All along, ‘new year’ had no relevance for me, just another day! During student days, it was just wishing friends! At corporate, it was a day to wish friends, colleagues, business-relations (key account management!) and others related to work & beyond.
Till ‘Prema Bandham’ happened. Now, year after year, I look forward to the day. On 3rd January, 2011, Swami made it very, very, special. Jan 1st will always be special, to spend time with Swami at Prasanthi Nilayam. For He also said, ‘keep coming’, on more than one occasion, including on 3 Jan 11.
Given a choice, I would like to be around PSN more often, and for longer duration. Family looks forward to be with Swami on the day He has earmarked for His boys.
After so many taxi rides to Parthi from Bangalore, for first time I drove myself. If NH remains great, most parts of the road connecting NH to Parthi also wore fresh look, thanks to a new layer of thin black tar, with freshly-painted white dividers. In late eighties & early nineties the bus trip was a lot different. But the excitement was always the same – travelling to PSN for Darshan, as we take deviation from highway, enter the arch of taluk, hill view becomes visible, etc., till Darshan of Bhagwan.
The landscape gets greener, by the year.
More open landscape is getting fenced and being converted to few farms, complete with saplings and bore-wells. I wonder if the new compound walls are a proof of prosperity of local population, or outsiders buying away at ‘low’ prices?!
This part of the year was a great time to be in PSN. Weather was very pleasant during evening, when I landed. Quite chill during nights. But warm-to-hot during day-time. Fruits, veggies, tender coconut, are all available at low prices, unlike cities. A few bananas, papayas, tender-coconuts, etc., are the delights of stay at Parthi.
Though PUDA is trying to keep township clean, by sweeping in morning & afternoon, more effort is needed. Local participation is very critical to maintain cleanliness. The region is a lot greener, but not ‘cleaner’ at all. PUDA and locals need to work together, with active help from visitor-devotees. Rampant use of plastic need to be stopped. Nature is our responsibility. Segregation and holistic disposal of trash, re-cycling, rain-harvesting and a clean Chitravathi, etc are our individual responsibilities. We owe it to Bhagwan.
On the way back, along the highway, I saw a board indicating ‘Chitravathi dam’ and after sometime a bus stop at village, ‘Chitravathi’.
Christmas was celebrated in the true tradition of PSN, this year. There was record turnover during the latter half of December, incl foreigners. All the more reason for PUDA to ensure a clean township, just as it is inside Ashram.
Every trip we see a change or modification. All changes, I am sure, to make it easier for visitors, to come, stay and connect with the Lord.
· Earlier there was an exit gate next to Ganesh main gate. Now entry is from Ganesh gate. (Earlier, entry thru Gopuram gate was allowed.) Security machines remain where they were.
· Lord Subramania temple has new flooring and a simple fence. (Earlier it was the sliver face for Lord Ganesha).
· Inside Kulwant hall, there are new photos of Bhagwan, in golden-frames. I just kept looking at the photos, most of the time, when I was inside the hall.
Such a beautiful experience to enter the Abode of Peace, Prashanthi Nilayam….
Is there a better way to spend any special day and make it extra 'SSpecial' ?!