We have recently added a small flock of chickens to our family here. Chickens are sweet birds and make good pets, if you have space and time to care for them. We are strict vegetarians and therefore do not eat poultry or eggs. The ancient Sages of India have advised against eating meat and eggs for all doing spiritual practices for mystical awareness of the Divine. Meat and eggs are tamasic in nature, meaning they dull the mind and increase the animalistic instincts within people when consumed. To ensure a clear mind for deep, illuminating meditation non-vegetarian foods are avoided. Yet chickens have been bred to be slow and fat for good eating. Such domesticated animals are helpless against predators in the wild. We feel it is our duty as people to care for such sweet and defenseless animals. We love our 13 chickens: Neeli, Pottu, Garuda, Amalaki, Durva, Darbha, Bilva, Kala, Neem, Vrinda, Shweta, Kutki, and Shunti. Here are photos of the new coop and run we just finished constructing for the birds. We have included a bachelor pad for our roosters so that we can control the population. We will post more photos of our feathered friends soon.
We have completed the first room in the big house, our sitting room / library. Though the room is not 100% complete, we are excited to announce that the first room is painted and usable. Somewhere between historic restoration and modern adaptation, we have updated the room which was a formal dining room to suit our needs for the space. We have used suitable vaastu colors to help increase the flow of positive energy in the Southeast where our well is dampening the fire element. We have designed the room to be used by guests to sit in and relax and study or to meet and converse with Swamiji. We have chosen colonial style furnishings for this room. A Queen Anne style desk and crewel work chair for Swamiji to sit at and study birth charts or meet with people. A William and Mary style table for guests to sit and study or enjoy a cup of tea. Camel back sofa and Sheraton style chairs for plenty of seating. Residents can sit and meet here and discuss upcoming projects or guests can be greeted here. It is a multipurpose room which suits our modern needs while accentuating the historic beauty of the house. We have exciting plans for finishing touches for this room, but with so many more rooms yet to be completed, this may have to wait some time.
We have completed the first section of our house. Now we have about 10 times more to go. The frame (studs and sills) need replacing due to severe termite damage we have uncovered. It is slow work as we are raising money as we go and doing the tedious work ourselves. But we are making good progress.
Yesterday we tilled the land for several of our gardens. The herbs garden, vegetable garden and tulsi garden. Moreinformation about the herb garden and tulsi garden can be found in previous posts. We are making good progress in the field.
Our next formal garden will be the Meditation Garden. The garden will be comprised of 5,000 square feet of Tulsi plants (Ocimum sanctum). Tulsi, or Holy Basil, native to India is said to possess great spiritual energy which effects the consciousness of people who come in contact with the sacred plant. It is revered by Hindus, Buddhists, and Eastern Orthodox Christians alike. It is said that there are few places which promote the depth of a person's meditations like a field of Tulsi plants.
Our tulsi garden will be 100 feet by 50 feet and surrounded with an 8 foot hedge of Tsuga Trees. This hedge will provide privacy to meditators and prevent distractions from the surroundings. Around the garden will be a brick path and paths will merge through the garden in a cruciform pattern. Hedges of yaupon holly will enclose the garden beds containing the Tulsi. Yaupon holly is a very suitable plant for a meditation garden because its stimulant properties promote awareness. The tulsi fields will be studded with English boxwoods. Several benches will provide rest to visitors and a place to meditate. Eventually we plan to construct a gazebo in the center of the garden to provide additional seating and a shady place to enjoy the spiritual serenity of the garden.