Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas Letter From Llyn Evans

Dear Perran friends,


It was lovely to be back in Cornwall last summer, especially to spend some time in Perranuthnoe and find most of you in great health and spirits. What struck me generally is how busy you all are! I’ve no doubt got used to a gentler pace in India, so that I’ve forgotten how to pack every minute with action.

As you probably know, I decided to rent a small flat in Penzance, which made it easier to get around without a car. I made full use of the bus service, which I think is an undervalued blessing that we can all enjoy. If a bus is late, so what? All the more time to watch a bluebell open…. I was enchanted to be back in time for the bluebells, and the burgeoning of an incomparable Spring.

The summer was full of interest, joy blended with unexpected turns of fate for me, with an extraordinary series of setbacks of the type I thought occurred only in India. They were, if anything, more striking in UK. All my efforts failed to get my visa through in time, so I had to miss my flight back and expensively book another one.

But I did get here eventually, and the 9-hour car journey from Delhi to Rishikesh was uplifted by an incident on the road that I’ll never forget, perhaps like the animal who caused it. 6 hours into the dusty, bumpy ride, we got stuck in traffic for about50 minutes, with honking getting louder, pushing more aggressive, heat hotter, and window-selling more pressing. Every time I opened a window to let some air in, someone would try and sell me household goods. The driver bought a saucepan. Would he use the rising heat to cook us a meal, I wondered. But he needed all his skill to hold his own against tractors honking as if it were a Last Trump competition.

At last we reached the source of the hold-up: an elephant! Lumberingly lifting one toffee-coloured foot after another, he plodded forwards with a tree-trunk on his back, taking up the entire width of the road. He was helping with the harvest. The tractors bore sugar-cane; the elephant bore a tree. He made all the difference to my journey, lifting me to the status of a character in the Mahabharata. I no longer cared how long it took: the elephant and I had shared the road to Rishikesh.

It’s great to be back in the ashram, where I’ve been welcomed very warmly into the heart of this close family. Even by the cows. Our Head, the revered Swami Veda Bharati, decided that what the ashram lacked was cows, so he bought 14 of them – 6 adults and 8 calves – who travelled all the 15-hour way from Rajasthan, arriving here just before me. Students have turned into cowherds, the animals are fed a sattvic diet to keep them placid and milk-producing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up one morning to see them practising Yoga.

A few of us drove up the mountains last Sunday, to walk in the pure air of the pine forests. Donkey-bells sounded across the valleys and the snow peaks of the high Himalayas seemed very near in the sharp light.

In a place of such natural and spiritual eminence, it seems ridiculous to mention technical problems (I am just gratefully amazed to be able to communicate with you at all). But I may just mention that there are major roadworks taking place outside the ashram, and I’m told that every day a different piece of our telephone line is cut. We have 3 lines to the outside world, and the one that connects me to the Internet has been cut for a long time. For the only active one, which serves the Meditation Hall (and the cowshed) I have positioned myself where I can hear both Om and Moo, and am hoping for the blessing of being able to send this with a few pictures.

Wishing you peace and joy in 2010,

With love and blessings,


1 comment:

  1. Lovely to hear from you Lyn. Saw Mark Harandon (the comic half of the Dickens-reading duo) last night doing a wonderful portrail of Old Father Christmas upstairs in the Admiral Benbow as part of the Midwinter (Montol) Festival. A real treat. I was thinking of you -you would've loved it!
    Merry Christmas to you
    Love Katie Kirk.