My craving for spirituality and how my friend Ashik has helped me achieve it

by Heena Modi on October 10, 2009

Years ago I attended some talks organised by the Navnat Vanik Organisation (NVA). They were held during Paryushana and the speaker was Hari Kothary.

I sat there and I’ll try and explain how it felt but I’m not sure that I can articulate it well!

OK so here goes. I felt reassured, justified, moral, content and calm. This is the tip of the iceberg but I can tell you that I wanted more! 🙂

Regardless of how tired I was, how busy I was or how scared I was of driving to the new community hall (due to accidents I’d had in the past); I got passed it and went!

There were some words that I did not know but I got the gist of most of it and when I didn’t, I asked my uncle to help me understand what I wasn’t clear about.

I didn’t regret going once. Now I say this because I’ve been to other talks and the Gujarati has been really high so I didn’t absorb much of it at all or the atmosphere wasn’t right. So for one reason or another, I didn’t feel like I gained much from other ‘talks’ that I attended and I didn’t want to go again.

Paryushana occurs once a year and the NVA did not book Hari uncle every year. Even if they did, a year is a long time to wait for something that feels this good.

Why was it SO good? I think the thing that worked well with Hari uncle is that the content of his talks were ‘packaged well’. They referred to something that we could all relate to; marriage, divorce, kids, career, family, duties etc. AND best of all, there was a strategy that we could use to get through it, to prevent feeling bad and to manage things better.

Then I met Suraj and he told me about some Swadhyay sessions that he had with his friend Menka. Swadhyay literally means study of self for a spiritual quest.

Then this gent called Ashik started organising and facilitating Swadhyay sessions and we began to attend. These sessions were and still are weekly. Again, no matter what the weather, I make sure I am there. They are priceless!

In these sessions we read parts of a book called Mokshamala, Vachanmrut or Bhavna Bodh. They were all written by Shrimad Rajchandra. We then translate what we have read, discuss how it makes us feel, whether we agree with the content or not and we debate how we can we apply it to our lives.

We try to get our heads around how to live with morality and ethics which will leave us feeling more content. It’s really cool!

So getting back to these gents…. Without Suraj I wouldn’t have met Ashik and had access to any of this and without Ashik my understanding of what I read would not be very good. He encourages us to read or follow the text in Gujarati but we then try and translate it and understand it in a way that will help us absorb it, remember it and then apply it in our daily lives; if we agree with it and accept it.

It was as a result of attending these Swadhyays that I found out about Sayla and wanted to make a trip there. Suraj and I were fortunate in that we spent a fair bit of time with Bhaishree and others who are way ahead of us on the spiritual path. It was a great trip! 🙂

So this description above is a snapshot of how I got here. Now for the bit about my friend Ashik.

As I said Ashik organises these Swadhyays every week and once a fortnight on a different day too. Through these sessions I’ve been able to unpick how I react to things and why. I’ve been also been able to try and be detached when the world/life does its usual thing and throws stuff at me. I try and detach from the emotion and respond as necessary. This response may be taking it on the chin and saying nothing. It’s very difficult but worth it because an emotional response is often hasty and has a comeback that makes the whole thing bigger! You can imagine how life would be easier withtout this kind of thing.

From these sessions that Ashik runs, I’ve got a deeper understanding to some of the content that Hari uncle touched on and as a result, I’ve spent time looking at the Bhavanas which Shrimad Rajchandra wrote. Jigna and myself have tried to write and explain them in a way that anyone can understand, in the hope that they will also realise that we are more than this life which focuses on possessions, relationships, materialism, competition, reputation and so on. We are so much more but we don’t recognise it.

We are the soul that is in this body temporarily. We are born without any possessions and we leave this world in the same way. However, the baggage that we do take with us is our karma. We can minimise this by changing how we live, think and act. It is an effort, it demands attention and focus but it’s so worth it! I can see a difference already and it’s all thanks to Ashik who has run these Swadhyays with the support and guidance that he’s received from Bhaishree.

I look forward to spending more time with Bhaishree so that I can tell you more about him some day.

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