always attracted me to his talks – since Bhakti is my chosen path, coupled with my natural curiosity to know more. I had only met him during the Yajñas held in the pre-Covid era and used to frequently listen to his CDs on a variety of topics from Bhakti to Vedānta-based texts and used to always remember him in my prayers. However, I was recently inspired from within to visit Swamiji at the Mission centre in Mangalore. During the visit, Swamiji gently mentioned to our dear Roopa ammā (Mrs. Roopa Rani Vasanth, Secretary, Chinmaya Mission Mangaluru) to keep me informed about any Sādhanā camps occurring in future. One fine day, a few months later, I unexpectedly got a flyer from Roopa ammā informing me about one Narmada Sādhanā camp.
I had a quick look at the flyer during a busy work week and thought that I would look more deeply into it during the weekend. Many weekends passed and I kept procrastinating about registering for the camp, like I usually did for anything spiritual! One day a quiet voice in my heart, which I seldom listened to, told me to go ahead and register for the camp and that it would do me good. By His merciful grace, I listened to the voice this time! Then I firmed up my mind and called Roopa ammā to express my desire to be part of the camp. I came to know that I was the 70th person registering for the camp! Probably the last one! But being the large-hearted person that she is, ammā agreed to accommodate me in the camp at the last minute. Little did I know what was waiting in store for me there!
Without my knowledge, a lot of work was going on silently in the background, with many minds, hands and feet working in unison to organize the Narmada Sādhanā camp. Roopa ammā directed me to Asmita ji (Mrs. Asmita Dhore), who was leading a group from Bangalore with about fifteen members. I reached out to her, and she quickly added me to a WhatsApp group that she had created to co-ordinate the travel, which she did with excellence – until the time we reached back home safely! A few days later, a larger WhatsApp group consisting of all the campers was created by Shankar ji (Mr. Shankar Iyer), and I found myself a part of it. Later, a well-written note was sent by Roopa ammā to all campers on the items and preparation needed for the camp. Meticulous care was taken to list each and every item needed by the campers to make sure they found themselves comfortable there. I was delighted to know that my prep work had gotten easier. I simply followed the list and gathered all items for the trip. Being my first such camp, I naturally over packed (the food mostly!) thinking that I would need many snacks to appease Jaṭharā-agni devatā – especially in the evenings! I later realised that, this effort would mostly go in vain!
Day 0 | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7
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Hari Om Krishna
It was so good that few youngstets
attended alongwith more no. of
All of you took good care of
the seniors thought the Camp.
Thank you so much for your concern
Thank you Latha Amma! Learnt a lot from you!
Thanks to Sri Krishna Dasa ji for his excitement & detailed compilation about the 7 days of the camp.
Happily the last person to register for the camp is the first person to post his Blog which is most useful to all us.
Great work of documenting so well for the benifit of the Campers.
Thank you Deva Rao Sir for your kind words. My heartfelt gratitude to Swamiji and all sadhaks who attended the camp, giving us a wonderful bouquet of memories to remember!
आत्मवत् सर्वभूतानि यः पश्यति स पश्यति।।
Above lines truly befit the experiences of all who attended the Sadhana Camp conducted by Chinmaya Mission, Mangaluru.
The camp provided a platform to meet, share, experience and stay together as a family. Each one irrespective of the age difference eager to help and contribute in his/her own way to help & make others comfortable.
The sessions were conducted for seven days in four slots per day. The Camp Acharya Swami Aparajitananda with his highly enriching and powerful discourse captivated all and imparted the subtle message of scriptures easily & smoothly with examples.
Thus elevating our thoughts providing an insight to reform, reflect and steer a new direction to life ahead. Looking through the spectrum of life Swamiji taught various techniques to achieve true happiness in life. This can be achieved by, ‘Shifting the balance from living your life as thoughts, to living your life more in the present.’ In other words, ‘Live in the present to experience His presence.’
Meditation is the only way to know true nature of the self. Navigate your own way to experience the true joy and attain supreme bliss.
