Reflections on the Sky

The School of Ancient Wisdom just outside Bangalore is a very special place, with a strong Theosophical vibration.   We have been giving seminars there for the last ten years.   It was built aobut 20 years ago, designed and funded by a lovely architect from Singapore.  Madame is an creative spiritual dynamo and mystical visionary who literally dreamed the place into existence.  She also dreamed up Ram, the man who has managed the School and retreat center.  

 This sanctuary of flower gardens, pavillions, fish ponds, statues and gazebos was originally built on about 80 acres of dry barren desert land.   That, there is water and a lush tropical paradise in this location is in itself is a miracle of the Masters and devas, that surely abide here.  It is  a place of learning, healing and transformation. 

The Advanced Training began and ended splendidly.  As we ended the training Beauty was radiating from every face…I say this with all sincerity.   Awareness is often compared to a cloudless sky, naked,  luminous and bright.   That was the expression I saw on their faces … faces without any hint of a mask or mood, just purely innocent and joyful. 

We participated in a week of long days, disciplined by practices of asana, meditation, pranayama, mantra and open-eyed minfulness.   The Indian students took it all in with great enthusiasm and incredible devotion.   But as the long days pass,  discipline can waver a bit,  as the body objects and burns, and attention wanders and the mind rebels     That is when the mantra yagnas are especially powerful.

There is something quite moving that happens when you  participate in fire ceremonies, especially when they are outside in powerful places in Nature.  You can feel quite  connected to Nature Herself.   During the yagna we had in Badrinath on our  ashram grounds,  the sky changed quite literally in the blink of an eye.  The cloudless sky was all at once, covered in clouds in the most amazing patterns… as if God himself were skipping stones across the sky… a tapestry perfectly repeated like an intricate kniting pattern covering the whole expanse of the valley.   And then again in a blink of an eye.. clouds that formed a trident, clear and defined.  The trident (spear) is a powerful symbol for both Shiva and Shakti.  It delighted us all into tears.

During the advanced training at the School of Ancient Wisdom, we had a different experience.  But again it began with a cloudless sky.   This time the clouds formed dark just over a group of the students seated chanting at the fire.   And it rained.   In fact it poured for about 45 minutes.   A delight of rain and floral frangrances waffed through the open windows in the room, where we were sitting during mantra diksha.   And then it stopped.  And when the chanters came into the room for mantras, they did not look drenched.   Without umbrellas, their hair and clothes had somehow managed to stay quite dry.   Blessings had rained on them.  They were high with joy and gratitude. 

The fire ceremoney with the rain had been particularly purifying they told me.  Some reported that their physical pain or confusion had been cleansed as they tossed grain into the fire and been washed by the rain.  All they experienced was emptiness and presence. 

I touched the shoulder of the woman seated next to me, her scarf was dry.

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