I was part of the BYB Yogic Studies group that went to Rikhia for two weeks to do seva. We then had the opportunity to rest for a week at Ganga Darshan, and return to Rikhia for the yajna itself. So my expectations were that I was returning for the program, not to do seva, because I had already done that. That was over.
However, not only did I have the opportunity to become a seva participant again, I had the opportunity to not be in the program very much for the first four days. For the first two days, I was inside my head the only place where I was, having an internal dialogue, shouting at the person who had assigned me here. Didnt they know I was a BYB student who had come for the program?
Around the second or third day, things started to change. Some of the most beautiful moments in Rikhia are when you hit a wall, when you hit something within yourself and you just dont know what it is. It is really neat to not even try to figure it out, but just to get to a moment when you are so tired of talking to yourself that you give up. You dont have the energy any more to continue this inner dialogue and something within takes a deep rest. The word that came up when I experienced this was tyaga. Though I dont fully appreciate the meaning of the word, I think I got a glimmer of what it means to let go for a moment.
Other impressions came when I was in the prasad crowd management team. We were working outside the Tapovan gate where the villagers would enter to receive prasad. I have never been one who is very sensitive to energies. The moment we entered Rikhia, some of the students were saying that the energy was such and such. Others were saying that when they were around Paramahamsaji or when they saw him or Swamiji, they felt a particular energy. And I was thinking, I dont feel any of that.
But on that fourth day, whenever we opened that iron gate to let people in, the energy of the kirtans would just come flooding out, hitting everyone who was working on the prasad team. The villagers were slowly inching up to that gate, waiting for it to open and to be let in. You could see smiles appearing on the faces of those who had been feeling impatient at having to wait for two to three hours in the hot sun. People would start clapping as they approached the gate. I found the transformation in attitude amazing. When the chanting of Aim Hreem Kleem started, there was a similar effect. Each time it was said, you would feel a pulse.
I wasnt very clear on why the yajna takes place at all. Really, what was the big deal? Items are handed out to the villagers who will either use them or sell them. It didnt get to me until I was serving at dinner, watching thousands of people eat, and knowing my own attachment to food and how much I enjoy that experience. For some reason, it touched me deeply to know that in addition to prasad distri- bution, one person had organized an event where day after day people were being fed three times a day one of the most basic needs. One of those things that you rarely hear about people being able to transcend; even the masters eat food. And here you were serving every single person. It was really awesome. It made a deep impression on me.