and Spiritual Communities
An Ashram (Pronounced "aashram")
in ancient India was a Hindu hermitage where sages lived in peace
and tranquility amidst nature.
Spiritual and physical exercises, such as the various forms of Yoga,
were regularly performed by the hermitage residents.
Other sacrifices and penances, such as Yajnas were also performed.
Many Ashrams also served as Gurukuls or residential schools for
The word ashram is derived from the Sanskrit
term "aashraya", which means protection.
Ashrams have been a powerful symbol throughout Hindu history and
Most Hindu kings until the medieval ages are known to have had a
sage who would advise the royal family in spiritual matters,
or in times of crisis, who was called the rajguru which literally
translates to royal teacher.
A world-weary emperor going to this guru's ashram,
and finding solace and tranquility, is a recurring motif in many
folktales and legends of ancient India.
Ashrams were usually located far from human habitation,
inside forests or mountainous regions,
amidst refreshing natural surroundings conducive to spiritual instruction
the word is used as a synonym of matha,
but mathas are generally more hierarchical and rule-bound than ashrams,
belonging to ancient orders of Hindu sadhus (Renunciants who are
still searching for realization, as opposed to Rishis who have found
Today, the term ashram is used to refer to
an intentional community formed primarily
for spiritual upliftment of its members, often headed by a religious
leader or mystic.
A number of Ashrams have been founded in India in the 20th century
most notably the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad which served as Mahatma
during the long struggle for India's independence and Aurobindo
founded in Pondicherry by the Bengali revolutionary-turned-Hindu-mystic
For books of Gandhiji please visit my:
Gandhiji stayed from 1936 to 1948 at Sevagram Ashram
carried out all his activities from this ashram during that period.
"You cannot build nonviolence on a factory civilization, but
it can be built on self-contained villages...
Rural economy as I have conceived it, eschews exploitation altogether,
and exploitation is the essence of violence.
You have, therefore, to be rural-minded before you can be non-violent,
and to be rural-minded you have to have faith in the spinning wheel.
We have to make a choice between India of the villages that are as
ancient as herself and India of the cities which are a creation of
Today the cities dominate and drain the villages so that they are
crumbling to ruin.
My Khadi mentality tells me that cities must subserve villages when
that domination goes.
Exploiting of villages is itself organized violence.
If we want Swaraj to be built on nonviolence, we will have to give
the villages their proper place."
Lama Foundation Website
Lama Foundation is: a "community",
a not-for profit organization, and a "spiritual home"
Our Mission is to be both a sustainable spiritual community as well
as an educational center dedicated to all spiritual paths.
Situated about 20 miles north of Taos, New Mexico, on just under
110 acres at 8600 feet, Lama Foundation is almost completely surrounded
by Carson National Forrest, giving one the feeling of being "way
out there", or away from civilization. There are vistas, sunsets,
pristine mountain-spring water, vegetarian cooking, and a wide variety
of animals that share the mountain with the community.
Founded in 1967, Lama Foundation is one of the oldest Intentional
Communities in America. It was founded as a place where high-level
teachers could offer teachings in America, and evolved into a summer
retreat center in the 1970's. A mountain fire in 1996 destroyed
most of the buildings and surrounding forest, but re-building efforts
and permaculture system design have brought about new buildings
and new infrastructure, although we still have a ways to go.
There is no resident spiritual teacher, but instead a group of "residents"
(about 12 people, give or take each year) take on the day-to-day
operations as well as spiritual attunement of the community. The
community leadership is rotated amongst the residents through a
position called the "Watch," and the flavor of the community
changes with each new Watch.
Ram Dass collaborated
with Lama residents to create his seminal volume Be
Here Now in 1970. The Sufi Saint Murshid Samuel Lewis
chose Lama Foundation as his final resting place in 1971. There
is a long list of other spiritual teachers who have taught at Lama
including: Stephen Levine, Jack Kornfield, Baba Hari Dass, Chogyam
Trungpa Rinpoche, Father Thomas Keating, Rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi,
and Joshu Sasaki Roshi.
