Snuck this picture in Chanting class
Up front is our main teacher Indu. She assists Mataji, the monk who is head of the yoga department at Parmarth. Yesterday we learned how both became into their positions.
As many of you know marriage and family is the most important thing in India. Near the age of 18, relatives will start interrogating single men and women about their lives. Photos, school grades, parent’s jobs, astrology readings, and university studies will be sent to prospects all over. While weddings in our culture are a reason to celebrate, over drink, and possibly hook up, here the young prospects are grilled over and over by older relatives, making it more of an interview process than a celebration of love. It is extremely shameful the older the daughter or son gets as he or she is not married. Sometimes they are arranged marriages and those who are blessed have some input.
Mataji grew up, got married, and had two daughters. When she was 40 she decided to leave her home and family to obtain moksha, or ultimate freedom. She came to Parmarth and studied hard under Swamji until he decided she was capable of Sanyasa (to become a monk). Mataji was the first woman he granted this honor. At the young age of 15 Indu and her sister showed up at the ashram one day looking for a mother. I’m not positive if they were orphans or ran away from a bad situation, but Mataji decided to adopt them as her own. Many were upset because as a monk she must have no attachment and she had to fight very hard to allow the girls to stay in her home. It was her duty or dharma to become their mother and lead them down the right path. Both women still live with her, are married, and have children of their own. Indu teaches yoga and her sister does other jobs at the ashram. Mataji grew up, took care of her family, then chose to take care of herself, and now takes care of the world. An amazing story, but you have to wonder how could you just leave your first family with no future contact? In order to become one with God and be enlightened one must take this hard path. This culture is hard to understand in a Westner’s eyes, but in order to obtain the ultimate freedom and have a connection with God that very few secure, this is the path you must commit to.