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Say Yes Now

The Editor reviews the Ramana's Garden event.

July 2nd: To London's East End in the evening, walking through empty streets, all the world seems to be watching Hyde Park and Live8 on TV. But the East End is redolent, names with streets straight from Dickens and the destitute children of Victorian England, the joys of of pavement life, the thousand tongues that have and are spoken here... Sure the East End really feels "lived". And so to the Flea Pit Cinema in Columbia Rd, to the main event, the new century's destitute children of the Himalayas... And to Prabhuvati.

Many of us remembered her from Pune one, but what had happened in the interceding 25 years? We were about to find out. And a good crowd for such a day, a nice venue, and Prabhuvati shining. Sprung with an oratory that one recognises only comes from that rare inspiration when ideas and practice are found in the same being, Prabhvati explained the beautiful beginning of her main life's work. Brought by her master after Osho, Poonjaji to stop all her doing, internal and external, to a cave he knew near Rishikesh above the Ganges, he explained as he left her he was not her teacher, now the river was to be her teacher. A nice feel about this, I had heard so many stories that I did not particularly like of Poonjaji telling people they wrer enlightened and to go off and "teach". Prabhuvati's story felt it had much more like the real ring of the Master about it.

Slowly over time local children began to visit her and find their scapes and scatches ministered to, more and more came, some half orphaned, stayed longer.... then one day existence seemed to arrange a change, whilst away for a short while, her cave got totally flooded. Prabhvati never looked back. She founded her place "Ramana's Garden" a sanctuary and school network for local and Nepalese children (refugees escaping the Maoist and governent guerilla war there). Prabhvati never told us what Poonjaji thought of this, Maybe by that time he was passed on. I did wonder.... was this really an end to "doing"?!

But whatever, something beautiful has been created and was amply demonstrated by the film of Ramana's Garden she also brought with her. And such creations need their Prabhvatis. I have done some social work organising, and know the hard slog it can be, and the monster hours it can take. I felt most moved by the teenage criminals she had somehow persuaded the United States criminal justice system to send to her for voluntatry rehabilitation. Watching their testimonies, and the tears in their eyes, one could see the murdered child in them transcended by the 24/7 contact with the joy of the children around them, adopting them in turn as surrogate secure adults....voluntary work at its best.

Prabhuvati explained how she had turned down a major donor because of their links with unecological activities. (This partly explains her annual "world tours" to raise money). But at this point one had the feeling that Prabhuvati was not just talking about her curiously Dickension titled "Home for Destitute Children" but something wider. Here children were harvesting and cooking organic vegetables, here they were better aware of plant and animal conservation than children in a good English primary school would be in the home counties! Now she has linked her work to creating an "Eco- tourist" bungalow deep in the Himalayas whose profits are solely used to fund her philanthropy.

There are lots of way to help her work, donations, going to Rishikesh as a volunteer, assisting spreading the word, and all documentated on the Ramana Garden website below. From what I saw if you are into "service" I cannot recommend her work highly enough.

Can I say words for Simon Tzu and Pankaja who organised the event so efficiently and lovingly. Also many thanks to the beautiful venue enterpreneur of the Flea Pit cafe and cinema, Paul Dungworth, who in support of Prabhvati's work waived the rental for the building on the night, and provided great organic food and beer.


Ramana's Garden webiste: www.sayyesnow.org