Namaste, greetings and blessings from Narayani Peedam, situated amongst green hills in the village of Malaikodi in Tamil Nadu, South India.
We are up to day three of our retreat, entitled Lakshmi Narayani’s endless blessings. And what blessings there have been.
The Ashram is functioning well, despite the torrential rain that has been a feature of the weather here and in the state of Tamil Nadu for the past 3 weeks. You may have heard on the news that the City of Chennai, where most of our party flew into, has been dramatically flooded.
Chennai airport runway was two feet under water and was closed for the last 5 days. Water inundated the terminal building, and we saw photos of an internal staircase, which looked like a flowing waterfall. The baggage handling areas were lakes! Two members of our party were on planes that were diverted to other airports, one had an unexpected overnight stay in Hyderabad, and another flew into Bangalore from Singapore, but was not allowed to disembark. Along with all the other passengers who had been headed to Chennai she was then flown back to Singapore. She then had to get on another plane and fly back to Bangalore before embarking upon a 6 hour car ride to the ashram. However, apparently the entire thing was filled with grace and friendly people; an Indian family took her under their wing, gave her money and hired a car for her to get to the ashram.
In Chennai the electricity supply was cut off to most of the city because of the high risk of electrocution, given the level of inundation of many homes, businesses and public facilities.
Whilst we are 140 kms inland from Chennai, enough heavy rain has fallen here to cause flooding in the region and district. We are all safe, a few colds, aches and pains but generally good, which is more than can be said for Chennai.
Shiva and I spent 3 days in Chennai in the lacuna between the first flood that had subsided and the second inundation, which was worse than the first. The road out to the ashram was damaged in places but not flooded when we travelled. When the bus delivered the majority of our party the roads were again flooded, with the bus forging through floodwaters and in some places East and West bound traffic was reduced to one shared lane. The usual 3 hour journey took six hours. But everyone was safe and in high spirits by the time they arrived.
The local villages have sustained water damage, and the ashram has been busy with food and blanket distribution. On behalf of the Ashram, I was asked to give envelopes containing cash to flood victims whose homes had been flood damaged.
With all the flooding, disease is a real risk, especially from mosquito born viruses. The ashram sprays for mosquitos, not just on the ashram’s extensive land but also in the local surrounding villages.
When we were last here in August, we saw some of the terrible effects of and were told about the long-term drought. The Ashram was spending a fortune on water carting and severe water shortages were being experienced through the interior of the state. Riverbeds as well as some of the lakes, dams and wells had been dry here for over 30 years and there had been no substantive rain to speak of for over seven years.
Around August Amma started a practice of twice daily fire pujas/yagums specifically to honour the Divine in the form of rain and to ask/pray for Maha (big) rain. It certainly appears that the yagum was successful. Locals say that there has been more rain in the past 3 weeks than has been recorded in any year for over 112 years. The fire pujas are continuing, but now the focus is on gratitude for enough rain to sustain the state for two years. Despite the damage and dislocation in the city particularly, the generalized rain in the rural areas is a godsend.
There is a long history of indigenous groups knowing how to interact with the elements and stories of shaman who can divert storms, others who are rainmakers and so forth. Because this knowledge has been lost in western cultures, which generally sees nature only as a resource to be exploited, connection with the natural world has been interrupted. In an Age of higher consciousness, an enhanced and more harmonious relationship between humanity, the elements, the weather and nature generally would result in less weather disasters and more ease and grace.
When we told Amma that Australia is prone to terrible droughts and asked Amma if it would be possible to use the mantras in Australia, Amma said “Yes” and spontaneously started to chant and teach the mantras to me and Shiva. Parvati is beside herself with excitement, as she has been praying for spiritual knowledge and understanding of the elemental world. Luckily we were taught three different mantras, one for massive amounts of rain, and the others for more moderate amounts.
Shiva and I have been extremely blessed to meet twice with Amma and to be able to give Amma all the news about Shanti Mission and to answer Amma’s questions on how everyone is going, what has been happening and so forth. In the second meeting we got to learn a whole lot of Mantras, after first giving away a cow.
Here in India cows are sacred, seen to be manifestations of Gho Mata, or She who gives birth to everything in a constant action of pure love. All of the other names of the Divine are seen as emanations of the Gho Mata who is Mother of everything. The Ashram has hundreds of cows, and they are treated with a lot of respect. There is a program for the distribution of cows to underprivileged families. The cows give around 10 liters of milk per day, which provides not only milk for the family but excess that can be sold and which raises enough money for all of the other food needed by the family.
One of the donations one can make here at the Ashram is to donate a cow and calf. Shiva and I decided to do this, and then we got to meet with the couple who are receiving the cow. They have two children, and they live in a remote forest area in the mountains. The husband has lost his job because he is going blind. They have been unable to support the family and the joy they had at receiving the cow was really beautiful to see. I am sure the cow will be very happy with these people and their lives will be changed because of this program.
We can already feel the spiritual upgrade and expansion of consciousness that being with Amma here in Peedam brings. The relevance and purposes of Mantra are being revealed in an awe inspiring way; it is as though the life force itself already knows the codes in mantras and simply docks with them, creating wonderful effects through all planes. Amma has given me permission to use a new (but ancient) Shakti mantra, which contains the beej or spiritual potency codes for the Divine Mother. Even though we are yet to share this with the retreat group, on the several occasions I has chanted it I can feel energy flowing differently and this reinforces our awareness of the priceless nature of these blessings.
Amma also asked our group to learn to do yagums. So, tomorrow we are having training in how to run a fire ceremony (Yagum). The Ashram is busily assembling 64 fire havans in the full moon fire hall so each person will tend their own fire, with beej mantras being offered to the flame and then the Divine essence moved into a Sri Yantra which each person will receive and then be able to take home. The opportunity for a group of devotees to be individually taught the yagums on such a big scale has never happened in the history of the Ashram so again we feel very humbled and grateful for this opportunity to receive Lakshmi Narayani’s endless blessings.
So here we are on day three, not even halfway through and already so much has happened. It is like being in spiritual Disneyland. We hope you are all well and feeling all the blessings and energy flowing in your life too.
If you want to join Shakti Durga on a spiritual adventure, click here to see where she is going next.