654 – A Hindu Ashram

Traditionally a Hindu Ashram is where the Guru lives with her/his family. People visit the Ashram to seek guidance and spiritual wisdom. Ashrams were founded as Hindu hermitages or places of seclusion. Ashrams play a very important role in Hindu culture. They are centers of spirituality and self-development and self-awareness.

Ashrams are different to a monastery as they are open to persons of all faiths who wish to live a Hindu life. They offer an opportunity for people to overcome their addictions and traumas. During their stay, they are able to restore balance in their lives and emerge whole, cleansed of their troubled past. The lifestyle followed is regulated, a schedule is in place and the emphasis is on Karma Yoga. Early rising, pranayamas, satsang and then a disciplined life is practiced. There is time for sadhana and introspection. It is said that an empty mind is a devil’s workshop. Here one learns to be accountable for one’s actions and one is able to be rid of one’s emotional baggage.

A place to meditate

The values instilled in Ashram dwellers are non-violence, truth, non-stealing, non-possession, brahmacharya if the vow is taken, equal respect for all religions, non-possession, bread labor, control of the palate, and fearlessness. Only after understanding and practicing these values, one is ready to meditate. An ashram then becomes a place to meditate and a guidance center for spiritual matters.

Ashrams are usually set near a village or in a peaceful area and their objective is to be a spiritual haven for seekers. Who are these seekers? They are individuals, who are seeking awareness and are desirous of being free of their distress, be it mental, emotional or physical.

Yoga Vidya in Bad Meinberg is a Hindu Ashram, following the values as described above. It offers a lifeline to young persons in distress. The members live like a family of equals and are karmayogis. The spiritual influence has enabled thousands of sewikas to return to society and contribute to the nation’s welfare.

Swami Satyananda said that the ashram cannot be a permanent abode for anyone. It is a place where one can go for short or long periods of time in order to accelerate spiritual growth. From ancient times people have lived in ashrams for fifteen days to a couple of years. Then they would return to their normal life as better human beings and were able to view their lives with a reasonable perspective.

Living in an ashram, one lives as a family and yet one is not related. Detachment develops and this leads to acquiring peace of mind. The ashram offers a calm, quiet and unthreatening atmosphere where one can decide what one can be and do. Living outside this is not possible, ashram life makes it possible to see with clarity and enjoy spiritual health.

Aim Hrim Klim


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