The Beatles ashram, Rishikesh, and me

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Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh, India

1 of quite a few picturesque views in Rishikesh: Lakshman Jhula

Did The Beatles take a look at to an ashram in India 50 years ago influence my destiny?

In February 1968 — 50 years ago this year — The Beatles followed the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to India to keep in his Rishikesh ashram (now recognized as The Beatles ashram). They wrote dozens of songs although in Rishikesh, such as a lot of the White Album. The White Album was released 50 years ago this month (November), and I do keep in mind it, and their take a look at to India. And I wonder if The Beatles’ take a look at to India had an impact on me that is nevertheless unfolding …

Right here comes the sun

I’m writing this in my kitchen in Rishikesh. From a balcony off this space, I have a view across leafy green Yoga Niketan ashram to the Shivalik Mountains (the Reduced Himalayas) and the sunrise. From the other balcony, off my living space, I can see the Ganga River as she leaves the mountains and starts her journey across the excellent plains of India, and the sunset. This airy major-floor flat is my 1st household in India, and it is spectacular. Peaceful, protected, spacious, and sunny. Gorgeous views out every single window. I really feel blessed and fortunate and exceptionally grateful to have discovered this small piece of heaven.

But … I can not assist wonder …. was I fated to reside right here? Do you think in destiny? Study on and let me know in this Facebook discussion.

The view of Ganga (Ganges) River from my balcony, on Diwali, in Rishikesh, India

The view of Ganga (Ganges) River from my balcony, on Diwali, in Rishikesh, India

Inside you, with no you

I was a small girl in suburban Canada when The Beatles went to keep in a Rishikesh ashram, and would have been unaware except that my older brother Matthew was an ardent Beatles fan. By means of him, I heard the music and saw the pictures of the fab 4 as they evolved from pop stars to experimental musicians and, in the case of George Harrison at least, spiritual seekers. I vividly recall seeing photographs of George in sunny Rishikesh with vibrant marigolds about his neck. I was besotted. If I had been 10 or 15 years older, I would have followed them to Rishikesh, also.

In my teens, I continued to dip my toe in the waters of Indian culture and spirituality. I became a vegetarian, burned incense, study the Bhagavad Gita, went to see Pandit Ravi Shankar execute in Hamilton, and meditated with my Mother (who found Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and transcendental meditation although looking for a remedy for her chronic anxiousness).

Several years later I began Yoga and became a devoted student. And quite a few years just after that, my life was hit with a series of losses that devastated me, the worst becoming the sudden and unexpected death of my Mother. Struggling to retain afloat, I decided to take a Yoga teacher coaching course in Toronto. For the duration of that course, I had an practical experience that created me determine really feel compelled to go to India.

Study: The River

I landed in Delhi on December five, 2005 and stayed with a buddy of a buddy, Ajay, and his family members in South Delhi. My 1st solo trip was to Haridwar and Rishikesh. I stayed in Haridwar at a haveli on the Ganga and I will by no means neglect my 1st sight of the mighty river. All I could believe about was my Mother. I could hear her voice in my head, “The Ganges! Mariellen! What an adventure!” She would have been so encouraging, so proud of me.

I by no means believed in my wildest dreams I would ever get to India, by no means believed I would see the Ganga.

Following Haridwar, I went to Rishikesh and took element in the aarti at Parmath Niketan. I threw myself into it, lighting a small diya created of leaves and flowers, and sending it out onto the dark existing of the river imbued with all my feelings of grief and loss. The ritual helped me accept that my Mother’s death was element of the cycle of life.

Later, close to the finish of that six-month trip, I found my spiritual household at Aurovalley Ashram, which is about 14 kilometres downstream from Rishikesh. Because then, Rishikesh has constantly held a particular location in my heart, and I have been back quite a few, quite a few occasions.

Study: Favourite locations in India: Rishikesh

Mariellen Ward, Ganga, Rishikesh, India

Meditating on the banks of the Ganga (Ganges) River in Rishikesh, India (2018)

Across the universe

It was to Aurovalley Ashram that I went just after a month of futile apartment hunting in Delhi this September.

Ahead of I left Canada this summer time, I gave up my apartment in Toronto, place anything in storage, and came to India with the intention of obtaining a household right here. My strategy was to commence in South Delhi, and then appear in numerous other locations on my list such as Dehradun, Rishikesh, Jaipur.

A month of apartment hunting in Delhi left me despondent and depleted. I couldn’t obtain something that even approached appropriate. I kept my Facebook good friends amused with stories of apartments with no windows or an whole wall missing, brokers who didn’t listen to me, and box-like rooms with certainly no view.

I was discouraged, I didn’t know how to obtain a household in India. So I did what Swami Brahmdev would recommend, and what Aurovalley so beautifully supports: I turned my dilemma more than to the divine. I meditated for two weeks, and imagined a sunny, airy space with views of greenery.

1 day, a lady from Israel that I met at Aurovalley Ashram, Sarite, was going into Rishikesh, and I felt a compulsion to go with her. I didn’t actually have a explanation, and it is a bit uncommon for me to leave Aurovalley for no explanation, but I went anyway. We went to the Pure Soul Organic Café, element of the Dewa Retreat, for lunch and the owner Gaurav Sajwan spotted me and invited me to keep one particular evening. And so I did, and although there I told him about my apartment search.

“I know a excellent location,” Gaurav mentioned. He created a contact, we jumped in his auto, and drove for about 5 minutes to a gated housing complicated on the bypass road, close to Yoga Niketan. It is a peaceful place up the hill, with the forest on one particular side. The manager pointed up to the apartment, and mentioned it was on the major floor, and I had currently fairly a lot decided to take it.

Ten days later I moved in.

This lovely apartment involves the rooftop terrace, and I have a essential to the locked door. I went up there about two days just after I moved in to uncover a glorious panoramic view of the Ram Jhula finish of Rishikesh. I can see the Ganga of course, and across the river the Parmath Niketan ashram. From my roof, I can watch and hear the evening aarti Just about every evening if I want. This is the exact same aarti that helped me reconcile my Mother’s death.

Also from my roof, I can see a handful of tiny buildings peeking by means of the trees up a rise on the edge of town: The Beatles ashram.

The Beatles ashram gate, Rishikesh, India (2012)

The Beatles ashram gate, Rishikesh, India (2012)

So right here I am in Rishikesh, my 1st household in India, feeling like I could have been destined to be right here all along. It absolutely is a “full circle” feeling. And it absolutely is a relief to lastly have a household base, and all my issues in one particular location, for the 1st time in the 13 years I have been travelling right here. Thanks to absolutely everyone who helped me along the way, I am incredibly grateful.


Want to take a look at Rishikesh? It is a cease on the Breathedreamgo India for Newcomers custom tour. Travel with us and get pleasure from much more magic, and much less madness …


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