I’m a little behind here – a couple of weeks have gone by since we left Allepey….
After a wonderful time – spent mostly on the beach and enjoying the waves and sun – we are off to our next stop – Amma’s ashram. This is about 3 hours further south on the coast.
instead of driving to the ashram we opted for taking a leisurely ferry (5 hours) through the waterways, canals and lakes that are a part of the topography of this part of India. we were dropped at the bridge to Amma’s ashram.
BELOW – ferry ride pictures…
these men are ‘herding’ ducks on the water = probably to market.
Here is Kelley – the woman who can sleep anywhere – anytime……..
we ferried down the middle of this row of fishing nets
here people are unloading fish from their small fishing boats into the truck which will take them to the villages that are not on the water.
Amma’s ashram is built on her family home property and has expanded over the years to some acres with temples, open air ‘auditorium’, 3 apartment buildings (between 5-13 stories high), canteen (both Indian and western food), cottages, hospital, ayurvedic clinic. about a mile away are the university and medical training institute she built – where all education and treatment and training is free.
her humanitarian activities are far reaching and address the needs of the region – whether it is housing (after the tsunami), education, medical aid and also throughout the world. she sent $1 million to the Katrina Relief fund. there is a not so small booklet that describes what she has accomplished. But the amazing thing is she did not set out to ‘do’ any of these things. her intention is to be an expression of divine love and service. with her purpose in place at a very early age – all these other things have come forth.
the ashram has rules (quiet hours, no photography) which make this a very peaceful place. there are no vehicles, so the constant noise of traffic and beeping horns is absent – oh what relief that is!
thousands of people come every day – some stay for a day to receive darshan (darshan literally means – notice or attention) which in Amma’s case is a hug and a little message she whispers in your ear. it was so amazing to be in a place with thousands of people – quiet, slow walking, lots of opportunities for meditation, yoga, chanting and seva (selfless service) the ashram has only a few employees so all the work to maintain the activities is done by those staying there. David, Kelley and Joseph spent 3 hours a day preparing food for the meals that are served. (thousands a day eat at the ashram for free). they cut mountains of vegetables and fruit, along with about 30 other volunteers. I did housekeeping and so went every morning to get my room assignment and my bucket of cleaning supplies and cleaned rooms.
Similar to Unity Village – once I get there, I do not leave the grounds – i just enjoy the atmosphere. this also happened at the ashram – i had no desire to go to the beach or the villages – just slow down and enjoy the presence of the intention of this place.