When I saw in the brochure of last year's yoga festival that there was the possibility the attend a vedanta camp in Rishikesh and that 15 places had been reserved for yoga festival participants, I reacted immediately as I did not want to miss this unique opportunity. In all respects, my high expectations have been met. Swami Paramarthananda, probably today's leading authority on advaita vedanta, guided us step to by step through the Rama Gita, an advanced vedanta text. Although the presentations were sometimes challenging, not least because of the sanskrit terminology, the very clear and logical presentations by Swamiji provided us with a very good overvlew of all important elements of the vedanta teachings. I am truly grateful to have been offered this once in a lifetime opportunity to hear the teachings explained by a true master. Thank you Swamiji, thank you organisers!
This has been a wonderful experience. Being immersed in the life of the ashram and being in the presence of one of the best Vedanta teachers. His encyclopedic knowledge and the way he imparted this knowledge was inspiring, also with his humility lack of ego I felt humbled and very grateful to be there. The ashram is located by the beautiful blue Ganges with mountains in the background, you are looked after by all the staff so that you focus on the the teachings.
Our stay at the Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh and the total immersion in the teachings of the Rama Gita by Swami Paramarthananda in the company of our Thatcham Vedanta group was absolutely unforgettable.
The teaching, plus the ubiquitous sounds of gongs, bells and chanting, the devotional nature of so much of life in Rishikesh, the morning and evening pujas.... everything contributed to make this a deeply spiritual experience.
Now to reflect, absorb and be daily grateful for the opportunity to have lived it.
It was a joy to spend time at the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh, overlooking the sacred Ganges and nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. The noise and chaos that is India was stilled the moment we entered its walls, (though the riot of birdsong and occasional street celebrations filtered through) and we spent time studying the Ram Gita and the Taitryoupanishad at the feet of the best teachers in India.
The Ashram is an oasis of calm, and the tireless support of staff in providing accommodation and meals allowed us to focus on our studies and our exploration of the nature of reality. We were able to join in daily puja, guided meditation and asana classes and these, together with walks along the river and up to the hills beyond, helped us to absorb what we had learned.
The trip was truly life changing and a great privilege. Many thanks to the World Yoga Festival for organising and supporting our UK Vedanta group.