A Rishikesh Friend Living Her Purpose

September 17, 2017

India, the Ganges, Rishikesh, Spirit...These can change someone's life completely - or, at least, offer/provide/create an urge to do so. The decision, the acceptance, is individual, however.

One chapter in my India travel memoir, "Moonlight on the Ganga," mentions an American woman we'd all met on our first early morning at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh. She had arrived weeks before and, we learned later, was at a crossroads of thought and feeling regarding whether she should leave or stay. The "pull" to stay was so very strong she said, sharing some of her feelings, and yet she felt challenged about it -- and also eager to talk and laugh with fellow Americans. We knew nothing of this or her on our first morning, but felt eternally grateful to her when she suddenly and happily appeared in our midst and became our "caffeine" savior.

We had arrived at the Ashram way after midnight after a long day of traveling, had probably not finally gotten settled into our individual rooms and asleep much before 2 a.m. Then the gongs and music and chants calling workshippers to their prayers had gone off only a few hours later. No further sleep would come, our brains felt demolished with migraine-like headaches, and we were all swallowing excessive quantities of aspirin when we each made our way into the courtyard where we all hung or slumped like limp, bedraggled sheets. Her cheerful yet quiet, appearance amongst us and the directions she provided to the Rishikesh version of a coffee-shop ("After several weeks I've finally gotten the proprietor to made a somewhat palatable coffee," she told us), provided us all some sleepy, headache-laden hope that we would survive the day. I and several of us, for I'd arrived there with some dozen other people, would later meet up with this woman casually to chat, often along the banks of the Ganges or within the beautiful setting of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram.

However, I did not see this woman for most of the latter portion of my three week India trip, and assumed she had left for home. Perhaps she had.

Yet, years later, I'd emailed a question to the Ashram and was surprised to receive the reply come from her, and in that email she'd urged me to return. "Here you can write and in a peaceful place," but after a few emailed conversations along those lines, I'd continued to say, "no, not for me, not at this time" and we'd said farewell. More recently, thanks to my increasing activity on the internet, I would catch glimpses of her in photos at events with the ashram swami, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji when I happened to come across articles or a shared Facebook posting of some spiritual or U.N. event. Yet, I had no idea how deeply and expansively she was engaged there.

In India, it turns out, she found and lives her Purpose, and it is a potent, engaging, busy, and peaceful one. Today she is known as Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji. She teaches, lectures at major international events, and is in constant communication with organizations and leaders around the world. It is fascinating to see the expansiveness of this woman's growth into her full size and Spirit. Would that we all say "yes," to opportunities enabling us to live a life of good Purpose. I'm providing, first, a link to her website, and also a link to a video made about her life/transformation/work ("From Hollywood to Holy Woods"). Enjoy! :

VIDEO -- ("From Hollywood to Holly Woods") --