On the evening of 5 March 2005, Goenkaji and Mataji visited Dhamma Nasika, Nashik Vipassana Centre for the first time. Dhamma Nasika is being built on a secluded 17-acre plot just outside the city of Nashik. The land has been given by Nashik Municipal Corporation. The centre is already hosting courses but limited facilities allow courses for only men or only women at this stage.
When Goenkaji arrived in Nashik, he was welcomed informally at the gate of the centre by the ex-Mayor of Nashik, Mr. Dashrath Patil. Then some of the trustees and assistant teachers along with the architect of the centre accompanied Goenkaji to the highest point of the centre from where they could see the entire centre as well as most of the city of Nashik. They explained the future development plan to Goenkaji.
Meanwhile, more than a thousand Vipassana meditators had arrived at the centre to meditate in the open in the presence of Goenkaji. Goenkaji and Mataji joined the meditation session around 6.20 pm. After the metta session at the end of the sitting, Goenkaji gave a short Dhamma talk. He explained the proper way to manage a centre and the proper way to serve at a centre.
He reiterated the fundamental principles on which all the centres around the world are run. He warned against starting a business of Dhamma. "A Dhamma centre should serve all, irrespective of their caste, creed and social background. It should never become the property of a handful of rich people."
He emphasized the non-commercial nature of the centre and the importance of selfless Dhamma service without expecting anything in return. There is no question of the assistant teachers getting any material benefits but occasionally full-time Dhamma servers may be given some financial assistance if they need it. However, whether one is getting any financial assistance or not, whether one is an assistant teacher or a new volunteer-everyone is a Dhamma server. Only meditators with such volition are fit to stay and serve at a Vipassana Center.
Even though a Dhamma server is not sitting on the Dhamma seat and explaining Dhamma, he is still gaining enormous merits by participating in the Dhamma dana. "Sabbadanam dhammadanam jinati-the gift of Dhamma excels all gifts." Whether one is serving at a center or contributing otherwise to the development of a centre, one is giving the gift of Dhamma. This brings immense joy now as well as in the future.
Goenkaji and Mataji left Dhamma Nasika after the talk. Though the centre has been hosting ten-day courses for the past few months, all the Dhamma servers felt that Goenkaji's visit was the true inauguration of Dhamma Nasika.
Goenkaji and Mataji returned to Nashik Road on 6 March to give a public talk at the Indian Railways Institute of Electrical Engineering, Nashik Road (IRIEEN). Thousands had gathered at this venue outside the city to listen to the talk. Mr. S. P. Khade, the Director of the institute, requested Goenkaji to give a Dhamma talk. Goenkaji explained the true meaning of Dharma (Dhamma in Pali).
On the way to IRIEEN, Goenkaji and Mataji stopped at Dadasaheb Gaikwad Kendra for meditation and metta under the newly constructed Myanmar (Burmese) style pagoda.