Travelling In Northern India and Nepal and visiting Manjushree Vidyapith March 2018
Updated: Apr 29
Gráinne Ní Fhoighil (Purkis) Trustee Member FMVSO
On my previous FMVSO field trip visit to Manjushree Vidypith School and Orphanage (MVSO) in March 2017 I had the pleasure of meeting both well renowned Kundalini Yoga teachers Gurmukh and her husband Gurushabd. I had heard about them from Lama Thupten Phuntsok on many’s an occasion as they had been sponsoring some of MV’s children and teachers to partake in The Annual International Yoga Festival (IYF) in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand over a number of years. It was during this field trip, having attended some early morning yoga classes with the children at MVSO, that I decided upon invitation to join this year’s group from MVSO to attend the IYF for my first time.
I recently started a small company based on Wellbeing teaching Mindful Meditation to school children. In the west of Ireland I wished to qualify as a Kundalini Yoga teacher in order to offer this as part of the wellbeing program - uniting both body and mind in learning and practice. There was a 3 week Kundalini Yoga Teacher’s Training Level 1 course on offer straight after the week long International Yoga Festival and so I registered for that. Along with two of our MV young teachers.
I had the most wonderful experience sharing time and new learning with 22 of our MVSO class 7 and 8 students along with 3 teachers and one of our senior pupils studying in Delhi at the IYF. I travelled from Ireland to Delhi at the end of February, met the party from MVSO at Majnu Ka Tilla (Old Tibetan Colony) on the 31st February. They had made the long 3 day trip by tsumo and train from Tawang to Delhi and were so excited if not pretty well exhausted by the time we met in Delhi before taking the final overnight leg of the journey by small private bus to Rishikesh. We ate a late evening dinner together with some senior MVSO students who had come to Delhi to meet up during their University holiday period. The excitement of such a gathering between older and younger family members with some teachers away from the safety and familiarity of home (Manjushree) was palpable. We were very excited to be ‘o
ut in the world’ together and this was the very first trip away from home for many of our younger pupils. Such a valuable introduction to life beyond the mountainous Himalayan region.
I have travelled to Tawang for 11 years to be with our Manjushree family in the capacity of FMVSO trustee, Science and poetry teacher, carer, mother and friend and this was the first time that I got to travel elsewhere in India. I also travelled onto Nepal with Thupten Tsering senior Delhi pupil to visit 10 of our young teenaged female student nuns in Katmandu. I also had need to visit one older teenage pupil Rinchin who is deaf and dumb studying traditional Tibetan Thangka design and
painting at Tsering Art School, Shechen Institute, Katmandu. The young nuns and Rinchin are not simply only coping but are thriving in their studies and new lives in Katmandu these past two years. They appeared to be very healthy and happy. Two of the nuns had not settled into monastery life and were missing home so went back to Manjushree a year ago. Two other young sisters from Manjushree took their place and said that they were very happy of the opportunity to study in Nepal and that they were going to stay for the duration of their studies. All nuns are making plans to travel home to Tawang on a family visit later in 2019.
The highlight of the trip for me was that I had the opportunity to train in Kundalini yoga teacher training with two Manjushree teachers, Nima and Pasang. These two wonderful young lady teachers were only but young teenaged pupils at Manjushree when I first visited in 2007. Being present on equal footing with these two well educated and well-adjusted young school teachers was such an honour and pleasure. I am happy to report that we all three passed our level 1 training. We now very much look forwards to delivering Kundalini yoga classes to all children at Manjushree Vidyapith in the not so distant future.
The sense of achievement through the nurturing and giving of FMVSO’s involvement with Lama Thupten’s vision for these children was particularly satisfying also - ‘Vibrate the cosmos, the cosmos shall clear the path’ words of the great Yogi Bhajan comes to mind in remembering the joy I felt during this the most unusual and wonderful trips of all times.