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Worldwide Sanatana Dharma Community
Yogis for Peace
Calendar Veda Loka
2024 THE YEAR OF DHARMA PREACHING
24 April
Wednesday
2024 year

00:00:00
Time
chronology
5121 years of Kali Yuga,
28th Mahayuga
7th Manvantara
The era of Manu Vaivasvata
boar Kalpa
first day of 51 years
of the great
First-God-Creator
Worldwide Sanatana Dharma Community / The Dharma of Advaita and the ashram
The Dharma of Advaita and the ashram

The paradoxical simplicity and impossible difficulty of a genuine comprehension of the Advaita teachings.

There is a tendency to misunderstand that Dharma and Advaita are very simple, and since it is beyond the mind, it means that there is no complexity in it, and it is understandable to everyone. And that since there is no mental complexity in it, as in physics or mathematics, for example, everyone can realize it easily.

Of course, this is an illusion.

Dharma is indeed really simple in the sense that there is no mental complexity in it, like in physics, higher mathematics, or geometry. Suppose you want to deeply understand Riemann space, Schwarzschild sphere, Minkowski space, Everett-Menski theory, and Poincaré hypothesis. In that case, you need a powerful mind, which is possessed by at most one hundredth, one-thousandth of one percent of all people living on the planet.


You have to study with flying colors at school, college, and then in graduate school. Study excellently all your life. It takes a powerful mind, and that's where you apply your mind, explore the theory, and then you either understand or don't. And then you eventually realize that if you don't know these things, you don't know them, and you don't have any illusions as if you know them.

But Dharma, especially Advaita Dharma, Sahajayana, can be misleading by the illusion of being easy to understand.

It can create an illusion that you know it and understand it while you don't, and, conversely, it can give you the illusion that you don't know it, while it is always naturally inherent in you. It can be described as "easily accessible and incredibly inaccessible at the same time." That's its paradox, its transcendence. That is its difficulty and illusion of both knowing and not knowing. You think you know Advaita, but you don't. You think you don't know it, but in fact, you already know it, and it is inherent in you as inner knowledge. And then you are right and wrong simultaneously, and you know and do not know it. You neither know it nor do not know it.

Everybody can taste it, but almost nobody can feel its true depth.

In the case of Dharma, you don't need a mind, but you need something even higher - the great powers of intuition, faith, meditation, cognition, contemplation, dedication, which are far above the mind, which only a few tens or hundreds of people on the whole planet really have. We do not mean a little understanding. We talk about a real deep liberating understanding like the saints, the siddhas have; because little understanding has no power.

Importance of studying and mandala

It is essential to study texts of the tradition, to learn from the guru, to have a long personal sadhana, faith, samaya, refuge, sadhu atmosphere, etc., to penetrate deep into the Dharma.

A very deep and skillfully constructed mandala, a mystical space for education, training, and learning, including many aspects to developing wisdom and the right spiritual experience - samadhi, atma-jnyana, brahma-jnyana are highly important.

Such mandala in Vedic and Tantric tradition is called ashram (guru's house), sangha (community), kula (Tantric community), spiritual family, or guru-kula (family of guru's disciples).

Ashram is the center of life for all sadhus. It is the place where divine energies are invoked and spiritual transformation happens.

Altar room (pujaghar)

The most essential, central place around which the sadhu's life "boils" in an ashram is pujaghar, where the altar and the deities are situated.

What does the Vaastu Shastra say about this place?

"...The pujaghar, according to the Vaastu-shastra, should be located in the east part of a building, north or northeast corner. The place of worship must not be in the south direction. Pujaghar must not be in the bedroom. The Deities should be in the east and west of the pujaghar. The faces of the Deities should not be northward or southward. Because if the faces of the Deities are facing north, then we are facing south, which is unfavorable. The triangular shape of any Deities should not be installed in the place of pujaghar. Toilets should not be above or below the place of worship. It is auspicious to clad the Altar with white or delicate yellow marble. The color of the walls of the Altar should be white, light yellow, or blue. The Altar should have doors and windows to the north or east. Lighting should be in the southeast corner of the Altar. It is auspicious if the place of worship is pyramid-shaped (roof sloping in all four directions). Women should not enter the Altar Room during their menstrual period.

The home kunda, the pit for the Sacred Fire, or agnikunda, the pit for the dedication fire, should be in the southeast corner of the altar room. Sacred fire offerings should be made facing east. Pictures of Deities or murtis should never be placed near the north or south walls.

There should not be scenes from the Mahabharata epic, pictures of birds, animals, or copies of Vaastupurusha in or near the pujaghara. The safe should not be placed in front of the deities. Murti should not be placed in front of the entrance gate. The pujaghar should have a threshold. The worship room should not have towers, domes, triumphal columns, flags, bases, etc.

