As my taxi neared Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, known as SRSG, the spiritual center that my meditation teacher, Swami Veda Bharati built, I felt increasingly apprehensive. I was involved with this place from before it was built. I was at one of the initial planning meetings. Over the years, I’ve spent many months here engaged in spiritual practice. This was the first time I’d visited SRSG since Swami Veda left his body last July. “How will it be without him there? Will I feel terrible?” These thoughts troubled me as we drove the last short distance before entering the gates of SRSG.
Stepping out of the taxi upon arrival, I was on sacred ground. Rather than desolate, I felt happy. There was the subtle sense of peace that I’d remembered. The center looked beautiful and smiling friends came to greet me with hugs.
After going through the check-in process, my first stop was Swami Veda’s chambers where his office, initiation room and bedroom were located. This was always my first stop in the past, and I was magnetically drawn there again. Ascending the stairs to his office, I found Medha and Tejas, his two devoted assistants, hard at their work as always. Entering his chambers, I had an opportunity to pay my heartfelt respects to the seat where Swami Veda often sat. In front of the seat were wooden sandals decorated with tiny white flowers. It was then that my heart filled with emotion, both bitter and sweet.
Bitter because I could not see and touch my beloved teacher’s feet. Sweet because all he built was still here, the beautiful community, all of the devoted people here to serve his mission, and a sense inside of me that his love, and in some way I can’t describe, he, was still here.
Swami Veda Bharati built a center that is a spiritual home for thousands of devotees from around the world. Many are here this weekend for the annual meeting of Ahymsin, The Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies, International, the organization that carries on Swami Veda’s mission.
Attending the big meeting this weekend are people from Europe, Asia, North America, and India. All skin colors are represented here. This group is inclusive, not exclusive. This is the sort of society that I have always wanted to be part of, where cooperation, inclusion, joint spiritual practice, and love are the group’s aim. I am happy to be part of this, and am filled with gratitude to Swami Veda Bharati for bringing this great spiritual family together and creating a home for it.
Swami Veda may not be here in body, but in many ways Ahymsin and SRSG compose his body now, and his expansive loving spirit lives on in them.