Friday, November 8, 2013

The Fireplace and Sanskrit

In the living room of the main building at Ananda Ashram, I noticed the faithful fireplace across from the entry way and the dependable lesson charts near the windows when I arrived for my Sanskrit lesson. However, our Sanskrit teacher Bharati was nowhere to be found. The drive from Brooklyn made my yoga teacher training group a few minutes late for the scheduled class start time, and because no students were present, Bharati had cheerfully gone upstairs to clean and complete her daily household chores. When she was found, the opportunity to teach Sanskrit sparked a divine youthful excitement, and she promptly shifted gears and gathered us into the fireplace room.

The wrinkled paper of the Sanskrit alphabet lesson chart told stories of the many students over the years who had also sat on my cushion to witness the passion Bharati has found in the sound of Sanskrit. Bharati sang in chant the alphabet of Sanskrit as she guided our eyes across the page at the front of the room. Note taking would only distract me from her lesson as the transmission of information was more potent through the sound of Bharati's voice and the playful purity of her eyes. The lightness was contagious and I left my first Sanskrit lesson more enlightened and educated.

That night, I returned to the fireplace room and witnessed a more solemn Bharati leading the daily Ananda Ashram fire ceremony. She chanted and played the harmonium and sank into the words and sounds. During meditation, I opened my eyes for curiosity and witnessed the teacher in a deep state of inward facing concentration. Bharati is a dedicated teacher who lives her lessons and teaches best by example.

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