By Vibhuti King
Swamiji was at the culmination of a lifelong pilgrimage. In February 2009, at the end of the overnight sannyas ceremony, she was to become a swami. She and other “swamis-to-be” dunked in the sacred waters of the Tansa River of Ganeshpuri. Then they headed north, toward the Himalayas. They were free! They could travel the world completely unencumbered, never to return, if they wished.
As they turned to walk away, the head swami called out loudly: “SWAMIS COME BACK, COME BACK, SWAMIS! THE WORLD NEEDS YOU!”
Swami Nirmalananda came back! She came back for you. She came back for me. She came back to serve us. She came back to show those who want to be shown the way. She provided us with an Ashram and a retreat center, Lokananda. These places give us a tangible spiritual base. Because of her, we have a destination for our individual pilgrimages, places of sanctuary in which to find our own inner Self.
In Sanskrit, “shrama” means worldly exhaustion; an “a” as a prefix means without. So “ashram” means “freedom from the exhaustion caused by worldly-mindedness.” We wash up on the shore of the ashram, leave our worldly exhaustion behind and are restored to our own Self. How blessed are we?
While Swamiji remains personally unencumbered, she has taken on the work of giving us our Self. This is why she has created the Ashram. She can give us the Self because she IS the Self. She is not merely free, she is freedom itself.
She did not have to come back. But she did, and we are privileged to be a part of supporting our kula, our yoga family. We are privileged to support all that she has provided and will continue to provide. Let’s give so that others can receive as well.
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