Indeed it was a journey to reinvent ourselves with an enriched life time experience!!
An excellent and wonderful summary Anita amma! It beautifully captures the essence of our camp!
Thanks, Krishna for the wonderful description of the camp!
You inspired me to write down my thoughts.
The credit for the success of the camp goes to collective Karma Yoga by all sadhakas attending the camp. Sincerely thanks to each one attending the camp for giving us such an enriching experience.
My deepest gratitude to my Guru (Swami Aparajitananda ji) for the teaching of Vedanta not just through pravachan from Vyaspitha but also through practical examples. A few of them were:
1) Once while giving Prasadam to a devotee, one almond fell from Swamiji’s hand onto the ground. The place where it had fallen was where maximum devotees’ feet would have crossed and obviously wasn’t clean. Even before my mind could comprehend what had happened, Swamiji had picked it up and put it in his mouth. It was adhering to a true Sannyasi’s vow of not harming others in any manner. Not even by giving an almond that had fallen on the ground as Prasad to any devotee. Barring this incident, I have not seen my Guru having food, except during lunch.
2) All devotees might have expressed discomfort about limited facilities available at Karnali, but our Guru had only cheerfulness on his face. Daises are generally prepared in such a way that all devotees can see the speaker during the lecture. But arranging for an appropriate dais – a basic necessity for the talks to happen effectively – in this small village was difficult. So one sofa was kept on a table, with very little foot space left on the table to be able to stand before sitting on the sofa. This dais, on which he had to sit every day 4 times a day, had to be climbed in a very meticulous way. To allay the fears of all those who felt concerned seeing him have to do this climb up and climb down exercise, all the while having to keep his balance – Swamiji did it so well that it gave an impression that it was not at all uncomfortable for him. We never heard him say anything about this discomfort.
3) Invoking God’s Grace where actions fail: The inauguration program was to start, and there was a power failure. It was difficult to address such a large number of devotees without a public announcement system. Though the organizers had not spared any efforts in arranging all facilities so that devotees would be able to listen to the lectures without any interruption, human errors do happen, and the power back-up was forgotten to be arranged. Swamiji requested all devotees to chant Geeta Dhyanam without getting perturbed about the mistake. He was invoking the Grace of God. By the time we finished chanting Geeta Dhyanam, the mother electricity was ready to bless us! And to our surprise in that small village, for the next 7 days, we did not have any electricity issues during the discourse!
4) When I saw my Guru touching the feet of Swami Omkarananda ji every day, I was humbled by his humility!
5) A Sannyasi should always take the minimum from society. Though any devotee would have happily donated for his to and fro flight tickets, he opted for flight journey only for reaching Karnali as that was the demand of the situation. For return journey, he chose to travel by the train, silently adhering to his Sannyasa Dharma.
And last but not the least – the importance of the place where we stayed – there was such mysterious spiritual energy experienced at Karnali that mind was serene at all times. It was a small village which had no great hygiene standards but there were neither mosquitoes nor house flies here! This was one of the wonders!
You have summed up the spirit behind this successful camp really beautifully Asmita Didi!
You are indeed blessed to have observed the actions of a Mahatma like our Swamiji, from close distance! And I am indeed grateful to you, for having shared your experiences and observations with all of us! May Bhagavan continue to bless us to learn and emulate such Mahatmas, in whichever way we can!
Thankyou Krishna for running with the baton describing each day spent in the camp in detail and bringing us back into the arena of ,’Sadhna Camp.’
Asmita ,thanks for carrying the baton forward and bringing beautifully on the surface our feelings for Swamiji which we silently appreciated and admired.
Feel Blessed to be part of selfless saadhaks’ group .
May we continue to share and grow in our spiritual journey ahead with Swamiji.
Comment given in Kannada. Please check attached image – Pg 1
… continued in Pg 2
… continued in Pg 3
… continued and concluded in Pg 4
Posting the translation done in English for the above anonymous comment, by Latha Bhat amma – for the benefit of those who can’t read Kannada. Very good work Latha amma with the translation!
