Reminiscing the Old and Taking a Look at the Current

It is a long while since we came to Tiruvannamalai, not knowing what was awaiting, not having a clue what to do. Just guided by a fool's conviction we left everything behind, bringing a lot of pain and confusion to many. It was unknown to us, so we grew a habit of fabricating stories, of which some were true and some were dreams yet to be realized, in order to satisfy the many questions, doubts and guidances we got from all around. However it was, we were never doubting our path, although we sometimes had to seriously question our decisions.

 

It has been a very hard journey ever since on the lap of Arunachala. They say Tiruvannamalai is Agni Bhoomi, which translates as the Land of Fire. It surely is. Right now (April 15th 2022) it must be plus 40 degrees Celsius outside at two pm. The Sun is merciless from 8 am to anyone daring to crawl out from the AC-cooled rooms. The land is harsh in here too. Dust is everywhere and people develop allergies and chronic conditions just by living in the healthy and clean nature away from the cities and pollution. Such is the welcoming spirit of Tiruvannamalai. Externally.

 

They say that blessed are those, who can live their lives with Arunachala. The Mountain is said to be Shiva Himself; not the abode (like is said about Mt Kailash of Tibet), but the physical manifestation of the energy. According to common transcription of the Hindu mythology Shiva is one of the Trinity of main Deities (Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, Shiva the Destroyer). Shiva is often described as fierce and fiery, merciless to its enemies.

 

Esoterically or Mystically, the interpretation would be the destroyer of karma, and karmic bonds. This would be analogous to a gardener, who mercilessly prunes the roses and trees into shapes and forms, in which they best bring out their essence, beauty and fruits. No gardener would leave dead branches and wild shoots growing and spoiling the harmony, irrespective of how alive and lush they would look like to be. Such is the energy of Shiva. No off-shoot will remain un-checked. No bad habit un-punished, until there is none but the essence left to shine forth for others to enjoy.

 

We don't claim such status or merit, but we have definitely had our share of the experience to the extent that we can personally vouch for its ingenuinity. The beauty of cleansing the minds and hearts of people lies in the emerging conviction and clarity. Purpose emerges from the confusion or desolation. It may in the beginning be a small purpose, or a short-lived one. However, when met with clarity and conviction, a new purpose will emerge. One has begun to align with one's true nature. A seemingly slow process it is.

 

When watching relentlessly a tree grow, one can never say when it grew the next inch, when it branched, but afterwards, one can pick the fruit from the branch, or realize the shade of the leaves topping one's head. The results are undeniable, although the process may always remain unseen.

Children are back in businesss

We started the day-care center with four of our old kids from before-Covid-19 times. Raja, Nithya, Sanjay and Senthur started coming to us 14th February on a daily basis. Hopefully there are more children joining later on. 

Above are some artworks from children. They use various methods from crayons, fingerpainting and brushes, to beads, toothbrushes etc. We took the liberty to imprint some of these works on the mugs. If you feel like having one or more for yourself or as a corporate gift, please let us know by contacting through

contact@divyarasa.org

Any income will be used uncut to run the trust functions for these children.

On our daily walks children pick some leafs and flowers, which we use to paint these pouches. Above are some results from the work of children, in picking, colouring and impressing. 

Kindergarten to Divya Rasa

In the previous post we wrote about our plans of getting started with the special children project again. On Monday, the 14th of February 2022 we then had a small group of children with their old teacher arriving to the land in an auto. The center was again open and functional. As the Covid-19 hit everything two years back, also many kids with their families returned to their homesteads and we were now left with few here in Tiruvannamalai. However, the children are back.

 

On the more futuristic front, we have decided to start raising funds for a kindergarten project. Our aim is to have some 25-30 children, aged 3-5, from the surrounding village here. This way we can extend our service to the very local people we are living with. Our idea is to have the special children along with the kindergarten kids in the same 2 acre campus, but to provide them different spaces for activities. This way, there will be a healthy exposure, and mixing from both sides, but also the peace to play among the peer groups. 

 

More of the thought later,

 

Pekka

Something new, something old, something borrowed...

Even though the title hints to the traditional spells of getting married (at least in Finland), this is not the case now. The previous update of our course saw us giving up our work with special children and focusing on the new trails...

 

We sort of had reached this conclusion, but I suppose Universe had some different ideas regarding it. One day we just lifted the topic on the table, figuratively speaking, and after almost two years of radio silence, few of the parents and one of our old staff called us to enquire about the fate of the center and when we would open up. Sometimes the Universe speaks so loud that even a deaf can hear. 

