Spending time in Sayla

A few years ago, I spent just over 2 months in the Shree Raj Saubhag Satsang Mandal Ashram in Sayla, India. It was the first time I’d stayed beyond 2 weeks. I left London with mixed feelings about the trip, because it was clear that some people thought I was making a bad decision. For some, it was about me going during the Monsoon season. Others thought it might be a negative experience for me to go alone for that amount of time. Some felt I was ‘too normal’ (worldly, as opposed to, saintly) to go for such a long stay.

The feelings I had when I left were very different to those I had before I got there. I loved it so much that I wanted to Suraj to do something similar and reap the benefits of it, like I had.

You can read more about my first trip here.

Second long stay in Sayla

I left London on July 20th 2015 and returned on August 24th 2015. Bhaishree (my Guru) was at the Ashram when I got there, so I was in the presence of enlightened Greatness straight away! During this trip I indulged in, and gained from, so many things. Here’s a non-exclusive list:-

  • I heard Bhaishree’s Bodh (discourse), through which I was reminded and guided about how to live with increasing peace, calmness, non-violence and a type of happiness that I’ve not experienced before
  • I heard discourses from other Self Realised souls
  • I attended two retreats/Shibirs
  • I joined Bhaishree and others on a couple of short walks around the Ashram
  • I served Bhaishree and His team of Self Realised souls when they had breakfast, lunch and dinner

Guru Purnima

I have attended a couple of events to celebrate Guru Purnima before but I hadn’t realised the Greatness of it until I experienced it in Sayla.

You can read a bit about what Guru Purnima is here and here.

What was so special about the celebrating the event in Sayla? Those who are devoted to Bhaishree had a chance to share how they feel about Him, how they’ve changed since accepting Him in their life, how much they appreciate His efforts and more.

These expressions varied in forms. Some made cards and 3D models, others shared their experiences privately, some spoke about their feelings publicly during the event, whilst some were part of a drama, dance or song. It was humbling and moving, to see their devotion in action!

Part of all this involves analysing oneself and recognising the effect He’s had on our thinking, the way we speak and the way we behave. Self-analysis is so important, because it’s the way we will see how much we have changed and recognise what we need to work on next/further.

Nivruti in Sayla

For me, one of the most important parts of being in the Ashram is Nivruti. Nivruti is about being ‘free.’ I see it as a time when I’m freed up from everything non-spiritual, so that I can listen, hear, grasp and put into practice, things that will make my existence more purposeful, calm, aligned, focused and ethical.

So when I’m in Sayla, I don’t have to think about, or spend time, cooking, because the staff in the Ashram make all the meals. I don’t need to think about cleaning or washing clothes, because they have staff for that too. I don’t need to think about work, because I freed myself up from it, to get the most out of my time there. I don’t focus on creating relationships, networking or making friends, because I haven’t gone there for that. So when all the things I have to, or want to, do when I’m at home, are excluded from my timetable, I have lots of minutes spare. I use them to read, attend discourses, think, meditate and more.

Support network

Bhaishree has set the Ashram up in such a way that we never feel alone when we’re there, whether He’s there or not. He’s done this by making sure there’s at least one Self Realised soul there. This is really important because we can go to them to ask questions, express any doubts, share our fears and more. They are the support network that is an extension of what Bhaishree gives us. They are selfless and only want us to be free of the repeated cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Their purpose is to help us free ourselves from the conflict, confusion, tears, pain and temporary joy, that comes from deluded thinking.

Focus and strive

For me, being in Sayla is a time to focus on spirituality and strive. When I’m there, I challenge myself to think better and be better. I then hope to carry that with me when I return to London and that’s when I need to strive further!

One of the ways I challenge myself, is to sign up for the Ekaant Maun Shibir/retreat, as opposed to, the Araadhana Shibir. Both are similar. A few of the differences are:-

  1. The Ekaant Maun Shibir involves one more hour of meditation than the other retreat
  2. We complete a form on a daily basis to share our reflections about our experiences of meditation and how we’ve reacted to various catalysts
  3. We are silent for the 5 days we have permission to talk to the Self Realised Souls but nobody else

What about you?

Do you have anything, which helps you live a better life in which you feel less pain and more peace? If not, would you consider finding something that would help you achieve that? I’d love to hear from you, so do get in touch.

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