Good outing to Sanjivan Ashram, Sinnar, yesterday. 5 young people, 8 MPh brothers from Divyadaan, Bro Rickson and I set out from Don Bosco Parish at around 0715 - by rick and bus to Nashik Road Bus Station. Amol and Gloria joined us there, while the Holy Cross Youth proceeded on bikes. We met up at Sinnar Bus Station, and walked the 3 kms. to the ashram, which is hidden in a clump of trees on the right of the Nashik bypass - the road from Sinnar to Gothi. No board and no publicity, so one has to know where to go. I think we were at the ashram by 0930 or so... Swami was busy with some friends of his from Kalyan, who were helping him with his visa work. We had snacks, and then Swamiji joined us, answering questions, telling us about his 62 years in India (he arrived in 1948, went for a home visit only in 1983, spent some 14 years in his ashram at Panchavati, behind the Sundarnarayan Temple, and then, in 1987, came to Sinnar to set up Sanjivan Ashram at its present location).
The first house to be built were the two rooms where he now lives and works. Later on the temple and the other house were built (in 1990), and finally the two rooms at the back.
It was amazing to see the photos of the early days: not a tree in sight, not even grass. And now: it's beautiful. Great contribution to the ecology. Swami does not believe in cutting the grass. The villagers keep telling him to cut the grass, but he says it's the hair of the earth: just as our hair is given to keep our brains cool, so grass is given to keep the earth cool. Very true.
Unfortunately there is very little water in the talav. Most of it seeps away, since it is on the upper part of a gentle slope towards the road. And no sign of the ghorpad.
We had mass at 1130 or so, and then games, and lunch, and then it was time to move back to Nashik... 5 youth from Devlali turned up during mass, they came on bikes (it is only 12 kms to Bhagur to Sinnar, they said), and spent a lot of time searching for the ashram.
The gospel lent itself to the day: living in a spirit of thanksgiving, making life eucharistic. We gave thanks for the great beauty of the earth, the trees, the grass, the water, the fresh air, the amazing silence when there is absence of traffic noise... for Swamiji's extraordinary life of witness and courage and joy and even humour...