Bhakti-rasa dasi

Having been spiritually inspired and nourished by Swami BV Tripurari, Dulal Chandra, my husband, and I wanted to support his service to the Vaishnava community and we felt that helping him to establish Saragrahi would be a solid way to do that. We sold our new age retail store, Kindred Spirits, and house in Winston-Salem and moved to Ananda Ashram. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful project which will support the spiritual aspirations of Vaishnavas generation after generation.

I love the land. The land is magical. The earth just seems to wrap itself around me and support my practice. The waters are clear, and sparkling, full of life–and very talkative 🙂 . The air is tangible, I can cup my hands and feel something in there, although it can not be seen. And the trees, oh, the trees, they are gentle and strong and accepting– they do not pass judgement. There is much to learn from the land.

I love living with people whose primary goal of life raises mine to higher potential. I let years slip by without doing what was in my heart of hearts important to me, getting caught up in the day-to-day chores and distractions I called life. But here, living in community with Vaishnavas, where guru and Gauranga are at the center, there are no chores that are not service, there are no activities that take me away from seva. The process of devotional service is immediate and accessible. Living at Saragrahi does not provide just the opportunity to develop and fine-tune my goals, but the opportunity to live them.

I love cow herding – even if what I do doesn’t technically count at cow herding, I like to pretend. Sumati and I share the service of caring for the retired cows, Bimala and Kamala, and our calf, Taruni. The Spring is a special time as the new grass starts making its way from beneath the earth – just seeing it grow long and lush makes me happy knowing how much the cows will enjoy it. The smell, the earth pummeled by their feet into a layer of fine dust, just deep enough to hold their hoof prints, their coming from a distance when they are called, their contented basking in the sun – it’s just all so joyful. I am hoping that taking care of someone who speaks a different language will help me to listen more attentively to the needs of others.

I love the temple programs, each of us, in the early morning hours before dawn, drawing our wagons together around the hub of the worlds. The altar is attractive and complete with the presence of guru, Gauranga, Radha and Madhava. The evening classes create a firm foundation, a real knowing from where one can go forward with solid confidence. And 3 months out of every year, we are blessed and enthused by Swami Tripurari’s visits and the larger circle of wagons that draw near during those times.

Being a community for practitioners in all stages of life and varying degrees, Saragrahi holds a unique opportunity for everyone. Being a part of bringing my guru’s vision into 3-d and availing that to others is thoroughly satisfying.

“Be here now” has nothing over “Serve here now”. For me, there is no higher place to be. No where else to go. I am home.