Join Swami Shantananda for 19 nights in Varanasi, Allahabad and Ganeshpuri, and soak in the Shakti of this timeless and spiritual area of India.
The Australian College of Classical Yoga offers trips to India that are unique. You will not get the same experience anywhere else! Quite a claim, isn’t it? This is a spiritual journey. Of course, there will be sight-seeing and shopping, dining out, travelling in tuk-tuks, and all of the experiences that make a trip to India, well, Indian. But there any similarity with tourism ends. We are on retreat, and the purpose of our journey is to discover something profound in your own life - so mysteriously enabled in this astonishing country where the sense of the “beyond the ordinary” permeates every facet of your daily life.
There is a saying that the Shakti opens the door to Ganeshpuri, and without it her people can't get in. Shakti certainly does open the door, but it helps to have people with you who hold the keys! With Swami Shantananda you will be more a part of the community of Ganeshpuri. As well as her own substantial knowledge, her very presence allows access to places and experiences that are simply not available to the average tourist. Visits to ashrams and temples may be difficult for individual travellers. However, with Swami Shantananda you will be able to experience more, and will have with you people who understand the culture, the ceremonial and historical significance of the rituals and events that you will be witnessing. You will feel at home in this strange land.
Mataji says: “It is said that one cannot visit India without being changed. I think it is certainly true. In our Western way, we are not used to the colours, the scents, the customs, the relationships between people, that are ordinary in India. We are not prepared for the poverty on the streets, and the acceptance of cows in our path, or even for the constancy of Indian cuisine - where at home it is only ever a treat. We are not used to the rich sweet chai, or the notions of modesty in dress and speech that is customary in India. And because we have so foolishly abandoned our own spirituality, as a society, most of us are totally unprepared for a society where spirituality is accepted as normal, and you are actually expected to experience a deep spiritual sense yourself. The sounds of chanting in the air – that’s normal. And the constant scent of incense, normal. Businesses, cafes, people, named after gods, that’s normal. And the deference with which we might get used to treating each other, that’s normal too – in India."
Varanasi is the holiest of the seven sacred cities of the Saptua Puri – and one of the holiest cities in India - and has significance to several streams of religion. The City of Light is renowned for its temples, religious learning, and artistic creativity, and has been recognised as a spiritual centre from at least the 6th century AD. It is also one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world. Visit the Ghats, boat down the Ganges, visit the temples, and visit Sarnath, the place where the Buddha made his first entry into the world as a teacher with his own disciples.
Formerly Prayaga (place of offerings), Allahabad is where we will visit the Triveni Sangam – the Confluence of the Three Rivers. The Triveni Sangam is the confluence (joining) of the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers. The Confluence of the rivers is sacred in Hinduism, with a great many pilgrims travelling to bathe in the Triveni Sangam. The Kumbh Mela is a ceremony held at four sacred places, rotating through each place every three years. Every 12 years the Triveni Sangam at Allahabad is flooded with millions of pilgrims seeking to bathe in the Confluence. It is considered to be the largest peaceful gathering in the world. We will be visiting when it is a little quieter, though!
Ganeshpuri, by comparison is "a green and pleasant land", not so overpopulated and quite sheltered in its way. It is a small village, situated on the Tansa River, about 80km north of Mumbai. Ganeshpuri is the final home and resting place of Bhagavan Nityananda, and as such is the home of our lineage.
The 10 days we spend at Ganeshpuri will include a program of meditation, temple visits for arati, yoga classes, satsang, and the rare opportunity to visit the samadhi shrine of Baba Muktananda. The temple in Ganeshpuri holds the Samadhi shrine of Baba Nityananda. In each case, these saintly men are buried right under your feet, and there is definitely a living presence or shakti in Ganeshpuri.
Wednesday 7th –Tuesday 27th January, 2015
The retreat is for 19 nights in India, including an overnight stay in Dehli.
The cost of this retreat is $3,950, and covers accommodation, the retreat programme, some meals and domestic flights.
**International flights are not included.