07.02.2013 ►Berlin - Delhi - Adhyatma Sadhana Kendra

Published: 18.03.2013
Updated: 30.07.2015

Departure area at Berlin Tegel Airport, our airplane to London Heathrow took off about 11:30h CET. Weather was seasonal, 5°C with snatches of sunshine. It was one of the first days in 2013, when the sun was visible in Berlin.

There are no direct flights from Berlin to Delhi so far. You can choose either the eastern direction via Istanbul, or the western direction with quite a choice of capital destinations, depending of the airline chosen. Western direction - except Frankfurt on the Main, which equals two special airlines - does mean a detour of 4 hours of flight while departing and returning, let alone a reasonable gap between the flights. Another option in the eastern direction had been via Moscow, but in the last years this option has lost its attractiveness, which mainly had consisted and consists in low fares.


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At Heathrow Airport we used the opportunity for a good cup of coffee. Temperature was slightly higher than in  Berlin, about 8°C and cloudy. Oh, taking my picture?

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Well, another picture! Just back from investing our remaining British pounds from the last stop here in two coffees and putting the change into the donation box.

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The third photo should show a photogenic smile, no surprise, please. As I collectedly want to look forward to the events waiting in India for us. Who knows of what kind they will be, but I am open for all that’s coming.

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Bye, bye! Hopefully there will be higher temperatures in India. Although in January it always had been very cold. Perhaps in February no more need for heater.

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The aircraft was well-tempered. The entertain program helped to forget that all of us where some thousands of miles up in the sky, and after some time the flight information announced the landing in Delhi.

As we wanted our return ticket from Dubai, our flight to India was Berlin - London - Delhi. Return via Dubai was the first step to follow the invitation of our Dubai based friends Vijaya ji and Rajendra ji Bengani to stay with them for some days. All of us were very much looking forward to this wonderful occasion to meet again after many years. Rajendra ji Bengani was very helpful to translate the letters I had received from JSTM in Hindi, which I do neither understand nor speak. Grace to him we got familiar with the schedule awaiting us in Tapra. Later on, our Dubai visit will be reported in detail; on this Feb. 07th we just started our 6th spiritual India Tour.

Last year, at 148.th Maryada Mahotsav in Amet, Mewar district of Rajasthan, Acharya Mahashraman ji had announced to award me with the title of “Kalyan Mitra”, which means “friend of welfare”, as we were taught. When I asked Muni Kumar Shraman ji how to respond properly to this honour, he said, “You only have to come to next Maryada Mahotsav.” [See: 30.01.2012 ►Amet ►Maryada Mahotsav ►Day 3 ]

This was the first manifestation of our India trip 2013. During last year, we added a project of visiting remarkable Jain Temples in the Barmer, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur districts of Rajasthan to this idea, and started to work out realization. In January 2013 we had booked our flights and now were very much looking forward to the events ahead of us.

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Swami Dharmanand ji had sent Mr. Kirpassankar and a driver with a car to receive us. Mr. Kirpassankar was awaiting us in front of the airport. In India only passengers with a ticket are allowed to enter the airport. Those waiting for picking up passengers have to stay outside. Please notice Mr. Kirpassankar’s cap and coat, unmistakable signs for the cold season! And the small luggage we have, only 16/17 kg.

Almost in time we reached Indira Gandhi International Airport Delhi at 05:15 am. Although Mr. Kirpassankar from ASK had to wait nearly one hour until we came out. THANK YOU! Swami Dharmananda had asked him to receive us at this early hour, as he was busy with his Meditation Class in ASK. While waiting for the car, we took a look around. How much again everything had changed.

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That’s how IGI Airport looked at our arrival on 8th February 2013 early in the morning!

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A highway-like four-track road in one direction leads from the airport to all directions. Some years ago it was two-tracked, and even earlier two-tracked for both directions.