Humble Prostrations at the lotus feet of Pujya Swamiji and heartfelt greetings to all devotees.
Pujya Swamiji has been kind enough to guide us beautifully on how to be happy in life . We are all blessed to be having such a Guru in our life.
We do not know the beginning and the end of life. It is our ego that rules during our youth. It is not possible to stop this. Actually speaking it is during this age that it is important to have knowledge of the “Naama Roopa” world. The Jeeva (I), The world (that we perceive) and the Eeshwara.
When we were young there wasn’t any duality (dwandwa) . As we grew it started like boy-girl, Rich-poor, Beautiful-ugly, Me-mine etc. With this also starts joy and misery..
During youth all the people around us would preach like – do this and don’t do that and the preaching would be according to their own perception. There was no base of any Scriptures or Shastras nor proper guidance for this preaching. Preaching was everyone around us like parents, friends, relatives, neighbours and all people around us. Since it was not possible to decide on what was was right and what was wrong at that point in time, as per the vasanas of my mind , I followed all that was preached, got a lot of blows life and concluded that life is all misery . With reference to this experience I would like to relate a story.
There was a family of crabs in a pond. Father, Mother and 2 kids. Parents would all the time boast of their kids. Father crab started telling the elder son to walk straight and not limp. “Start walking straight” was the father crab advice all the time. Son wanted the father to demonstrate on how exactly he should be walking. Listening to this the younger crab also made a comment on the Father-son conversation. Now, the father crab realized that he too was not walking straight and also realized his mistake. This is the situation of all the people who are trying to guide us all around us .This is the limited knowledge our parents and relatives possess.
It is important for us not to fall prey to such advice, take refuge in a proper Guru , take guidance through scriptures and lead a peaceful, blissful, happy life.
We need to get out of the boundaries of “I, me, myself “, attend such shibirs and get the guidance of our Guru. It is also important to get out of the walls of ignorance to get rid of our ego.
On turning towards divine Ashramas, towards the waves of the sea, towards the vast nature, towards the sun, moon and the stars and living with plants, trees, animals and birds , the notion that I am the ultimate will vanish . We will get the realization that the universe is spellbound and beautiful. If we are unable to enjoy the magnificent beauty of the nature, then we need to ponder on what has gone wrong.
In this context I would like to refer to ‘Manku Timmana Kagga’ which gives us the realization that we are only a speck of dust in the midst of this vast, spectacular creation. Humility dawns, heart fills with gratitude and also get the feel that what I see through my eyes, hear from my ears and anything that I touch and feel are the all the Creator’s (Bhagwan’s).
Our life is as follows,
There once lived a beggar couple and were all the time begging for a living . When they got old and passed away, the only treasure they passed on to their son was their begging bowl. The son also started to beg. People of the village got disgusted with the way the beggar was leading his life. They decided to dig the place where he slept and burn his thatched cottage. When they started digging , enormous amount of wealth was found underground . The couple had all the wealth and more to lead a good life but lived a miserable life and died as beggars. This is also our story.
Having been blessed with this beautiful body, eyes to enjoy the glory of the creation , beauty of the multiple coloured flowers, taste the enormours fruits of this creation, if we have not been able to enjoy in the kingdom of the creator, then I don’t think there is a fool like us.
It is important that we follow the Shastras, the scriptures, the sages, the saints and Swamiji and experience God realization. The adwaitha philosophy that I am not different from the creator and the creator is all around and everywhere. “EESHAVAKYAM IDAM SARVAM “has to be experienced. For this, our sadhana has to be intense and our urge to know the paratatwa has to be strong.
Basavanna, in one of his verses says like there is precious gold in the rock, Shiva within us. This is the knowledge shared by parama-pujya Swamiji.
Let us all feel blessed under the guidance of pujya Swamiji.
Beautifully written Sir/ Madam! Anyone who knows how to read Kannada, can surely appreciate it!