Winter is about perfect in Nimboli/Ganeshpuri: everything is green, the air is cool and easy, the plants are at their peak with color and flowers and fruit. It is magical to see papaya and banana fruit growing abundantly on our own trees. And the taste is divine. It has taken some getting used to the tropical weather. Hot, humid, monsoon. But the winter is the big easy! What a joy! Our friends back home in New Mexico are talking the snow. We are so thankful for merely this bit of coolness in the air.
The red surrounding the Om symbol is actually red leaves, rather like coleus. Flowers aren't the only way to get gorgeous color.
We've taken to collecting hibiscus. They grow easily here in this climate and come in an array of colors: violet, pink, fushia with blood red centers, white, double white, red which we are told that Ganesh must have, double red, yellow, orange, a gorgeous peach-salmon. We have tried growing hybrid roses but the stock plant always wins out. Luckily, the stock is a wild rose that has the most exquisite fragrance, something they make into Gulken, rose jam, which is suppose to be good for you according to Ayurveda. But just the fragrance alone can send you into a sensual ecstasy.
Bouganvillia or Paper flower grows exceedingly well here. Gold, white, varigated purple, magenta. They are not utilized for puja ceremonies but we are happy to have them grow up our walls and display a big spash of color.
We were so excited by our first bunch of bananas on the property. Soon, we found we had five trees producing fruit. The birds have discovered the fruit and we have had to lay claim to them first. We wrap them up in burlap and bring them into the house to ripen.
The fountain next to the Guru's chowk has now been outfitted with a fountain and a Shree Nityananda Education Trust bio sand water filter. The water filter is an attempt to keep the pond water clean and also illustrate how the SNET water filter actually works. Our visitors like seeing one in action. Last week we added some gold fish to the pond. So far they are getting along with the local fish from the river and we aren't finding any floating on the top. Hooray!
Watching the play of the evening light on the landscape can be quite mesmerizing. Last week a visiting meditation teacher remarked at how green and quiet Fire Mountain Retreat is. Since we are off the vehicle roads, there is no road noise. We can hear the temple bells ringing at a distance and sometimes the Brahmins chanting for 4 a.m. abhisheka. (washing of the Nityananda Murti). The soft sounds of the Nimboli village act as a gentle reminder of earthly life but are not distracting from meditation and contemplation. Fire Mountain offers a clean, comfortable and quiet respit from the busy western world and the hectic Indian cities.
Fire Mountain in Nimboli is now offering free shuttle service to and from Ganeshpuri, Guru Siddha Peeth, Vajreshwari, and Alkloli as part of its lodging packages. We've added a "one meal a day" plan for those who want the flexibility to eat in town after aarti at the Bhagawan Nityananda Temple. We are currently developing some "sadhana and seva" programs for visitors to participate in the culture of our local Adivasi neighbors. Please keep informed on these possibilities by readng SNET's website: http://www.shreenityanandaeducationtrust.org/.