It was a small place. An unheard off place in the supposedly under-developed corner of North Karnataka. We were guests of that small town for one night. The place is called ‘KUDITINI’, a small place in the Bellari district of Karnataka. It’s a part of the Heat Zone in the state.
We were on our way to Hampi from Mantralayam. My friend said he can not go back to Bangalore without visiting his ‘AVVA’(Grand-Mother). So, we decided to goto Kuditini, stay there that night and leave for Hampi early in the morning. So, we were there in Kuditini. We were treated with a great variety of dishes in his maternal-uncle’s house, from Enne-Badanekai to Mysorepak to Menasinakai to Bele(Pappu). We were made to have srpite, buttermilk…!
Oh! My God! And also, the aunty said “Nam maneli ondu nalku dina iri. Channagi Meyisi kalistini”!!!(Stay with us for four days, u’ll goback fatter). We couldn’t just refuse their Aathithya and then I couldn’t imagine what would be happening if I stayed there for four days!!
Then we went to meet AVVA at another of his uncle’s house, some two cross roads after, it was already 10:30PM. The Grand Mother was waiting there for us without even having food. Later we asked them to have food, we were not in a shape to have even a single rice gram. They reluctantly had food, offering us this that and all…! We had enough of aathithya already and couldn’t take it anymore. We had enough of water, as the Bellari summer was very new to us, we were already feeling de-hydrated. We planned sleeping on the Jaguli outside their house, inside the compound. I saw many people, almost everyone, sleeping outside the house(!!!) there. By that time, we got an invitation from other Mama’s house (where we had food), that they’ve already spread the bed(Kaudi)s for us on the terrace of their house. We rejected their offer politely and were getting ready to sleep listening to the stories of AVVA and her life-long experiences in that place. It was a good experience to sleep under the sky with nothing in-between, just myself and the stars, of cource, AVVA’s stories. I donno when I caught sleep. I was awakened early in the morning at around 5 o’ clock by the cooool breaze and then I couldn’t sleep. I was all excieted to leave early and see Hampi.
But it was not to be. AVVA ordered you have to have breakfast and then leave. We reluctantly agreed.
We decided to go on a walk to see the place, as we had some more time to spend in there. We saw people sleeping on the platforms infront of their houses. Some of them sleeping above the platforms built around the neem trees, some people already awake, getting ready for the early-morning walk.
We were walking across to the other part of the village, where we were taken at it when we saw a name Ramakrishna Kuteera on a small sheeted house. Out of curiosity, we just swept in. It was a small Aashram. It was named “Ramagiri Mutt”. Few people were sleeping inside the aashram’s enclosure. There was a big hall on the right side of the aashram on which we noticed the name “Ramakrishna Kuteera”. And felt surpised over the presence of Guru Maharaj in that remotest corner of the world!! As we moved in curiously, I think it was getting to be 6:45 or so… and slowly life was waking up in the village. One of the guys got up and saw at us with a surprised look. We were going around to see the place and surprised to see a big aashram-like structure behind this main aashram, named Vivekananda Kendra. The guy who just got up was going there. We asked him whether there was any place of worship of Ramakrishna Guruji. He said enter the third room there in the left part of the building and he opened the rooom for us.
We went in and saw three beautiful pictures placed on the wall, with the same pleasant looks on their eyes, Guru RamaKrishna, Sreemata and the Veera Sanyasi Vivekananda were stading there blessing the place with a great divine flavour. Presence of them in that part of the village made it so special that the Aashram was the best place in the entire village, of cource, AVVA’s house was there:”>. We sat there for about a few mins. And then came out to see someone standing there, talking to someone. We attempted to leave the place, But that man caught hold of us and asked where we were from and how did we reach there. My friend introduced himself as the grandson of Beedi Sheshappa, and then that person talked to us about other things. How they constructed the place, where did the money to run it come from, what sort of programs they organise, and what sort of people they expect their program to reach to.
