Living Together

"Living together" Retreat
Auroville, Pondicherry, South India, Jan' 2020

“The Retreat itself was a wonderful experience. Of course, there was great food, daily yoga classes, trips to the ocean and the nearby attractions of Auroville with likeminded people. From the West and India.
That in itself was wonderful, but what really struck me was the caring, the overall sense of togetherness and friendship. The retreat was really an exploration what it means to live together in mutual respect and care. A real inner Yoga so to say.
And somehow, we all created the experience together and could explore our own tendencies and reactions in the encounters with others, catalysed by the Satsangs and kirtan session.

In one of the daily Satsangs Sri Anish said something like: “If we just could learn to all live together peacefully – that in itself would liberate us. And I think that is an aspect of spiritual life which is not always, if at all, emphasized – or seen at all: It is not about “ourselves” alone, doing the right practice, remembering a complicated mantra, acquiring the right knowledge, or having great experiences-
but only in daily life, in relationship with others and the world – in the world right here and now – we can actually see where we really stand in our inner journey. For that we don’t have to have a big bag of knowledge, but overall (Self-) Acceptance, honesty, the wish to connect and to open the heart to ourselves and others.
This, one could sense, is the relief of suffering and the joy of life: to experience oneself as part of the whole web of life – like holding hands with our fellow travellers and supporting each other on the journey back home.”

~ Ralf Schultz, Yoga teacher, Germany

Retreat to Glastonbury Oct 19

Retreat to Glastonbury

October 2019
Buddha’s 4 Brahma Viharas

“The hills are alive…”

A thick blanket of fog surrounds the hill we walked up in Dorset, so that despite being at the top of the highest point for miles around, all we can see is grey mist.
It is not depressing though, as I am with beautiful friends Martin and Tatjana and my my mother. We know the way round the hill and my mum chirped reassuringly that on a clear day you can see for miles around.

“…With the sound of music…”

This trip up the hill happened after the recent visit of Sri Anish and Anandi to us here in the UK. We spent 3 weeks sharing kirtan, food and dialogue sessions with friends in the South of England.
Sri Anish, after giving up a high flying corporate position began a quest to discover the truth within, spending many years in solitude in the Himalayas. I have a feeling that he found the spot on the highest hill and saw for many miles around. Only the hill that he ascended was within, giving him deep insights into the secrets of existence. Since then, he has dedicated his life to sharing his perspective and guiding others on their journey of inner seeking.

Anandi, who was a top interior designer in India, was drawn to the Himalayas with Anish and other friends in order to live the life of the heart.
After planting hundreds of trees and nestling herself into a (designer) mud cottage in Dharmshala, she has found an utterly beautiful expression through music and sound. The effects of this are both outer and inner in my experience. Anandi has been conveying her understanding of sound and feeling to many by means of kirtans (songs to the divine which also involve the collective participation).

So for three weeks, we three…Neil, Sonya, Daisy and friends) journeyed together with Sri Anish and Anandi under the collective vision of “Saadho” which is a joyous recognition and greeting to all the seekers on the path.


By opening up our homes to each other we learned to truly let one another in. Feeding each other, without fear of lack and without expectations in return bought abundance in our hearts. Through Sri Anish and Anandi’s lived example, we found that these simple gestures can do so much on a deeper level and warm the hearth of the heart.

The dialogues or Satsangs led by Sri Anish were incredibly profound, yet utterly applicable to our everyday, western lives. When someone speaks with such clarity, authenticity and love, you can’t help but take a pause and listen with all your being, which knows that there is no agenda. It can be truly transformative and help clear the fog that sometimes clouds our minds. For myself it has been a truly incomparable catalyst to inner growth.

The trip culminated with our trip to Glastonbury. A space that was already dedicated to the teachings of Buddha, was the cozy setting for 30 friends to gather and absorb 4 fundamental teachings of Buddha. Don’t be deterred by the fancy name “Brahma Viharas… the 4 pillars of awakening” These were 4 of the most down to earth teachings one could imagine.

Focussing intensely on the first pillar which is “friendliness” or “unconditional love” (without attachment), we deeply understood that any spiritual practice that does not first cultivate this attitude of friendliness towards fellow humans and nature is likely to be limited. We are inter-connected beings, and relating with each other can unlock the doors to our heart.

The next two unfolded from the first; Compassion (but not pity) and empathetic joyfulness (but not indulgence). Again, nothing fancy if you really think about it! But with far reaching consequences of deep relating and uplifting those around us.

Finally, the 4th pillar of equanimity, balance (but not… Indifference.) This is the capacity to feel deeply yet not lose ones own rooting in any given situation.

And sharing sound & kirtans in the collective space gave us the felt experience that togetherness can truly empower and enrich our journey within.

