"...create such a place, with such an atmosphere for the next generation that will inspire them to do meditation, inspire them to receive the anubhooti of the soul...if you wish to give a gift to the next generation then there cannot be anything better than the Gurushaktidham." Swamiji's message for 10th anniversary of Murti's arrival in UK, 10 June 2018
Over the summer and autumn, work has focused on the creation of the sacred centre of the Ashram ~ the Garbha Griha or inner sanctum area of the Guru Shakti Dham (Meditation Hall) and also on some of the core requirements of the planning permission relating to public access, to make the whole estate accessible and safe for visitors. The garden has been developing nicely too and you can see all the photos in the gallery at the end of this update.
Garbha Griha – vibrations in the stones
In April last year during the live televised session in the UK, Swamiji shared with everyone that He had experienced that a natural stone building didn't lose the vibrations created during his deep meditation practice. With this concept in mind, initial ideas to incorporate in the area of the Garbha Griha were approved by Swamiji earlier this year. Work has continued in collaboration with India's engineers and, just recently, Swamiji has been sent scaled drawings of design ideas for using stone, a summary of the engineering requirements to enable the current foundation to bear the weight of this structure, should we go ahead, and the type, quantity and cost of stone needed. Swamiji will advise and, when He has done so, we will be able to progress with the architect design work and then share drawings and it will help support a fundraising campaign, which is also being developed. This is a 'golden' time for everyone to get connected and help in the creation of this unique legacy of work whilst it is still happening in the UK.
Development over the past year
Alongside this work, there will always be the need for other development at the Ashram, which can take over at times, especially when following health and safety guidelines for a public site. This has involved some upgrades and repairs around the estate.
So, taking a tour of the estate from the entrance, here are some the developments and projects that have taken place so far this year, with a few pictures below:
the entrance driveway has been levelled and finished according to Nottinghamshire Highways standards;
the new Samarpan Ashram sign post was erected at the entrance on the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the Murti in the UK and, although the sign is not in the best position, it is off Nottinghamshire Highways land as they requested. Once the Meditation Hall is completed we may be able to apply for a brown tourist sign, which could be positioned at a better angle. Nevertheless, the sign is already attracting interest and visitors;
a section of the over-spill car park was created using hard core as a base that had been dug out during our drainage upgrade project, which was a necessary part of the toilet block preparation and recycle for the car park. The hard core base has been covered with a membrane and wood chip. The parking area will be finished off with a gate for pedestrian access to the ashram site and several extra parking spaces at a later date;
new post and rail fencing was erected along the paddock during the summer and also forms a marked out area around the space for the over-spill car park;
the electronic gates were refurbished using the existing wrought iron gates with an entirely new electronic sensor system, expertly installed by Chris Hawkins and his small team of volunteers;
the Eco toilet, which was made for the Trust as a gift and installed last year behind the garage building, with a soak away and outdoor hand washing area, is functioning very well and forms part of our sustainable ethos and aim;
it was discovered that the two outbuildings had asbestos material in the roof and so this had to be professionally removed and new safety standard waterproof and durable roofing materials have been used as replacements. The small outbuildings are ready to be refurbished by our volunteers and some preparatory work has been completed. The garage is currently out of bounds to the public;
repairs have been made to the heating and hot water system in the bungalow;
necessary preservation work on Swamiji’s kutir (cottage) has been done to protect it through the winter, bearing in mind the temporary nature of the planning permission for this building; and
lots of garden projects have taken shape too.
The new toilet/shower block
Earlier this year, we received planning permission for the outbuilding close to the bungalow to be converted into a toilet and shower block and the fully detailed specification drawing was passed by the buildings regulations department, having met all the building regulations requirements. The specification is the result of research, consultations, pricing up the components with several suppliers, and drawings prepared by our architect, This forms part of the set of planning conditions, all of which we have now fulfilled and is currently with Rushcliffe Borough Council for their sign off.
The basic drainage work for the new toilet block is now in place and the bungalow toilet will also be connected to it next. Several other related pieces of work will be needed as part of the build, including digging a trench for the installation of the electricity supply, installing a distribution board for cabling for the toilet block, and removal of the old oil tanks that supply fuel for heating and hot water, to be replaced by one new tank in an appropriate place once the building work is complete.
Several contractors have been approached, but it is evident that the build of the toilet block would be more cost effective and less disruptive if done at the same time as the meditation hall ~ we are currently considering this option and have set aside the funds we have collected for the toilet block in reserve.
Join us on the journey
We are so pleased and excited by the pace at which work is developing, even though a great deal of research and preparation has to go into each of these elements. This is being driven by a dedicated group of volunteers and many others supporting and encouraging in the background. As Swamiji has said, the Guru energies are behind everyone’s work right across the world at the moment, and this inspires and motivates our collective wish to keep up the pace and play a part in fulfilling Swamiji’s wish to see the Guru Shakti Dhams established and fulfilling their purpose in raising consciousness and awakening souls.
Everyone is invited to get involved. There is plenty to do; both for the Ashram and in sharing the meditation, and in some new ways volunteers are working on. There’s no reason to miss out, please get in touch.