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Stories from India


The India Retreats for 2020 are now available for booking. So we thought it would be good to share a few stories from people who have joined in over the last few years. We’ve kept them unnamed as they are wonderfully personal accounts of a deep journey, and have also not edited out the different forms of English being used. Take a moment to read the joy and the challenges that others have experienced on these very special guided retreats.

…. We left Varanasi for the Chakra Sadhana Course in Rikhiapeeth.

When I got there it felt like home! Of course, I was here before, but I could sense the energy of Paramahamsa Satyananda who lived and did his sadhana according his sankalpa for many years. In Rikhiapeeth I met Swami Karma Karuna with a big group of participants of all over the world. I think we were with over 40 people. 

Every day we were focused on 1 specific chakra. We started the day with asanas. After this, Swami Karma Karuna explained the specific chakra with complete details. Very interesting! In the afternoon program, we did tratak (gazing without blinking) on the chakra symbol. For me, this was very impressive to do and was very purifying. I really felt the outcome of these exercises. So we did all the chakras separately during the course. Also I enjoyed the powerful cleaning exercises as Neti and Kunjal.

There’s so much to experience during this stay in the ashram. It also gave me a warm feeling to do Seva. People in the ashram tell you what to do. Once they asked me to water the plants in the rock garden of Satyananda. I felt very privileged to do that. Sometimes you have to clean the toilets. This you do with same attitude and awareness. Sometimes you do rice weighing and sealing. Or you have to fill some bags with cloths and other items. This is for the Maha Yagna in December – 17,000 poor people will come to Rikhiapeeth to receive these items for free. This will take days. The sankalpa of Satyananda..”Give, give, give….!”

Another great experience we all had was to meet Swami Satsangi. She spoke wise words and gave every one of us the right answers. What a charisma she have.

And then the last day of our Chakra Sadhana Course. As we started, so we end… Sitting in a circle we all share our feelings and experience of this superb course. With the nice warm words of Swami Karma Karuna and singing a few kirtans together it came to an end.

Part of a free spirit journey is to allow the soul to roam free, to eventually connect with for this pilgrim, something of pure spirit. Something higher, this noble sounding cause led me to the Chakra Sadhana course in Rikhiapeeth and more exactly, it brought me face to face with an older Indian man, on a train, speaking with the pace of a runaway train then suddenly changing tracks yelling at me in English “I love you”. Well its part and parcel of a journey isn’t it! I arrived at Jasidth Junction and bolted for a tuck truck. Everyone at the station know where I was going. I needn’t have said a word! One driver looked at me and said ‘Rikhiapeeth,’ and just like that, there I was sitting in the back seat, enjoying the natural AC. Enjoying the cool of the night. I arrived at the Ashram and was warmly greeted with a ‘Namo Narayan’. Little did I know that I would adopt this greeting like a cute wayward puppy and it is to flow from my lips more easily than the word OK.

…. And for our group: Chakra Sadhana 2015, we are a high energy lot, ready and willing to share thoughts on characteristics and manifestations of a chakra imbalance, to bring a chorus, sometimes incomprehensible, of Sanskrit pronunciation …. But behind all this, the real care, the sharing, the assistance, the love, the Anahata, honestly what a gorgeous group of people and leading us through all this, an open, honest human, Swami Karma Karuna. Always ready with an open heart and ear, to hear all being said.

But back to the group, as I said a forty plus size group, within that group I found my Indian mum and dad with frank, insightful questions and points about marriage and the western approach ….  I also found my Indian Grandad who helped me make Banaffee for Bhoj. A feast that we prepared and that many attended by Swami Satsangi’s – how blessed we were! The feast was for 180 people! I normally make Banaffee for maybe 10-15 people max. It was an experience!

…. In the evening after dinner we took strolls. Recapping what we experienced during the day. During these walks we sometimes went real deep, shared our troubles, the mistakes made in the past, the people we want to be and the path we are on to get there. The practices during the day brought us deep within ourselves and, counting myself lucky, I’ve been able to reach layers within. During the evening strolls I shared it all, felt very therapeutic like a further way to cleanse. And before cleansing, of course the ego, like a dragon with fire coming from the nose, needs to make itself ??!

And, in my case, it did!! One of the days while working on Manipura Chakra, I felt under siege by fellow classmates and others. All ready and willing to give me advice on what to do, what not to do. The type of ‘advice’ that is relatively benign right, but it felt like an attack on my personhood. How funny now to revisit these thoughts. And truly, how I believe that all those who shared advice with me were my teachers, showing me that my reactions are unnecessary and a true waste of prana/energy. Unfortunately, I didn’t evoke the ‘witness’ as Swami Karma Karuna had planted in our minds and hearts, until late afternoon/evening and instead of flaring my nostrils and internally feeling anger and a wee-smidge of annoyance, I started to say ‘Thank you’ when their advice was given. Maybe I was trying to bring some balance to an imbalanced fire ongoing that can be Manipura, I’ll have to try to remember the witness.

…. These ideas were echoed in Swami Satsangi’s Satsang too. And as an aside, Swami Satsangi, what a practical, radiant, wise soul, ready to unpart her wisdom with clarity and purpose. What an honour truly to have been in her presence and to have received my mantra initiation from her. I really felt her energy during initiation, it was as if she was seated in front of me chanting OM at the same time, I am still processing the experience but all I can see is that it was charged. I felt something within, and afterwards, our group for the 150th time, we smiled at each other, hugged each other and said congratulations. And yes, congratulations was in order I think we were all committing to a new path.

And as Swami Satsangi said ‘Smile, lose the Sunday faces’! Which was great, I literally felt my shoulders dropping down and our whole group erupted into joyous laughter. She was right. This path is one of everyday smiling face. Not just something we reserve for once a week! Thank you Swami Satsangi. Look to be honest, I could go on and on! The experience is a true one, one that will touch you, one that will probably be different for you, but different is good. As is said: All roads lead to Rome OR in this case, Rikhiapeeth.

This place has truly left an impression. I haven’t even spoken about the work that is done in conjunction with the villagers. The Ashram is not just running courses, it’s involved in the up-liftment and empowerment of an entire village… It must be seen to be believed. So, come see, come, experience, come and shake up your chakras!

These are just a few of the stories that have been shared after an India Retreat.  It can be a life-changing experience.



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