From pre-Winter to Winter in Jadan Organic Gardens, January 2019
From pre-Winter to Winter and the milky mouths of babes...
As we all know very well – Gurudev is full of surprises which keep us on our toes and this cool, cloudy and windy month was no exception. By the end of January the entire Big Garden had been transformed into a respectable looking parkland and I had been gifted two baby girl orphaned calves to adopt and 4 eight-week old puppies to rear, in addition to Champa the cat who, much to her disdain, has had to take a back seat in priority to bottle-feeding and training Singh, Ganga, Gayatri and Gita not to bite and jump, and to heel and sit, and not wet their beds!
Each animal that I meet here has its own unique relationship to our cultivated areas. Leela and Lakshmi – the calves – wandered through the Shiv Bagh during their first few days here and discovered the tasty joys of Bermuda grass, and learned the difference between shady and sunny spots to graze in or to lie down on. The puppies have the entire garden behind the White House to run and play in. There are large dry neem logs to hide beneath and warm wood ash to lie in, after we burned off tree litter and thorny branches when the entire area was raked clean and dried grasses enjoyed by our milking cows. Soorya Narayan is now referred to as the 'Grandfather Bull' by Swamiji, as during the night he sleeps in the neighbouring pen to our calves and protects his tribe! Every day the calves try to find his udders as they are too innocent to know he is not a milky cow!
February 10th is Vasant (Magh/month of Sukla) Panchami, which is a time when Goddess Sarasvati is worshipped (in West Bengal) and when at Prayagraj this Kumbha Mela, two crores (20 million) people are expected to take a Holy Bath. On this day in this part of India, yellow is worn to symbolize the beginning of spring and tiny black flies called mola are attracted to this colour and cling to it and fly around until they die out from the warmth of March. The vasant ritu is supposed to be an ideal season for vigorous sadhana (spiritual practice). From this constellation onwards, early rising is more bearable due to warmer mornings. On this day, Lord Shiva burnt the God of Love – Cupid – to ashes for daring to tempt Him away from His sadhana.
So, as the seasons change to warmer climes, the flowers are blooming and exploding with colour in Shiv Bagh and Madhuvaani gardens and soon the lemon trees will start to blossom. 184kg of these essential fruits were collected in January and to date 8kg this month, and so we have had a six month run, which is pretty much over now. All of the trees were expertly pruned and all of the yellow roots at their base were removed and they were fertilized thanks to our dear Deeperamji, who employed two maalis. They also removed all the dead wood from our gunda trees and loaded many trolley-loads of wood after the JCB had removed many small trees and shrubs that were not required between the lemon trees. Then of course wedding season came, so the work ground to a halt and will hopefully be resumed this month before it starts to get too hot.
Although our winter group was not huge and we had several cancellations, many new guests visited us due to the announcement of our Kumbha Mela camp and so January felt like a bustling month full of events. The Organic Store was buzzing for the most part and again I would like to thank those who wholeheartedly supported it – it was a joy to serve you all and thank you so much to all of those who sent seeds, some of which will be saved for winter planting in late October this year.
The mustard was harvested at the end of the month and today it was cleaned and about 3kg of seed will be packed and sold. Yellow mustard seed is considered to be very auspicious in this culture. Yellow seeds for a yellow day!
For the last two months we have enjoyed daily salads of crispy and tasty lettuce leaves of different varieties and large juicy beetroots and crunchy sweet baby carrots and spring onions. We have still not weeded our winter area, but it is not so necessary as half of our large beetroot plantation is already empty and later in April, when all is finished, our horses will enjoy the green fodder.
Spring is an amazing time to visit Jadan – we have more than a month’s supply of salad and the weather is perfect. The wheat is tall and green and fills a huge area behind our Bhakti Sagar satsang and meditation hall, and on the other side towards the Swastika building is barley.
Our little dogs are going for walks here and there on a lead and perhaps one day they too will become karma yogis and guard our ashram! Leela and Lakshmi will one day be milking cows with calves of their own and my little Champa, who was born here will probably have her first litter of kittens within a year or two.
Jadan is Life and Life is Jadan.
I wish you all a Divine New Year with peace of mind and the will to be humble and kind and to help all living beings whenever you see the need.
Jadan Ashram and
10th February 2019