With love and excitement, volunteers began arriving at the Isha Institute of Inner-sciences (iii) and immediately took to the task of preparing for the Bhava Spandana Program. There was much to do to create an optimal atmosphere. From volunteer coordination to managing parking and accommodations to decorating Mahima, the dining area and the grounds, all tasks were done with the care and attention of enthusiastic hosts preparing to receive loved ones. The focus was on supporting the 270 participants to ensure they were unencumbered by any worldly need and free to receive what would soon be made available to them during this unique program.
On Friday evening, Bhava Spandana officially began. As the days went by, the joy and exuberance of life was easily seen in the participants' faces, words and actions. For the volunteers too, the joy was evident: the joy of giving themselves selflessly. Life was at its peak at iii and many, whether participant or volunteer, experienced it like never before.
During the four days of the program, the volunteers, slightly outnumbering the participants at 275, combined their abilities and efforts but most importantly their willingness to support the very program that had been so significant in their own lives.
The program's end dovetailed into the beginning of the unofficial "Isha Fest" celebration, being celebrated in the US for the first time. For these festivities, an additional 50 people joined all those already at iii. Isha Fest began with a song prepared especially for the occasion and performed by a group of volunteers and iii residents. More music, including original compositions and traditional Indian songs, as well as graceful and mesmerizing Middle Eastern dance engaged everyone present. The spirit of offering to Sadhguru and to all in attendance was evident in every performance.
Asked to speak on the occasion, despite his initial objection that those who had just completed BSP would have "heard enough," Sadhguru took some time to reminisce about his life leading up to his enlightenment. He shared stories about his days in college and the wild bunch that made up his motorcycle club. He also spoke of his first encounter with a silent yogi who bowed down to Sadhguru despite the fact that the then young man had just ridden his motorcycle up the stairs leading to the yogi's hut and was covered head-to-toe in slush! This was the beginning of a relationship that lasted for some time. After his enlightenment and the drastic changes to his features caused by this event, Sadhguru visited the yogi again. The yogi's response of "vroom, vroom" indicated clearly that he was aware that the enlightened being before him shared the same body as the wild youth he had made acquaintance with many years earlier.
Festivities continued with more music and a delicious, Middle-Eastern-inspired dinner. While most participants and volunteers left IIIS that evening or the next day, surely none left quite the same as they arrived. The experience of the previous few days would be carried in each and every heart, with joy and gratitude.