Category Archives: Comings & Goings

Comings & Goings

by Swami Nirmalananda

Goings

Last Saturday night’s ceremony was deeply meaningful to all who attended, featuring Swami Nirmalananda’s head-shaving to celebrate her departure from being President of both Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram’s and Master Yoga Foundation.

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We’ve been fortunate to benefit from her continued teaching for the Ashram, even while leading Master Yoga’s Reawakening.  She’s led the February India trip as well as our Year-Long Programme and Shaktipat Retreats, and continues her many free programs and calls.  Yet we’re looking forward to having her return to Shrii Guru Gita project and other projects that have been on the back burner.  The Ashram Board has asked Swamiji to continue as a Board Member.

Monthly Donors & Shishyas may request a lock of Swamiji’s hair from the ceremony.  Simply mail a SASE to Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, 1400 Hampton Drive, Downingtown PA 19335. We will send the care packages out on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here for information on how to become a Shishya member.

Comings

Sharada

Sharada

We are happy to announce that Sharada (JenMarie) Macdonald is now serving both sister organizations as Business Administration Manager.  She is assuming many of Swamiji’s Master Yoga administrative responsibilities to provide needed support for their hard-working staff while continuing to lead the Ashram staff and sevites.

Sharada has worked closely with Swami Nirmalananda for more than two years, as well as providing assistance with some key projects in Master Yoga’s Reawakening.  With Sharada serving the Ashram as well as Master Yoga, it means we are deepening our collaboration between our two sister organizations, providing cohesive leadership as well as economies of scale, recognized as necessary by both Boards.

We are very excited about Sharada’s proven skills and dedication as well as her ability to build a team, with both staff and sevites, and how this will support our community.  If you have any questions, concerns or congratulations, please contact our new Board President, Amala Cattafi at amala@svaroopavidya.org or Sharada at sharada@svaroopavidya.org.

 

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What’s New–Plants & People

by Sharada Macdonald

Comings & Goings

Many of you have already noticed that I have a new name (Sharada). Now, I now have a new title at Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, too: Business Administration Manager. This new name, just like my new Sanskrit name, is to make the outside match the inside. I started at SVA as an assistant helping out with the Amaya® Yoga Products and Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center.

Working at the Ashram every day, I saw how much Swamiji did (and continues to do) to serve Baba by supporting and serving all of us. Her dedication opened me to want to do anything I can to support her vision and mission of Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram. Every time I have seen her (every single time!), she is working to serve and support us. So, any time I could do more, I did. And being steeped in the flow of Grace makes doing anything easy! As SVA has continued to grow, I’ve been blessed with many new opportunities to serve Swamiji, the teachings and you. This new title names these specific ways that I am so blessed to serve.

As spring continues to unfold into the promise of summer, I am pleased to welcome a new gardener to SVA, Greg Hesselton. It’s easy to see how much he loves the earth—I have yet to see Greg (whose first day at the Ashram was on his birthday!) in shoes. Sweet & gentle, he appreciates the beauty of the native flora & fauna. He even asked if we could leave flowering weeds an extra day or two before pulling them so the bees could enjoy them. A camp counselor who lives in a minimal cabin for half of the year, Greg spends his mornings with camp kids and most afternoons caring for the Ashram grounds. Thank you, Greg!

Veggie Garden

Surprise! Wintered-over carrots

Surprise! Wintered-over carrots

Greg, who I mentioned above, has spent the last two weeks preparing the three raised garden beds that went in last year and has been planting baby veggies in them (more on that soon including a picture of Swamiji with a wagon!). Deep gratitude goes out to Dean Cilley, who helped build the beds, planted seeds and cared for last year’s veggies. Dean’s agricultural background and care has resulted in lots of delicious Ashram-shakti-filled veggies last year and—surprise!—a crop of recently discovered wintered-over carrots that were planted last fall. Much to the Ashram residents’ and chefs’ delight, they will be ready to harvest and enjoy soon! Thank you, Dean!

 

Now, here’s that picture of Swamiji with a wagon that I promised:

Swamiji loads the wagon with baby veggies.

Swamiji loads the wagon with baby veggies.

Baby veggies in their new home

Baby veggies in their new home

Swamiji sent me an email last week asking if we could play hooky for an hour or two and go get baby veggies from Jane’s Flower Patch (“Isn’t that a cute name?” Swamiji remarked. “She has 27 different kinds of vegetable starts!”). Swamiji and I pulled a wagon in between the rows of plants, and Swamiji loaded it with zucchini, yellow squash, green & yellow bell peppers, onions, a jalapeno and a banana pepper, Early Girl and Roma tomatoes, basil, flatleaf & curly parsley, cilantro, green & red lettuces, and swiss chard. Finally, Swamiji selected marigolds to ring the beds (in addition to being holy in India, they keep away pests and bunnies). You’re not playing hooky if you don’t get a treat, so we ended our veggie trip with a mango water ice (a Mid-Atlantic delicacy) and took the babies home for Greg to plant.

Now that Greg has finished planting all the baby veggies, he will build a fence around the raised beds to protect them from critters. Stayed tuned for pictures of the fence and Ashram harvest later this year!