While looking through the Pexels site for a photo to use in my article, I came across a picture which took me back some 20 years ago. I spent six months in India and a large part of my time was at the foothills of the Himalayas.
I went to Rishikesh to visit the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram which is where the Beatles stayed while learning Transcendental Meditation with the Maharishi.
When I got to the Ashram and went to the main entrance there was a guard there who told me that the Ashram was closed and no visitors allowed. In my mind I thought, I didn't come all this way to be rejected being so close. I decided to go around the side of the Ashram and found a section which I thought was a good place to try and climb the fence.
I got in and started walking through all these separate huts like structures. They were a perfect size for one or two people. Downstairs was a very small living area with a spiral staircase which took you upstairs and where the bed would be. The bed was overlooking a balcony which you could step out onto without any barrier so hopefully, you didn't sleepwalk as you would walk right off the balcony.
Downstairs was a separate door for the toilet and outside a separate door to a room which was the shower/bathing area.
The picture for this post is exactly that structure. This photo would be from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram in Rishikesh.
Once the guard saw me as I left the Ashram, he was very angry, however, a Swami who was sitting near the entrance called me over. I thought, man I'm in big trouble now. Instead, when I went over he asked me to sit down and without speaking a word of English we proceeded to chant mantras which I knew.
He would say, mantra, mantra? So I started with the Gayatri mantra and the Hare Krshna mantra. From that day on I was allowed to enter and I would go to those structures and meditate and chant for hours on end. The balcony was overlooking the Ganges and the wildlife which would visit me was amazing.
Monkeys mainly, however, they did warn me of tigers and a white elephant which had broken through one wall of the Ashram to get to the food within the Ashram. Not to mention the snakes, as the Ashram had sections which the vegetation had overgrown tremendously.
These were magic times and I became friends with the family which managed the Ashram and not to mention the initial guard who I upset and the Swami. Later I found out that the Swami was Dandi Swami, Shankaracharyas of Jyotir Math. There is a book on amazon with his amazing story.
I was lucky enough to have my mantra beads blessed by him and he also taught me some magical techniques.
During my time I was also initiated in Transcendental Meditation.
Peace and Love