 

So, we have started to gather up our gear and resources and to prepare to open the day-care center once more for a handful of kids to start with. This all is of course a little tedious with the ongoing Covid-outbreak, which is taking its toll here in Tiruvannamalai, as well. However, we believe that when we are set for service and helping others, and with the lessons learned from the past, it can not go wrong.

 

Eagerly waiting for the next chapters to open up

 

Pekka & Thasleem

Future Awaits

Namaskarams,

 

Covid-19 brought a great change into our lives and the life of Divya Rasa Trust. As we were forcd to close the place for now almost 2 years, we had to part ways with our long-term staff and sit still in our premises, taking care of our cows and wondering what life would have in store for us in future.

 

After long and thorough process of relflecting and introspection, we came to conclusion that the trust will no more continue with the special children. We felt we had given there all we could, and as neither Thasleem nor Pekka were professionals on the branch, we had almost burnt out ourselves in the process. 

 

After all, our calling lies in different direction. In that of Siddhars, who were the onsetting force of our journey more than 10 years ago. We have decided to develop this land into a place of meditation and contemplation, open to anyone feeling the call to come in.

 

As we had already constructed couple of temporary temples on the land for Mahamuni Agastya and Mahavatar Babaji, we felt the first task was to bring these buildings up to the mark, so that they can serve as meditation spaces and good, permanent places of worship.

 

Although, our journey with children seemingly came to an end, we have not forgotten the lessons and connections from the past. It so happened that one, years back communicated structure relating to Hanuman and Madhavacharya, was now brought up from the lockers of memory. 

 

When the Universe communicates synchronously and in multiple manners, even the thickest head tends to bow and accept the message. Hence, we have decided to first go with this new temple structure.

 

Follow the blog to know more, when the projects are shaping up, or come to see it yourself.

 

Yours,

 

Pekka

A short Documentary on Divya Rasa

Our dear friend Vamsi took it up as his heart child to plan an introductory document on Divya Rasa. The work from planning to shooting and editing (and to getting necessary tools to work with the raw material) are entirely done by him. 

 

We here stand gratefully astonished by the quality of his work. I hope you enjoy the short film below. 

 

Pekka

After a long time


It has been a while since we have written anything on the Blog. Rather, it has been one and a half years. This has been a very hectic time for us, with little energy left to keep others informed or public front up. Yet, the life has moved ahead with leaps and bounces and we have come a long way since the last blog post.

 

Let me keep the story of past time short for you. In December 2018 we shifted from our original rented center to our land, where we had constructed a hut to spend the ours days in.  Along the shift came 13 cows, as donations from various kind beings. As Saravanan said: "The land became alive with their arrival". That was early 2019.

 

Shortly after this we parted ways with our dearest companions on the path, Kalpana and Saravanan. We four were strong in our views, but we found out that there were fundamental differences in the ways we would like to pursue our goals. Hence, we set on different paths. We are still holding hands and supporting each others the ways we can, while remaining true to our own devoted paths and visions. By parting ways we all could remain true to ourselves, which is the most important thing in the end.

 

After constructing the first hut, which we shifted into, we also raised an open kitchen, where we started daily cooking together meals for everybody. Happily we could see, that sharing and caring was the most efficient way to dispel the difficulties in eating habits of many kids. Practically, all of them, on any given day, would happily eat whatever was given on their plates. This joint effort was silently appreciated by all.

 

Slowly, we got into a nice routine on the new land with all kinds of construction works going on (from kitchen to classroom and cow shed to small temple etc). Children learned to take care of the cows: feed them, groom them, take them for walks. Being next to a forest, we rarely slipped an opportunity to go for long forest walks.

 

As many kids showed interest in music, we were allowed to respond to that call. By grace alone we met one drums master Bharathi, and a keyboard teacher Hari; both well-versed with children and teaching. For almost a year, they have been giving classes to kids 3 to 4 times a week. A delight for many. As a climax of this routine, the whole bunch of our kids went and performed in the biggest festival, Shiva Ratri, in Annamalayar Koyil, the main temple of Tiruvannamalai. A night full of bliss and grace.

 

Before the Corona-caused closure, we were well settled to the land with a solid routine full of music, arts, cooking, running, laughing and screaming. On the last days before closing up, the long-planned playground with slides, bouldering walls, swings etc. had started taking good shape. Something to cherish after kids will return.

