A couple of days ago I decided to visit Kaivalyadham. I first heard about the institute when I started to explore yoga courses. This was many years ago and at the time Kaivalyadham seemed inaccessible. I read that it was one of the oldest yoga schools in the world. They’ve done a lot of research on Yoga, Ayurveda, Naturopathy etc. and have helped people world wide manage and treat ailments and illnesses. I read up on Swamy Kuvalyananda. References to him came up in ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ and a few commentaries in the first volume of the Yogamala Ashtadala. It was fitting then that I got in touch with an old friend of mine from Bangalore who happened to be in her last week of internship there and invited me over to see her campus. Things fell in place – I had a day off, was only about 60 km away from Lonavala and the weather was beautiful.
The last 34 aphorisms of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are grouped under a chapter called the Kaivalya Pada (pada = chapter/part). Here Patanjali describes the many ways in which the practitioner can attain the state of Kaivalya. Kaivalya is the state wherein the practitioner is emancipated from the cycles of birth and rebirth. It is an indivisible absolute state of aloneness. ‘Kaivalyadham’ then means the place of Kaivalya.
The drive from Pune to Kaivalyadham is amazing. Mist covered the hills and trees and I couldn’t take my eyes off the scenery. Sadly I forgot to take pictures. By the time we reached Kaivalyadham it was pouring cats and dogs and we had to wade through deep puddles to reach the main building.
It’s always great to meet old friends. We strolled around the campus as we talked. Mamata took us to the gowshala where she spends a lot of time. Kaivalyadham has a large Ayurvedic hospital and I even managed to get a quick consultation! Like most residential yoga institutes, Kaivalyadham serves only sattvic food and we loved the lunch there.
They also teach cleansing kriyas as a part of their courses. I was delighted to finally find clay neti pots in their gift shop and picked up a few for my friends as well. Bangalore friends – now you know what I’m bringing back for you.