Amit Tigga, NSJ
In today’s fast paced world, it is often hard to find simple places of serenity where one can slow down, ponder and recharge one’s spiritual energy with a bit of guidance. Dhyan Ashram is one of such rarities in Bengal.
It is located not far from the city of Calcutta. Right when you enter its gates, the first thing you will notice is that its plain looking walls completely separate it from the outside world. There is a touch of nature’s beauty everywhere in Dhyan Ashram. There are five buildings in the campus surrounded by beautiful ponds and greenery. If you are a retreatant, don’t lose heart by the shoddy looking buildings because you will be given the best in the house.
One of the main reasons why Dhyan Ashram is such a popular retreat house is the serenely beautiful environment of the whole campus. The beauty of the silence of this place is breathtaking: a perfect ambience that will help you to connect with God.
During your stay at Dhyan Ashram you will come across many regular faces going around. They can all mainly be divided into the following four groups.
First, you will notice our hard working and friendly workers. Second, the most flashy bunch around (and at times noisy and irritating as well) are the juniors. Coming in from different provinces and different parts of India, they make up quite an interesting and talented group of youngsters. The third will be the small group of youngsters hanging around far away from the rest of the crowd. These are the novices: angelic in appearance, drowned in prayer, and always willing to offer that extra help. The fourth and the last bunch are the Jesuit fathers. Don’t be fooled by their simple (and often shabby) appearances. I can assure you that they are some of the most intellectual, jovial and loving persons you can come across around here.
Dhyan Ashram takes pride in giving Ignatian retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola. Our fathers here are excellent retreat directors and counsellors. They also hold quite an impressive record of turning devils into angels and that is the secret behind all the peace that you experience here.
The vegetation around the campus isn’t just for show. Most of the fruits and veggies we munch down at meals are home grown. Besides gulping down all this healthy food, we like to maintain our fitness as well. For this we have good old fashioned physical sports and some regular manual work etched into our daily routines. We sweat it out regularly on the basket ball and volley ball courts.Well, to sum up, you will find that the special touch added to Dhyan Ashram is its Jesuit community. We are like a big family helping and looking out for each other. Whenever there is an opportunity, we always come together to mingle, share and pray. That is why the most memorable experience that the visitors share about Dhyan Ashram is its simple, joyful and pious inhabitants.