Sunday, July 13, 2008


This is a tale that had to be told...It describes an outing we had on 7th July 2008...Here goes... The venue chosen was Gargoti – the mineral museum - and Swami Shilananda’s ashram in Sinnar.

The Gargoti mineral museum is about 40 kms from the city of Nashik. While the outside of the building is rather nondescript once one steps in it is a whole new world. The owner - Mr. K.C. Pandey has built up a collection of stones from Maharashtra and other places that decries belief. One comes face to face with zeolite rocks having blue or yellow or green or red formations within all the result of volcanic activity and subsequent cooling. The museum also has a moon rock and one from Mars, but the formations that have taken place in the rocks on display over the years truly amazes.

At many times during our tour we just felt we had to stop and take all that we had seen in before moving forward. They also have some rocks with dinosaur fossils and others dating to the times before man appeared on planet earth. It took us about an hour to move through the exhibits - but we could have taken longer and still not had enough.

After that trip we went on to visit the famous Spanish Jesuit who is 84 years old and lives in an ashram for the last 40 years. Swami Shilananda has been living as a sadhu all alone and visiting the villages around to take the message of Jesus to people. He has mastered the kirtan form of singing and the Marathi language. Going around the area he sing kirtans of Jesus to the people – fearlessly proclaiming Jesus’ message. While he has not a single conversion to his name, he certainly has done a lot to spread the message of Jesus which I think is more important than how many people have accepted baptism. We spent about an hour with him listening to his story and his idea of mission work.

One can see that he is a truly holy man - filled with God and with no rancour towards others. The latter could be justified when one considers that he has not been always understood by his superiors. But he continues in the mission he feels God is calling him to.

After those two intense encounters we went over to a hotel room that we had booked to have a grand dinner. It was time to unwind and relax. We returned home by 9:30 pm and all of us were unanimous in feeling that we had spent a truly enriching day with food for our eyes, our body and souls.

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