Amazing India! The airport had changed its third-world look and smell into a very well designed high-tech landing area for offering convenient arrival to all the money coming to India now from all over the world. But also average travelers as we are do estimate such a good working airport like it worldwide is standard now. On big posters announcing IGI airport as no. 2 worldwide the great pride was visible to have succeeded in such big change. Slums consisting of tents and small, hastily and neglectfully constructed houses have vanished in the vicinity of the airport. What had happened to their residents? Two days later we were told.  

When we reached ASK it still was dark, which veiled the dimension of the construction area in progress. Swami Dharmanand ji had forewarned us. But on this early morning of arrival there was hardly left enough energy to perceive how things had changed here. We aimed at stretching ourselves and sleeping until breakfast with Swami Dharmanand ji and Nirmala ji, a very dear welcome habit.

After breakfast, when we sat in the sun this morning, the benevolent veil of darkness had been lifted, and nothing was hidden anymore. The building where HH Acharyas Tulsi and Mahapragya and the saints used to stay during Chaturmas as well as the big Assembly Hall were destroyed, and gone the spiritual vibrations they had transmitted.

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The morning sun shines on the Hanuman statue on the Temple area opposite of ASK, the construction site.

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In the morning cold, all are covered with warm shawls, in spite of their hard physical work.

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The children of the Kendra are using the construction site as special playground. Later on, they have to give way to site vehicles and workers.

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But in this special moment they are happy with their new playground with sand, stones, and water in the midst of the former alley to the reception.

Now the whole extent of the construction work was very clear. Beside the hexagonal meditation Hall - inspired by suggestions of Acharya Tulsi - there had been a building where Acharya Tulsi and Acharya Mahapragya had stayed several times in the ground floor during their Chaturmas and where since the 1970s monks, nuns, and Samanis used to stay when they were for some time in ASK in Delhi. Conference rooms and meditation halls were situated in the upper store of the spacious house. In 1971, just after the completion of the construction, not yet finalized, the first legendary Preksha Dhyan Camp took place here for about three weeks. During this period, the foundation of the Preksha Meditation system was laid under the spiritual guidance of former Muni Nathmal, later Acharya Mahapragya. Selected Sadhaks had voluntarily left their day-to-day worldly life to work out and test this lost system of Jain meditation together with its founder.

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That was what was left for a certain time.

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View from the reception to the entrance on Chhattarpur Road.
Behind the trees on the left the statue of Hanuman on the opposite can rather be guessed than seen.

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These two buildings on the backside of the original complex were erected in 2005. When Acharya Mahapragya stayed at ASK during his Chaturmas, the rooms were given to his devotees for a small amount. Since then, they are used for marriage celebrations or other social events. The musicians on the photo were part of the marriage celebration on the day of our arrival. Their drums echoed like thunder strokes in the building. To keep the view of the celebrating free of the construction site, there were put curtains along the passage.

Admitted, the 1970s prefabricated cement construction does not meet everybody’s taste. But certainly the complex could have been upgraded with a profound reorganization instead of being demolished completely. This way, visitors would have got an immediate impression of the beginning of Preksha Meditation and the location where two meanwhile legendary Terapanth Acharyas had worked and given lectures. Not to mention the trees in the entry area, which were just recovering from the last extension of the complex. But they also have to give way to the new construction. The old Assembly Hall had a canopied access to the building, giving shelter to the saints on their way to lecture. For us it was difficult to retrace the decision of the trustees, to demolish the historic complex. Hopefully the many deep spiritual experiences connected with the historic complex will not be forgotten. Naturally change is the only permanent in life, as once Acharya Mahapragya had formulated. However, past should be given the place duly to its importance. Sometimes this is reflected in conserving and upgrading historical buildings for the generations to follow. How will they know what it was like to encounter Acharya Tulsi or Acharya Mahapragya during their lifetime. Buildings also keep vibrations, and sometimes it is important for the spirit to shift into the past with the help of a contemporary complex.

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Meeting again after some years, from l. to r..: Carla Geerdes, Swami Dharmanand ji, a former yoga teacher of ASK, whom I met during my first stay there 13 years ago, and a permanent resident, who as a clockmaker was in the 1980s at Pforzheim in Germany for advanced training and who still remembers some German phrases.

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