The place, is constructed in a mutt called Ramagiri Mutt, a place where Yogi Revanasiddeshwara performed grand meditations(Tapa), centuries ago, and the divinity of that meditational power was still there, one can feel it from the place. There was a Shiva Linga in the central hall. I believe this Shiva Linga was the was the real power which gave these people courage and strength to start something like this. He went on telling about the history of the aashram. Long back there was a muni performing the Japa with complete devotion to Lord Shiva. From there came the divine power of the place. He said if we visit such places, that devine power will touch us through the air, which is an indication that we will climb a step above in our search for freedom.
He also said there were 200 students at that time in the Aashram. Everyone’s food and study material were taken care by the Aashram itself. They collect a fees of some nominal amount from each student. They run a school as well. So, it’s a no-loss no-gain social organization. I felt really happy to listen to the story of some people studying here and achieving heights in life.
He said one of the main programs of this organization is to spread the awareness of cleanliness and hygienic living among the villagers around Kuditini. Also one of the main ambitions of the organization was to produce a strong youth, soul of the nation. To produce Young minds which are free of thoughts, thinking in a positive direction. We were really impressed by the way a stranger was explaining all these things to us. My friend gave him some references at Ramakrishnashram Bangalore. Then this Brahmachari spelled out few more names that we acknowledged as knowing them. He said those Swamijis studied in this Ashram itself. They got their first lesson in this place, he said with pride.
He also said those students who join would be completely isolated for a while from the outer world. It helped them to understand the culture of the Aashram easily and also as time moves on the students would find it difficult to adjust to their houses environment. It prompts them to change the environment of the house towards the positive side, a bit.
Currently they have one more mission of building a well furnished school and residential complex in the outskirts of the village over a wast area of 4 acres. They were realising it alerady, he said.
Finally he said “We open our gates to anyone who want to seek peace, who want to travel to the divine world of spirituality. We have a library that will help them forget the world and deeply immerse in the divine living. We also take their help by introducing them to our students here, so that our students also get benefited from the guest’s experience. They can come here to strengthen themselves and travel in the world of divinity for a while, to forget everything and be a part of our mission.”
They also keep conducting some workshops, he said. Workshops conducted in the presence of some of the best lecturers of the same frequency, giving the students an introduction to the field of meditation and observance.
This is a great service to the humanity. by producing the strongest individuals that our country needs, they are performing a biggest help to the nation. Lets pray for some more organizations of this kind. This man who spoke to us was a Brahmachari himself. He has a perfect vision for the India in future. Lets wish him all the best.
His contact details are as follows :
Ramakrishna Kendra, Ramagiri Mutt,
KUDITINI, BELLARI(Dist), KARNATAKA
Ph : 08392 – 248256
Mbl : 9448801553
Hmmmm… moving away from the Aashram with good thoughts…I have something else to write also. In the beginning of this essay I’ve said supposedly under-developed place.
Actually, Bellari is considered as an under-developed place from a long time. It might well have been one, but not any longer. There are some industries which have changed the fate of the district. There is Jindal from a very long time which was the sole employment creator in that period. But now, the Thermal Power plant is coming up creating loads of employment to the local youth, and converting a barren land into the power house of the state. There is Thunga Bhadra dam as well, in Hospet which is some 50 KMs from Kuditini. This dam has of cource, changed the fate lines of the farmers of this area. Now the farmers in this part of the world are producing as good as any other farmer in any part of the world. The use-less black soil of the past has been transformed into a heavenly grandure, raising jower even in mid-summer(when we visited) is a testimony for my statement. This dam has also shortened the legendary water-crisis of this district. Sometime back, the officers used to threaten their employees with a threat of transferring them to Bellari, but now.. one has to visit it to see how good a place can become with good vision and a bold implementation. People here were really good for us. They have been known for their generocity and they proved it again when we were their guests. They are determined to do well and I guess, they will do well. They will see Bellari transformed into a heaven in a short time. With that note, let me hope they suceed in their effort and let me wish the people a grand forget-the-past kind of life ahead.