 

There was this and so much more happening during the past one and a half years. Yet, I think I already have exhausted you.

 

With this I let you enjoy the pictures below.

 

Pekka

News from the Land

Some months have passed since we have published anything from the land we have been now developing for Divya Rasa. Last Monday we officially inaugurated our new space for the children, and us too. From now on we are shifting our activities there and after the next project of a small and ecological (also economical) set of "classrooms" is ready, the aim is to have the whole bunch of children and staff there.

 

Besides the new space, we launched a campaign to donate cows to Divya Rasa. The idea was, that through this we can start developing self-sustainable income generation model for Divya Rasa. The response was far more than we ever anticipated. We now have 7 cows roaming the land and for their use we also build a shelter there. 

 

All in all, life has come to the land. Besides it being the rainy season, we are now daily enthusiastically rushing to feed the cows and play with the dogs, who have settled with us there. This with some gardening projects keep some of us very busy.

Few pictures below.

-Pekka

Newsletter from Divya Rasa

It has been 6 months from the previous post. It is a long time. Yet, we have not been wasting it but quite vice versa. Hands full of work, we have been developing new approaches with children, constructing a new space for healing, developing new ways to raise funds through Divya Rasa - Drapes of Nature etc. This all takes time but is not so interesting to write stories about. 

We still have been feeling that not sharing and giving out to that extended circle of people who are not immediately working with us is not the right way to go. In our effort to correct this, we decided to start writing a monthly "Newsletter" for which we put some of our personal experiences and thoughts from the way.

Please find attached a pdf with the text and a couple of photos. More pictures will be coming soon enough. A promise.

 

-Pekka

Download
October 2018 Newsletter
Few thoughts from the way of Divya Rasa by Thasleem and Pekka
Oct 2018.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 3.4 MB

Discussions about Divya Rasa and autism in Auroville

We were invited to tell and discuss about Divya Rasa and our approach to autism in presentation / discussion session organized by Social Entrepreneurship Association (SEA) in Auroville. Our humble gratitude to Sangeetha Sriram and the SEA team for giving us this opportunity. In the end it was only Pekka from the invitees who would make to the meeting.

 

Personally the experience was wonderful. The great advantage of people gathering together over some topic is the possibility of sharing and learning something new. Besides the subtle learning I actually was made aware of the overtone singing as a tool to work with autistic individuals. I hope all the participants would feel they learned and carried with them something as well.

 

If you wish to listen to the 2-hour long discussion session (or parts of it), it can be found from Auroville Radio www-pages in here.

 

Much love and gratitude,

Pekka

James came to visit us

We were happy to receive one long-term spiritual seeker and a  professional with autism and photography to Divya Rasa twice this month.

 

James came to Tiruvannamalai to shoot and write a documentary about the Vedic school run in Ramanashramam. As a keen person to offer his services and skills for others, he had scanned through the options in Tiruvannamalai, and contacted us for a visit. He ended up visiting twice, sharing his experience and knowledge about autism and mentoring / crafting tools for communication with autistic individuals. Such sparks of laughter and smile he showed. Please enjoy some photos of and by James below. Children being in the main focus, as it is.

 

With this post we encourage anyone, professional or not, who is interested in Divya Rasa in some way to contact and come say a "Hi" when around here.

 

We are happy to welcome you back any time, James. 

Mohanji visited Divya Rasa

We had the great honor of receiving Mohanji in Tiruvannamalai and in Divya Rasa on the 24th, Christmas Eve. Mohanji had made space within his busy schedule to come and bless our land by planting a rudraksha on the spot where Guruji performed the Bhoomi Pooja only few weeks back. Besides the lively visit by Mohanji and his followers to the land of Divya Rasa, we had the chance to enjoy a satsang with Mohanji the same night. On Christmas Day we went to the inner parikrama of Arunachala and today we will still enjoy another open satsang here in Tiruvannamalai with Mohanji.

More about Mohanji and his work here:

 

http://mohanji.org/

 

http://www.ammucare.org/

 

https://www.speakingtree.in/mohanji/

Enjoy the photos.

-Pekka

Guruji Avadhoota Nadananda's visit - revisited

We have been warmly recollecting Guruji's visit for the past days. We had time and opportunity to pick for show a few clicks from Guruji's visit to Tiruvannamalai. Enjoy the pictures.

