The first-and the second-year Novices are very grateful to God and to our Director, Sister Sushma Bodra, for the opportunity for an ashram experience.
Matridham Ashram in Varanasi is managed by the Priests of Indian Missionary Society. It is a place where people of all faiths are welcomed. There were 36 participants from different congregations. It was an enriching experience to live and share our life together. During the ten days of our stay, we had several sessions on Indian Spirituality given by IMS Fathers Anildev, Satyanand, Sunil and Pragyan. They helped us to understand God and find God in all our life events. We were able to reflect and experience God in the silence of our hearts.
Ashram had a prayerful atmosphere and we were given sufficient time for prayer and reflection. We were introduced to the practice of Astanga yoga. Astanga yoga, which means the eight steps of purification, was well explained by the Priests. These steps help us to become closer to God. We learned about three margas: Gyana Marga, Bhakti Marga and Karma Marga. We were able to practice all these margas as we lived there.
Ten days we were part of the ashram life, which was very simple. We were given responsibilities to take care of the chores and the mother earth. On Sunday, we participated in the Mass with Khristbhaktas, who are non-Christians but they believe in Jesus and they come every Sunday to pray and experience God in their lives. After prayer, they give witness to their God experience.
As a part of the Ashram experience, we also had the opportunity of visiting some of the important places in Varanasi. We went to Sarnath where lord Budha gave his first sermon to his disciples. We visited the school for the visually impaired and Tibatan University where we got a chance to listen to a monk and learn about their religion and work. We visited a few more temples and learned to respect the other faith of people. Another interesting place was the Cathedral where we saw the Bible Exhibition. It was a joyful moment for each of us as we visited the new places.
We experienced the hospitality of the people. We are grateful to Fr. Jeevan who accompanied us during this trip. We appreciate his hospitality and generosity as he provided breakfast and lunch for our journey back to Mokama. We experienced God’s protection and companionship through different people.