An ideal recreation center
edited: Monday, April 02, 2007
By Roopa Menon
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, April 02, 2007
Become a Fan
A Journey through “Brahmananda Shivayogi Sidhashram”
“A serpentine queue of disciples, loud speakers blaring with religious bhajans and kirtans and in between them seated on a golden throne is a kingly saint probably in sea of flower garlands “- this is a sight you would all may expect in a hermitage (Ashram). But you would be proved wrong if your eyes were to get a view of “Brahmananda Shivayogi Sidhashram”. At Alathur near Palakkad in Kerala, the southernmost state of India, is situated this lush green place brimming with fruit and vegetable plantations and in one part is a beautiful pond. It is such a breath-taking sight to one’s visual senses that it leaves every visitor astonished with the aboundness of its beauty and elegance.
A marvelous calmness and peace seems to loom all around the place spreading a wonderful serenity that can be best described as “simply divine”. In between all these stands the century old Ashram. Just next to it there is another building built around the Samadhi of “Brahmananda Swami Shivayogi” and “Yogini Matha” – founders of “Sidhashram”. As you reach the doorstep of the Ashram and ring the bell, almost instantly you will be welcomed inside a big hall. It seems rather huge with a ceiling of red tiles high up and two big windows through which the sunlight flows in and lights up the place in a golden brilliance. No posh furniture, no television, no air-conditioners, all you find here is a wooden table surrounded by a few chairs that blends so perfectly with the atmosphere of the Ashram that it is difficult to tell which one is older. The walls seem just as old except for the paint and adorned on them are the magnificent paintings of “Brahmananda Swami Shivayogi” and “Yogini Matha”.
At one end of the hall on a chair surrounded by an array of books sits a simple man in his eighties- Swami Nirmalananda Yogi, the present head of Sidhashram. A bearded man always in simple saffron clothes wearing a warm and welcoming smile. The moment he sees you, you will be invited to a chair next to his. You start a conversation and soon it grows into a huge flowing flame that engulfs you with words of wisdom and knowledge of this great man who knows best the real meaning of life and living. His words at best can be described as swords that seem to be at an unending war with religious superstitions and many false yogis of today. His words are so powerfully filled with optimism and hope that it can ignite even the most stubbornly ignorant minds. It has a wonderful magical effect on every listener and can fill anyone with immense satisfaction and peace. When he speaks about the schools, colleges and the workingwomen’s hostel run by the Ashram, one can’t help but notice a sparkly in his voice. His eyes seem to glow with an unknown energy as he eagerly shares his dream on a “WORLD HELP CENTRE”, yet to materialize. His ideas and noble works driven by optimism seem to overthrow all the hurdles of society as it spreads the light of “Ananda” (eternal bliss) as the ultimate goal of life and “Raja yoga”, the path to achieve it.
I recently had a chance to visit this Ashram with my parents. It was absolutely a heavenly experience listening to Swami Nirmalananda Yogi as he spoke to me about my responsibilities as a student. We happily accepted his request to join him for the “Ashram Lunch”. A pure vegetarian lunch prepared as per Ashram principles. As the Ashram conducts courses on “Naturopathy”, the lunch was specially made to improve overall health. A lot of delicious items and even more delicious were the advices and affectionate talks of Swamiji’s sister Mrs.Anandavalli Amma, who prepared and served us the lunch.
After the lunch, as we stepped out of the Ashram my mind was full of happiness and excitement. A visit to this Ashram wipes out all blind beliefs and tensions from your mind and when you step out your mind would have elevated with wisdom and peace. A most ideal recreation center indeed!
[This article was published in BHAVAN'S JOURNAL]