Rishikesh Meditation Retreats
Rishikesh, at the foothills of the sacred Himalayas, has been the destination of seekers who have been longing for salvation, since time immemorial. The word ‘Rishikesh’ itself evokes archetypal images – the placid Ganges, the holiest river in the world, worshipped by millions, slowly meandering its way across the plains, and sadhus and sages in deep contemplation, meditating upon its banks.
The name ‘Rishikesh’ is a picturesque connotation of the matted locks (kesha), that rishis or sages often keep and is a tribute to the eternal quest of the human being to rediscover the spirit within. For thousands of years, the divine vibration of this place has pulled to its bosom countless individuals from near and far. Yogis, sadhus, city dwellers – all those eager to know and rejoice their inner bliss have come to this unique place, “far from the madding crowd” and in the very lap of Mother Nature.
Every year, a winter meditation retreat is conducted by Her Holiness Anandmurti Gurumaa in these sylvan surroundings, a rare treat indeed! Over two thousand spiritual seekers and devotees from all over India and various parts of the world come together in celebration of love, life and divinity. The powerful vibrations of this quaint little spiritual town nestled in the Himalayas and the unique aura of an enlightened Master are a potent combination for prayer, soul-searching and inner transformation.
In the Sufi tradition, the Master is described as saqi, the one who showers the wine of divine love on the mureed, the disciple. The saqi is intoxicated with this love, which radiates out from every pore of Her being and shares it wholeheartedly with one and all. Those thirsty for the inner awakening are greedy for this wine and relish every drop. No other wine even comes close to this ambrosia, this nectar that is bestowed by the Master. Like a pregnant rain cloud falling on the parched earth which soaks up every drop, the Master cannot help but share the love and compassion welling up inside.
The presence and the darshan of an enlightened being is a celebration in itself. For five precious days, aspirants are soaked with loving compassion, benediction and the highly charged atmosphere is tangible even before Gurumaaji enters the pandal, the enclosed premises where the satsangs are held. Gurumaaji’s spontaneous, profound discourses and soul-stirring bhajans touch hearts and minds deeply; Her silence is even more eloquent.
Gurumaaji’s discourses bring alive the longing and the ecstasy of mystics and saints like Mirabai, Shankaracharya, Baba Bullehshah, Sheikh Farid, Guru Nanak and the Buddha. To listen to Her is to connect to the timeless Truth, which echoes loud and clear in those hearts yearning for divine union.
Yogasanas in the fresh early morning atmosphere prepare the sadhak’s mind and body for dhyana, meditation. Each year, seekers get a chance to be exposed to some unique meditation techniques designed by Gurumaaji Herself. They may be passive, for example, Nishkriya dhyana, a detached observation of body, breath and thoughts, or they may be dynamically energizing, like Nritya dhyana, dance meditation. It could be the Zikr of the Sufis – chanting aloud the sacred name of the Lord synchronized with breathing – or it could be adoration and worship of Guru. The positive energy created when over two thousand people sing, dance and meditate together with the Master is tremendously overwhelming; it cannot be captured in words. It is an once-in-a-lifetime experience, to be tasted, relished and digested!
So, be there! Be in Bliss!