The above picture was taken at ‘Dhamma Giri’ in Igatpuri, Dhamma Giri means hill of Dhamma, this pagoda is one of the world’s largest meditation centre and also the main centre of the rapidly growing global Vipassna organisation. It is dedicated to the teaching of Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
We managed to walk up to this place and learnt a bit about what actually happens here. Apparently the pagoda have has 400 cells for meditation if you observe carefully in the picture above the small holes are the window’s of 400 such cells which are some 3 feet wide and 6 feet long for people to meditate.
The best part about this place according to me was that people from all religions, caste and creed all could join this Vipassna course where they teach you techniques to meditate. There is no bar for anyone and they do not even charge you any fees for staying there and teaching you this. Apparently this ancient technique of meditation was almost going into oblivion before thankfully it was revived and today it flourishes nicely!
Very well managed and clean premises with a lovely and pure atmosphere was shown around to us by another disciple who was working in SBI Jalgaon and had come to offer his services for a while to the centre as he attributed the place to have brought him peace. They have this system where some disciple will inform you all about the activites that go on there. They also show you a short video on how things work there informing you everything you want to know in case you plan to enroll.
Perhaps someday I think I will want to give this a try and cut myself for a few days from the world and try to actually confine myself to just my thoughts. It looks a little tough to me right now but unless we try I will never know I guess.
If you are wondering what is Vipassna let me copy paste some info from their official site :
Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, an Art of Living.
Vipassana is the process of self-purification by self-observation. One begins by observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind. Then, with a sharpened awareness, one proceeds to observe the changing nature of body and mind and experiences the universal truths of impermanence, suffering and egolessness. This truth-realization by direct experience results in mental purification.