It really is not easy to talk about Vedanta and what it means to me. Neema always cautioned us that Vedanta gives us 'no capsule' which would make things clear in a flash! Surya would tell us that 'there is no checklist' you can tick off and assume 'you are now aware!'
As I listened to Neema I felt privileged to have been a part of this retreat and felt enriched by the company of my fellow participants. I also felt grateful and thankful for all the good things that has happened in our lives! Neema would remind us that we are all connected and that so many people have contributed to our lives. Even the fact that we congregated there at Rishikesh was the result of so many working towards it and that we were indeed dependent.
The last few years have been very significant and positive for us and we feel blessed! The arrival of grandchildren have kept us busy and fulfilled! We reconnected with Neema and Surya as Tara arranged a series of talks at our place! I still had a choice to take a walk on Sukhumvit, but Rikhi as direct as he can be, urged me to attend. 'Your Guru has come to you, better attend the lectures!’ It is also the time I was encouraged by Seema to learn swimming! And my young golfing friends made it a point to include me in their group. They even took me on a golfing retreat! All this made my post retirement days easier to deal with!
While I have many things to dwell upon and be thankful, being at the ashram I could appreciate the many seekers who devoted their lives to learn the mysteries and the meaning of creation and the creator while I have just made a beginning.
While I spoke of the many positive aspects of our life, we are also faced with challenges and in fact we all have faced grief in our lives. Neema had recently lost her father, very suddenly and unexpected. I even wondered whether she would postpone the retreat, but she did not! Her teachings began with how she missed her father, who had also planned to be present at the retreat and how much she owed to him. The expression of her deep grief touched our hearts and sharing her grief healed me of my own grief at the loss of our dear ones, some very recent.
I recall on the last morning of our retreat, I walked towards the river 'Gangajee' to bid my farewell. The sky was clear and I could see the stars and river and also hear her constant murmur which was such a comfort to us. Then suddenly the mist rose and soon the river was covered and I said to myself 'The Mystery continues!'
I think I will just reply Raghu who commented in my blog in jest 'Was there Vedanta?' by quoting his earlier comments: 'Dear Nidhi, Thanks for a good report. You seem to have had a good trip. I am sure Manduka Upanishad etc apart, the scene and environs would have invigorated you. Peace with the environment is the essence of the effort. Great. Raghu'
While you can actually hear Neema speak through a series of Videos, these pictures show how animated she gets as she speaks of Vedanta.