by Ramakrishnadas

The SRV S.F. Ashram is indeed a place worthy of pilgrimage.  The association with our Holy Trio is strong.  It is also the home of Bhavatarini Ma’s healing center.  Add into the mix the presence of our own Guru and his sangha and you have a powerful draw.

My flight across the country from New England to California to see my Guru and the sangha was well worth the title of a pilgrimage.  The result was a transformation of outlook and an impetus for greater effort in sadhana.

Shortly after being greeted by Bhavatarini Ma,  Babaji and his spiritual companion, Loke Ma, arrived in S.F... Throughout that week many unexpected benefits and events ensued.

One of the first of these events was the Puja celebrating Sri Ramakrishna’s birthday.  The atmosphere of Holy Communion was enhanced by the opportunity for the wonderful S.F. sangha to add tribute by offering beautiful flowers to their choice of Deities.

Every AM there was an open meditation charged by the ambiance created by the Puja and fostered by devotion.  Every evening there was a satsang with Sri Babaji that answered many questions about theory and practice before they were even asked.  Questions that were even asked were interesting and pertinent to the subject being addressed.  The wonderful study of Brahman, the only Reality, was the focal point of the discourse and the focal point of the question and answer portion of the presentation.

There was a chance for each member of the sangha to spend private time with their Guru and to address their personal situations.  I took advantage of that opportunity several times to my benefit.  Bhavatarini Ma was also available, and I treasure her guidance in the area of physical, spiritual, emotional and mental health.

The classes were held in the beautiful new classroom and were well attended.  They offered study of the Vivekachudamani by Sri Shankaracharya as well as other related subjects.

During our class we explored different concepts.  I was particularly interested in the practical nature of the teachings, especially in regard to the concept of the 3 types of bondage and the 3 types of liberation.  I  related readily to the reality of bondage to nature, sense objects and conventional life.  I was touched by the greater reality of the liberation of wisdom, detachment, and transcendence.  I suddenly realized that liberation was a real option that could be achieved by meditation on the immutable Brahman.  It was all one and could be realized by nondual wisdom, detachment from results, and transcendence of ordinary conventional life.  I am That, not, I am.  This was just one of the euphonies that bubbled up in consciousness due to nature of the teachings of pure jnana.

Another adventure was the experience of the book signing at East-West Books in Mountain View, California outside of S.F..  There were the bright colors of wall hangings blending in with Babaji’s Jai Ma music presentation and Loke Ma’s beautiful voice reading excerpts from “Swami Vivekananda Vijnanagita” all together melding into a brilliant presentation.

I had come into the week with an overly sentimental outlook on life and I had the opportunity to study the rock solid tenants of Advaita Vedanta.  This was just the medicine that the “Dr.” ordered.

It was time to say a fond farewell and wing my way back to Connecticut.  I left feeling recharged with a positive outlook and with an attitude adjustment that seems to be sticking.  A pilgrimage is a worthwhile endeavor and I highly recommend it to everyone.
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