Vadodara to Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad
Sorry to keep you waiting for more Bulletins of our trip. I could not load them immediately for several reasons including having exciting activities from early morning to late night and not having enough sleep or access to Wi-Fi.
Several students, teachers, and parents checked in to the Royal Orchid Central Hotel, Vadodara, on Thursday, August 1st and had dinner at the hotel. It was exciting to see a little Vidyapith in the lobby of the hotel. They were eagerly waiting for the next day to begin. It would be a unique trip and our first Vidyapith trip in India. Also, we were happy that we were going to visit the places that Swami Vivekananda had visited.
Let me take you on a pictorial journey of the places we visited. We had lots of fun and uplifting moments. I wish I could make you feel our fun, joy, and inspiration through some magic. But alas, I do not know magic. You will have to imagine!
Early morning on Friday, August 2nd, all of the Vidyapith people who were at the Royal Orchid Hotel gathered in the restaurant to enjoy a delicious breakfast. The youngsters were amazed to see the variety of items including cereals, idlies, toasts, etc. Those who were staying in Vadodara came and joined in as well. It was also a divine coincidence that Pravrajika Shuddhatmaprana, who we visited at Ridgely Manor, could also join in our trip. Just couple of days before, Swami Nikhileshwaranandaji asked me if Pr. Shuddhatmaprana could join us. We were all happy about this divine company especially given that we had enjoyed her loving hospitality at Ridgely Manor.
The beginning of our trip was not very exciting as we had very heavy rain in the morning in Vadodara. There was even a power-outage in the early morning, but it paid-off to stay in a good hotel that had a generator which immediately gave us full electric power. I was worried that our trip would be a disaster; many had warned us of keeping this program in the monsoon season. I left everything to Thakur’s wish. People loaded our luggage in the heavy rain while we ran and took our seats. In spite of the rains, Vidaypith people were excited to go on the trip and were ready to go through whatever the future brought.
We arrived at Mahatma Gandhiji’s Ashram in Ahmedabad where many Vidyapith people were going to join us. You can only imagine our joy when we met each other. Together, we visited this international historic place and learned many things about the great soul, Mahatma Gandhi. Einstein had once said that after some time people would not even believe that such a great person lived on this earth. People would think that Gandhiji was just a myth. It is remarkable that in 1893 when Swami Vivekananda gave a famous speech at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Mahatma Gandhi had also arrived in South Africa – both events were significant in making these great souls known to the world. Mahatma Gandhi has even said that after reading Vivekananda’s lectures, his love for India multiplied by thousand-fold. In Gandhiji’s works, several teachings of Vivekananda became tangible.