Nisargopachara Ashram was founded after Gandhi came to the small Maharastran village of Uruli Kanchan in 1946 for some natural healing. He thereafter collaborated with Manibhai Desai to establish a permanent center in this rural village for health and well being through natural foods, natural treatments, and yoga.
Today the 25 acre campus provides Spartan accommodation for about 125 guests at a time, grows quite a bit of its own food, gets milk from its cows (located elsewhere), and runs separate treatment centers for men and women. These centers offer as part of the registration fee (which varies from 80 rupees daily for dorm to 350 for shared rooms – minimum stay one week) local and general steam treatments, mud applications, yoga classes, neem oil soaks, enemas, and doctor consultations.
Half hour oil massages cost 30 rupees per, acupuncture is 300 rupees for ten days of sessions.
Patients purchase coupons, which are tendered for two inexpensive meals (approx. 40 rupees each) daily and fruit juices twice a day. Some of the juices available are carrot, white squash, beet, orange, amala, tulsi, neem, karela, and last but not least, WHEAT GRASS. The meals are prepared without white flour, oil, salt, or sugar. Typically there will be a boiled vegetable, rice, buttermilk, chapattis, and shredded carrot salad with coconut chutney.
Caru Das is half way through a two-week stay. He is the only Westerner on site. All the signs and most of the speech are in Hindi, so it’s a great opportunity for him to put his limited Hindi to use.
Ramesh Patel of Salt Lake City had informed him of the ashram and kindly offered to sponsor the visit if it would help Caru put the melanoma cancer of 2008 further behind him and give a few more years of life with the Utah Krishna Temple.
When Caru received this offer from Ramesh, he thought Nishargopachar Ashram also would be an ideal peaceful place to prepare Sunday lecture talks and power points for 2010. That has proven true, as in the first five days he’s done the research from Vedabase and other sources for four new talks: Setting Godly Goals, Express Yourself, A Matter of Time, & Ever a Hero. Internet access is limited and slow, so he’s going to wait to add the images, but all thought sequences and text is done.
These talks and power points will eventually be available for download on the web site, http://www.utahkrishnas.org/. Incidentally, we’ve had over 1,000 downloads of 2009 talks from Itunes, since Jerry, God sent Internet whiz, started placing them there in October.
Another bonus for Caru has been the 5/8 mile walking/running track around the ashram compound. Each morning he has managed 45 minutes of jogging while listening to inspirational lectures on his ipod. He had no running shoes but discovered that crocs are not bad for casual running.
His roommate, a 58 year old Bombay Brahmin named Dattatreya, and he have formed a fast friendship, trade Sanskrit slokas back and forth, and share a papaya every evening before bed. Caru buys (20 rupees) and Dattatreya peels and slices.
While probably most people come to the ashram to lose weight, Caru is eating a lot more solid food here than at home, where his principal sustenance is from juices: squeezed carrots, celery, beets, apples and pineapple. This is his first in 20 or more visits to India where he’s not had to worry about getting sick on the food!