Realizing the Abundance in Our Lives

An Interview with Prabhavati Dwabha

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Prabhavati Dwabha, Director of Ramana’s Garden, Rishikesh, India, formed Ramana’s Garden Home for Destitute Children in India as a result of her spiritual practice on the banks of the River Ganga. Here is a short interview excerpt concerning abundance:

Q. Why have you chosen abundance as the theme of your seminars?

A. We learn what we live. That’s what life in Ramana’s Garden is about: discovering our abundance. I can’t share anything that hasn’t come out of my own personal experience. Most of these children come to us from traumatic backgrounds having seen their parents murdered, or murder each other, having been sold into prostitution, or worse. I can’t promise them that now everything will be rosy and perfect here. I can only say maybe we will have some hard times and storms to weather together but they will not have to suffer anymore. Here they learn that happiness isn’t dependent on external conditions like whether you have the approval or disapproval of others, money, or luxury. They discover their own abundance within themselves that no situation outside can ever take away from them again.

Q. Speaking of finances, I have heard you often face extreme financial hardships here in the project. Are you going to tell me that you run this home and school for these children as well as 3 other schools for poor children with no security? (Her laughter is contagious and I find myself laughing as well.)

A. No, I won’t tell you that. It wouldn’t be true. Yet it is true that we have some hard times, but that is all part of the teaching. Our sense of security doesn’t depend on our bank balance. It is based in a deep trust that we will not be asked to bear more that we are capable of.

Q. A friend of mine visited in December and told me you were having an especially bad year and were not even able to celebrate xmas with the children?

A. Yes, financially speaking you could call last year a disaster but all in all it was one of our most abundant Christmases ever. Not having money was an invitation to expand our creativity. Until today we have always had enough food, mainly because we grow most of it ourselves. The children made all the decorations from rubbish they collect from the streets. They made beautiful colored lanterns, plastic bag flowers and x-mas trees. The results were magnificent. They baked hundreds of decorated cookies and on x-mas morning got up early and went into the village singing to distribute to all visitors and villagers.

Q. Is it true that you were an actress living the high life with fancy cars, a house at the sea, and closets full of designer clothes? Don’t you miss any of that?

A. Maybe a good Chocolate Mousse! I don’t miss any of the suffering. My life was an enormous begging bowl that was always empty. No matter what I put into it, it was never enough. I was still looking for abundance outside myself.

Q. And now you are not?

A. That would be foolish now, wouldn’t it?

Q. Aren’t you afraid that someday you won’t be able to manage all this?

A. If I let my mind run into the future, I can find all kinds of fears, doubts, and reasons to stop today. But sitting here with you now in the sunshine, listening to the children’s laughter and the delicious smells coming from the kitchen, I can only say: “Come on let’s celebrate over an abundant lunch.”

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