Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Holiday Celebrations at SRSG

by Divya Gupta

Christmas and New Year Celebrations at SRSG

Holidays are a special time for us at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama as children and families from across the globe join us to celebrate Christmas and New Year, showering us with love, cheer, and joy. As the Youth and Children’s Retreat began on the Christmas Eve, the excitement and enthusiasm was reverberating in the ashram atmosphere.


Our Christmas preparations had begun many days before. One could hear the many Christmas carols while passing by our office. A guest commented to one of the ashram teachers that she does not understand what goes on in our office, but we are always laughing!

The many volunteers and teachers for the Youth and Children’s Retreat gathered to decorate the Meditation Hall in preparation for the Christmas Day celebrations. Surendra Nakoti, Swami Mahant Dev, and Adhikari Bhoi brought out and prepared the Christmas tree. Children excitedly put up the ornaments and lights on the tree, while Pat Layton taught the children how to make origami Christmas bells and garlands. At the end, one of the kids even showed Pat how to make an origami lotus!

The older children went around the Ashram in search for more decoration ideas with Andrea Fazakas and found that the gardeners had pruned one of the big pine trees and decided to decorate the Meditation Hall with the trimmed-off branches, and that is how the pillars received their angel wings!

On the Christmas Day, the children got together to make many Christmas greetings, that were put on display in the Meditation Hall. In the evening, all the children, families, guests, residents, and staff gathered at the Mother Mary temple for a puja with Swami Ritavan, Swami Radha, and Swami Tattvananda, as Pandit Deepak officiated, followed by delicious prasada.

At night, when we got together to celebrate Christmas, Pat had a special surprise for everyone, as she wasn’t herself anymore. She was Mother Mary! She shared her story through a play and we even had a little Baby Jesus, sleeping peacefully in a box of hay! Our wonderful Santa Claus (hint: Surendra JI) and Swami Ritavan had special Christmas gifts for everyone. Together we sang many Christmas songs, even in Garhwali and Bhojpuri. Swami Mahant Dev talked about Jesus’s birth, and shared that the birth of such saints and sages is celebrated universally because they had come to this earth to spread love and light.

Our Christmas day celebrations concluded with Borim Whang’s enthralling rendition of the “Silent Night” in Korean. Her performance brought everyone—young and old—to a deep silence. 

New Year Celebrations

To celebrate the Roman New Year, it was decided that we would have a 12-hour akhanda japa of the Saumya Mantra from 8 PM on the 31st December until 8 AM on the 1st January, along with a bonfire on the cold night. Everyone gathered to sing and dance around the fire. We received delicious sweets and even a chocolate cake from Swami Ritavan, lovingly sponsored by the University of Minnesota group.

All the residents and guests participated in the akhanda japa at different hours throughout the night, and we began 2018 with a sankalpa for creating a saumya mind-field.

Christmas pictures by Jay Prakash Bahuguna. Picture of Christmas tree by Pat Layton.  New Year celebration picture by Divya Gupta.


Editor's Notes:

For more about Saumya Mantra:

To read more about the retreat, please read the article that precedes this one: “Youth & Children’s Retreat.



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