map_of_india

sri aurobindo ashram puducherry

Onwards with our journey together. First I am providing a map of India above to give you a sense of where all the cities are for my pilgrimage, and in general (you can click on it to zoom in). Varanasi is northeast where I was for Maharaji’s Val Samadhi, and where Maa’s (our) ashram is being built. Then I went to Delhi to the north and west (Ayurvedic treatments), and then south to Bangalore (it’s a 2-hour drive from there to Puttaparthi). I flew to Chennai this morning from Bangalore (east), and then drove to Pondicherry (a 3 hour drive south with stops for tolls and permit). The weather changed from temperate to hot and humid in the bat of an eye (remember the bats at the banyan tree – you won’t get that if you haven’t been reading my blogs!).

After checking in at the centrally located Hotel du Parc, I walked around with a small hotel map to get my bearings, which I finally did after getting lost and going in circles (Becky and I always joke about our abysmal sense of direction – we don’t discriminate and get lost everywhere). The streets are very crowded as this is Sunday just before New Year’s and the season for many tourists. I found the Sri Aurobindo Ashram dining hall, however as I am not staying in an Ashram guest house like I did eight years ago when I first visited here, I have to make arrangements to eat there (by going to their Central Bureau at 7 each morning to see if they have passes for ashram meals). Luckily, now that I know where I’m situated and I’m not getting as lost, everything is very close by.

After eating lunch, I walked by the nearby Ganesh Temple to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram (only 3 minutes from the hotel). As I left my shoes at a stand on the street as everyone is required to do, and entered the Ashram, I felt the familiar peace and stillness when I went through the doors. I then followed some ladies through the small garden to the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (see photo above). As I remembered, the marble was covered with fresh flowers as those gathered pranamed to the two Masters. I approached and the Shakti was intense, penetrating my brain, and I remembered Sri Aurobindo writing about the descent of the light, and the Mother writing of her cellular work especially just before she left the body (her assistant Satprem wrote a book from transcripts of the Mother’s tape recorded teachings called The Mind of the Cells, or Le Mental des Cellules in the original French, which I highly recommended for the light work that we do with Maa). Many times Maa refers to their work with the light and illuminating the cells.

I can feel the light still in my brain, like my brain is “squinting” because of the brightness of the light – I think that’s the penetration of the light in the ajna chakra, third eye (first eye according to Maa). I walked slowly and first pranamed to the Mother and then to Sri Aurobindo, the light again intensifying as I lay my head on the marble next to the flowers. I then sat with many others around the Samadhi in deep meditation which came easily – as when Maa says, let the meditation meditate you, it was natural with the intensity of the Shakti surrounding the Samadhi. I then went to one of my favorite spots (in addition to this area): just by the Samadhi sits the bed of the Mother at the end of a small room – you can sit in front of it and take in the soft, loving, yet intense Shakti. The bed is very narrow, and I can picture the Mother resting her small body there. A very large framed photo of the Mother sits to the left of the bed in the front where you walk into this space from the Samadhi.

After sitting by the bed for quite awhile, I returned to sit in meditation next to the Samadhi. When I left the Ashram through the bookstore which is required to exit, and turned left, I walked to where I was drawn and it turned out to be the Bay of Bengal  (the northeast part of the Indian Ocean), which is just nearby and runs along the east side of Pondicherry. As I approached the Bay, the breeze cooled me; it was close to 6 pm and less hot and humid than earlier. Many couples and families were gathered on the black rocks in front of the Bay, as high waves hit them and splashed some children who walked on the rocks close to the water to get drenched when the waves came in. I noticed a large sign that said something like “Puducherry isn’t the same when you litter” (the Tamil version of Pondicherry), however the rocks and whole area were strewn with garbage dropped by people appreciating the water but not the sign. I sat on a rock glancing at the rolling waves, closing my eyes and loving the ocean breeze, and realizing my brain was still buzzing from the Shakti of the Samadhi and the Mother’s bed.

That’s it for my first day in Pondicherry after many years. I prepare now to see whether I can have breakfast tomorrow at the Ashram (I remember their delicious bread dunked in rich milk, and porridge with bananas), and then I will visit Auroville’s Matrimandir that the Mother created for meditation which I visited numerous times during my first visit here. Then comes New Year’s Eve at my hotel: a compulsory dinner celebration with live music.

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