03.01.2014 ►Delhi ►ASK & Interview

Published: 13.02.2014

New Year just had started, still giving some strange impression when writing its date, when we started packing our suitcases for a four-week India trip. On Friday, January 3rd, before the first weekend of the New Year, we arrived in Delhi about 07:30h. We noticed the usual “Delhi aroma” missing, but in spite of the seasonal morning dust darkness had vanished and a sunny day made its promises, which were kept. After leaving the airport building we looked for someone in the waiting crowd to perhaps receive us. A young man named Navrathan, which we had met 4 years ago in Sri Dungargarh emerged from the ocean of faces and gave us a smiling welcome. Our friend Swami Dharmananda had consigned him to await us together with a rented car and its driver at the airport because our arrival was at the same time as his morning meditation. Like nearly 4 decades he is guiding every morning at 05:30h and every evening at 20:30 meditation sessions free of charge, welcoming all, no matter their faith or non-faith. This year he will enter his eighties, he confided to us in a talk on the phone before New Year. From the age of 21 on he is practicing yoga, which was honored by the Indian government six years ago with the bestowal of the title “Master of Yoga, recognised and certified by the Government of the Indian Union”. Since 1975 without hesitation he follows the suggestion of his Acharya, the 9th Terapanth Acharya Gurudev Tulsi, to lead henceforth a spiritual life concentrated on the spreading of the system of Preksha Meditation. Even we came into contact with him via Preksha Meditation. But people as Swami Dharmananda are very rare in 21st century India. Not only this, they seem no more being appreciated, as their healing imprint on the life of others is beyond measure in Rupees and fame.

On the way from the airport to the Kendra familiar to us through the years, we observed the modifications in buildings and open space. What had been a construction area last year now has reached completion. The streets were neat and clean, and due to the early hour, there was not too much traffic, which made us reach our destination rather fast. The car stopped in front of a gate, which normally is used by wedding parties and which without touching the other parts of the area is leading directly to the new buildings on the backside. These new buildings have been erected some years ago for better commercial and social use of the compound. The honking of the driver was like an Open Sesame, the gate opened, the car drove in. The gateway is bordered by trees, which were decorated with colourful scarves, even sparkling in the sun. We got out of the car and looked around.  What we saw, remembered me to my childhood in after-war Berlin. Mountains of rubble everywhere, and big craters were showing the intestines of the area where once buildings had stood. Down to the foundation walls all had been removed! The historical accommodations for the saints no more exist! Where the Acharyas Tulsi and Mahapragya once gave their lectures and together with volunteers from all walks of life developed, proved and according to their insights adapted the foundations of the Preksha Meditation System in the seventies of last century, now mountains of stones and dump were residing. Truly, a vast amount of work has to be mastered until summer, when HH Acharya Mahashraman will stay here for his Chaturmas. The four stores new building meant to accommodate the saints still was looking rather incomplete, even from outside. The whole area is a construction area, which is effecting the remaining two buildings as well. They are not only entirely dusty, neither in a neat condition, not to mention the construction noise from dusk to dawn. It is not recommendable to stay there at the moment, but a visit to Swami Dharmananda is always worth it. Hopefully in summer the spirit of a Jain ashram will be perceptible on the area again.

There are two more buildings, both octagonal, from the area of the predecessors of HH Acharya Mahashraman, the so-called Tulsi Tower, which took 10 years for completion, and the big meditation hall where regularly 10-days Preksha Meditation Camps combined with Yoga Asanas under the guidance of Swami Dharmananda had taken place until the construction works started. But these constructions were in a condition according to their surroundings, dusty and shabby, not to recommendable for meditation. So were the two building complexes dating from the first development between 1972 and 1974. Originally the area was a fruit and vegetable farm to provide needy members of the Sangh with authentic and reasonable priced, if at all, eatables. Even a Panjrapole was intended, when in the 1970s the price of the land - at the time of acquisition cheap and situated out of town - started to explode. So a big part of the property was sold very profitable and the rest was destined to be built up “sustainably”. But meanwhile the price for the land has reached exorbitant heights, and construction areas with buildings on it actually are much sought-after because of the long ago given licence for construction. Maintenance and sustainment seem not to be well understood in contemporary India. Only very rarely I have seen habituated buildings in such a bad state as Adhyatma Sadhana Kendra. The desperate efforts of the inhabitants and guests for cleanliness were not to overlook, and so weren´t the many leaking water tubes and toilet flushes in the attached bathrooms. The bed sheets were neat and clean, but the mattresses resembled to stones, giving pain to hips, rips, and shoulders at every turn in the night. The commentaries in the Internet concerning ASK as a Jain Ashram unfortunately are using a very clear language of its decay. We wish this institution with a flourishing spiritual tradition for decades a very successful spiritual revival when the saints will arrive in summer.

Anyhow, we felt more than tired after a night in the plane and were very much looking forward to rest after having celebrated the joy of meeting again with Swami Dharmananda. The latter had asked us to come over Delhi on our way to Jaipur where we wanted to participate in the International Conference On Peace And Nonviolent Action, because Mr. Shatish Kumar Sharma who is a director of making TV programs wanted to take our interview on Preksha Meditation. And so it came that in the afternoon Mr. Shatish lead both of us one after another to the subterranean floor of the Kendra´s octagonal Meditation Hall, where I remembered the 14 years ago first meditation session guided by me there during my first visit to the Kendra. Mats were placed at all walls to provide professional sound quality; we were professionally illuminated, and then interviewed on our experiences with Preksha Meditation and the impact thereof on our lives. It was an unexpected pleasant experience, as Mr. Shatish is a very humorous person with that wisdom which comes with life experience. Furthermore he understood very well to create a relaxed atmosphere making forget the camera. We are very interested in the result, which will be available about middle of March, according to Mr. Shatish.

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Mahashraman
  3. Acharyas
  4. Adhyatma
  5. Adhyatma Sadhana Kendra
  6. Asanas
  7. Berlin
  8. Chaturmas
  9. Delhi
  10. Gurudev
  11. International Conference On Peace And Nonviolent Action
  12. Jaipur
  13. Kendra
  14. Mahapragya
  15. Mahashraman
  16. Meditation
  17. Panjrapole
  18. Preksha
  19. Preksha Meditation
  20. Preksha Meditation Camps
  21. Sadhana
  22. Sadhana Kendra
  23. Sangh
  24. Space
  25. Sri Dungargarh
  26. Swami
  27. Swami Dharmananda
  28. Terapanth
  29. Terapanth Acharya
  30. Tulsi
  31. Yoga
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