I woke up early with difficulty on hearing the alarm and knew that duty was calling! A mysterious force in me motivated me to do the tea serving sevā tirelessly every day! The benevolent Bhagavān just flashed a simple message in my mind, one which my manda buddhi (unintelligent mind) could easily understand – ‘One of the simplest and best ways to please God is to lovingly serve all around you.’ This became my greatest motivation and I kept repeating this like a mantra in my mind, whenever asked to do sevā or upon spotting an opportunity for the same, during the rest of the camp. Unlike my earlier assumption, doing sevā constantly refreshed me rather than making me tired. That morning, after delivering the tea, the compassionate Bhagavān rewarded me with crisp fresh air and led me to a meadow-like place on the banks of Narmada Mātā (where I could get some exercise with a quick morning walk), while showing me a glorious sunrise! Near the riverbank, I saw a strange sight, where a couple of folks were making a pack of donkeys haul sand from the riverbank – mostly an illegal activity nowadays, with shortage of natural sand. Not giving it much of a thought, I then proceeded towards SK for breakfast.
Inauguration of Camp at the glorious Gita Mandir
Later in the day, we had a very beautiful inauguration ceremony, at the magnificent Gita Mandir – our first visit to this holy place! We started by chanting Gita dhyanam, followed by chapter 1 of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita – a practice that continued till the last day of the camp till the completion of all 18 chapters! This activity was managed excellently by Jayashri amma and Shankarji and equally well supported by majority of the sādhaks in the Camp. Swamiji then took the stage and started the talk by comforting everyone with his soothing words. What stood out for me is that he remarked, “We have left all our luxuries behind and have come to this remote spiritual place, for our Sādhanā. He added that at any place where there is a material disadvantage, there is usually a spiritual advantage and vice versa.” Maybe he too had heard some hushed whispers of the inconveniences caused to some sādhaks before they could settle down here completely. These words instantly put our minds to rest, and I am sure most of us started feeling comfortable from there on in the camp. Vinod ji was again given the stage and as per his earlier noble wish, he could now address the whole group together about the significance of Narmada Mātā. However, I had heard about most of these topics, the previous day itself.
Start of spiritual talks by Swamiji
At the end of the inauguration function, I was given the beautiful privilege of performing Gurudev’s (Pūjya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda) pādukā pūjā. It was the first such pādukā pūjā for me and Roopa ammā lovingly guided me all along. Post lunch, the talks started with a thin crowd trickling in, early in the evening. I was wondering what could be the main topic of the camp? It was then, when Swamiji started talking about the benefits of meditation, that I understood Meditation was going to be a great topic for the lectures at the camp! One which I am really lacking at and hence, there would surely be a whole lot to learn! I started scribbling on my notepad and was pleasantly surprised to see even the senior-most sādhaks there, humbly doing the same!
Though I won’t go into the details of each lecture session as I won’t be able to do justice to them and as they would anyway soon be available on the Chinmaya Mission Mangaluru YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZZZYjnDfj4WEeSy-dXaBww). I will, however, surely cover some parts of it which touched my heart and where the merciful Bhagavān bestowed His grace upon me, by flashing some divine thoughts in my mind. The beauty of Swamiji’s talks is that, not only does śravaṇam happen, but it is also followed by mananam sometimes – depending upon how you are able to connect the current topic with your past experiences in life. This is not to be mistaken with vikṣepa (wandering mind, due to lack of interest), which I had thought it to be the case initially – but later realised, it was actually mananam. The final takeaway of the day’s talks was that – ‘Every experience in Meditation is knowledge! So, keep continuing at it!’.
We again had a wholesome Gujarati dinner that day, which was the case for the rest of the camp!
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