Anandi Ma taught us the mantra Buddham Sharanam Gaccami, Sangham Sharanam Gaccami, Dhammam sharanam Gaccami….” Which means take refuge in the buddha and all the buddhas, the sangha (collective) and the Dhamma (laws of nature)…

“The hills fill my heart with the sound of music”

So finally, the trip actually culminated again. If that is possible or allowed? A full November moon seemed to shine for 3 nights! And the final gathering at Yoga Junkie in Fareham was a meeting of many friends, old and new. It was a celebration. Even my mum came away stating that she really really enjoyed the togetherness of it all. And I reflected on how truly beautiful it was for me that my journey of spirituality could include and not exclude my parents.

“My heart wants to sing every song it hears”

Ok the final line from the sound of music. But this is genuinely what you start to feel after three weeks of inspiring company. Its not really talking about the songs on the radio. Or even about songs. But when you start listening to the heart… in all manners of ways, start keeping company with those who are speaking from the heart. It is like this…

The song is the very vibration of life… we become conduits for connection and authentic expression, and so beautifully opening up leads to more opening up and for those all around.

It is not always easy, but it is simple and the song of the heart is this… to rediscover ourselves and one another’s capacity to love and care for each other and the whole of existence.

Love Daisy, Saadho Kirtan

A Himalayan Retreat: An Experience To Remember, Bliss To Cherish

A Himalayan Retreat: An Experience To Remember, Bliss To Cherish

10th October 2018

Being our first association with Saadho Sangha, there was a lot of excitement while starting our trip from Delhi to Gaggal Airport to Zostel Bir. The morning gathering at Zostel provided the perfect start to the togetherness we were to experience during the Yog retreat at Rajgundha forest.

After a sumptuous breakfast, we were all off to Billing – the start points for the paragliders. Watching the paragliders jumping reminded me of the inner urge we all have to be free and to be guided by the hand of nature. The element of trust/faith was clearly visible while letting go by the paragliders. Being first time trekkers, while being informed by our guide of a 14 km trek in the mountains to reach our destination, we as well had let go of our inhibition of such a long walk.

Walking through the forests, steep climbs and smooth descents reminded me of life and its ups and downs. How much could we learn from nature but for our thoughts that take us elsewhere. During one of the breaks, Anishji reminded us of the purpose of the trip and the need to remain silent and listen to the silence of nature and how it touches our core. Anishji asked us to consider this trip as a pilgrimage as many rishis and saints have travelled this path and have meditated in caves and the forest and we should all take benefit of the energy available.

Being a 6.5 hrs trip, stopping for lunch, introduction amongst ourselves, guidance from our guide – Pawan, we reached our destination – Ishant Guest house just as the daylight faded and we were welcomed by chill in the air and the clear view of stars in the sky.

The next day started with Yoga lessons by Shivani in the open. The yoga lessons were a wake-up call to the way we treat our bodies. The emphasis by Shivani for the need for all of us to push ourselves, was a lesson in discipline that is needed to allow energy to flow freely in our body. After some lazing around in the open, it was time for a Satsang which was held in nature by Anishji.


The snow peaked Dauladhar range, Greenery all around, the soft rumble of the river and a cool noon, provided the perfect backdrop or a session on how to live the spiritual journey. A reminder by Anishji for starting from the basics to ensure a strong horizontal base and the talks revolved around being able to manage the I/Self, practicing inclusiveness and invoking the Cosmic energy was the way to leading a spiritual life.

In the evening after a revision of Yoga exercises indoor was another Satsang session held. Anishji shared with us the process to follow to lead a conscious life. The need to start with the body – its postures, its movements and the breathing awareness are the first steps. Practicing inclusiveness. Followed then by the awareness of our thoughts and our emotions. There are 3 types of emotions – Emotion of Food, Emotion of Sleep & Emotion of Lust. Ensuring awareness for Food & Sleep would assisting in reduction of lust. And last but not the least, Invoking the Cosmic energy. Absorbing these teachings, it was time to snuggle in bed for a good night sleep.

The next day started with a nature walk to the river. A steep descent got us to the river Uhl, which was flowing in its full glory from the melted snow of the Dauladhar range. The chill waters were inviting some of us for a dip and we obliged. A steep climb back and after rest, we had an indoor Satsang again. This time on a question of how to invoke the cosmic – Anishji shared the need for human beings to imagine a form while invoking the super consciousness. This method assists all of us to remain in sync with the cosmic awareness and experience our true self. Anandi & Atul took us through a bhajan session with their melodious voice & Guitar respectively. A perfect end to the Satsang and a reminder of higher consciousness presence amongst all of us.

On the last day, we had reminder lessons from Shivani on Yoga. A 6 km walk to our vehicles and a trip back to Zostel Bir had many a memory to reflect upon. The stay in nature, pristine beauty, spiritual talks, Yoga and the sumptuous simple food that we experienced in the last few days could be summed up as “THE ESSENCE OF BLISS”.