One of the wonders of being open to all experiences is never knowing where the next inspiring chapter will begin or end. Last Friday, my dear friend Laurie invited a small group of people to meet with Mr. Garg, a trustee of the ashram. At 4:00 PM, with a Honey Hut apple pie in hand, the group of five climbed the stairs to his very modest second story room. Chai Tea complimented the sweets in his living room. The entire apartment was probably around 500 square feet.
He asked each of us to tell a bit about our history and the reasons we were visiting Parmarth. He stared deeply into our eyes and heard with his heart as we individually spilled our tangled webs. Mr. Garg expressed a deep interest in getting to know us as people instead of a name and a face.
Chiraag, literally meaning lamp or someone who brings happiness, was first at bat. This 32 year old man of Indian decent arrived at Parmarth a week ago from his home in Australia. He quit his successful dentistry practice and is taking a year to tour the world in search of a deeper connection and to discover his purpose. He spent the previous day at a local orphanage inspecting the mouths of 120 children, giving them toothbrushes, followed by a demo on how to use them. His desire to learn and help is unstoppable. One of the many gifts from this trip will be a lifelong friendship with this incredible person.
Shaochen, a 34 year old goddess from China followed the Aussie. Without any effort, she radiates love and light. She left China at the age of 20 and ended up studying at a university in The Netherlands. Until recently, she worked for The Netherland Government as the envoy to China. Also in search of a spiritual path, she scoured the internet for places in Rishikesh. The Parmarth website has a slogan, “Do not wait for miracles. You are the miracle.” This was enough to get her to the banks of Mother Ganga in December. After seven days, she made the decision to resign her position and devote her life to the service of others. She recently completed a 30 day yoga training course at the ashram. Hanuman is a Hindu god that is believed to have moved Himalayan Mountains. Following in those footsteps, her intent is to save the next generation. Her personal mantra is there are no boundaries and we are all one.
Mr. Garg is 88 years young and became a disciple of the original Swamiji at Parmarth in 1950. He came from a privileged family and had a successful business career working for a multi-national corporation. Should he choose, his financial capacity would allow him to live the life of luxury sold by Madison Avenue. Throughout his entire career, he always spent significant time at the ashram. In 2002, he moved here on a permanent basis and works on special projects for 3-4 hours a day. He does travel to Bangalore for a few months of the year, but chooses to spend the majority of each year at Parmarth. From his tiny apartment he says, “There is no other place in the world that brings me so much peace.”
I think he has discovered what we are all looking for……