Living and Learning in Amritapuri, India: December 26-31, 2016

Saraswati Eco Textile Work Center

Since my first visit to the Saraswati Garden, I have struggled to know what to call the house where devotees are working with dye, sewing and weaving. This week, I saw a sign inside the house that gave me the answer!

saraswati

On the wall next to that sign was a prayer written by Amma:

I’m going to do this work.

Please give me enough mental, emotional and physical strength to do this as a worship of you.

Help me to do this with the right attitude knowing this is yours, not mine; I’m doing this with your power, not mine.

Help me to work sincerely, with concentration, and as best as I can, without thinking of its fruit.

Help me to derive happiness from the spirit in which I am working.

Thank you for your blessing and your guidance.

I now surrender both the actions and the fruit at your feet.

Amma models living this prayer every day of her life.

Turmeric

You may remember, about two weeks ago, we harvested turmeric roots from some of the Saraswati garden turmeric plants A day or two later, another devotee and I scrubbed them in order to remove more of the sand and then Padma boiled them. On Christmas Eve, I helped cut them into strips; afterwards, they were put outside to dry.

This is what my hands looked like after slicing the roots. Days later I was still very yellow.

Last weekend, one of my Tai Chi teachers noticed I had another color change. My Fitbit, which I use as a watch, needed to be charged so I wasn’t wearing it when I went to class. The area where my Fitbit normally is was so white compared to the rest of my skin. (The white part was even whiter than this photo shows.) Since then I’ve noticed how different my face and neckline are as well. This may be the first time in my life I’ve had a bit of a tan. It is mainly from walking to and from the garden. I suspect my dermatologist won’t be happy about it but I like it!

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Sick

I was up until 2 a.m. for the Christmas Eve program and then stayed up until nearly midnight on Christmas so I could get Amma’s darshan. I felt exhausted on Monday and by the end of the day realized I was getting sick. I slept most of Tuesday and Wednesday and stayed in my room, except for meals, until Friday morning.

There has been a cold going around so I thought I was getting that, but it moved through me way faster than what I would have expected. I began to wonder if I was detoxing instead of having a bacterial illness.

I started going to Tai Chi again on Friday and yesterday (Saturday) my Tai Chi teacher observed that my practice was much better than before I got sick. I loved hearing that, and it also supported my detox theory!

Moping

Word Press offers a daily prompt for bloggers. Because India is 13 1/2 hours ahead of the U.S. where the prompt originates, I receive the morning prompt at the end of the day. I laughed Friday night when I discovered the prompt for Friday was “Mope.”  I won’t go into all the reasons I was bitching and moaning to myself on Friday, but “Mope” was a perfect word to sum up my experience of that day!

Crowds

There were way more people at the ashram on New Year’s weekend than for Christmas, and the crowds were big then. I heard there were 1850 Western visitors here on Friday and that many more were expected to arrive on Saturday. The number of Western visitors was expected to surpass 2000 for the first time. (On my first trip in January 1990, there were 30 Western visitors in the ashram!) Thousands of Indian visitors have poured in as well. So, needless to say, the ashram is a sea of humanity.

New Year’s Eve

Last night was New Year’s Eve. In the evening there was an entertainment program that started around 9 p.m. and consisted of dancing (several Indian groups and a French group), a mime, and a rapper. A big instrumental group started to play about the time I went to bed. I don’t know if they were the end of the program or if there was more entertainment that followed.

Since I have been sick and was feeling exhausted, I decided it would be wise for me to not stay up. I think I went to bed about 11. After the entertainment, Amma would have given her Christmas message, sung some bhajans and then passed out some sweet pudding. She would have led the peace chant at some point in that process. All of this would have been amplified but I didn’t hear a thing once I laid down and closed my eyes. I feel sad about what I missed but think it was a good decision.

New Years Day

I’ve really  been looking forward to joining in the Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu chant that will be held in the temple from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. I know I will come and go from it, but I have no doubt that it will be a very powerful experience for me.

Weather

Saturday morning, I heard someone say a cold streak had gone through the previous night. I remembered it getting windy but didn’t feel cold. When I checked, I learned that the low temperature for that day was 73 degrees. What is considered a cold streak in India is certainly different than a cold streak in Seattle! It looks like next week it will continue to be in the 80’s and then during my last week here the temperature is expected to be in the 90’s.

Rupees

The rupee situation is still bad although I did see my first 500 rupee note this week. If those get into circulation then it seems it will become easier to get small change. I’ve heard a rumor that the 2000 rupee bills may be recalled since they are so hard to use. I hope that is not true. It seems this whole fiasco would start over again.

Christmas play

I think I’m going to be able to write my main Christmas play post in the next few days. I’m looking forward to sharing more about it with you! I will also post photos of last night’s New Year’s Eve entertainment once they become available.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!

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