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Dear Ones,

This is Part 2 of my 5 part travelogue on my 2018 trip to India.

After exploring the important Bapuji landmarks in Mumbai (Bombay) we hired a driver to take us to and around Kayavarohan. On the way we visited some interesting places and met some wonderful people such as Tharun whose family took care of Bapuji for six weeks when he returned to India. Even though he was quite sick, he did his sadhana each day and held darshan for his disciples.

Tharun’s family

Bapuji loved Tharun’s family and had stayed with them for a year previous to his trip to America. On our way we stopped in Surat and visited a magnificent modern temple designed by Varsha Shah, an architect who knew and loved Bapuji. It was the most beautiful and most colorful temple I have ever seen. We met Varsha in Baroda (now Vadodara) and she hosted us for an afternoon discussing the intricacies of Vastu Shastra (the scripture that defines the intricate parameters in ancient and modern temple design). She said Bapuji knew little about temple design when he built Kayavarohan, but would take direction from Dadaji in meditation and relay the information to the architect each day, and that the resulting temple was perfect in every way according to Vastu Shastra principles. Astounding! It is a remarkable place, it is true. More on the Kayavarohan temple in the next travelogue.

Varsha’s Temple (outside)
Varsha’s temple (inside)

There is a temple on every block in India, or so it seems. Some are huge, some are tiny, all are imbued with many years of devotion. Some are gilt in gold and marble, some have dirt floors and very simple deities. One temple we visited on the bluffs overlooking the Narmada River was a very simple room with a small dome on the top, and inside was what seemed like a pile of dirt with a tapestry draped over it and two sea shell eyes. It was dark and dank yet it felt most sacred and ancient. That place is etched in my memory forever.

Ancient temple
Narmada River

We stayed in Thakor”s home in Nasari, a tiny village where he and his family have lived for many generations. He now splits his time between Nasari and Indianapolis, Ohio (funny, huh?). As an architect, he is halfway through building a temple for his village. Thakor is a devout Bapuji disciple who runs a Kripalu center in Indianapolis. I smile every time I say that. We were fed and taken care of by his neighbor and family in the most excellent Indian tradition. Indians are beautiful people with rich traditions and there is a wide lovely smile that appears at “Jai Bhagwan”, accompanied by a gentle touch of the fingertips to the heart. So much kindness and hospitality.

Thakor’s house
Premal in Nasari village

Nasari is on the coast of the Arabian sea, but the tide only brings the sea for a few days during the full moon. The rest of the time it is dry, so fishermen have to work fast. It is very dry and flat in that part of Gujarat. Our driver, Mahesh, was with us must of the trip and his humor and friendship made for most pleasant traveling, although his driving was as scary as it was skilled.

Low tide at Nasari

A SPECIAL REQUEST
Muktidham was Bapuji’s home for more than four years and is our sacred place, the heart and soul center of our spiritual path in the west. It is in need of your generosity. Please consider becoming a donor by signing up on the website www.kyifamily.org and clicking on “Donations” or contacting Bob Rodini (Bhishma) at bob@kyifamily.org. We will send you a mug as a token of gratitude and a reminder to you of your generosity.

Dear Kripalu Family,
I made my first trip to India in 2018 and would like to share some of the highlights with you, so I am writing a 5-6 part travelogue with some images. I hope you enjoy it, as it contains visits to places that are significant to our lineage. My two traveling companions were Umesh, Eric Baldwin, and Thakor Patel , an architect who runs the Kripalu Center in Indianapolis and spends half of his year in his hometown Nasari where he is building a temple that will serve that town. And as you know Umesh is a very experienced traveler, having lead treks to Nepal and Tibet, and tours in India. While in India he collects information for his upcoming website which will contain valuable Bapuji resources. For me it was a trip of a lifetime that I waited 40 years to take.

Our plan was to visit places that were significant in Bapuji’s life, meet people who knew him and collect stories, photos, videos and other things that are vital in keeping Bapuji’s message and lifework alive for us and others who might be inspired by him. We spent a few days in Mumbai, (Bombay),  then traveled to Nasari then through Surat to Baroda, (now Vadodara) and Kayavarohan which was our “home port” as we made side trips to Malav and other places such as the temples on the Narmada River where Bapuji lived for a while. To be in those places that I only imagined from reading “Light From Guru to Disciple” and other sources was a profound experience for me and being inside the splendid temple that Bapuji built defies description.
 
TRAVELOGUE 1 “MUMBAI”
The new airport in Mumbai is breathtaking with its gigantic columns that spread open at the top into the coffered ceiling. We took a cab to a hotel in the former British section of the city and from there visited the Sandhurst Bridge

Sandhurst Bridge
Sandhurst Bridge

where Bapuji contemplated suicide in despair for his futile life. We then went to the Divine Mother Temple, where Bapuji first met Dadaji.

Divine Mother Temple
Divine Mother Temple

That meeting is beautifully described in Rajarshi Muni’s book “Light from Guru to Disciple”.

With the help of Kawshek, a Bapuji disciple some of you might remember from the 1994 trip to India, we might have tracked down the secret hideaway where Dadaji taught Bapuji for 15-18 months. We drove past the Chowpatty Beach where they walked and talked together even though Dadaji could not be seen by anyone but Bapuji.

Chowpatty Beach
Chowpatty Beach

To be walking on the same streets where Bapuji lived as a young man and visiting some of his familiar places, temples etc., was an uplifting experience.

The streets in Mumbai are packed with pedestrians, cows, cars, scooters, bikes and pushcarts.

A Busy Mumbai Street
A Busy Mumbai Street

The dance of all that traffic has to be experienced. It is scary and it works. The traffic on the highways, however, is poop-in-the pants frightening. More on that in a later episode. Mumbai is a city of extremes and the wealth and beautiful buildings stand just above the worst squalor. People everywhere, trash all over the place, yet there is a deep culture of devotion , love and respect that permeates the personal encounters that we have. Indians as a whole are kind, giving and very resourceful people.

A Mumbai Street
A Mumbai Street

I am overwhelmed by their generosity.
 
A SPECIAL REQUEST
Muktidham was Bapuji’s home for more than four years and is our sacred place, the heart and soul center of our spiritual path in the west. It is in need of your generosity. Please consider becoming a donor by signing up on the website www.kyifamily.org and clicking on “Donations” or contacting Bob Rodini (Bhishma) bob@kyifamily.org. If you become a steward, we will send you a unique mug as a token of gratitude and a reminder to you of your generosity.