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India Trip Notes

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3-16-11 - At the Narayana Gurukula (guru's home) in the Ferndale section of the hill station, Ooty, famous for tea plantations. We're at 7,700 feet. I came here with Peter Moras and Joseph from Kerala. Here we met Gennedi who is the Russian I referred to in 3-13-11 - Walking the inner Circle along with Peter. I didn't realize that Gennedi was part of this community of seekers I've met through Gita so I was surprised to see him - though even if he wasn't, it's common when traveling like this to meet the same friends again unexpectedly at some other spot. As Peter, Joseph and I prepared to walk to the gurukula from the bus stand (as they say here) in Ooty, not wanting to wait for the local bus, Swami Vyasa and Steve from Santa Fe picked us up in the former's jeep - perfect timing. Vyasa has visited both Tassajara and the SFZC's City Center and has traveled widely I hear. He told me Ed Brown gave him a kitchen knife. Vyasa talked about how the wild bison had broken through the fence again and caused some havoc inside. A new, stronger fence must be built and right now cyclone is the top contender. I made a mental note to confer with a green architect I know in Tiru about alternatives to cyclone fencing which I see as appropriate for minimum security prisons. Once inside I also met Viju who runs the kitchen and who's been taking good care of us. They have around fifteen practice centers or ashrams which they call gurukula. This is one of them. See Narayana. Gurukula Bangalore. Narayana Guru was a social reformer and philosopher who's not as well known as Ramana Maharshi but who also redefined Advaita Vedanta in the twentieth century. His face can be found on some five rupee coins. He pointed this hilltop out to Nataraja Guru who lived here many years until he died in 1973. He brought in many artists, musicians, poets and made the place a center of culture for that period. Guru Nitya was his successor. Now Guru Muniprasad is the head of this fairly decentralized community of ashrams. He lives in Varkala, Kerala, Gurudarsanam is a site for this lineage. The place has a large library with books on many subjects not excluding science and literature.

No time to praise this wonderful place and more so the gentle and wise people I've met in this community. I've got to get down to Ooty on this windy day to take the famous toy train, as some call it, on its narrow gage rail which will take me down down down to hot India below. - dc

See Gennadi's question for his take on this gurukula

Check out the photos below taken by Gennadi Bedjanian

- and notice the eucaplytus and pine trees just like where I live.

Reception building

Meditation hut

Guru Nitya Samadhi (memorial building)

Altar at Narayana Gurukula, Fernhill, Ooty. L to R: Guru Nitya, Narayana Guru, Nataraja Guru 

Nearby tea plantation. We're in Ooty which is the heart of Nilgiri in Tamil Nadu

which is famous for tea such as Orange Pekoe.

A view from the Narayana Gurukula.

Another view with some homes in the background - on the edge of Ooty.

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