Thursday, March 24, 2011

A fairy tale christmas

The Akadamie Bad Antogast

Bad Antogast!!!

I first heard this name a few months after I did the Art of living course in one of the knowledge sheets.

An Ashram in the midst of German black forest….I would expect an old haunted castle, but an Ashram??? I was intrigued by the very idea.

And then one day we drove from Frankfurt through the picturesque village of Oppnau…it was the beginnings of Christmas season. The snow capped mountains were surrounded by forests of pine trees. It couldn't be more Christmassy

The village was scattered with quaint houses with cute steaming chimneys. It was right out of a fairy tale, and I was almost expecting kids called Hansel and Gretel or little Red Riding hood to come bursting out of the houses that had wooden doors, antique Knockers and decorated windows.

Through the windows of little shops I could see old men smoking pipe, reading daily paper and sipping on hot chocolate.

Finally our car stopped in front of ‘Akademie Bad Antogast’. Being enraptured by the picturesque beauty of the whole scene around, I didn’t feel like entering the building, lest I would have to leave the scene behind. I walked up the stone cobbled steps and entered a warm room with hot tea, cookies and a fire place.

It felt more like an exotic spa rather than an ashram. And yet, after an enthusiastic greeting

Jaigurudev!! sind sie kommen aus Bangalore….das is sehr schone!” I knew I was so at home.

The next day we went with out black plastic bags (okay the garbage bags) for a unique skiing experience down the snow covered steeps….the byproduct being frozen noses, butts and oodles of crazy fun.

A few days later I hear soft footsteps walking down the wooden staircase, and huge crowd standing to welcome him, he came wearing one of those ridicules Santa caps, which surprisingly suited him.....

The Satsang began…..the star on top of the Christmas tree was finally added.

It was one of those increasingly frequent times in my life, where I had to pinch myself to make sure ‘am I really here. The melody of ‘silent night trilled and I could see blissful faces from more than 30 different countries. The Dinner was delicious German cakes with salad, soup and Baked spiced potatoes.

Adventure, fun, music, grace, devotion, celebration……nothing can beat this, not even fairy tales.