Pekka

Guruji Avadhoota Nadananda's visit

We had the great pleasure to receive Guruji Avadhoota Nadananda here in Tiruvannamalai in Divya Rasa. He himself said he feels blessed to be with the children. Guruji also conducted Bhoomi Pooja on our land.

 

Below are links to a Youtube-video of Guruji's visit made by Praveen Menon, and a blog post from Avadhoota Nadanandaji's site.

 

 

More about Guruji's activities can be found in:

avadhootanadanandablogspot.wordpress.com.

 

Please enjoy.

 

-Pekka

The blog post regarding Guruji's visit to Tiruvannamalai can be found here.

 

Meet the Children

We have been posting this and that relating to Divya Rasa and the happenings around the project. It is about the time to show the main architects of our project, the students of Divya Rasa who actually are teaching the teachers of Divya Rasa.

 

The people are first appearing in photos in alphabetic order listed below:

 

Abhinav, Achuth, Bala Aditya, Barathvaj, Jaya-Dev, Joanna, Kajaanan, Kavin, Niranjan, Nithya, Senthur, Vishnu (with Kali the Dog and Trebhuvan), Vithuran 

 

Arjun is missing from the slideshow, as well as Hariram and Shreya (two former students of Divya Rasa)

 

Thereafter there are a few other clicks for the good time spent.

 

-Pekka

 

Happy Deepavali

It has been more than six months from the previous post on the blog. This does not mean that we have fallen silent or stopped existing. Rather, it shows how completely we have been absorbed in the work. Divya Rasa is shaping up well and we are currently serving 12 children on a daily basis. This short post is to convey our Deepavali wishes to everyone. More later. 

 

-Pekka

Developing the land

We have had hands full of work during the past months with our day-care centre and related affairs. Spirits are high and momentum is good. At this point we wish to acknowledge all those kind souls who have been helping and supporting us in various ways during the journey. Without you all, it would have been a much rougher path to this stage. 

Past months we have also been slowly developing the 2-acre plot, the residential centre is about to be built on, and the photos in the slide-show are about this progress.

 

First came the bore well with fresh water literally inside the rock, exactly as the old water diviner had said. With the support of friends we could soon after fence the land. Again, it was only through the support and help of kind souls we could get electricity and water supply to the land. 

 

As it is with a boulder rolling down the slope, also we got momentum and opportunities. Forestry department decided to give free 150 tree saplings which we together with many hands planted and started nursing through the hot summer.

 

Now the land is being developed by expert farmers for us to take the initial steps towards self-sustainability. Architects at GNA have been busy as well, although their work will be visible to the naked eye only after some months.

 

Today it is World Autism Awareness Day. Let's embrace Autism and the difference it will bring to this world.

 

-Pekka

2 Comments

Bhumi Puja 23rd November, 2016

On Wednesday 23rd November we finally broke the land of Divya Rasa and had the traditional Bhumi Puja with previous day and night full of preparations and fire ceremony. Breaking the land in the morning was followed by a sumptuous lunch with musical performances. We were touched to the core by the guests who brought their blessings along with their arrival. 

 

Courtesy of the photos:

Dhanya, Sandeep, Suresh, Nayeem, Rahila

 

Video:

Sandeep

 

Thank you,

 

-Pekka

Preparations and the fire ceremony.

Breaking the land, lunch with live music.

Music and enthralled audience.

0 Comments

Mandala-making in Divya Rasa

We have incorporated mandala-making in our daily program of activities with children in Divya Rasa day-care centre. Picking flowers and leaves is a process itself for the children. After that we design the mandala which is then brought into life with careful flower and leaf arrangements. During the process as well as after some of us chant mantras and play different instruments to create a clear atmosphere. Please find below a couple of photos from these sessions.

 

-Pekka

3 Comments

Divya Rasa after three months

It is roughly three months since we started the day-care center here at Divya Rasa. After the initial orientation things have taken a beautiful shape and daily routine has been established. Daily activities include forest walks, bathing and music therapy, mandala making etc. Occasionally we take on a trip outside of the center for example to a temple in the countryside or for a climb up to the famous Virupaksha Cave on the lap of Arunachala. For few weeks we had the pleasure of hosting two special young men from Canada here at Divya Rasa. Thank you for your visit. Please, come again. For someone, who has been away for one and a half months, the change in children is something real and inspiring. Work really bears fruits and in such a short time. Enjoy the small collection of clicks from the way.

 

-Pekka

2 Comments