By Sri Swami Sivananda
Forty five pp.
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Additional info for Amrita Gita [ The Song of Immortality ]
A spirited dialogue ensued, culminating in an address to the group by Dr. Thomas Odhiambo. Dr. Odhiambo had spent the previous two years serving in a structured forum, consisting of the heads of state and thought leaders from different parts of Africa considering the most serious issues affecting the African continent. Part of their conversations revolved around the issue of restitution to Africa by the “northern nations” for the injuries Africa had sustained from the practice of slavery. Now, he carefully framed his thoughts in a spiritual context and said, “as I have thought about mansa seva and the kind of mind we must have to serve the world, I have become convinced that we in Africa are putting too much energy into the past, that we need to use our powers for the present and the future.
I breathe deeper and, for brief moments, I can imagine a story behind a face, the yearning behind the cheers. The pit in my stomach shrinks a little. I’m trying to practice compassion, but 48 truthfully, nothing about this makes sense or seems right. The television convention coverage is drawing to a close and we hear briefly about the woman who crashed the convention and protested Cheney’s relationship with Haliburton. I exhale and say a prayer of gratitude and safe-keeping for her. A small edge of something feels familiar.
What the place has given me, and I suspect most residents, is the ability to pare away at the usual stresses and pressures, allowing space and time to process things intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, and also connect with personal and universal forces that nurture and sustain me. The dictionary defines ‘retreat’ as not only a strategic withdrawal, but more importantly as a place of seclusion or privacy, or the act of withdrawing into such a place, as for meditation. Retreat raises images not so much of failure but of regrouping and renewal.