Our Veerayatan Experience

By Nita Nilesh Shah

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our seva time at Veerayatan Rajgir where we spent 2 weeks in the month of February. During this time, we did volunteering work at the school and at the hospital.

It was amazing to feel the tranquil, peaceful atmosphere of Veerayatan; the chance to walk up to ‘Dhyan Meru’- the abode of all Sadhvijis and listen to the calming words of wisdom from the revered Sadhvijis; the lovely satvik food at bhojanshala and the trekking opportunities to Vaibhagiri, Vipulgiri and Ratnagiri hills.

Two astounding events took place whilst we were there in Rajgir, events which we did not know anything about when we had finalised our dates in Veerayatan back in January:

What also made a huge impression on us was the wonderful staff at Veerayatan ranging from manager Mr. Bhaskar Bhai, staff at reception, bhojanshala, room cleaning team, the gardening team, museum, tea shop, eye hospital etc. Each and every member was so kind and helpful and made our stay wonderful. Krishnaben was particularly caring and very supportive.

Each Sadhviji touched our heart strings in different ways: Shri Rohiniji, Shri Sadhanaji, Shri Vibhaji, Shri Yashaji, Shri Sanghamitraji, Shri Shrutiji and Shri Kalyaniji leaving us blessed, fortunate, inspired and clearer in our thoughts.

We very much hope to go to Veerayatan on a regular basis.

Our typical day …….

For me to travel the one-hour journey by school bus to Tirthankar Mahaveer Vidya Mandir school in Pawapuri where it was great fun to teach English to varying age groups in the different classes. I was also fortunate to get a chance to teach the children at Harikeshya school and serve them lunch.

My English teaching lessons primarily concentrated on improving speaking skills - to get the children to talk on different topics; play word games; discuss what a healthy lifestyle is; expand their use of describing words; how to plan an essay on a given topic; debate on need for school uniforms etc. Role playing in different settings had most of us in laughter! For the younger classes we discussed opposites, modes of transport, parts of body etc always with a teacher in attendance.

The whole school experience was immensely satisfying and fun.

Nilesh gave seva at Netra Jyoti Seva Mandiram, the eye hospital at Rajgir:

“I would walk in at 10’ish in the morning and be guided to my station whether it is refraction, vision or biometry prior to cataract surgery. In addition, I would attend the clinic where cataract surgery was performed. I felt very humbled at being able to help. It was amazing to see how dedicated and patient the whole team were at their jobs. I truly felt it was a unique lifetime experience!”

After getting back from the school and eye hospital we would have the invaluable sessions with Sadhvijis before going to bhojanshala. Thereafter, 7-8 pm would be bhakti and/or lectures followed by aarti at the beautiful Derasar on the grounds of Veerayatan just a little walk away. The main idol is of Shri Parshvanath Bhagwan flanked by Shri Adinath Bhagwan and Shri Mahavir Swami Bhagwan - what struck me was how full of light and open with lots of huge windows and doors the Derasar was, offering a wonderful sense calmness and solitude.