A few youngsters from the youth group (Sheona, Nihil, Sushma and Suraj) went to Sanjivan Ashram, Sinnar, for an outing yesterday (29 May 2010). Swami Shilananda, SJ (Peter Julia, Spanish by birth) runs this ashram (has been running it the last 20 years or so). He was earlier at Panchavati, and used to be a familiar figure in and around Nashik. Swamiji shared about his life, his mission, the ashram, his worries about who would take over the ashram (he is 85 now). He has been cycling to the Himalayas (Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri), and to Goa. After a stroke 4 years ago, he is not able to cycle anymore. Explaining the positive attitude of the Church towards other religions, and the seeds of the Word that they contained, he quoted the famous Upanisadic hymn, and challenged the youngsters to move from the Unreal to the Real, from Darkness to Light, from Death to Immortality. The allure of secularism!
Swami looked well, despite his ill health of some years ago. The place is quite dry right now, at the height of summer, but still charming: I spotted a ghorpad creeping into the cavities in the pond, and a lovely multicoloured bird which was possibly a woodpecker (he had made 2 lovely round holes in a dead tree trunk). The place is even more wonderful after the rains. We ought to make time to visit it then. Swami welcomes families and groups, and it would be a good idea for small groups from the parish to pay him a visit now and then. It could also serve as some sort of recollection and prayer moment.