As soon as the place of Mahaprabhuji's future residence was decided, Sri Devpuriji returned to Kailash and Mahaprabhuji began building the new ashram. The people of the area had known Mahaprabhuji since childhood and they worshipped him. Overjoyed that they were going to live near him, they enthusiastically helped erect a single-storied ashram on the hilltop. Mahaprabhuji named it "Sri Deva Dungary Sannyas Ashram."
Today it is hard to believe that once this place was thought to be haunted by evil spirits, for now only a holy peace can be felt. That this peace still pervades the area is due to Mahaprabhuji's long life and presence there. Each and every stone and grain of sand is saturated with the blessing and Divine energy of his radiance.
The ashram is situated in a beautiful, natural setting. Modern technology has yet to invade and spoil the peaceful serenity and beauty of the desert. Hardly a house can be seen from the ashram. Almost invisible paths wind through the sparse countryside from the village, which is two kilometres away. At a distance of three kilometres there stretches a range of hills. The centre of the range, having been exposed to the vagaries of harsh weather, is precipitous and rocky, yet its peaks are flat and sandy. One large, rocky opening appears through the hill like a gigantic door and this rocky gate is the entrance to the village of Bari Khatu. Apart from these hills, only the quiet of the desert surrounds the ashram. To stand there and behold this impressive view in the warm sun with a gentle breeze blowing on one’s skin, brings an indescribable feeling. Nothing can be heard except the occasional and distinctive cry of peacocks. If Mahaprabhuji is the Ocean of Mercy, then the ashram of Khatu must be the ark upon which it floats.
The Western equivalent of an ashram is a monastery. The head of the ashram is a swami and often several other monks, holy men or women live there.
The "a" of the word ashram means "welcome" and the "shram" means "to do something." An ashram is that place where all are welcome to come and do something for the benefit of their body, mind and soul.
The swami, Self-realized one, or Master who lives there, is visited by disciples, spiritual seekers, wandering sadhus and others. The duration of their stay is not fixed and the duties, studies and special training practised there are completely in the hands of the swami.
In Mahaprabhuji's ashram everyone was welcome regardless of status, caste, nationality, religion or gender. It could not be any other way, for we are all children of the One God.
Each evening a satsang was held. Such gatherings gave immense, blissful relief to the soul. Enveloped in silence, beneath the blanket of the night sky adorned with sparkling stars, people from all around camped in the warm sand.
A small fire was kept burning and before it sat Mahaprabhuji, chanting his Divine bhajans in a melodious voice. He accompanied himself on the tanpura, always composing new and wonderful songs. Rarely did he sing the same bhajan twice. Poems and melodies were spontaneously created. What a truly heavenly talent!
After singing bhajans Mahaprabhuji would explain them in a way that was easy for all to understand the essence and meaning of his Divine compositions. His songs reveal the spiritual message about the true science of yoga. They are hymns to God and to Mahaprabhuji’s Divine Master, Sri Devpuriji.
During satsang, the disciples always sat at a distance of three or four metres from Mahaprabhuji. This was because his spiritual radiance was so strong, that anyone who tried to get nearer was dazed by his brilliant vibration. It was almost impossible to look directly into his eyes, as it was just like looking into the sun.
Mahaprabhuji was aware of everything about the people who came to him. Their thoughts, feelings, emotions and most secret wishes — all were revealed to him. But of course those who met him had to decide for themselves who Mahaprabhuji really was and blessed were those who recognised him as an incarnation of God, the Divine One who knows the hearts of all people.
Next Chapter: The Divine Grace of Sri Mahaprabhuji
Previous Chapter: The Orange Flag
Overview: The First Meeting with the Divine Master