There is no way for me to describe, to someone who has never been here, what it is like to sit at evening Puja with these people. It’s joyful, loud, hilarious, precious.
Sometimes the feeling of the music and the devotion bubbles up out of one of the attendees in an exuberant “Jai Ho!”, or they are moved to get up and dance. I watched Ramuji dance to a particularly upbeat and happy song in the flickering firelight from the offering fires on Thursday night and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Here is a man not dancing any choreographed steps, not caring who is watching, just totally caught up in the chanting melody and the voices of his Ashram family. It’s really magical, and you can’t help but smile. Add to that the chirping voices of the children, criss-crossing though and around the crowd, in and out of laps – and the kids are often the loudest and most passionate singers!
“What are these songs about? What are we doing?” I asked Shree.
“They are a celebration, and they are prayers. We are making an offering, we are just saying hello.”
So simple. Not solemn and rote like Catholic mass can be. Just a really happy, laid-back, joyous gathering of a community to pay respect to their past and celebrate the day. It’s just so, so nice. You gotta come here and see it.