On December 23rd 2018, 34 seekers from 12 different cities in North America gathered on the island of Sri Lanka to begin the 12th Chinmaya Inspiration Yatra, steered by Vivekji. The week was filled with both internal and external exploration, illuminated by the teachings of Ramayana.
Yatris explored many settings of the Ramayana, such as Munneswaram, the mandir at which Bhagwan Rama prayed to Bhagwan Shiva after the battle with Ravana; the site of Ashok Vatika where Mother Sita was held captive and Hanumanji’s footprints can still be seen; and various gardens and caves believed to be created by Ravana. In visiting these locations, Bhagwan Rama’s life became more deeply rooted in our reality, as His teachings became more rooted in our minds.
The yatris were blessed to be guided by Vivekji, Vijayji and Shankarji of North America. And upon arrival to Sri Lanka, were joined by Swami Gunatitananda and Swami Chidakashananda, resident Acharyas of the Sri Lanka ashrams, whose knowledge of the land in addition to Sanatana Dharma, enriched our learning. As the Yatris awoke early in the morning, and looked across the valley that laid in front of Hanumanji’s mandir at Rambodha, the serene beauty of the lingering sunrise reflecting off of the water as it cut between two sylvan mountains awaited them. Scenic views like this accented the whole Yatra. This sight is what began their full day at the ashram, where the schedule mirrored that of the Vedanta course at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya. The Yatris studied together as they had satsang in the morning on Kena Upanishad led by Vijayji, Bhagavad Gita in the afternoon with Shankarji, and Ramayana class with Swami Gunatitanandaji and Swami Chidakashanandaji. Blissful days were spent in satsang, seva and reflection at Rambodha ashram.
In addition to the spiritual and historical sites, the yatris delved into different cultural aspects of Sri Lanka, visiting tea plantations, spice gardens, and elephant orphanages (and even a Colombo Taco Bell!), to learn about the daily lives and values of the locals. In visiting Sri Dalada Maligawa, a temple dedicated to the tooth relic of Gautama Buddha in Kandy, seekers were able to see the extensive Buddhist culture and their dedication to preservation. Over this week, seekers reconnected with Sanatana Dharma by following in the wise and deliberate footsteps of Bhagwan Rama under the guidance of our Gurus and the blessings of our guru-sisya-parampara.