Sri Ram Ashram Goodbye Party

Sophia Manzur

When my classmate, Irulan, and I wake up in the morning, we say a mantra, “I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in the Dharma. I take refuge in the Sangha.” I was aware that Buddha was to represent inner peace, Dharma as knowing and awareness, but I was unsure what exactly Sangha meant. I asked her what exactly Sangha meant to this mantra, and she replied it means “community”. 

Today we celebrated our last day at Sri Ram Ashram with a “Goodbye Party.” Two of the girls at the Ashram taught my class a dance to perform at the party, in which all of us had so much fun learning. For the performance, the girls were honored by wearing saris, tied by the staff and girls at the ashram. One of my favorite parts about womanhood is getting ready with my female friends before an event. I find the experience intimate because we are all painting our own self expression on ourselves and each other. All there is in the room is positivity, compassion, and love for each other. 

Once we were all ready, we headed outside to the amphitheater. We started off the party with my classmates performing five songs from the Ramayana: Invocation, Every Flower, Laksham Brother Laksham, I Wait Here, and Finale. I was so warmed to see the kids enjoy the performance. 

The kids from the ashram then performed Bollywood style group dances. I was extremely impressed by their performances. Bollywood incorporates traditional Indian dance techniques such as the mudras used in Bharatanatyam while also giving it a modern twist. The kids were able to perfectly execute the traditional dance with abundant energy. I was extremely impressed with one of the girl’s at the ashram who did a solo Bollywood dance. Her rhythm and emphasis on using her music to her advantage was amazing.

It was then time for my class to perform the Bollywood dance we had been working on. It was  magical to perform because the kids were hyping us up while we were dancing. I thought we would only perform the dances once,but the crowd of children kept shouting “one more time” and so we performed twice. 

After the party, the kids gave us a friendship bracelet they had made and a “thank you” card. Although I knew this was a “goodbye party,”  it didn’t feel like a true goodbye because I have a gut feeling that I will be in the essence of this community forever. 

Throughout my time at Sri Ram Ashram, I have felt Sangha come to life within my classmates and the children at the ashram. We have all contributed to this massive pool of energy that is the community itself. Sangha breathes, dances, and grows with us. Although it is not tangible, it is impossible not to feel its presence and bask in its wonders. I hope for everyone to find their Sangha because I feel as though that is where infinite happiness dwells.