Each summer, Lama still offers a diverse calendar of retreats and
There are also Hermitages available year-round. (see
photo above this review)
Karoli Baba Ashram in Taos New Mexico
When asked how the heart could be purified, Maharji said,
"Always Speak the Truth".
Taos Hanuman Temple is within the Sri Neem Karoli Baba Ashram in
Taos, New Mexico. The Taos Hanuman Temple is operated by western
devotees of Neem Karoli Baba. Of the many gathering places of Neem
Karoli Baba satsang in America, Neem Karoli Baba Ashram in Taos
is the home of Sri Taos Hanuman-ji, a most unique and loveable murti-(statue).
Maharaj-ji's Taos Hanuman Temple is located at 7000-ft. elevation
in the Sangre de Christo (Blood of Christ) Range of the Rocky Mountains.
Taos is a small town noted as a "spiritual center".
Thousands of Hindus from all over the world make pilgrimages to
have the darshan of Sri Taos Hanuman-ji.
"The new temple for Hanuman will be a
beacon that-radiates the light of Hanuman.
Hanuman, in his new temple, will draw many Eastern and Western devotees
from around the country. Maharaj-ji serves as a deep pure well that
gives pure water...." - Ram Dass
"The Hindu tradition recognizes the ashram/temple as the guru's
body. The ashram is Maharaj-ji's body.
When we gather, we bring together all of our separate love of Maharaj-ji.
This collective love takes form through kirtan,
making chai, serving somebody, the children's laughter,
and the preparation of food as prasad (one of the tenets of Maharai-ji
is to feed people).
To make this a reality, we come together on scheduled occasions."
- Ram Dass
The Neem Karoli Baba Ashram facilities are provided to support
devotional activities such as selfless service (seva), kirtan, meditation,
satsang and the offering of food (prasad).
Neem Karoli Baba
in Lenox, Massachusetts USA
Kripalu is a health and yoga center located in Lenox, Massachusetts.
The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health had its beginnings in 1966
when Yogi Amrit Desai founded the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania,
a nonprofit organization providing yoga classes and training for yoga
The name of the Society was later changed to Kripalu Yoga Fellowship
the nonprofit and charitable organization that still operates Kripalu
The Fellowship and Center are not related to Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji
Maharaj of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat.
Yogi Desai came from the small village of Halol in India.
There, from the age of 15, he enjoyed a close personal relationship
with his guru Swami Kripalvananda, for whom Kripalu Center is named.
Swami Kripalu is more commonly referred to as Bapuji, or "beloved
He was a highly renowned master of kundalini yoga as well as a moving
speaker, prolific writer, and talented musician.
Bapuji spent four years in America (1977-1981) where he taught and
practiced intense yoga and meditation.
His teachings still serve as the foundation of Kripalu's approach
to yoga and spiritual life.
Retreat and Renewal Program
, you can mix yoga and meditation classes with spa treatments or acupuncture
Meals are gourmet vegetarian, and the accommodations, in a former
are either dorm-style bunks or minimalist private rooms.
in Nevada City, California
From his youth, Ananda's founder, Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters)
had dreamed of creating small communities based on cooperation and
high ideals. When he became Yogananda's disciple in 1948, he discovered
that Yogananda, too, was committed to the concept of "World Brotherhood
Colonies." Kriyananda vowed to do his utmost to make this dream
In 1968 Kriyananda began the fulfillment of Yogananda's vision
with the establishment of Ananda Village, located near Nevada City,
Yogananda taught that what the world needs is
a blend of the best qualities of the East and West: the spiritual
insight of the East and the practical efficiency of the West. One
without the other leads to a society barren of human fulfillment,
but a balance of the two can bring peace, harmony, prosperity, and
happiness. Yogananda often predicted that world brotherhood colonies,
based on the twin principles of "plain living and high thinking,"
would be the social pattern for the future.
Music is an integral part of the Ananda experience. From choral music
to private chanting and listening, our music can be used as a way
to approach life that is uplifting, inspiring and spiritually beneficial.
Kriyananda has composed over 400 musical pieces, and is author of
more than 80 books. The books and music he has written carry on Yogananda's
tradition of offering practical ways to bring spirituality into everyday
The Ananda community is situated on 840 acres of meadows and forests
amidst the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in northern California.
