Mayavati Ashram

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2012

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U see an overview of Mayavati Ashram Kumaon. The Ashram is about a 6 hour drive from Kathgodam the closest railway station. U can hire a vehicle and reach directly or share a taxi upto Lohaghat from where u can hire another taxi for app Rs 200/. Distance between two is 9kms. When u start the 9 km drive u feel have entered a different places - temperature drops, feeling of serenity all around.

What is the importance of Mayavati Ashram. In January 1901, Swami Vivekananda stayed here for 15 days. Sanctified by his stay and meditation, the house became a place of pilgrimage and assumed historical importance. The Ashram is at a height of 6400 feet or 1950 metres.

Having introduced you to the Ashram here are some pics taken during the drive from Kathgodam to Mayavati. Took this from top of a hill. Loved the house colors and trees.

The road to Mayavati was very good as you can see esp the part which falls in Nainital district. Stay at the Ashram is free for all devotees. They serve simple Sattvic food. Devotees can make a donation by way of a cheque in favor of ''Advaita Ashrama'' as their humble contribution to the maintenance of the Ashram.

For most of the drive you see hills like these. Not too high. U see houses dotted all over the hill and signs of agricultural activity too.

This board is at entrance to Ashram. The Ashram is a sacred place and visitors must not treat it as a picnic spot, spoil the environment. In March 1899, with the help of Swami Swarupananda, 2 devotees Captain John H Sevier and his wife Mrs C E Sevier founded Advaita Ashrama.

Pic one was Ashram pic. This pic taken from main Ashram side shows garden behind which is the residence and office of the Editor of Prabuddha Bharata, the monthly magazine published by the Advaita Ashrama (/www.advaitaashrama.org). It is a wonderful publication and suggest subscription that comes at a very nominal price.

Met quiet a few Japanese at the Ashram. You see a Kai-chin Master (left) with a devotee. The object of the Ashrama is study, practice and preaching of Advaita ie the philosophy of non-dualism unmixed with dualistic ideas and practices. As desired by Swami Vivekananda there is no shrine and thus no external worship of God thru images, pics, rituals at the Ashrama.

Prabuddha Bharata is published from Mayavati Ashram. There is an old printing press that was used to print Prabuddha Bharata over hundred years ago. Board gives you the details.

Over 100 year old Printing Press pic. Prabuddha Bharata started in 1896. Publication was shifted to Mayavati in 1899. I spent sometime in the room where Swami Vivekananda stayed and meditated. Felt very fulfilled and happy thereafter.

About 10 minutes walk from the Ashram is this spot. The land has the shape of a tortoise. Here the first editor of the Prabuddha Bharata, Swami Swarupananda, meditated. The enclosure is made at the spot he meditated. It is said that two tigers came in front of him. He continued meditating for 72 hours non-stop. They meditated with him for a while but left later.

Close to the Ashram is a small water body around which Swami Vivekananda walked. U see me at that point. Advaita Vedanta propounded by Swamiji teaches everyone to look upon him or herself as the soul or Atman - the source of all goodness, strength and knowledge.

The Ashram has a well maintained garden. Top of the hill is Dharamgarh which we shall talk about later. Ashram area was a tea estate around 1890-1900. Ashram was earlier part of a tea factory. Whilst selecting the Ashram location Swamiji wanted an area that was surrounded by hills on 3 sides with a darshan/view of the Himalayan Peaks in front.

Dharamgarh is where Swami Vivekananda meditated. It is a 2.5 kms trek from the Ashram thru dense forests. Pic shows trees, dry leaves during the trek. An employee from the Ashram accompanies devotees during the trek.

A view of the Ashram from a higher point during the trek to Dharamgarh. The hill behind the forests is Lohaghat. A few minutes away from the Ashram is the guest house to help spiritual seekers in their prayer and meditation. Summer guest season is from 10 March to 20 June. Autumn guest season from 10 Sept to 20 Sept. Devotees can stay up to 3 days.

At the spot where Swamiji meditated is an enclosure where devotees can meditate. U see my trying to meditate. Pic taken by Guide, an employee of the Ashram, who had never held a camera in his life. Only those spiritual seekers who believe in simple and sattvic living must come to the Ashram. Just because it is in the Himalayas do not make it a holiday spot.

Only Monks stay at the Ashram. A few minutes before is a place where spiritually minded devotees stay. U see pic of Captains Cottage. Many noble souls spent time here notably Sister Nivedita, Jagdish Chandra Bose, Nandlal Basu, Captain Sevier, Mrs Sevier, Guruji Golwalker etc.

For the first time saw a tree with four branches. It can get very cold at the Ashram so come well prepared with woollens.

Structure that you see at bottom of pic is the Hospital. A small dispensary was started in 1903 ie now a hospital. All treatment is free and funded by donations from devotees/well to do patients. It caters to medical needs of 257 gram panchayats. It has a pathology unit, x-ray m/c, ECG m/c, minor operation theatre, dental chair etc. Donations by cheque can be sent in favour of Mayavati Charitable Hospital''. Address is P.O. Mayavati, Via Lohaghat, Dist Champavat, Uttarakhand 262524. Email [email protected]

Whilst leaving this photo collection leave with Flowers. They represent purity, positive energy and add color to our lives.