During winter break, most of the children enjoy eating, shopping and most of all, watching movies or playing on their usually limited electronics. Once a day, however, the students are encouraged to participate in one of the planned activities. Here are two of these activities: a trip to the Beatles Ashram and Seva at Ramana’s Garden.
Exploring the Beatles Ashram
The Beatles Ashram is actually the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram but is now cordially referred to the Beatles Ashram since they spent some time there in 1968 learning transcendental meditation. It is because of the Beatles and the media attention they garnered that Rishikesh and Indian spirituality came into the spotlight in the West.
Today, the ashram is basically an abandoned site, maintained by the Indian government. Although there are lots of buildings and interesting meditation caves, none of them are in use. It is now simply a tourist site, a place to walk around and take pictures.
We had fun walking around, looking at Miles Toland’s artwork and playing a game of sardines in a sprawling abandoned building. To play the game, two students hide in one of the building’s many rooms. The rest of the students then go looking for those students and quietly join them in their chosen location. As more students join, the space becomes more and more packed, until the students are just like sardines in a tin, hence the name!
Seva at Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home
Ramana’s Garden is home to over 60 at risk children and provides a free English medium school for over 160 students from local underprivileged families. Ramana’s Garden is very dear to MPA. We currently have two students at Miri Piri who come from Ramana’s Garden, Ali and Mukul.
This year, some of the students and a lot of the parents, spent an afternoon at Ramana’s garden, carrying sand from near the river up to the playground to make the ground level. It’s always fun doing seva together and especially when you get to enjoy a wonderful lunch at their lovely restaurant afterwards.