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Worldwide Sanatana Dharma Community
Yogis for Peace
Calendar Veda Loka
24 April
2024 year

5121 years of Kali Yuga,
28th Mahayuga
7th Manvantara
The era of Manu Vaivasvata
boar Kalpa
first day of 51 years
of the great
Importance of ashram

Teaching, Guru, and sangha are very important on the spiritual path. While the importance of Guru and Dharma and teachings is clear to many people, the importance of sangha could be clearer. Sangha is not only a community, a spiritual family, but also your environment for socializing - a mandala, a place where you practice. There should be a favorable atmosphere for the spiritual Path. Without such an atmosphere, without such a place, you will not be able to apply the teachings or practice it properly.

This atmosphere and mandala is an ashram. Not only sannyasi monks need an ashram. Karma sannyasi, brahmachari, laymen, grihasthas need it even more than monks.

A good ashram, figuratively speaking, increases the probability of your Enlightenment and Liberation by 40-50%. If it is possible to talk about it like that at all.

Those who want to become a master of martial arts go to a master trainer and train in his "dojo", a wrestling hall. Those who wish to become a musician learn it from another musician in a music school in suitable conditions, among those who also love and live music. The same way is applicable in the spiritual life. Just as a good music school or conservatory trains, educates and produces talented and world-famous virtuoso musicians. A good sports club produces champions, and masters of sports of international class, so also a good ashram under the blessing of a strong line of transmission and a wise Guru eventually, of course, not immediately, educates and "produces" experienced sadhus, enlightened sages and saints, jnanis, siddhas, teachers, mentors of mankind.

If you aspire to Liberation as a yogi sadhu, you need not only a master and teachings but also the right conditions - sangha and ashram. If you want to practice sadhana, tapasya seriously, you need to think about an ashram. If you live in a metropolis without an ashram, your dreams of practicing will remain only dreams. You can come to your Guru ashram or his sannyasi disciples and live there, practicing for a while. You can create an ashram out of the city yourself with the blessing of your guru.

How to create and set up an ashram

An ashram is not just a house where yogis gather. It is a sacred space of holy, divine energies, it is the manifested body of the Lineage of Transmission, the Guru-shishya parampara, and the chosen deity (ishta-devata). Therefore, only those who think of themselves as a disciple of their Guru, part of the holy sangha, who are firmly on the Dharma Path, who have faith and devotion to their Guru, to the lineage of saints, to their Dharma, can establish an ashram. Such a small sangha should have a great desire to create an ashram, to manifest it, it should believe in its own strength, seeing it as its mission on earth.

It is preferable to start on an auspicious day by praying to the refuge saints, making offerings on the altar, and invoking the blessings of the deities and refuge saints. When the blessings are invoked and received, the auspicious signs visible in meditation or dreams manifest.

Then a good place should be found. The ashram should be situated in a sattvic place in nature. A new house should be built according to vaastu principles if possible. Or a suitable new house can be found in a good place with light energies; it must be consecrated. Even an ashram where people have lived before can be chosen if light energy exists.

It should be arranged according to the vaastu canons and opened astrologically auspiciously with a blessing ritual.

This place should be clean and quiet, without noisy neighbors, construction sites, supermarkets, big highways, railway stations, markets, and industrial facilities. There should be a forest, river, or lake nearby. Open sky, horizon, are preferably to be visible. It makes no sense to create an ashram in the center of a metropolis, among noise and polluted air.

An ashram should have an altar with deities to invoke the blessings of the line of devotion, it should also have a hall for yoga and meditation. The altar should be located in the east or northeast. It should also have a quiet, secluded room for retreats. It should always maintain cleanliness and a divine, loving atmosphere.

Consecrated vegetarian food should be prepared in the ashram.

There are kept routines of your tradition, as instructed by your Guru or experienced monks. Everyone who lives in the ashram must follow the sadhu's rules of routine, practice, food (vegetarianism), self-discipline, and relationships.

An ashram should be supervised by an experienced mentor monk who will always support and inspire the practitioners.

The ashram residents should regularly meditate together at the same time, participate in morning and evening devotions, practice yoga, study philosophy, and do seva, service, together.

Other sadhus, sadhus from different lineages and traditions, who come to the ashram temporarily, should be welcomed with respect and hospitality. They should be accorded all due marks of respect according to their status, age, and wisdom.

Those practicing in retreats should take separate retreat commitments and stick to them. The influence of satsang, regular worship, classes, study, good place and atmosphere, and the general spirit of yoga and tapasya is marvelous for spiritual life.

The soul evolves gradually, gently, and harmoniously in a good ashram. It is quickly (though not without difficulty) liberated from gross worldly desires, and those subtle desires that it retains it directs towards seva, service to God and Dharma, and creativity.

For everyone who lives or regularly practices in an ashram, the signs of spiritual realization come in time. He, practiced regularly, doing tapasya for years, decades, masters asanas, pranayamas, concentration, meditation, contemplation, and then samadhi. He experiences proper nirvikalpa, savikalpa, and sahaja samadhi, eliminating his ignorance. He creates a body as a deity dwelling in the higher astral dimensions of the Gods - Jana-loka, Mahar-loka, Tapa-loka. He becomes enlightened and liberated in his lifetime, conducting the play-lila, in the world of men in a physical body, carrying out the divine will for the benefit of all living beings. And this is all the blessing power of an ashram.

It is a great seva to create such an ashram, such a great, noble, and sublime mission, and the merit of it bestows all the blessings on the chosen deity and saints of the line of Transmission because the ashram is a projection of the Supreme source itself - Hiranyagarbha, who gives birth to all deities and saints.

If you feel that this is your destiny, this is your mission, make every effort to realize it, and then in response to your efforts the gods and saints will bless you and help you.

(Based on the satsang of Sri Guru Swami Vishnudevananda Giri)


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