Taking The Mystery Out of Yoga

by Gretchen Karros



Ashrams (spiritual centers) in India.



Many people are traveling to foreign countries, even though the thought of flying is not as easy as in the past. That being the case, for those adventuresome souls who may still want to travel to India, the land where Yoga began, here are a few insights of one such place.

(For the next coming months, there will be a description of three different Ashrams featured that I have visited. These Ashrams are specified by the name of the Spiritual Master and some of the major features of each one.)

The first Master is ”Osho” – also known as “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh” Ashram is in Poona, India that is approximately 100 miles east of Mumbai or Bombay, the name the British used while they were here. This Ashram is in a very old, secluded and elegant (according to Indian standards) suburb of Poona. The original property was given to Osho by a very wealthy Greek lady who went to his lectures while he was still in Bombay. It has since more than tripled in size and people from around the world go there, even though Osho is not there physically.

Most Ashrams in India are very austere, strict, and very disciplined. Not so in Poona. You are greeted warmly at the huge front door, given a test for Aids, registered and shown where each of the amenities can be found. (Only the main people who actually run the Ashram are able to also live there, so students have to find rooms around the Ashram to stay but this is no problem.) Within the confines of the walls one will find many places to eat, meditate, go to a library, a bookstore, purchase train tickets, exchange money at a mini bank, make telephone calls (but I imagine now that everybody has a cell phone), swim, play tennis, get clean running water at the fountains and use the bathrooms. The grounds look like a plush jungle with many small meditation areas tucked between the trees and wide stone sidewalks going everywhere. There is even a large “Smoking Garden” just outside one of the many cafeterias. If you feel like volunteering, there is always lots of veggie cutting to do.

The lecture hall is a huge piece of concrete with a roof made of cloth that ripples in the wind. The sides are open and posts within the confines of the space holds up the roof. We all sit on the floor, sometimes two thousand souls, sitting side by side to listen to Osho speak for an hour and a half. In the distance one hears the sound of a whistle as a train passes nearby. It is like being in heaven, waiting there for Osho to come out to speak. After his lecture and breakfast, the lecture hall has a schedule of a quiet place and certain times for active and some guided quiet meditations. In the evening there is always dancing and music. At 9:00 p.m. everything is over.

This is the way it was, and that is why the present tense of this article – it seems so real even today. Now, years later after Osho has left his body, there is a video of Him giving one of his famous talks at the same time of the morning as when he was there. He never used notes (except for the jokes that peoples sent him and they were on 3 x 5 cards). Each live lecture was filmed and then put into book form. There are now many volumes of his words available in many different languages.


Thought for the day:

Eat Smart, Be Fit, Live Well and Meditate


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