Deities taken from ancient temples in destroyed, defaced (defiled) form should be kept from the worship room. Deities in the Altar Room should not be desecrated (defaced, defiled, flawed). The mezzanine overlooking the Worship Room should be to the west or south. Deities should not stand leaning or touching the wall. They should stand about an inch away from the wall.

No karmic, secular literature, clothing, etc. should be kept in the altar room. No part of the altar room separated by a curtain, etc. should be used for any other purpose.

The altar room shall not have a door with one part, nor shall the door be made of tin or iron bars. The altar room shall have a double-leaf wooden door. It should not be made of inferior-quality wood.

The upper half of the altar room should have a space for ventilation or this can be made of glass. The doors of the altar room should not automatically close or open. Springs or door bolts should not be used for this door.

Money or valuables should not be hidden in the altar room. There should be no ventilation or windows on the roof.

Deities should not be placed closely so as not to disturb each other. It is better to sit near the west wall facing east without looking at the Deities. during meditation in the altar room."


Meditation room

Another significant place in the ashram is the room for meditation, yoga, and performing the ritual yogic sadhana. The hall should be a manageable size too.

Sadhus, both monks, sannyasis, and young novices, brahmacharis, gather for daily collective meditation in this room. It may be a meditation of great peace or atma-vichara meditation, brahma-vichara meditation, or tantric visualization, depending on the level of the sadhu and his tasks in sadhana at the moment.

Like the altar, the meditation room should be entered only with clean spiritual clothes. Brahmachari, karma-sannyasi - in white, sannyasi - in orange.


Portraits of saints, gurus, and teachers of the tradition may be placed in this room, but no deities are installed, this room should be sufficiently decorated so as not to excite the mind. It keeps the simplicity and spirit of sadhana and meditation.

It is recommended to speak in a whisper or a low voice and keep silent during the practices.

Here, the Absolute takes place during hours of vigils, sitting in deep meditation, great insights, deep immersions, and spiritual breakthroughs into the higher realms of the light of Brahman.

An ashram lives according to its own laws, these are both yogic and tantric laws of ethics and culture of sadhus of a particular lineage (guru-shishya parampara), of a specific sampradaya (school) and principles of "minor sciences" - vaastu, ayurveda, jyotisha. There a bell sounded and the Gayatri mantra and other mantras are chanted in the morning, at lunch and sunset, during sandhya.


Ashram is a laboratory of spiritual alchemy.

Individual or collective sadhanas are performed there in the mornings. Deities' blessings, the saints of the transmission lineage are invoked in the altar room, sutras are recited, and arati, hymns to the chosen deity are sung.

Сonsecrated vegetarian food is cooked there, and everyone follows the sublime principles of yoga and the precepts of tantric samaya.

Every evening sadhus gather in the ashram for satsang to listen to and discuss the sublime teachings of the holy sages and scriptures. They invoke the deities, perform theurgic practices, call their energies into their consciousness, prana and body, sing bhajans, contemplate, perform visualizations, and then meditate while performing the daily sadhana program.

Ashrams keep relics of saints of the spiritual tradition and relics brought from holy places, which infuses the atmosphere of the ashram with blessings and enhances the spiritual atmosphere.

In an ashram, the guru or mahant (abbot of the ashram) gives daily lectures, satsangs, instructing, inspiring and awakening the disciples to understand the wisdom of the saints and scriptures.

Everyone in an ashram works voluntarily and enthusiastically to perform bhakti-yoga and seva - each contributing their duty to God, Dharma, sangha, and sadhus through service, contributing to the common cause.

Sadhus retreat monthly and annually as an ashram to undergo retreats (ritrites) in complete silence, for tapasya, spiritual asceticism.

An ashram is an authentic mystical laboratory of the spirit. Everyone strives to love others and see purely; the older sadhus help the younger ones and learn from experienced elders and wise preceptors until they achieve full enlightenment.

Ashram is an oasis of spirituality, beauty, harmony and purity, a place of descent of great blessings of God, gods, saints, and at the same time it is a field of ascetic self-discipline of a yogi, a field of his training, spiritual awakening and spiritual transformation.

Only some people can live in an ashram. It requires an excellent spiritual destiny, and merit. But merit can be accumulated. And I recommend to all students to work hard to create such wonderful Dharma spaces wherever practitioners live. And then these spaces will bless you and bring you invaluable benefits.

(From the satsang of Sri Guru Swami Vishnudevananda Giri)

The Dharma of Advaita and the ashram


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