Lately I visited two places that show spiritual diversity. Fascination for spiritualism brought me to these places.

First, I stayed over a weekend in the Gedong Gandhi Ashram in Candidasa, Bali. This place was established by the late Ibu Gedong whom I met in my 20's in one of conferences I attended. Ibu Gedong is a spiritualist based on Hindu teachings especially Gandhi philosophy. The ashram is now run by her family and local community. 

I went to the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India, some time in the early 2000 but only as a passerby. I didn't stay. This time I allocated time at least 3 days to absorb more atmosphere of an ashram. 

The Gedong Gandhi Ashram lies beautifully between the famous Candidasa Temple and beaches. Everyday, there are two yoga sessions, chanting in Sanskrit language at 5 am and 8 pm, meditation and three times vegetarian meals. For me as a guest, all programs are optional. 

Just being in this peaceful and well maintained ashram gave me positive energy. Vegetarian meals were delicious and specially prepared by experienced local cook. I loved one dish made from a pink flower that I couldn't remember the name. The smell and taste of this dish stay until now in my mind. 

Listening to the chanting during the dark of early morning and evening was calming. I didn't join the chanting sessions but I did listening from my veranda. 

I took a walk to the surrounding areas, beaches, hills and kampongs. 

The beauty of this ashram is that the Gandhi teachings are in subtle ways conveyed and practiced. This ashram is not demanding all guests to be Hinduists or followers of Gandhi teachings. Respect is enough.

Second, last January I joined an open day of the Ortodox Jewish Synagoge in Amsterdam called De Raw Aron Schuster Synagoge (RAS). I never been to a synagoge before, at least not an active one. Mostly I went to a synagoge that has been transformed into new functions. 

During the open day, some speakers delivered presentations. They talked about the architecture but also history of Jewish in Amsterdam and socio cultural customs of Jewish community played comically by a female artist. I learned a lot about Jewish and Jews during this half day open day. 


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