Today, 250 people reside here, including adults and children of all
Official SRF Biography
Ashram in Virginia
Whether you come as a program participant,
a guest, a Living Yoga Trainee, or a Karma Yogi, your experience
at Satchidananda Ashram, Yogaville will be unforgettable. Yogaville
is a very special place. Situated in the rolling Virginia countryside
on the banks of the James river with the Blue Ridge Mountains as
a majestic backdrop to the west, it encompasses almost 1,000 acres
of serene, wooded landscape with hundreds of varieties of trees
Our community consists of some of the most loving and diverse people
you could ever meet. We have come together from a wide range of
different faiths, backgrounds, and nationalities to live the simple,
yet profound, teachings of Integral Yoga. Our goal is to realize
the spiritual unity behind all the diversity in the world and to
live harmoniously as one Universal family while enjoying and honoring
Marga in New York
Ananda Marga is a social and spiritual organization founded in India
in 1955 by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti (P.R. Sarkar). The mission of
Ananda Marga is to help individuals achieve complete self-realization
and to build a social structure in which the physical, mental and
spiritual needs of all people can be fulfilled. Ananda Marga contributes
to the process of individual development by providing instruction
in meditation and other yoga practices on a non-commercial basis.
Ananda means "bliss"
and Marga means "path."
So Ananda Marga means "Path of Bliss."
Bliss is infinite happiness.
It is the fundamental desire of human beings.
"There is in the living being a thirst for limitlessness."
We can never be satisfied with limited things.
They may give us pleasure for a while, but not long-lasting satisfaction.
A limited object can only give a temporary and limited amount of
But only infinite happiness will satisfy us.
So how are we to attain it?
By expanding our awareness to infinity;
by transforming our individual limited experience into the cosmic
of the unlimited: infinite happiness; perfect peace and contentment
University in Iowa.
In the summer of 1974, a long line of yellow busses pulled into
the town of Fairfield, Iowa. The doors opened and young people poured
out, setting foot for the first time on the new campus of Maharishi
The idea for MIU, later Maharishi University of Management, began
in seed form in 1955, when the spiritual teacher His Holiness Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi began teaching the simple, effective Transcendental
Meditation® technique throughout India. His message was as fresh
as it was universal he taught that the purpose of life is
the expansion of happiness, and that every human being can effortlessly
unfold his or her infinite potential.
The University and Fairfield
together have become Iowas center for sustainable living:
* the University offers a popular undergraduate program in Sustainable
* the county has the most acres under organic cultivation of any
county in Iowa
* Fairfield has the most homes built using solar energy and other
green techniques, including the EcoVillage development
* Fairfield hosts the annual EcoFair each spring
1. Tribal living is the logical end result
of brotherly love. Love demands gathering up into groups as it grows.
Soon nothing but daily contact will bring happiness between the
brethren as their love grows.
2. It is the most economical way of life. The expenses are shared
by many, and purchases can be in wholesale or volume.
3. This is the only way to liberate the land.
Many people putting money into a purchase fund can quickly buy land.
One person usually has a difficult time.
4. As we grow in spiritual things, we realize
that private possessions are a millstone around our neck.
Yet we must have the tools as soon as you feel that gentle call
from Mother Nature that lets you know that you are ready.
As Wise People we must be ready to help others when they desire
to join a tribe.
We must have more than mere book larnin.
We must know how to apply The Wisdom Teachings of right-thinking
for the body, mind, and spirit to our lives, and how to guide others
to learn to apply it to theirs.
We must know how to organize tribes efficiently for survival,
how to maintain cooperation in the tribes, and how to live during
the days of tribulation.
In electronic engineering, one schemes, computes,
and draws schematics of a new electronic gadget,
then takes it to the bench and builds one to see why it wont work.
No matter how good the planning, a group of people still has to
try their ideas, remove the bugs, and make it work.
Their experiences then save later tribes from
the same mistakes.
This is what is happening now.
The tribes are beginning to form.
Students who sincerely desire to live The Way,
who wish to help in the formation of the first tribes of the New
and themselves become part of those tribes, are welcome to give
it a try.
~ From the teachings of The GateKeeper Eli