Reporting From Sri Ramana's Children's Ashrama

(August 17 -23)

by Tara Adiseshan

I would like to write about my favorite moments at the Sri Ramana's Children's Ashrama in Nova Scotia. We did everything from outdoor activities to Self-enquiry. It would be impossible to share everything about the camp with you, so I am going to write about some highlights.

I would like to start with the treasure hunts. On the first treasure hunt we had the girls on one team and the boys on another. Both teams searched for objects on the way to the cabin in the woods. We found two pickaxes, two shovels and two containers of water. These finds led us to the cabin. Everything we found was useful at the cabin. The water is valuable to a thirsty person, the shovels and pick axes were used to plant a tree and make new steps, just like Skandaswamy did at Skandashramam. The treasures included a small picture of Bhagavan and an Arunachala-rock necklace for each of us. We learned that a treasure means something that is valuable to your self.

The second treasure hunt was up in the cave. We hiked up to the cave, sang songs and heard stories about Virupaksha Cave. It felt as though we were in Virupaksha Cave itself. After this, we found the treasures, which were two sand chests filled with precious objects like crystals, polished stones and shells.

On another day, we went to Kejimkujik National Park for a picnic. We went canoeing, swimming and skipped stones in the water. Oslo the dog came along. He was a big favorite of everybody. He dived into the water and he also made Dennis' canoe fall over. The rest of us were canoeing three in a canoe. We had a blast of a time!

We took a trip to Port George beach. We found lots of snails. Saraswati Singh even found a baby snail eating kelp, and we all took turns feeding it. We found four dead crabs and also saw some live ones. Some of us played tic-tac-toe on the mud. We also collected pretty rocks. I would like to go back there again.

There was one day when we had a class called "Bhagavan and the Kitchen". First we learned a song (Appalam Ittu Paaru...) and then we started to make foods like salad, rice and baras (vadas). Then the adults were seated and we kids served the adults. After serving the adults, we were quite hungry by then. We were grateful to get food at last! We learned how Bhagavan had cooked with his devotees.

We had a class called "Bhagavan and His Devotees". This time it was about Murugunar --- a great devotee of Bhagavan. We painted, listening to the song composed by Murugunar -(Para Nalladhu). The adults put on three skits about how devoted Murugunar was to Bhagavan. Not only did we learn from these skits, but we also laughed a lot.

Each day we would start with meditation and pradakshina. In the meditation time, we learned about Self-enquiry and how to meditate. We also learned to detach the mind from the senses. It was not too easy, but at least now we know how to do Self-enquiry.

Oslo was there in the meditation time and for the pradakshina around the temple. Oslo did not attend all the other classes, he would choose which one to go to.

A big part of the camp was music and dance, which some of the adults joined in. My favorite song was "Happiness runs..." and my brother's favorite dance was "The river is flowing...". We learned many new songs and dances, though we also enjoyed singing and dancing the old ones.

On the last night of the camp, we had a campfire. We sang songs and danced around the campfire. We roasted corn in a basket over the fire. Oslo got to eat the husks. After this we were awarded our certificates. Even Oslo got one.

The camp closed with a walk in the woods in the dark. The rule was nobody was allowed to bring flashlights and that we would walk until we heard a wild animal. As we walked in the dark woods, we heard a noise. We don't know if it was from a human or from Oslo. It sure scared most of us and we ran home.

Suddenly the camp ended. It had gone by so fast! Nobody wanted to go home.

This is what I think about the camp: it was fun, plus more fun, and even more fun!